Monday, May 10, 2010

Memorable Tri uh, er, wet , Du-ish???

I started watching the weather reports last Sunday; I noticed that the temp was going to drop significantly for this weekend. Then, I noticed the “WINDY” mark on the forecasts. As the weekend approached, the “Wind” landed in Pittsburgh. I saw many of their posts on FaceBook and it started to freak me out, so many people lamented about how crazy the wind was. I knew the Pittsburgh weather would be in New England for Sunday AM.

I awoke at 4:30 AM for the tri. When I let the dogs out, I heard the howling of the wind, noticed the bent over trees, and then was suddenly hit with the frigid air. The Air temp was a balmy 35 degrees when we left the house!! I’ve never really had race anxiety, I was a bit concerned about swimming in 62 degree water, but I knew I could deal with it for a short ¼ mile. It was the wind and the bike ride that was starting to freak me out. Winds were 17 mph with gusts from 30-50mph so the Weather Channel said!

We entered Hopkinton State Park about 6AM, early enough to get a good parking spot and a good spot in the transition area. As the transition area filled up, I got colder and colder. Luckily it was sunny out! Looking over to the water showed not only whitecaps but waves that one might consider jumping over in a jet ski. I couldn’t believe how crazy I was to get in the water, then ride a bike in this! I figured that Karma is after me somehow, or that someone just has a sense of humor and wants me to have these crazy things to write about.

We suited up in preparation for the swim, and walked toward the water. I was anxious about touching it; however it was about 30 degrees warmer than the air so it felt “good.” I said good luck to Rick who was the wave in front of me and I joined ironically the “white caps.”

The race director explained that the “square” course would become a “triangle” - - we would swim out and round the RIGHT buoy instead of around all of them. As the Elite wave rounded the buoy we watched as the two buoys get closer together! Then the race director came to us and said “ok don’t go around it, just tag it.” – Then it came time for my wave “white caps” to get in the water. This race is a “Deep Water” start, you wade out to over your head, then you go about 2 min after the wave before you.

We got out to our destination IN The cold water, and then the race director yells over the PA “we’re on a hold while they get a few athletes out of the water.” At this point I actually saw a kayak flip over in the wind, I actually thought he was screwing around. Next we saw the volunteers putting ‘caution’ tape across the start line on the beach. NOT a good sign.. A good 8 minutes later, while we were just treading water, the director says “ok, white, please come back.” By this point we had drifted/were blown a good 50 yards away from the start. We thought they were going to make us stand out of the water while they continued the “hold.” We argued that we wanted to stay in the water rather than be WET/COLD while waiting. Then another min later, the “swim” was canceled. We were told that we’re only going to do the Bike and Run. In my opinion, my wave got the short end of the stick, sure it was canceled, but we had to sit in that cold water for nothing!

My friend Rick was one of the unfortunate waves that did swim. Rick is an incredible tri-athlete, and he said it was extremely unnerving, especially hearing the cries for help. “It was like trying to swim straight in a washing machine.”

The bike was pretty hilly, and I don’t know how possible but 95% of it had either a head wind or side wind. I literally just started laughing at the absurdity of it all. I saw lots of rescue vehicles while on the bike, but really had no idea what they were doing until the race was done.

The run was pretty funny too. Much of it was in the park and was nice, but there were some exposed areas that were, well just hilarious! I’m glad I’m an ahhem “sturdy gal”, or I might have blown away! There is a large viaduct that sits about 100 feet above the water, the winds were just GUSHING through there; it was all I could to do stay on my feet! I did feel bad for those tiny runners; I thought I might have to go capture one from the water! At one point my pony tail was out at a 90 degree angle!

Once I got back to the finish line, I started to hear what really happened. Apparently the rescue boat was ‘overtaken’ by distressed swimmers and actually sank! No one was hurt, thankfully! Check out the pic, you can see the boat just about to be swamped! MetroWest News

On a good note, John brought the dogs and they had a ball, I don’t think they’ve had that much attention in years! Rick had his best Run time for a Sprint! And Nicole – on her Debut Duathon placed second in her age group and First in the Newby category! Way to go Nicole and Rick!

