This morning I completed my fourth triathlon with the help of Sam Morgan and Jason Casey. This one was a team effort and a lot of fun. Sam swam (8:15), Jason biked (52:18), I ran (42:38). Overall time: 1:45.25, placed 6th in the coed teams and 20 out of 25 teams overall. This was my slowest run for a while and I will write about that. As I looked at the times, I realized I would have had to run a sub 30 min. to get us into a higher place. I’m not there yet.
After the Buster Britton Triathlon, I was looking for another triathlon for later in the summer. Since I was pretty impressed by Team Magic and the way they organize races, I looked at the rest of their season. Sam and I looked at the rest of the races and the options. I had only done the Buster Britton open water swim and then a week later the lake swim at Callaway Gardens (where you can walk around the lake if you really get in trouble). Since most of the rest of the races were either longer swims or were in rivers that I am probably not quite ready to tackle, we started talking about doing a relay. We agreed we would do a relay at the Mountain Lake Triathlon. Then we needed a third person. We recruited Jason to be our third member.
Sam was obviously the swimmer. Jason and I had to decide which one of us would bike and which one would run. I told him he could bike and he was happy to.
Actually getting to Guntersville started at 2:30 am this morning. Neika and I agreed that was the middle of the night. Looks like the middle of the night to me…
Sam drove. Neika and I slept on and off. It takes about 2 1/2 hours to get to Guntersville from Tuscaloosa.
Team Magic uses tritats instead of markers for numbering so we had to get them on in the right place. Our numbers were in pieces so we had to piece them together. It may have been because we had higher numbers since we were a team. We all managed to get them on with some help from Neika.
So we were all ready to go.
Relays leave last in triathlons so there was some waiting around. Sam went and warmed up in the lake. The race did not actually start at 7 am like we thought it was going to. It began at 7:30 am. Collegiate teams were first in line. Alabama triathletes were well represented. I think there were around 770 competitors today. About 20 were from Tuscaloosa, including the UA Triathlon team members.
The swim was 600 yards out and back in Lake Guntersville. There is a lot of seaweed and muck on the bottom. Someone came out pretty early who had stepped on something and cut his foot so the race organizers got in the lake and were making sure swimmers were funneling through one place after that.
Sam finally went in around 8:10. It’s a little hard to keep track of swimmers out in the lake but the relay teams did have different colored swim caps and Neika and I were trying to spot him. Right at the end a woman stepped on him when he was doing a dolphin dive in the shallow water. He finished 2nd in the teams and sped on to meet Jason at the transition tent.
Jason was gone by the time Neika and I made our way from the lake to the transition area. I went over and met Sam under the tent and talked about warming up. He headed off to change and find Neika. The bike was 16 miles around the lake so I had a while to wait for Jason to come back. I stretched, jogged around the tennis courts, tried to warm up. My left knee was a little creaky.
You can’t really watch the bike or run portion of triathlon very well. Jason came back in and said there were some hills on the other side of the lake. His mom said they spotted him on the route and Walter Kolis caught this photo of Jason out on the course.
I must say that transitions are much easier and faster in relays. All you have to do is swap the timing chip. It was under a minute for Jason and me to trade off.
I took off toward the running path. I had not had a chance to get on it before the race but it looked fairly flat. It was. There were a few very slight inclines but nothing dramatic. It was hot though and there were a lot of people walking at least part of the run course. I was feeling slower than my usual pace lately but I was running. I manage to run the first mile and to the first water stop. That was the point that my right knee to glut tightened up and I was in pain. I started to walk, tried to push through and run again, but it wasn’t happening. I just kept going and wondered where the turn around was. Shortly after the 1 mile marker, I saw the 2 mile marker on the other side so I knew about how far I had to make it. The next water stop also had ice towels. The last one was handed out right before I passed so I kept hobbling on. The turn around was down hill slightly so I started a run again. By the time I got back around to the ice towels they had a fresh supply. I got one and wrapped it on my leg. That was all I needed to be able to run again. I made it to the 2 mile marker and then pushed on. I was trying to run as best I could with some walking. By the time I spotted Sam standing by the side I was hobbling again but I was within sight of the finish line. He encouraged me to keep going. I ran to the end, though not fast. This was my slowest time in several months. I did finish though and I didn’t quit.
Just to be clear, quitting was not an option. I was determined to make it to the finish line one way or another.
We finished. We had a good time. That was what mattered. When I said I was sorry I was so slow today, Sam said it wasn’t about the prizes. I appreciate that. Sam and Jason are both very supportive and know where I was a year ago. Neika is too and also has watched me, probably longer than either Sam or Jason.
What I learned
- I can keep pushing and finish (I knew that but it’s good to be reminded.)
- Expect the unexpected. I did not expect my leg to do that today.
- I need to run outside to get used to the heat. (just like Dr. Snow kept telling me)
- Stay positive – not always easy, but I am trying to get better at this.
- Work on not letting stress get to me. This past week was fairly stress filled and that also contributed to my time this morning. I’ll write about that in another post though.
- There are a lot of wonderful people around me. I already knew that too.