Last night was great. Checking USAT cards and saying hi to everyone. Wishing the veterans good luck and telling the newbies encouraging words to rid them of nervous looks. I helped out for about 3 hours and headed home around 6:30 for a pre-race dinner. Right now I am enjoying french toast (egg beaters and Nature's Own High Fiber bread) w/ yogurt on top and cottage cheese with scrambled eggs (leftover from the bread). I still love my sweet potato and bread from Outback but with shorter races, I like a lighter dinner. I wasn't really tired around 9 but I made myself get into bed at 9:45. I must have fallen right asleep because the next noise I heard was my phone alarm. 4:40 am I was up and packed up the car with my bike and Zoot transition bag. I prepared my one water bottle for the bike of powder amino acids and Heed in water and filled up a bottle of water for the hour trip. I prepared my coffee and made a little oatmeal with a little protein powder, a few fresh banana slices and raisins (I put it in a coffee cup so I could eat it as I drove). Just something small to keep me satisfied and get the body ready to go. As i had mentioned in a previous post, I followed the LONG line of cars with USAT stickers and bike racks to Ft.Desoto and I arrived to the race around 6:10am. First a bathroom stop then to the transition area. I saw so many people and still the nerves didn't get to me. I was just enjoying everything from setting up my transition area, getting my chip to walking around in my new zoot tri suit. I didn't feel like I needed to compete or prove anything but when I saw a couple of the HerSports girls around I knew there would be competitive girls out there looking for a top place. I was a little nervous for the water being 74 because I am not a fan of cold water and then getting on the bike. So, wet suit or no wetsuit??? Since i've only worn a wetsuit 3 times in my tri career, I decided no wetsuit and glad I choose to go without. The BEST part about my morning, besides seeing all my friends, was having a First Timer (a few bikes down on my rack) come up to me and ask me if I have done these things before. I said yes and he had so many questions. Well, there was nothing I'd rather be doing, as I wait for 30 minutes until the start, than to help a newbie. I helped him line up his helmet and running shoes (no cycling shoes), told him he didn't need 2 bottles of water on his towel, in addition to the two bottles of water on his bike and showed him where to get on and off the bike. It really made me feel good to help someone out. I made my almost 1/2 mile walk to the swim start with the 1000 other athletes and waited for the start. No warm-up for me since the water was a bit cool for me to just stand around for 15 minutes before my 7:36 wave start with the 39 and under ladies. Ready GO! The run in the water seemed to last a few minutes and finally the ground was deep enough for me to start swimming. I still saw people walking in the water but lucky for me, I have short arms :) I followed the lead girls and tried to chase down their maroon caps. Unfortunately, we caught up with the heat before us (men 39-49) and even a few of the first wave (34 and under men). I came out of the water as one of the top swimmers but I was definitely out swam by some fast girls! I had a few "go Marni" cheers from the crowd and I ran to the transition area. Another long run to my bike and then from the end of the transition to the other side of transition to mount my bike. When I started the bike i was passing a lot of girls. Then I started passing the guys and I was passing and passing and passing. I didn't get passed by any girls and I kept thinking "Karel is going to be so happy". I always talk about my swim and run and now I had a good bike to tell him! I hammered out the bike and I really felt the wind coming off the ocean. It is an out and back course so you get wind in all directions since you are riding parallel to the water. My quads were burning but I pretended like i was doing intervals. I was in the big chain ring but I would shift up to losen the legs after I passed a group. I picked up the cadence for a little in the lighter gear and the pounded again for a few more miles. I got off the bike and didn't hurt but I didn't really expect anything amazing from myself from the run. I started out on the run and wasn't really sure of my pace. I felt good, breathing was steady and form was solid. I passed a handful of guys and approaced a set of stairs that we had to climb to get over the Fort. Then down a bunch of stairs to start the run on the sand. At that point, I was passed by Sharon (who won the race) and then passed by another HerSports Girl. Of course I am cheering for the girls "go get 'em" as I was running and chatting with people along the course. Oh, what fun we had just running on the sand. I finally finished in 1:11.53 and I felt great. I did work hard for my 2nd place age group finish
and 10th overall female but I didn't push to the limit to make the race not enjoyable.
I socialized after the race and waited for the awards to get a nice plaque. I was sad to have my party end and i guess I will have to wait until Ironman Florida 70.3 to really show what I look like
when push it to the limit and I leave it all out on the course.
But today, it was all about the party and enjoying my morning as a triathlete.
A big congrats to all my friends (and future tri friends!) out there and to all the first timers who are hopefully addicted after today!
The pic above is of Gary who is 60 and is a superstar (in my eyes)!! I have been coaching him with his swimming for over 5 months and today he had a PR race, placed 5th and pulled out some really fast splits. I guess it shows that you can be competitive at any age...and still love triathlons!