Saturday, October 03, 2009

Mermaid Triathlon

At the end of September I did the Mighty Mermaid Triathlon in Santa Cruz, this is an all-women's event, and just to add in some extra challenge for myself I did the Olympic distance (1.5km swim, 40km bike and 10km run). This post is a little late because I've been impatiently waiting for the event photos to be posted!!! You can find a few shots of me through the search function, my number was 8. Anyway, the real reason I was waiting for the photos was to see if my sweet Dogfish Head beer jersey would be photographed appropriately, and the answer, sadly, is not really. The corner of the photo below is the only evidence of the coolness of my jersey, and it's so not visible, that I added a red circle to it so that you can see one of the 4 beer bottles "sticking out of" my pocket.

Especially being that this was almost exactly one week after the disaster that was my 2/3rds of this year's Bakersfield Triathlon, I was 'mighty' (haha) impressed with my results, 28th overall (at one point it was 25th, then 26th - I guess some people's timing chips didn't register or something, but the number of participants keep increasing on the results page and some of them are beating me!).

swim - 30:22 - this was an ocean swim, and a cold one at that - not to mention other dangers. One of the women who had practiced in it the day before told me it was in the 50s. That's some sort of farenheit number, and it translates in degrees C to "brrrrrrr". There were substantial waves crashing at the shoreline and as waves of competitors got in to start, we saw many of them being held back by wave after wave and they just couldn't really start swimming. When our wave, the Olympic wave, got going, I abandoned my traditional at-the-back-so-you-don't-get-swum-over rule and booted it to get through the waves and actually swimming. This partially worked, I was not held up by waves so much as the heart-stopping cold of the water (and a little bit of the stanky dead fishyness of the water) and I ended up doing the water polo head-up swim for the first 1/8 or 1/4 of the swim until I stopped gasping and won the mental battle of "just get your damn face in the water and swim". By the time we passed the half way buoy my hands and feet were completely numb and I felt like I was kicking and slapping rubber nubs around at my extremities. In the water this was fine, but when we got out and had to run across the beach and up 150 stairs (they numbered them for us) to the transition zone, the rubber foot nubs that were supposed to do the running were pretty ineffective and the rubber hand nubs that were trying to take the wetsuit off (difficult enough in general) were failing miserably.

bike - 1:32:42 - once the removal of the wetsuit was accomplished, the attempt at removing the wads of sand from my feet was the next task. Again, relatively numb hands and feet make adept maneouvering of towel between toes more challenging. Eventually I gave up getting my feet clean and just pulled my socks and biking shoes on in order to ride and warm up. We had been warned that the ride had 2 very steep hills on it, and one of them was pretty soon after leaving the transition zone. They weren't kidding! As biking is my best event, and I like to think I'm pretty good at it, I'd evaluate the course as having 3 steep hills on it - this based on me having to stand up and pump out of the saddle on 3 separate hills during the ride. I'm never out of the saddle. Not on the ridge route, on the Bakersfield course, and if I hadn't here - the bike would have stopped rolling forward and toppled over. Despite that, the route was pretty and I felt really good throughout the ride. Just past the half way mark I even managed a record setting farmer blow that finally rid my sinuses of the dead fish ocean from the first part of the tri.

run - 59:53 - I made a commitment to myself to go all out on the ride, no matter the cost to me physically. I knew the ocean swim would not be fabulous, and I had lost faith in my swim time potential after Bakersfield this year, and I also knew that I had not done anywhere near enough (ok, ANY) training on the bike besides the daily commute to and from work. I also figured that no matter what condition of fatigue I was in starting the run, I could always fall back and walk and still complete the event. By some miracle I had enough juice left in me to jog the entire entire run, including the 2 steep hills (it was actually the same steep hill that we had to run up twice). In fact, the only part of the run that could even be classified as terrible was the crispy salt thigh chafing that occurred because I did not remember to put body glide on after the swim...

In addition to my times, I was also thrilled with the friendliness of the competition, and walked away with half a dozen new Santa Cruz friends from my transition area.


Missy said...

Great job! The jersey (from what I can see) looks cool. And it sounds like it was much better than the Bakersfield Triathlon in many ways...number one being it wasn't in Bakersfield :)

Kilometres said...

Wow! This one sounds intense, and strangely your struggles make me want to try out a race even more now! I suppose I should get to training!