Thursday, July 11, 2013

Maude VS Maude Part 1 (AKA Maude VS the swim)

So, whatever, I'm insane.  Clinically speaking, I do believe.  As many of you know I've been a "runner" on and off since my junior high days.  I also, on rare occasion, swim.  I almost never, ever, ever ride a bike for pleasure let alone competition.

And yet.....a little over a year ago I signed up for a sprint triathlon, the same year I signed up for two half marathons and my first relay race.  Of the four events I was only able to do the relay because of the whole "breast cancer" thing.

I ate the Girlfriend's Half marathon bib because of my own stupidity in thinking I could keep running while still sick.  Duh.  Lesson learned.  I sold my Holiday Half bib because, well, lesson learned, and I had a scheduled total hysterectomy and boob replacement surgery the next day.  Wasn't gonna be a good idea.

The sprint triathlon was missed because it was a mere 2.5 weeks after my bilateral mastectomy.  And, sadly, in my pain medication induced state I strongly considered doing the duathlon, run bike run, because 2.5 weeks post surgery it's ALWAYS a good idea to tackle a major athletic event.  I've learned so many lessons since then.

Instead, somewhere inside me common sense prevailed and I deferred my entry to this summer.  So far I've crushed my PR for Shamrock and completed my first half marathon in May, thank you BRF.  I switched to tri training one week after the half and I gotta say, I'm hooked.

I love the variety of tri training, granted training for a sprint is really nothing compared to the half marathon, but whatever the bottom line is my old 40 year old body almost never hurts anymore. 

In my infinite wisdom I've been training on a Spin bike this ENTIRE TIME.  You see, not only did I register for the sprint on August 3, but also for a "practice" tri, which I completed last night, and I have no bike.  Well, I have a 250 lb GIANT of a 20 year old bike, that belonged to the hubs in college, but I don't have a road bike, let alone any sort of decent bike to ride.

So yeah, I signed up for these event anyway, hoping a bike would magically appear, much like my kids staring at their clothes in the morning as they gleefully anticipate them just jumping onto their bodies without any effort whatsoever.

Never said I was smart.  Jussayin'.

Fortunately one of my bestest friends in the whole world loaned me her mountain bike last night.  It was only the SECOND TIME I ever rode on the road for training.  The first was on vacation last weekend.  Here's my trusty steed and my bike mechanic:

 (NOTE: I am aware it's a mountain bike, beggars can't be choosers)

Yesterday I woke up in a bit of a panic.  Reality set in that I have only been on the road ONCE, missed a week of training AND, that whole "I've never done anything like this before" fear.  I'm a bit on the OCD side, so I printed a list of things to bring, revised it, reprinted, revised it, printed again.

Then I checked it probably 5 or 6 times to make sure I had all my stuff.  And again right before we left I triple checked.  Honestly, I was less afraid jumping out of a freaking airplane, no lie.  And a parachute, well you'd think that would be OCD-worthy of checking.....

I was concerned about fuel & foot/leg cramps so I ate my weight in bananas (no small feat, this youtube video illustrates my own personal difficulty with the fruit:  and downed a few glasses of Nuun ahead of the event.

The Nuun was an excellent idea, mostly because of my nervous bowels.  Let's just say I had a pretty clean colon by noon AND I was probably 2 LBS lighter, which would help with dragging my sorry ass through open water and then 11 miles on the bike.  More on THAT later.

At about 10AM complete & total panic set in.  I had never really asked anyone to come with me, all along I planned on going it "alone" but then my BRF thought she might be able to make it, and then in the end wasn't.  I never considered asking the hubs because I figured dragging our two children and our bonus child (long story, more on that later too) would be too much to ask.

I texted a simple "I wish you could come tonight" and sobbed when I received a "let's do it!" response in reply.  He was willing, and I mean NO hestitation willing to drag three surly children to Hagg Lake around their bedtime for what could amount to three hours of his life that he can never get back.  But he did.  And I cried so hard when he said he was coming.

We arrived at Boat Ramp C and I grabbed all my gear and the bike and rolled over to start asking really stupid questions about what the hell to do.   Terrified doesn't begin to describe my feeling.  I've been training for awhile, swimming, running and spinning.  It isn't like I physically couldn't handle a 300 yard swim, 10 mi bike and 2 mile run, but the mental game is a WHOLE different story!

This is my self portrait mere moments before I thought I would puke my guts out, and was in the "what the hell was I thinking I have no business being here" frame of mind.

The whole point on this event anyway was to test my training, practice transitions and just get some of the nerves out.  I fussed and fussed over my gear, laid it out, rearranged, remember, OCD.  Here's my stuff at the ready:

I arrived WELL in advance of the event and then it ran 15 minutes late.  OMG.  Repeated trips to the restroom.  REPEATED.  And they ran out of toilet paper!  GAH!!!!!!!!!  Nothing like a good delay to get your nerves (and bowels) REALLY worked up.

After the official "meeting" I had about 7 minutes to slap on my swim cap, strip down to my suit and head to the water for the start.

My strategy was to let the pack get in the water, then slip in at the back and swim freestyle.  Thankfully the rope & buoy were on my breathing side.  NOTE TO SELF: practice breathing on both sides during the next swim, you got lucky this time.

Here I am at the ready chatting up another lady who was VERY kind and VERY sweet and gave me lots of good tips, and said YES when I asked if it was normal to want to barf BEFORE getting in the water:

NOTE: I'm the only idiot in a Speedo suit and nothing even remotely triathlon worthy for a swim.  This SCREAMS "newbie!"

Hagg Lake was WINDY as hell with ocean like swells.  OK, maybe not THAT big, but it has  been 17 years since I did an open water swim (remember, I signed up for this without a bike so this should be no surprise!) and they seemed HUGE.

I let about 75% of the swimmers go and hopped in 30 seconds after the start.  It was very windy and choppy and I started sucking in water doing freestyle.  I had previously and mentally prepared myself to swim the breast stroke if needed, knowing that it's only about 10 seconds slower than my freestyle pace.  At least I've been in a pool recently!  I went ahead and made the switch and was very thankful.  You can roll with the swells easier when you can see them coming.

This is me swimming freestyle, you can't see me really well, but I'm the first swimmer to the northeast of the lady still standing there in a blue wetsuit.  At least my stroke was looking good even though I abandoned freestyle.  And I don't feel one bit bad about that AT ALL.

I treaded water just twice for a nano second to adjust my goggles which took on water on the left side.  I frequently swim through equipment malfunctions specifically for this purpose so I didn't panic when it happened, cuz I KNEW it would.  Phew.

My body was screaming "what the HELL were you thinking?!" as I rounded the buoy.  Then the sunlight was so bright, I heard people complaining and I just said "just keep swimming" as my husband told me to do.  So I did just that.

At this stage, I felt like I'd been in the water for 20 minutes so imagine my surprise when I saw 7:07 on the clock when I got out on the VERY SLPPERY MUDDY SHORE.  I swam 300 yards in 6:37 with the breast stroke in choppy water.  OMG.  Guess I CAN do this....onto the bike.

I scrambled up the hill to T1 and in under three minutes was wheeling my bike to the "mount" section.  One of the coordinators warned me that the ride had lots of "rolling hills" and to pace myself.  Rolling hills my ass.  And, it was no 10 mile ride either......

Maude VS Maude part 2: The Bike will be posted as soon as I can write it.....

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