Saturday, October 25, 2008. 660 yd swim/10 mile bike/3.1 mile run
Reader's Digest version: 1:41:07, four and a half minutes faster than my last time on this course back in August. And this course was a bit longer, so it's all good :)
Extended version: Linae and I were lucky enough to spend another fantastic weekend with Lisa Limper, who descended upon the Bay area to play sherpa and volunteer extraordinaire for the Suncoast triathlon :)
I picked up Lisa at the airport on Friday afternoon. After getting us lost at least twice, despite TomTom, I finally managed to make it to Linae's house. Stupid road construction :-P We dropped off our stuff, gave the Dobie some lovin', and headed out to eat. After some moderately decent Tex Mex, we girls hung out around the computer for most of the evening while Joe and his school band played the high school football game. So instead of picking up our race packets in a timely fashion like responsible triathletes, we screwed around online updating fantasy football rosters and picking out my new ringtone for Linae's phone (It's "Some Beach," in case you were wondering :) )
Race day was cold and rainy and windy. The four of us woke up between 0500 and 0530. We all stumbled around for a bit, got our gear together, and headed off to Fort Desoto, near St. Pete, to pick up our packets. Lisa volunteered doing body marking while Joe, Linae, and I headed to the start. We ran into Linae's friends Sherry and Jared, who were doing their first tri. We decided to try to stay out of the wind by huddling behind a sign on the beach. The sign said, "Dangerous Currents. No Swimming." I found this ironic, as it was about 1/8 mile from the swim start.
When the sun started to come up, we went in to do a quick warm up swim. The water was fairly cool, probably around 75F, but tolerable once you actually got in and started moving around. Once again, our wave started last, so we stood around waiting, teeth chattering. When Joe's wave went off, we noticed a pod of maybe eight dolphins in the water, really close to the swimmers, like maybe 10 feet away. Way too close for my comfort. As everyone was ooohing and aaahing over how cool it would be to swim with dolphins, I just kept thinking, "I hope they leave before I get in there." I have a healthy respect for marine life, and there are certain parts of it I don't want any part of. A wild dolphin encounter is one of them. I guess I've been hanging out with the marine biologist for too long ;)
Anyway, by the time we went in, the dolphins had left, but we then had the problem of the rough swim. I tried to calm myself beforehand by breathing deeply and telling myself that I wouldn't drown. We swam along the sandbar, and I could almost touch bottom if I needed to. The current helped, making the swim faster, but it still felt like an eternity because of the swells. I swallowed a fair amount of seawater, and if I didn't swallow it, it went up my nose. It was not a fun day in the water, and I was grateful to be done.
Saw Lisa on my way into transition, got a high five, and it was on to the bike. On my way out, a lady came up beside me and said, "Great job! Jesus loves you!" I said, "He must, because I didn't drown and I wasn't molested by dolphins, so it's a good day." The ride was fairly uneventful, despite wet pavement and a vicious headwind from miles 5.5-8. What with all the marathon training I've been doing, I hadn't worked on my cycling. I no longer have an excuse, and it's GOT TO get better if I ever hope to have a decent 1/2 IM.
Saw Lisa again on my way out of transition, pointing us in the proper direction. She later told me, "You were *not* in your happy place." And how ;) The run was okay. It takes me a half-mile or so to get my legs to not feel Jello-y, so that combined with the loose-sand beach run in the beginning of the run made for a slow first mile. But I picked it up a bit, and felt decent toward the middle and finished fairly strongly.
Final time: 1:41:07, which is almost four and a half minutes faster than my previous race on that course. And this course was longer, so I'm pretty happy about that.
After champagne in the parking lot (no tequila this time--sorry Neil!) we cleaned up, gorged ourselves on hot wings and Amber Bock, took a nice nap (hey Linae, do you have a black snake I could borrow??) had a beer at Andreychuck's, went to the Ice Palace, where the San Jose Sharks spanked our Lightning (but we still had fun,) went to a Halloween party thrown by Joe and Linae's friends, went home and crashed at 1300.
Today was Busch Gardens with Lisa's friend from college and her family. I think we're all pretty much beat :)
A HUUUUUGE thanks to Lisa for volunteering. You're awesome, girl, and it was fantastic to see you again!! See you in February for Gasparilla!