**note to my friends that are considering Triathlons, these past 2 weekends are NOT THE NORM, I have no idea what’s going on :) - Murphys Law, or well Kevin Called Me SchlepRock!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Play the Cards You're Dealt!

It is certainly harder than it seems to Play the Cards your Dealt when you’re in the thick of a perceived unfair situation! I am usually a person that faces adversity head on and just scoffs at it. Sometimes it can get the best of me, and I can take a day or two to reflect and remind myself that every experience is a LEARNING experience.

I had my first race of the season on Sunday, and I am still mad about it, but I’m getting over it. I always have two goals when doing a race: 1). Finish and 2). Not last. Well… this time I crossed the finish line DEAD LAST, complete with my own police escort! It was incredibly frustrating, but my friends are awesome, supportive, and reminded me that its not about ‘last’, it’s really about finishing. And they ALL reminded me that I did overcome some goofy circumstances to actually finish the race as well. I chose not to give up! And now I officially chose not to be mad .

One of the cards I typically have to play is that I’m a migraine sufferer. 3AM before the race I awoke to a throbbing head! I had talked SEVERAL friends into doing this race, and it was going to be a beautiful day. I decided I wasn’t going to let my head stop me. Mind over matter!

I had to eat a little different than normal with the head issues, so I was a little concerned (as long as I didn’t have an “issue” in the pool – I would be ok). I got to the race site and was feeling a little better, fresh air, friends, first race, only 4 people in my category- hey I can still place, right?

The race was a pool race where 1 swimmer starts every 20 seconds and you go up and down the lanes of the pool. You start by your estimated pool time. I should have been categorized in the 6:30, but after looking around me and asking I somehow was placed with the 10-11 min folks. I didn’t want to have to try to PASS people the whole time in the pool so I asked about it. It turned out that they screwed up several swimmers, and were going to have a second START to the race.

I’m an ok swimmer, but a very poor runner. I like to be in the middle of the starts so I have a decent chance of having others around me while riding or running! The 2nd start put me almost to the back of the STARTS! (About 20 people behind me). UGH!! In hindsight, I should have just dealt with the 10 min swim time! I did end up first in my category on the swim though!

The bike ride was rather uneventful, I didn’t push myself though because 1) the migraine and 2) no one around to push me. I’m rather competitive and like to have others around! “on your left” gets me going.. I ended up coming in 3rd on the bike, but hey I did beat the #1 person in my category .

I entered the transition area to rack my bike and some jerk had racked their bike ON MY STUFF!!! I have zero clue how one could do this when I was on an end with a crazy towel under it. So I lost at least a minute trying to deal with this! This of course, got me more frazzled, and then I started to notice my throbbing head again. I thought of the DNF.. (NO WAY, I refuse, they have to carry me away in an ambulance for that to happen).

I started off on my run only to see most of my friends sharing a drink because they were FINISHED with the race! I saw only ONE PERSON on the run.. This was SO frustrating! I kept thinking “Laura you should run” but I just couldn’t. I kept thinking “well if someone was near me maybe I’d try to chase them.” Then I saw the police escort and it just made me mad. She was very nice and encouraging, but still, I was going to cross the finish line LAST! DEAD LAST!! The Volunteers had to wait for me! They were taking down the cones as I came across, and they were half way through the awards ceremony! (I did win a pair of shorts though). My Friends were awesome, Michele ran the last .5 miles or so with me and made me run.. Anne, Alexis and Michele rounded the corner as I literally crossed the finish line… LAST!

I got two things out of my way this week:
1) Doing a race with boys.. – ok no big deal, I really just did a race ALONE..
2) Finishing last.. that sucked, I really don’t want to do that again, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought and it will just make me run faster I suppose so it WON'T happen again.

Sometimes you just have to play the cards you’re dealt and learn from it, grow from it, and well, suck it up!