And that’s a wrap.  My season is over.  Can’t say I’m sad about that.  I’ve been struggling with the whole competing thing all summer, and was kind of dreading this race.  I was irritable, stressed, cranky.  So maybe not too much different from my usual self…  (Just kidding?)

brownie and cookies

chocolate espresso brownie (incredible gooey goodness) and potato chip cookies

Race day Sunday:  I had eaten a delicious chocolate espresso brownie a little too late on Saturday, so my sleep sucked, but I don’t sleep well before a race anyway, so it probably didn’t make much difference.  That night I just happened to have caffeinated bad sleep instead of just regular bad sleep.  Moving ahead… Up at 4:15am, out the door at 5.  The weather seemed good, although it was dark, so I couldn’t be sure.  I saw stars though, a good sign.  An hour drive to the Ted Williams Camp in Lakeville, MA for Sun Multisport’s Cranberry Trifest.  Set up, stress, wander around, stress, talk to Team EnVision teammates, shiver in the cold, stress some more.  There were 4 TE women doing the aquabike  (25 women aquabikers total), 4 doing the full olympic tri and 2 joining together to do a relay.  A good team turnout!

Loon Pond at Ted Williams Camp

calm before the storm

The race:  .9 mile swim, but most people agree it felt short.  Last year the pond was really shallow and a lot of folks ended up running (swimming?) aground, but the water seemed a little deeper this year.  There was only one, well-marked, problem area that was easy to avoid.  I was in the last wave:  aquabikers and relays.  It was a small manageable wave, and by the time I started swimming through the group ahead of me, it was easy to weave in, out, and around flailing arms and beating legs.  The longer races are nice that way – athletes get spread out.  Out of the water in 19:18 (first of the aquabikers, thank you very much!), skipped up the stone stairs without falling, phew!, all the way to the back of transition and on to the bike.  If I do this again (what?!), I should probably get different bike shoes.  The tongue gets in the way, and it’s hard to pull out when it gets mushed down there trapped by my wet foot.  Ran the bike out of transition, kept running by the people stopping to get on their bikes and HURLED myself on the bike.  Pedal, pedal, pedal, get moving!  Only to be held up after maybe a mile or two – HEY! – by a police officer letting the accumulated traffic go.  ARGGHH!  Frustrating, yes, and it probably cost me a place (no doubt I would have been 4th for the women instead of 5th), but you never know what will happen on race day and you just have to go with it.

26.2 miles of mostly flat terrain with some rolling hills.  If I was more leisurely about it, I would have noticed the beautiful ponds and fields we rode through.  I hear it’s very pretty in the Lakeville, Marlboro area!  Gasping for breath, trying to inhale a gu (yum, salted caramel), occasionally taking a sip of water, I finished with a bike split of 1:23:47 (good for 15th out of the 34 aquabikers), for a total time of 1:45:22 and 5th place (by a second).  All of my splits were faster this year than last – that was my goal, so yeah for me!  And no run.  Double yeah!  I’m sure my shorty wetsuit helped with the swim (I didn’t wear it last year), but faster is still faster!  Another goal was to finish no more than 15 minutes behind my sister, and I did that, too.  She’s a solid swimmer and kicks ass on the bike – she placed 2nd.  I believe she caught up and flew past me at around mile 11 (she says it was closer to mile 13, but whatever).

Will I race next year?  I’m not sure.  I’ve been so ambivalent, and even negative, that maybe I should take time off from competing.  I really enjoy swimming and biking with my friends and teammates, so perhaps I’ll leave it at that for a while.  I want to keep it fun.

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Special thanks to Greg M Cooper Photography for use of his photos.  Thanks, also, to Paula and Trinity for their pictures.

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