Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Crash Course in Triathlons

Literally. . . so Life List #2 "Complete a triathlon" checked off this weekend. Barely.

My sister Tessa schlepped her bike on Bolt Bus this past weekend from NYC (it actually worked pretty well, she just locked it to one of the bars in the baggage bins so it wouldn't toss around. Of course, then the bus driver said, "Oh, if I had known you had a bike we could have put it on the bike rack in the back." Nice, the Bolt Bus customer service folks failed to mention this but now at least we know!).

So Saturday morning. . . a lovely cool day, we left in our Honda Element zipcar at 6:30 am for Douglas, MA. We didn't get there without a lot of drama. AS I got on 90, I noticed a weird light on the dashboard and a very loud sound when I got around 70mph. Called zipcar team and they referenced the car's manual and said it seems like one of my tires was low. Pulled over at the next gas station, and sure enough the back tire was REALLY low. Had to go buy a tire gauge and fill er up. It didn't even register at 10lb pressure when I measured it. So after about 15-20 minutes we had it up to 40 and were good to go. Thank God Tessa was there to help run back and forth from the store there or it would have easily taken me 40 minutes.

We got there in plenty of time to set up our equipment in the transition stations but barely got our stretching on. The triathlon was organized by firm-racing which was so great with customer service (I had to reschedule twice and they were totally fine with it. . . thanks, Wendy!). The park was absolutely gorgeous. A very serene lake and beautiful wooded surroundings.

Tess was in the 20-24 age group (our ages were marked on the back of our calves. Hey thanks, organizers). I was in the 30-34 age group.

Oh, an even more fascinating note, the Hoyt team was competing. Rick is the father of Dick Hoyt a man who was born with brain damage and is parapalegic. They compete in the Boston Marathon and many others every year. Rick Hoyt is now in the 65-69 age group and still kicking ass. Rick pulls his son in a raft through the swim and pushes him in a carriage for both the bike and the run. Amazing. They compete in the 15-hour Hawaiian Ironman triathlon as well! This was I think they're 956th or something triathlon/race overall and the Boston Marathon 2009 will be they're 1000th! Such an inspiration. They are up for the Versus Toughest Athlete Competition . . . vote for them and learn more here.

The swim portion was tough. Only 1/4 mile, I still kinda freaked I think because of the crowds. I did the backstroke for a while because the freestyle was exhausting for me and ended up way off course. I'm like a bad shopping cart. But I quickly recovered and made it (although I couldn't seem to do my bilateral breathing so I literally kept my head above water. . . I'm a wuss). I finished in 10:38 and Tessa kicked a** at 9:21.

Then off to the 11-mile bike portion with a very confusing transition for us newbies. We got started off and quickly realized we were in for a treat because the hills were INSANE!!! At a very sharp turn at mile 4, I hit a patch of gravel going too fast and took a pretty crazy spill. Off my bike in the way of another biker, rolled off and into the other lane. Thankfully there were police officers (and an ambulance waiting. . . reassuring!) and the one cop jumped between me and a cargo van that was approaching the stop sign and luckily going slow enough to stop in time. FREAKED OUT! So I got back on the bike and continued in a bit of pain as I noticed my scraped up shin swelling up. So through the last 7 miles (and that turn which we had to repeat in loop 2), I took it a lot more cautious and it definitely slowed me down. Thankfully Tessa was a few bikers ahead of me when I crashed because she had no idea. She would have totally freaked out and stopped too. So I finished the bike portion in 46:30 (pretty good considering) and Tess again kicked bootie at 45:24. Awesome job, Tess! I knew she would do well since last week she did a 36-mile tandem ride through New York with the Achilles Club. She's hardcore.

Then we put the bikes back and headed off to the run. Moron Melissa kept her dumb biking gloves on but they were good sweat wipers since the humidity was kicking in. Again, VERY HILLY. It was only 3 miles but they were tough. I finished in a pretty good (for having already pushed myself for the past hour) 30:19 and Tessa did 31:30.

And then we finished! HOORAH!!! Tessa's final time was 1:29:49 and she was 4th in her age group. One away from an award! Next time, Tess. I finished a bit behind her at 1:30:24 sadly 13th in my age group (which happened to be second to last only in front of a girl who got disqualified). No worries. It was my first time, I took a nasty fall and the next person ahead of me was only 1:30:08. Again. . . next time. I'm so proud of Tessa! And also of course myself . . . I think it could have possibly been tougher than the marathon last year!

And lastly (I apologize for such a long blog post), we made it to the part we had been looking forward to all week — Friendly's for lunch! Yummy greasy food of chicken fingers, fries, burgers, and onion rings and the piece de resistance: conehead sundaes. The light of my childhood. And then we finally headed back to Boston for showers and naps. MMMMMM.

Good day. Quite sore today but we both feel like we'd do it again. Although I think this may be my last marathon (unless I train with a friend), I think my goal is at least one half-marathon and one triathlon for each of the next few years. Tessa and I both think we can shave some serious time if we train a bit harder. I was definitely not prepared for the swim or the bike! We're still pretty much badasses though. :)

(more pics to come as we hammed it up for the photographers with the triathlon organizers quite a bit).

1 comment:

Tessa said...

i had a fabulous time doing the tri with you. couldn't have done it with you! i'm mighty impressed by your badassness... you didn't even let a bike crash get you down! you are awesome!