Got there on saturday, at about 2:30. It was pretty funny to explain why I felt like I had to be there early. Explain to a non-triathlete all the pre-race rituals that you feel like you need to go through. get the race packet. look at the lake. maybe swim in it. maybe not. ride your bike. set all your race gear out on the bed. look through it. walk away to eat some carbs. look at your stuff again. lie in bed, maybe take a nap. relax. do nothing. talk with other competitors and size them up, if you see them. drool over expensive bikes. lie in bed. drink water. talk about what some of your goals are. but, not too much, so you don't stress yourself out.
Race day was a nice day. FINALLY! first race of the season that it did not rain. Slave lake is nice, but very shallow. I got there, racked my bike next to the other 13 olympic distance racers (yup, only 13 men and women in total. with the other races, the try a tri, and the sprint, there was a total of about 50), set up T1, and put my T2 stuff into my Blue T2 bag to be transported. The post race stuff into the white bag, and given to that boy who likes to hang out with me.
SWIM: down to the beach, and off to the races. Due to the shallowness of the lake, we had to walk out to the starting buoy, about 75m out there. the race was a triangle, and i had sussed up my competition, and determined that there was only one other person who might give me a run for my money. and she dropped the "at world's, in Vancouver" comment. I knew she would be my girl. I was out fast. quickly realized that I would be leading the pack. and, that was okay. Except that the buoys were really really small. Hard to site, but, every time i cornered, I would yell at the boat to go to the next one, so I could see where I was going. They were great, and totally accommodated my request. Swim was solid, steady. then, i hit the sand bar. run a bit. realized I could swim a bit more, and then hit the shallow water. here we go: 100m of water running, 50 m of beach running, across the timing mats (BIG ASS STEP!), towards T1. Up about 50 stairs, run across some rugs on top of the gravel road, down 30 steps, into transition.
first one out of the swim, in a time of 21 minutes (including the water and sand running), or so. but, i think the swim was short, due to the buoys moving a bit.
t1: everything went well. was faster than my main competition. out onto the bike, and found that my legs were a bit stiffer than normal onto the bike. maybe it was that long ass sand run, and stair climb and crossing the gravel road on carpets, and running down the other side of the stairs... here is a photo of me, heading out of T1.
Bike: I felt fantastic on the bike. The first 10 mins or so, I really felt my legs heavier than expected. i think it had to do with the water and sand and stair running into transition. But, not quite sure. All i knew, was that it was balls out. The bike course was great. A mostly flat (YAY!) out and back, with some pretty steady rollers. Nothing major, but enough to know that you had to gear down a little. Made it really fun for the way back into T2. the girl was out in front of me from pretty early on, but, I was able to keep the gap about even. I flew down the rollers, and loved seeing my mum, and that boy along the course. this was a ride that I have been waiting for all summer long. tried to drink early, and got 6 shot blocks in. but, wasn't feeling able to stomach a gu. otherwise wasn't passed, other than a older fellow on a P3.
time for bike (including T1): 1:17.13
T2: so, this is where the proverbial crap hit the fan... I got to T2, hop off my bike, and proceeded to look for my bag. all i could find was white bags. right. damn. i put my stuff in a blue bag. the blue bag, with the big number on it. not the white bag, with the little label on it.
it took approximately 3 minutes to realize that my blue T2 bag had not been delivered. so, what to do!? screw it. I am placed second. there is no way that I am not running. bare feet, here we go. isn't bare feet running all the rage all these days?
Run: so, i cruised out to T2, and some organizer said to me, "look, I am not letting you run, bare feet..." and, proceeded to give me shoes that were about 4 sizes to small. i took about 20 steps, and realized that bare feet would be better than those shoes. Take them off, and i ran. i ran as much as I could on nice grass, but, eventually, on the trail part of the run, I realized that the grass was a bit more dangerous, and certainly slower. so, the pavement was a little rough... and, I remember thinking at one point and also well, if this is as bad as it gets, i can manage for 10km... and also: heh. so, this is why they say that bare foot running forces a forefoot strike. amazing.
but, i am not going to lie. it was not comfortable. so, once i got to a point that was parallel to the road, i went up there, to see if it would be different. and, alas: MUCH better. so, i stayed to the side of the road, and knew that this is where I would stay for the rest of the race. a little more dangerous, but much nicer on the feet. this way, i might actually finish the race. about 4 km in, a little SUV pulls up beside me, and out pops the head of one of the other racers from the sprint distance, who saw me in transition. they were there to find out what number I was. to first, offer me a pair of shoes, and when I said that they would be too small, to go back and find my shoes.
about 10 minutes later, at about km 4.5, my shoes were delivered. i almost didn't put my socks on, because i wanted to save time. but i was reminded that T2 time was going about 5 minutes anyway, so the 30 seconds now wasn't going to make a big difference, but would be way more comfortable. so. on went the shoes and the socks. and, i ran. and, i loved it.
Time for Run (including T2): 58 mins.
I finished, wondering if I could've raced harder. but, I did race crazy. it takes crazy to say "i want to do endurance races." it takes a whole different level of crazy to say "screw the shoes. i am going to run barefoot, even if I have never done that in my life!" here is a photo of me, with shoes on, coming over the finish line.
Total time: 2:36:37. Good for a 2nd woman, and 3 overall. but, don't be too impressed, there were only 6 females, and 12 olympic distance competitors in total. but whatever. I am happy with the results. and, the girl who i lost too got 1st overall, and is a world's age group competitor. i am allowed to loose to people who are that fast. but, this is the fastest I have ever done an olympic distance, by about 10 minutes. to me, that is pretty dang exciting. apparently, I am improving. next time: don't screw up the Transition bags, and make sure I have my shoes.
the race had a few bumps in terms of organization, but, for a first time event, i thought it was good. I loved the course. I thought that the organizers had clearly put a good effort in. the participants were lucky to have a race in northern alberta, in a beautiful lake. pre-race dinner was pretty good, and results were quick. a few glitches to work out for next year, but, all in all, pretty good :) i had a good weekend.
can't wait for the next race!