But I have decided to take a quick break from my dissertation and give you that long-awaited race report.
As I explained in "Part 1," Dewey Beach Triathlon was not originally on my race calendar. My mother and two of her friends were supposed to race Dewey Beach as a relay team, with my mother as the swimmer, her friend Starr as the cyclist and her college roommate Debbie as the runner. Life had other plans, however, and both my mother and Debbie were unable to participate in the race. My mother was ill and Debbie could not make it down from Massachusetts, which left Starr without a team. Of course when my mother asked me to participate, I jumped in happily. I always love another opportunity to race, even as two thirds of a relay team.
Race weekend I was coming off the high of a great race at Nations. I drove up to my parents' place and then over to Dewey. At packet pickup my mother and I had to spend some time explaining the situation, but eventually we got the registration all sorted out and picked up our nice long sleeve tech t-shirts and packets. The race was held in the state part at Tower Road, which is less than a mile from my family beach house, making for a very convenient race morning. Starr arrived later in the evening on Friday, with son and dog in tow, and we talked about our "race strategy" some (I swim. She takes the timing chip. She bikes. I take the timing chip. I run). Then, as usual, we all hit the hay early to be ready for the pre-dawn transition opening.
Saturday morning it was a little chilly out, but the ocean was as flat as glass when we first arrived at the race site. The transition area was much larger than I had expected, as was the race itself. Over 1000 participants were there, and there were 13 waves of swimmers, including a wave designated for first-time triathletes. My swim wave, for relay swimmers and Clydesdales, was 10th (in navy caps). As the morning drew on and race announcements were made, the race director started to issue reassurances that although the wind was picking up in one direction, the current was actually going the other direction and the course, meant to be down-current, was set up correctly. These reassurances became more and more frequent as the wind gusts picked up speed and racers grew restless.
|Starr fights the ridiculous head wind|
If you can't tell, I am setting something up here about the swim.
Out over the dunes and onto the beach we went, many many wetsuit-clad triathletes in various colored swim caps. The ferocity of the wind was increasing with each swim wave. Looking around me at my fellow navy-capped athletes, I told my mother I was far less concerned about the waves and tide and far more concerned about the Clydesdales I would be swimming with. Some of these guys were very large and very serious-looking. I'm talking guys who just missed the NFL and have decided triathlon is their new calling. Big dudes.
|Starr killin' that bike|
|Heading out for the run, trying to keep my seawater down|
Most difficult swim of my life.
I ran up the beach and into the parking lot of transition area, found Starr, and handed off my timing chip. My parents had somehow managed to sneak into transition and were there to hear me rant and rave about how crazy that swim had been. I took stock of the other relay teams, however, and saw that almost all of the bikers were still there waiting for their swimmers. I wasn't the last! Actually, it turns out I was probably the 4th, and the 2nd female. As each swimmer staggered in, new tales of horror were told. No one had a good time out there. And as the bikers finally trickled in, we all learned that the wind had been just as influential on the flat, out and back course on highway one. "30 mph on the way out, 12 on the way back!" people kept saying.
I felt really bad for that wave of first time triathletes. They had been the 12th wave.
When Starr came in, she was the third female biker and she was only a minute behind the second. I knew that if I hadn't miscounted, we had a really good shot of making the podium. Once I was out on the run (going into that headwind) my legs felt great. I zoomed by the girl in second and kept up a nice clip for the entire 3.5 mile (3.5?! random...) course. I came in feeling happy and good, although still thinking I might puke up seawater.
Overall, we of course had a complete blast. But that swim. Wow.
So now, here we are, several weeks later and I am two weeks out from my last big race of the season. I'm in the beginning of my two-week taper, and as you readers know, I hate the taper. It just makes me feel like I'm not accomplishing anything. Luckily I have a lot to accomplish with my dissertation, so I am keeping myself distracted (or relatively distracted...).
I will do my best to make sure I get a race report, and maybe some pre-race stuff, up here in a reasonable time-frame...
Happy, Mom? :)