Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Pink Power

Last Sunday, I participated in the Pink Power Triathlon--a triathlon just for women. What a fabulous experience! Over 400 women registered for the race, and about half of them were doing their first triathlon. In this crowd, I was an old-timer.

Another old-timer there was my friend and teammate, Holly. She has a terrible cold and should have been in bed, but there she was, with a wad of tissues in her hand, trying to decide what to do about the undeniable fact that tissues get very wet when you go swimming.

Transition was right next to the outdoor pool where we were to swim. Our mission was to swim up and back each lane, for a total swim of 400 meters--longer than the other pool swims I have completed. We lined up in order of our estimated swim time. I was number 205, so half the women in the race started before I did. I realized at the last minute that I had calculated my swim time incorrectly, so unfortunately ladies 206 through 210 had to swim around me. I let them pass and soldiered on, trying to concentrate on my form. As I took my last lap, I heard a friend shout "GO AMY" and it made me smile. At the end of the lap I realized I would have to get out of the pool in very deep water. The volunteer at the end of the pool, looked at me and said, "You can use the ladder!" And I did. Did it cost me a few seconds? Or did it save me a couple minutes? Who can say. I ran to transition to get my bike. Another volunteer, sensing that I must be a first-timer, reminded me to take off my goggles, which you typically do on the way to your bike to save time. "I can't see without them!" I explained.

On the bike ride, there were so many newbies, and lots of heavy mountain bikes, so Ariel and I passed lots of people, especially in the first few miles when it was very hilly. I have never said "on your left" as many times as I did during this bike ride, particularly charging up hills. And at the top of each hill, I would look down, and Ariel would say in her pixie voice, "Don't slow down, Amy! Let's GO!: And off we would go: "WHEEEEEEE!" As I thought about the hills and the turns along the course, I realized how much stronger I feel on the bike than I did at the start of the summer.

Holly had begun her race ahead of me (because she is a faster swimmer) and I did not expect to see her till I crossed the finish line. The end of the bike course consisted of an out and back of about 2 miles. As I went out this road, I was dismayed to see Holly on the side of the road changing her front tire. "My race may be over!" she shouted. Unfortunately, when I came back by, she shouted, "My race is definitely over!" She told me later that as she changed her tire, a woman got off her bike and came up to her. "I can't change your tire, honey, but I can give you a hug!" Needless to say the woman was not worried about winning her age group! Holly did change her tire in about 15 minutes. Unfortunately it went flat again immediately. She walked it about a mile or so back to transition. Then she got on her running shoes and finished the race. Pure determination!

I have been having problems with my Achilles lately, but I think I have nipped it in the bud. Lately I have done more cycling, and less running, and I consulted Dr. Green, who told me I could run Pink Power, but to "take it easy" and "consider walking some." By the time I started running, it was about 95 degrees and 97 percent humidity. I was glad to have a doctor-ordered excuse to take a walk break from time to time. Halfway through the run I saw my friend Travis, wearing his volunteer shirt, which sported the statement, "Triathlete Chics are Hot!" I slowed to a walk and told Travis, "I'd be running at lightning speed, winning this race, but my doctor won't let me do it!" Travis replied, "I'm sure you would!"

So here's how it shook out, with comparisons to a similar race I did in late May:

Swim time: 10:33. This sounds dreadful compared to 8:19 from May, but this race was 400 meters, and the May race was 300 meters, so my pace was faster this time.

Bike time: 41:27. Better than 44:07 from May, and this bike course was harder--hillier and full of turns that slow you down and challenge your bike handling skills, albeit a little bit shorter than the May course (11.8 miles versus 12 miles).

Run time: 39:23. Okay, that's worse than 36:08 from May, but I can blame Doctor Green!

Total time: 1:35:24. Compared to 1:33:11 in May. So slower, but I am happy with it!