Saturday, May 11, 2013

The best race report ever - Wildflower Olympic Relay

I raced! First time in over a year. Even longer since I raced when I should have and was healthy! (vs. racing when I shouldn't have and wasn't healthy.)

Since I'm basically only swimming, I formed a relay team and I did the swim leg. This seemed reasonable to me but I should have known the whole experience was going to be bizarre when I had so much trouble forming a team to start with. I got a biker almost right away but I had a heck of a time getting a runner. I was about to give up when I said we could do the Olympic distance (6.2 mile run) instead of the Long (13.1 mile run). My biker really wanted to do the Long course (56 miles) but the difference in the swim is only .3 miles and I figured shorter was probably better for me anyway.

I had thought that no one would want to spend the money and time to just do 6.2 miles but it turned out that people who were doing the Long course wanted to do a recovery workout the next day and so I had my runner! He kept saying "I hope it's okay if I'm not fast" and I kept laughing. I had no idea how fast the biker was. But I knew I had gotten horribly slow. I am doing .9 miles in as much time as I used to do 1.2! You can't swim one time a week and not work out the rest of the week and be as fast as you ever were. I can't anyway.

Unscientifically proven to make you faster!
Anyway, I was so excited to be racing and at Wildflower, my favorite race. I organized a tent contest for my club and challenged people to beat mine for the grand prize. I had twinkle lights and grass skirts for my table and a palm tree cooler and even a portable fireplace and a rug! It was awesome.

Then for the Long course race, we were on the bike and the run course so I fried up some bacon and I was passing it out to the runners as they ran by. Watching their reaction was hysterical. Most of them laughed. A few looked a little green around the gills. A fair number grabbed my bacon like it was a little slice of heaven. I passed out almost four pounds before I ran out!

I would have run out sooner but some other tri club was giving out bacon just half a mile down from me! At first I was annoyed that they were stealing my thunder. But apparently they didn't know how to make bacon while camping because their stove kept turning off and they'd get the runners excited about bacon and then not have any. Plus theirs was chewy, not crispy. Unlike my wonderfully crispy and always available bacon. So HA to them!


A few people were rude about my bacon. One said "I"m a VEGAN." I said "Then you better not eat my bacon!" like may bacon was too good for him. And two said "What's with this bacon shit?" I didn't say anything but, really. Why not just not take the bacon? It's not like I was running them down and tackling them and forcing bacon done their throats. Mostly I was just saying "Go [Club Name]. Have some bacon!" and "Unscientifically proven to make you faster!" and laughing. And ringing my cowbell. And sweating. Because it was 90 out.

The next day, I was tired and wondering how I was going to race. Plus it was cold and windy and threatening to rain. What extremes of weather! It's part of what makes Wildflower so Wildflower, I guess. I also had no biker! Internet access is horrible up there so we didn't figure out what was going on right away but my biker's house had sprung a leak and he'd been up all night dealing with it.

But it turned out okay because someone else who had done the Long Course the previous day offered to bike for us. So team Don't MES with Us became team Don't MCS with Us. Heh. And my new biker kept saying "as long as you don't expect me to be fast" and I kept laughing. We decided we should really be Team Recovery since we were all recovering from something -- me from injury and them from doing a Half-Ironman.

As we were getting ready, everyone was saying how choppy the water was so I revised my estimated finish from from a horrible 45 minutes to an atrocious 50 minutes. And ran down to the water to do my first race in over a year!

At first, I had to pee. I had planned to do it during the warm-up but the water was so warm compared to the air that I stayed out too long and had to scrambled back and didn't have time to do it. So I figured I'd  do it during the swim. Except the water was so choppy and kept slapping me in the face. So I had to concentrate on finding a rhythm and didn't have any brain power left for peeing in my wet suit.

And then some bozo in a kayak ran me over! Um, Kayak Lady, you are there to keep the swimmers safe, not take them out. To be fair, she was embarrassed and asked me if I was okay. Since she hadn't drown me, I said I was okay and kept swimming.

I got to the first turn buoy and turned and there were TONS of swimmers all hanging on to the buoy or a kayak for dear life. They had caps from my wave and the wave ahead of me and the one ahead of that. I was startled but I figured "Hey, at least I won't be last out of the water!" and I kept going.

