Monday, July 25, 2011

Fun and Fiascos in Music City

Yesterday was the Music City Triathlon in Nashville, TN.  We did this event last year, the only difference being that I did the sprint instead of the intermediate distance.  This year I decided to do a bit more.  Jason and I had a great time, but it was not without a few fiascoes along the way...

Our alarm clock went off at 4:00 am.  I had already set the coffee pot to start then, so I didn't bother getting up until I heard the beep.  We'd already loaded our bikes on the rack and our bags in the car, so all we had to do was get dressed and pour the brew.  I put on my new, snazzy onesie.  I decided I wanted something that would not move and shift, so I bought the Sugoi Women's Blast Tri Suit and it turned out to be perfect. 

We drove to Nashville, parked and went to get our packets, numbers and race chips.  Somewhere in all of this, Jason misplaced his ID.  He told me to go on to the transition area, and went in search of it. A few minutes later, the announcer said she'd found an ID and called his name. Such a relief!  I had put my IDs in my bra and forgotten to take them I ended up doing the entire event with my USAT card and my driver's license in my bra.

The swim went well.  It seemed long, and we had a current against us at the beginning and end, but I got into my rhythm much sooner than last time.  At one point, a guy tried to swim over me.  He made it half way up my back before I kicked him off.  I thought, "Dude, if you take me under, you are going too."  But he moved on and the rest of the swim was without incident.

There was a bit of a jog up to the transition area and when I got there I was pleased to see that my bike was not alone on the rack.  I tried to hurry as I shoved on my helmet and my shoes as fast as I could.  I had meant to leave my IDs at this point, but I forgot...and almost forgot my sunglasses too, but I went back for them.  As I made my way toward the bike exit, I tugged on my helmet straps.  They felt so tight!  I did not remember changing them but this was not going to work...

That's when two volunteers said they thought I had my helmet on backwards.  And I did.  I was mortified.  "Don't you hate it when that happens," said one of the guys and I wanted to say, "IT DOESN'T EVER HAPPEN," but I just righted my helmet and quickly got out of there.  I laughed and shook my head at myself as I began my ride.  Nothing shouts, "I'm the new girl!" like a backwards helmet (and I thought I looked more seasoned in my snazzy onesie too!). 

The ride went VERY well.  I pushed hard, used my gears to my advantage and shaved off a whole minute.  One.  Whole.  Minute.  Its a start, I suppose.  That is my fastest intermediate bike time to date.  I'll take it.

As I finished my ride, I could feel the heat bearing down on me.  My bike thermometer read 100 degrees and for the first time ever, I was not looking forward to the run.  During the ride, I tried to drink more Gatorade than usual, and I forced 3 gummies down too.  I wanted to be hydrated for a run I knew was going to be hot and hilly.

I got to the transition area once again, put on my shoes, Garmin and visor, and headed out.  Just like last time, I had to pee and I did not want 6 miles of holding it, so I quickly made my way to a port-a-potty in the transition area.  It added time, but I did not want my 10k to be any harder than it had to be.

The run course contained 3 big hills and I got to do them all twice.  Much to my surprise I actually felt good as my legs started their run.  I took small steps, trying to hold a quick clip.  My first mile was a 9:07, but after that I began to slow.   I still felt good, but it was very hot and around the 3rd mile, I stopped sweating and got chill bumps.  I never felt bad, but I was afraid to push it, so I ran about a 10 minute pace for the rest of the run, staying relaxed, and getting water at every aid station. 

I finished my race as the announcer called my name and said, "She's finishing with a smile on her face."  I was so very glad to be done and happy with the efforts of the day.  I did start to feel really strange once I stopped. I got lightheaded and the headache showed up again.  I drank an entire bottle of water as Jason checked the results.  We slowly made our way to the car to load everything back in.  I changed clothes in the car, noticing the lovely brown tint evident on the white parts of my new tri suit from swimming in the Tennessee River.

We ate at Baja Fresh afterward, and I inhaled two of the most delicious mahi mahi tacos of my life.  After eating, I felt much better.  Jason and I struggled to stay awake on the way home, but we made it and were thrilled to finally shower, washing off the river, the port-a-potties, the salt and sweat and Gatorade.  I discovered some lovely new tan lines - one of which is my race number on both arms and my left leg.

I was happy with it all until I looked at the results later that night.

Swim - 39:18 (WHAT IN THE WORLD?)
T1 - 4:50 (thanks to the backward helmet)
Bike - 1:31:19 (fastest to date)
T2 - 3:25 (peeing takes time)
Run - 59:59 (hills and heat, I suppose)

I knew I'd done the best I could but...I had hoped my best would be a bit faster.  Good grief.  My one and only intermediate distance last year had been MUCH faster than this, and I had hardly trained at all.  Maybe the key to triathlon training is to train for an ultra trail run, instead of cycling and swimming...

As always, Jason talked it through with me and eased my frustrations somewhat.  I've got 4 weeks until Fall Creek Falls, and 5 weeks until Rocket Man (goal race).  Part of me wants to throw up my hands and say, "What is the point?!" but part of me also feels a fire has been lit.  It is that part I intend to give in to... and the training continues...


  1. Wow that sounds tough!! Proud of you for finishing with a smile...sounds like you were pretty close to heat exhaustion!

  2. Yeah, who knows. I never really felt bad, just kind of weird. And I would have thought I was more acclimated to the heat than that. Very strange!

  3. I loved this post. I felt like I was right there. And, sorry, but I found the helmet thing really funny! I can laugh because I have had my share of even more embarrassing moments out there!! I think you made up for it by wearing cool the one-piece:)

  4. It was funny. I still laugh about it when I remember...hahaha. In that moment, I was so mortified, though. I thought, "Of ALL the things..." and what if I'd never known and done the whole race like that?? Oh my. I guess it could have been worse.

    But I'm always glad to share a laugh about these things.