Setting Up: So funny all the different rituals I observed from other triathletes and yet how relaxed I felt. I knew at this point (you know, morning of the race) that being a wreck would only hinder my swim performance. The biking distance was slightly less than my work commute and a 5K is such a doable distance (hopefully, I won't have lead legs). But swim...well, I needed to keep my cool if I was going to swim a half mile. I got my little space set up and decided to get the lay of the land by paying attention to the swim in/bike out/bike in/run out locations. It's helpful if I actually look like I know what I'm doing! Then I trekked down to the beach to feel how rough the sand and crushed sea shells were and to take a dip in the water. Blech! Salt Water?! I didn't think about that! Next thing I knew, it was time to line up by waves. Then I heard those damning words..."Ladies over 40, get ready!" Are you serious? I couldn't believe he announced our ages! Seriously, "Red caps, get ready" would have been just fine. Perfect even!
Swim. Nice rectangular course. Swim out to the first orange buoy, turn right and swim past three more buoys, turn right again and swim to the shore. Seems simple enough. But wtf, that first buoy seemed a mile away! I'm glad I never had to flip onto my back to calm myself (like Portland) and I managed to keep up my plan of swim 20 strokes, breast stroke to sight, repeat. The plan worked and got me safely to shore in 22:47 - an improvement of 8:03 from my half mile Portland swim!
T1: My hand is bleeding - yikes! Why won't my socks go on my wet feet?! Tell me again, which part of the helmet is the front? Argh - salt water in the mouth is disgusting! Where is my water? And gel - must fuel up. Ahhh, double latte powergel tastes so good and helps remove the salt taste. The hand - damn, still bleeding. Must have been the rough side of the third buoy marker when I made contact. Oh well, get on that bike and ride, girl! Must work on my T1 time in the future - logged in at 3:23.
Bike. Loved this course. As I was leaving transition, another girl yelled at me to hurry up and we could ride together. Cool! I've never ridden with someone else. Red rover, red rover, send Robin right over. We rode up Calf Pasture Beach Road turning onto Gregory and Saugatuck. Beautiful homes - mansions really. The weather was wonderful for a ride - clear skies and low 70s. The bike portion consisted of two loops and I could have pushed harder, but was still pleased with the results. Finished 12.5 miles in 49:41 (15.1mph).
T2. Drop off bike, get some water, pull on my hat (to hide helmet hair!) and get the H-E-double toothpicks out of there. The run was beautiful with a little over half the course along the shoreline. At first, I thought I had cement blocks attached to my feet, but then everything started feeling good because I WAS RUNNING - doing what I love to do. During the bike portion, Gina (my cycling friend)had commented that I must be from the Midwest because I was thanking all the volunteers. The volunteers were just fantastic and I noticed it even more during the run portion. Each time I thanked one, I would hear words of encouragement right back. I swear I smiled through the whole run portion because of all those wonderful volunteers. I didn't feel I was moving very fast, but I sure was hoping to finish in 30-31 minutes. Woohoo - I clocked in a 29:15 run finish.
Post-Race. Loved crossing the finish line. I even threw up my arms in victory! I had so much fun and was so happy with my swim performance that I just wanted to do the Dora dance and sing, "I did it, yeah, I did it!" Grabbed my medal, a banana, water, and went back to the finish line to cheer on Gina. Afterwards, I texted hubs and the girls the good news, loaded up the car with my mess, and headed back to the hotel to treat my girls to breakfast on the waterfront. Coffee and conversation are best post-race!
Sunday afternoon, the girls and I spent a nice couple of hours at the Maritime Aquarium. It's become "our thing" - whenever we travel to a state, we always try to find a nearby Aquarium. The Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk was perfect. We got to watch the divers feed the sharks as well as learn all about what's in the Long Island Sound (you don't want to know and I certainly didn't enjoy finding out!), we got up close to sea lions, saw more than 10 different frogs, enjoyed the dinosaur exhibit, laughed with the otters - just such fun! Another tradition is to always take pictures against measuring sticks. We did exactly this about a year and a half ago at the Boston Aquarium and of course here as well. Such great memories!