I was slightly grumbling to myself this morning, along "Why am I doing this race again?" lines - it was an early morning, and there is much complexity to a big-city race, especially in the age of terror - it is inordinately expensive for an Olympic-distance triathlon - and finally and more importantly, it's clearly more fun doing races with a friend, that should be more of a guiding principle for me - but I was sucked into the delightfulness of it all as always!
Had very nice chat waiting for our swim wave start with some other ladies 40-44. Had a LOVELY bike ride - it was amazing, it wasn't really faster than the last time I did this race (when I was, I am sorry to say, 20lb lighter - it was 2009 - if only it were as easy for me to lose weight as it is for me to train a lot of hours!) but I felt so strong and it felt easy and short! I overtook a TON of people. The run was a bit of a slog, as it is pretty darn hot and humid (even leaving my apartment at 4 in the morning, I had sheets of sweat pouring down my neck), but I felt that I held my own. Post-race protocol went very well, I drank a bottle of water and ate a bagel and got free pedicab expeditiously back to transition, then rode bike home - I was home and in the shower by 11:30.
I just really enjoyed the feeling of what a long way I have come since the first time I did this race, five years ago, in 2008 - I'm not a faster runner than I was then, but I'm a hugely more experienced endurance athlete and most of all I have exponentially more confidence on the bike. I raced faster and stronger in 2009 than in 2008, but 2010 was a year of setbacks, and I feel very lucky that I've been able to take the time this year to really try and improve my cycling.
My actual time this year was a little slower than 2009, but it's hard to compare, the assist from the current and wind and heat/humidity really affect conditions. Also I've "aged up," as they say! But I think I should be pleased - in 2008, I was 132/189 in my division (W35-39); in 2009, 104/189; this year, I am (slightly to my surprise - I can only explain it by saying that a lot of first-timers do this race, and people on hybrid bikes!) 56/140 in W40-44. Provisos about population notwithstanding, that really is a result I can feel good about!
Swim: 25:27 (fast assist from current, but not as fast as other years - late wave)
T1: 8:28 (long run from swim exit to transition)
Bike: 1:34:41 (not super-fast, but felt GREAT)
Run: 1:04:47 (10:25 pace - given how little I've been running, and the heat/hills/humidity, that is just fine - I didn't push it too hard, as I forgot to take my final dose of asthma medicine when I got off the bike - usually I carry an inhaler in handheld bottle on the run, but I didn't today as there were many aid stations and it wasn't a long one - I was surprisingly ok, I suppose partly because I was walking up hills and still had residual benefit of previous dose - I had to leave an inhaler in the morning swim bag drop, that's the one I would usually have with me on the run course)
Total time: 3:17:22
Notes to self: be super-careful re: arrangements for asthma inhalers, building in redundancy; think about getting a "shorty" wetsuit (I was eyeing them - I didn't swim with a wetsuit, I hate mine, and I think that having a sleeveless one that stops above the knee might be the way to go, easier to get on and less constricting once it's on); figure out why the brakes on the bicycle are making such a strange sound!
Final note to self: I have been spending a lot of money on triathlon this year, that's OK but at a race like this one is chastened and inspired by the people raising money for various charities! Three that particularly caught my eye and that I will make modest donations to later today: Paul's Posse, because I had such a good conversation with the woman who founded this charity to raise money for amyloidosis research after she lost her husband to the disease; Athletes to End Alzheimer's, because it is a cause close to my heart; and the Challenged Athletes Foundation, because nothing is more awesome (in the old-fashioned literal sense) than seeing amputees running on their prostheses, often clearly in pain but ready to endure that for love of the sport.