Gator Grinder time again. Like everyone else, I was up at 6am back in December to register; it sold out that day.
I didn't NEED any new triathlon gear - I've already got enough for two triathlons. So, when Susan at Team Estrogen asked Linda and I if we wanted to be sponsored athletes this year (she dresses us, we write reviews), of course, we both said yes.
The fit session was entertaining. I was kind of high-maintenance; stuff we thought would look good didn't (at least to me), and I tried on many tops and bottoms. Then Susan asked if I wanted to go out on a limb and try a one-piece suit. Ok. First one suit came out, but it was black/gray (ok by me), and she didn't want everyone in dark colors. Did I really want to go out on a limb? Out came the very bright red Tyr short jane. Took a bit of serious wiggling to get it on, but it fits like a second skin, which, I believe, it is engineered to be. But you'll have to read the review on the Team Estrogen site...
Had to be there before 7am for pre-event photos. My start time wasn't until 9:45am. I did get an awesome parking spot, and the choice location on the bike rack in the transition area. We took pictures (while the weather was going to be outstanding by the time my start rolled around, it was still in the high 40's), then I checked in, set up my transition area, and watched a few swim heats.
Took a little nap in a corner of the bleachers. Twitched. Met Linda's friend Heidi, who was talking about her races, her fast new bike, etc... Guess which age group she was in? And who are you? she asks. Oh, just the defending age group champion. My goose was cooked. :-) At which point got a kick in the pants from Susan - "it is about your time. You can't control who else shows up!"
Finally wandered back out to suck down a gel, remove the warm-ups, and get my towel, cap, and goggles. Watched Jeff and Susan swim (same heat, adjacent lanes). Their swimming technique and pace has really improved!
The four swimmers in our lane got together and chatted about who was doing flip turns and passing protocol. One of the women said we had to be sure to keep track of our laps, because maybe the folks at the other end weren't (they did a kickboard in the water on the last one). It would be very, very hard for me NOT to keep count; I can do the count to 20 (lengths) in my sleep. And, we were off. And so very close in swimming pace that we kept exchanging the lead and trying really hard not to swim over each other.
And then done. Given the time on the wall clock, I figured 9:25, but my official time is 9:45, because I had to get myself out of the pool, grab my towel, and pass over the timing mats. Last year 9:37, with a 3:53 t1. This year, a 1:54 t1.
Out to the bike, sort of drying off, socks (pre-powdered), Keens, gloves (pre-powdered), glasses, helmet, bike, gone! I had a great bike leg - going really, really fast until the hilly bits, which impeded some, 72 (from my lane) and I traded leads, cheering each other on. Managed to suck down another gel about 7 miles in, and drink some Fizz. Last year 44:15, t2 of 2:02, this year 41:40, t2 of 1:45. The avg riding pace was 17mph. Whoo!
Keens off, Nikes on, helmet and gloves off. I wear shoes with traditional laces. Maybe next year I'll get some of those Yankz. I lose time tying my shoes. Also time moving the scratchy timing chip strap to outside my socks. Must investigate putting it on my Road ID strap next year.
Halfway out of the transition area, I realized I had forgotten my cap, but I was not going back. Plod plod plod plod plod. My only strategy for the run is to keep a steady pace and not drop off. It was quite hot and sunny, but there was a faint breeze, and the suit did its thing of not making me hot and sticky. 72 and I cheered each other on. Also exchanged encouragement with 70, and high fives with Linda, Susan and Jeff, who were on the return for the run leg. Got water both times I passed the water station. Then back out from the school and onto the road, last bit. Cyclists were still finishing their leg. I was wondering if anyone had a kick I could borrow. Did manage to scrape one up for the last quarter of the track (I am sure no one noticed but me), and done!
Susan: "you did a PR! Lots faster than last year!". I didn't remember what I had done last year, so I didn't know. For the run 29:06 this year, 29:14 last year. But I was faster overall, 1:24:13 vs 1:29:04 last year. Not my fastest ever; that was 1:23:12 in 2006. Something to shoot for next time.
Heidi (Linda's very fast friend) and I were checking out the posted results. I thought I was second. She wanted to know how I knew... I just found my place on the overall list, and counted all the women in my age group who finished faster. There was only one - Heidi :-) By 11 minutes. She finished 5th overall for the women.
A round of post-event pictures by the Team Estrogen photographer, then we all headed back for showers and our group's post-event party. We had a great spot under the trees, Jeff and Susan provided burgers (veggie, salmon, turkey and beef); we all brought sides.
I did not win any fabulous door prizes, but I did get to take home a pretty red ribbon. And, as I mentioned earlier, my fastest time in a very long time.
All the pics
Gory details of time:
overall place:68 out of 172