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?)
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!
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.
Special thanks to Greg M Cooper Photography for use of his photos. Thanks, also, to Paula and Trinity for their pictures.
I allowed myself to get talked into doing the One Hour Swim – I think I mentioned that in a previous post. Well, I did it. Phew, glad that’s over! My goal was to do 4000 yds which is a 1:30/100 yd pace. That seemed like an attainable, although challenging enough, goal. The last time I did the OHS was probably 10 years ago and I went just over 4000 yds, if memory serves (why don’t I write these things down?!), so while I know I’ve been swimming fairly consistently, 10 years older is 10 years older! So on January 13th, with the support of a good friend who diligently wrote down my splits, I took the plunge. And, guess what? I swam closer to a 1:25 pace and eked out 4225 yards! I was pretty pleased. An hour later and I was even able to move my arms around in a normal fashion.
USMS One Hour Swim: the website is kind of crappy and scary looking, but basically, you swim as much as you want or can in one hour while someone takes down your 50 splits (cumulative splits. There’s a form). You have to be a USMS member, and there are some other rules about where you can swim – check out the site for details. Swim continuously, or stop and start – it really doesn’t matter – yardage is yardage and it all adds up. A couple people who have shoulder issues kicked for the hour (can’t imagine). My regional team, New England Masters, seems to have some kind of rivalry with Davis Aquatic Masters in CA, so there’s always a big push to get as many people to swim the event as possible. I think we won last year, so Davis is out to get us this year.
Looking ahead to race season… I’m all signed up for the season! I’m doing the swim part (fun part!) on 3 Team EnVision relays, all with my super fast cycling sister, and 3 different runners .
- Escape the Cape in June (brr, but only 1/3 mile swim)
- MASS State in July (Olympic distance, yeah! .9 mile swim)
- The Sharon in August (1/2 mile swim)
- Cranberry Olympic distance Aquabike also in August (not a relay, I get to bike on this one – we’ll see if that’s a good thing…)
I hadn’t planned on registering for events so early, but people started talking about what they were going to do, and relays were getting decided, so… LEAP. No procrastinating.
Do you have your races figured out?
Read: Thereby Hangs a Tail, Spencer Quinn. Detective novel from the point of view of a dog. So fun!
Oh, and EAT! I made a variation of Frugal Feeding’s Onion Bhajis. I added some shredded carrots and beets. I don’t like to fry much, but for these? totally worth it!
Ask me if I’m doing a race, and I’ll probably say no. Tell me you’re doing a race and ask if I want to join you and, depending on the event, I’ll probably say I’ll think about it, and then sign up (especially if it’s a swimming event). What is it about knowing others in the fray? In most races, I don’t even see the person I signed up with except for before and after. Different age groups, different speeds, what have you. It’s not exactly peer “pressure” – I like to think I’m an adult, so if I really don’t want to do something, I won’t. I’m stubborn that way. Ask my husband! So why am I so sure I don’t want to compete, and then easily let myself get talked into stuff?! And then, here’s the kicker, I have a great time!!! …after being a wreck leading up to race-time, that is.
I signed up to do an olympic distance aquabike in August. Hurray, no running! And I think I’m committing to 2 tri relays over the summer – phew, just swimming: the easy part!
Swim: my usual pool has been closed this week. ARGHH!! I hope to get in the water before Cambridge Masters’ 100x100yds – Miles for Marly challenge on 12/31. No, I’m not doing 100 of them. I’ll shoot for around 50. And then there’s the USMS 1-hour swim in January – see how far you can swim in one hour. I haven’t done it in years. I swore I wouldn’t do it again about 10 years ago. But then a friend asked me to do it with her. I’m such a marshmallow! But it’s not like I wouldn’t swim more than an hour in any given practice, right?
Bike: finally put my back-up bike on the trainer. And I even rode it! Wonder when that will happen again…? Next week I go back to spin classes at my gym.
Read (and eat!): Just finished Mapping the Edge, by Sarah Dunant. Don’t bother.
Just started Fugitive Pieces, by Anne Michaels. Wow.
Let Them Eat Vegan!, by Dreena Burton It was a Christmas present. Thanks, Shady! A little daunting. Lots of ingredients and involved recipes, but if the winter veg. pot pie is any indication, it will be worth the time and effort. I’m vegetarian and trying to eat less dairy, so it’s helpful to see how vegans work around milk, eggs, and cheese. Watch Vegucated if you get a chance.
Here’s to a Happy Healthy New Year!