Thursday, October 1, 2009

Nice day for a swim

...and a bike...and a run. So what if it's 43 degrees?

I set up my transition area for the Lake George Triathlon wearing sweatpants and a sweatshirt and I wished I had my hat and gloves. It was cold! My teeth were chattering as I hung around with the group at the "special" bike rack. Our hybrid and mountain bike tires didn't fit in the fancy road bike racks, so we got a small rack all to ourselves. At least it was right by the bike and run exit.

UPS had brought me a new Xterra wetsuit ten days before the race, but I never did get to try it out. Going into a race with untested equipment is a big no-no, but after my disastrous swim in Lake George in June's North Country Triathlon, I figured it couldn't get any worse. I got into my wetsuit about 20 minutes before the first wave started and I was glad I did. I finally stopped shivering.

When my wave was called, I waded out into the lake and got a pleasant surprise. Despite the wind and waves, the lake was warm! The water temperature was almost 70 degrees and it felt like swimming in a heated pool. My wetsuit worked great, and I really like the extra buoyancy. I wasn't swimming fast, nor was a swimming straight, but I was swimming. I finished the 1600 yard swim in 41 minutes, which isn't fast but was nearly a 1 minute per yard improvement over the June swim, when it took me almost 35 minutes to go half the distance.

I made the run into transition and stripped off my wet suit. A couple of minutes later I was on my bike and cruising along, slowly. I hadn't trained enough for the bike, and my hybrid was no match for the road bikes. I resigned myself to being last, and enjoyed the scenery. It was a beautiful ride through bike paths and quiet roads. I got passed by most of the folks who got out of the water behind me, but I was still smiling from the swim and just kept pedaling. I didn't even stress out when I dropped my chain half-way up a killer hill. Finally I finished the ride and left my bike in transition to face the run.

The run was two loops with lots of hills. Since I was so far behind, most of the other racers were on their second loop when I started. I just smiled at the people who were passing me and telling me we were almost done. I was tired from the bike, but I knew I could do the 6 mile run and just kept going. On my second loop I passed a few people who were walking, so I didn't finish dead last.

It wasn't pretty, but I finished my first Olympic distance triathlon. I've got my finisher medal hanging on the wall right in front of me, and I'm proud of it. I'm looking forward to next season, with a goal of improving my time in both races.

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