At the next buoy there were still a lot of people hanging on but not quite as many. By the next one, there weren't any and also all the faster swimmers were gone and I was by myself. I kept going but at some point I saw a buoy to the right and I thought I had to turn. It was odd because you turn at triangles not round buoys but oh well. Then I hear someone yelling and a kayaker comes tearing after me.

This one wasn't trying to run me over though. He just wanted to tell me I had turned too soon and I had to keep going. I said "That sucks!" but I was laughing.

The next thing that happened was that some gal in a pink cap came out of nowhere and passed me -- doing the breast stroke! Damn, I hate that! I really, really hate that!

Fortunately, I gathered my wits about me and decided that, if that SOB was going to swim faster than me doing the freaking breast stroke, the least I could do was draft off her. So I did. I drafted off her for the entire rest of the leg which was quite a long way. I suspect she wasn't happy about it but I didn't care. It's a race!

Okay, I cared a little. I felt a bit bad every time I tapped her toes. But not bad enough to stop.

Then we got to the next turn buoy and BOOM she was gone. I didn't see what happened but I assume she decided to return to freestyle stroke. I sighed.

Then I was half way across the short leg and I saw a yellow cap hanging on a buoy. Yellow! That was way before my wave (turns out 25 minutes before). Wow. But of course yellow cap decides right then and there to let go of the kayak and pass me. I found this almost as annoying as Breast Stroke lady. Sigh again.

I turned at the next buoy and now I had the long leg back and that's when things became more like a normal triathlon. For one thing, I started passing people!

I forgot how bad a lot of triathlon swimmers are. I am not a fast swimmer. But I am steady. I can go forever and I'm not afraid. This makes me a middle of the pack swimmer in triathlon. I'm even slower than normal now, but I still have all the other pluses and they were now aiding me.

The water was still choppy but, because I wasn't afraid, I'd found my rhythm. Those other swimmers must have worn themselves out fighting the water and now I was passing them. Whee!

Oh and the best part? I passed BREAST STROKE GIRL! Bwahahahaha.

I got to the end of that leg and made the one left turn back to the boat launch. I saw a Navy cap ahead of me. Hey, I thought. I don't have to bike and run but Navy cap does. I will go nuts and pass Navy Cap, I declared! I went nuts, increasing my cadence and kicking like crazy and ... I didn't pass Navy Cap, but I closed the gap. Plus, Navy Cap started 5 minutes ahead of me so I technically beat her. Or something.

I got out of the water, still having to pee, and RAN up that boat launch. I was supposed to be met at the top by my runner so I didn't worry about running out of steam. But he wasn't there. And the ramp was LOOONNNGG. I just completely pooped out. Because I am so out of shape.

So I kind of crawled back to our transition spot at that point. Gave the chip to Biker Chick. And collapsed.

Eventually I also peed. And drank some Fluid Chocolate Wave Recovery Drink.

Then we all hung around and talked to the other teams and met some new people and heard their tri stories and shivered a bit and had a grand time.

Eventually Biker Chick came back, slightly after she thought but it was windy and it was misting off and on so I wasn't surprised. She was still very fast by my standards. Runner Guy took off, we calculated when he'd be over the finish line, and went off to cheer for our friends until then.

Biker Chick told me all about all the people she ran down on the bike from our club and passed and how much fun that was. She passed people who had a 20 minute head start on us (because of my crappy swim)!

There was one gal she couldn't quite run down though. That's okay... Runner Guy passed her! He was also happy. He said his run was redemption for his crappy run the day before.

So I was happy, Biker Chick was happy and Runner Guy was happy. It all worked out. Oh and we came in second. Out of two. Well, 3 teams signed up in our category but one never showed up. We beat a bunch of other relay teams though. And our biker beat their biker and our runner beat their runner. So much for "don't expect me to be fast!"

My actual finish time was 51:11. A horrendous time under ordinary circumstances and almost, but not quite twice as slow as the other Mix Masters team. But I was definitely not last.

Swim: 51:11 2/2 Mixed Masters, 60 / 93 Relay Teams, 1983 / 2150 Overall
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