Monday, May 12, 2008

Gator Grinder Triathlon

Me, hanging around before my 9:45am start time

When I finally got around to registering, I found myself #50 on the waiting list (!) But Lisa the registrar was hopeful that I'd get in. And sure enough, three weeks before the event, I did get in. So I got in a few trips to the swimming pool, too, to remember how.

Organizing for one of these is always fun. I've developed a list on my Palm, so I don't have to remember from year to year what to take.

As many of us were participating (Team Estrogen and Friends), some carpools were organized - I took Natalie, Austin and Greta. Natalie and Austin were doing the swim legs for Susan and Jeff's relay teams. Greta was supervising.

We got there in plenty of time (note to self - it is ONLY a 30 minute drive), and as it was so very early, we also got the best parking place ever.

Checked in. Got the PRIME rack position for my transition area. Got my number marked. Walked around. Visited. Sat. Walked around. (we were there before 7am; my start was not until 9:45). Organized my transition area. Obessed over whether I'd need extra clothes. It was darn chilly this year. Laid out a long-sleeve shirt and pants, just in case.

My transition area

Team Water Wings

Watched all the children want to pet Greta. She's not outgoing. Shy, but well-behaved about it.

Greta being shy

There were 10 swim heats, slowest to fastest. I was in heat 8. I put down 9 minutes, which is right about how fast I really do swim 500 yds.

Cheered Edna through her swim and transition to bike. Cheered Natalie on her swim leg, and Renata, Karina (?), Sandy, and Michelle (?) on their swim leg (all in the same lane, too!). French-braided Mandy's hair (shades of gymastics-team-parenthood). Went out to the transition area and got rid of the outer clothes, picked up the towel, cap and goggles...

Natalie in the pool

Susan finishing her bike leg

My turn. Nice, chatty folks in the lane this year. We started, and eventually sorted ourselves out into speed order. Plonked along, but was able to do flip turns this year; some years we are kind of bunched up in the lane, and it doesn't work out.

Climbing out of the pool after the swim

Last lap. Out, and on to the bike leg. It was still pretty darn chilly, so I pulled on the long-sleeve shirt. I wore the Keen bike sandals this year, they pull on very quickly. And I was off. The Lemond felt very fast and twitchy; I haven't ridden it much in the past 6 months.

And, I'm off!

The muscles above my right knee felt weirdly tight, but I kept on pedaling. Flat 4 miles, then the curvy downhill, the uphill, more flat, the Uphill around mile 5, rollers until the end. There was one rider, at the top of the rollers, who was standing by the side of the road. No flat or anything. I think she was just discouraged. I told her only 4 more miles, and kept on riding.

Zipped in, left the bike, long-sleeve shirt, and bike gear, pulled on a cap and running shoes, and off again. A gentleman from the next swim heat was also in his bike to run transition. I told him I was impressed.

Linda was heading back on her run as I was heading out; we high-fived each other in passing.

Jim M. from work passed me about a mile into the run. I was actually surprised he did not catch me on the bike leg.

I will say this again about this triathlon - the volunteers are all uniformly cheerful, positive and encouraging. Some will even high-five you during the run! Heck, the competitors are also cheerful, positive and encouraging - we all cheer each other on.

As I was heading back on my last mile of the run, I saw the woman who had stopped at the beginning of her run, and gave her a big cheer.

Last half-lap around the track; Laura was waiting for me at the finish. I got some water, and we slowly walked back to the pool, where everyone had unloaded their chairs and bbq and my picnic table, and had the post-event tailgate going. I got a shower and warm clothes, and hauled my bike and bag over to the party. Mmmm. Burgers, chips, cookies, pretzels, salsa.

visiting and bbq afterward

Our group won an amazing number of raffle prizes (not me specifically, darn), with the announcer making snarky comments about that group sitting slightly off in a circle :-)

Then they moved onto the awards. Most of us got ribbons, too - awarded up to 5th place in each age group. More comments about that, since we got a LOT of them and we cheer loudly for each and every one. :-) :-) :-)

Showing off our ribbons

I myself got 4th in my age group and 29th out of 80 women. 4 minutes off my time from last year. I'll just say I'm perhaps not entirely recovered from the previous weekend's fleche.

All the pics here
Results here

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