Monday, July 11, 2011

Echo Triathlon 2011 - Olypmic

Echo Triathlon - July 9, 2011

I was so excited for this race. It had been more than a year since my last tri and I felt like I was ready to go! My foot felt all the way better and I was planning on pushing hard and just giving this race all I had.

I took my kids to my dad and step-mom's house on Thursday so I thought Friday would be really relaxed and that I'd have plenty of time to get ready. Oh, but I had to make a birthday cake for Mindy's birthday party that would be right after the race. (I will probably not do this race again since it always does fall on the day we celebrate Min's birthday) She requested a Neapolitan cake. I guess this is what I get for making 3 cakes for Ethan's birthday. Now it's expected. So it pretty much took me all day to shop for ingredients and make the cake, along with taking care of George. Then I still had to clean up and pack so I was feeling a bit stressed by the time Friday night came around!

Luckily I've packed for triathlons a few times before so it really didn't take me too long. Though I kept feeling like I had to be missing something. Of course I didn't sleep well, I never do the night before a race, and I woke up feeling sick. Like usual. I made myself eat some granola before we packed everything up for the race, and the party afterwards. We left by 5:45 - only half an hour behind schedule.

When we got to where Pete was dropping me off, I had to wake George up to feed him. Too bad he wasn't interested in eating at all. He was just looking around like, "What's going on? Where are we? Oh, there's Daddy! Hi Daddy!" Big smile. "Hi Mommy." More smiles and looking around. It was 6:30 and my wave started at 7:05. I still had to ride down there, set up transition and everything so I didn't really have time to mess around. I just had to put him back in his car seat and told Pete to find me in transition and I'd feed him then. Pete told me it would have to be T2 because he was going to get breakfast and probably wouldn't be back by T1. So, that's 2.5-3 hours for George to go without food. Let the worry begin.

I tried not to worry about this once I left because there was nothing I could do. I set up my transition spot, got body marked then set about getting my wetsuit on. While I was doing that, my new friend from my gym, Chris, found me. This was her first outdoor tri and she was doing the olympic! I was glad she found me because we helped each other zip our wetsuits up, then had someone to talk to while we waited for our start. We got into the water and it actually didn't really feel that cold! It was also nice and calm, and such a beautiful day! I swam around a little and just tried to put my face in as much as possible so I wouldn't panic when it was time to go. I told her to do that too, and she kept gasping when she'd put her face in. Finally I told her to try closing her eyes when she put her head in and to pretend she was in the pool. She said that helped! It got close to start time so I told her good luck and moved a little bit closer to the front.

SWIM 1.5k - 34:03

The swim was nice this year because they had us swimming in the opposite direction so the sun wasn't in our eyes the whole way back in like it has been in the past. I was pretty nervous that I'd have a panic attack since I hadn't even been in my wetsuit this year, let alone done any open water swimming! But I felt fine the whole time. Phew! I felt like I swam really well. I didn't really find any feet to draft off, but I stayed calm and swam really strait and smooth, passing a lot of people. From the last buoy to the exit is always my favorite part and I went a little harder to finish the swim.

I was shocked and really disappointed when I got out, looked at my watch and saw that it had taken me 34 minutes! I was hoping to be more in the 29-30 minute range, and I thought I had done so well! Last time I did Echo (3 years ago), I did the swim in 33:29. That was just so frustrating and disheartening when I thought I was getting so much faster.

(Now that I think about it, I've been swimming in a yard pool, and 1500 yards is less than 1500 meters! So it really takes me 29-30 minutes to swim 1371.6 meters, not 1500. Dang.)

T1 - 6:01

Going into T1, I was in a bad mood because of my swim time. Usually I'm excited from the swim and ready to get on my bike, but I just didn't feel like that this time. I did try to hurry, though, since my swim was so slow. But then I was getting my shoes on, thinking something didn't seem right and realized I still had my wetsuit on! Gah! So, I had to take my shoes off, then struggle with my wetsuit for what seemed like forever! I need to practice taking that off I guess.

BIKE 40k (24.8 miles) - 1:26:38

The first part of the bike was really fast and I was excited to see my average speed at 20mph, but then it got a lot slower for the rest of the way out. That meant the way back was really fun, though! It's a weird course because it totally looked like we were going uphill on the way back, but I know it was downhill because I was cruising! It was really pretty and fun. I tried not to worry about all the people who passed me. I did, though. Worry. I had a few moments when I really thought, "Maybe I should just be done with triathlon." I was just feeling so sick of being so slow.

I also tried not to worry about George, but he was always there in the back of my mind - I was working out how I'd do my transition and feed him the whole ride. I started thinking how nice it would be just to be done. Maybe I would just feed him and be done. I didn't want to run. I was already so far behind anyway. Then I would remind myself that it didn't matter how far behind I was, it's not like I was ever going to be close to placing anyway.

T2 + RUN 10k - 1:10:08

I came in from the bike planning on a really slow transition, and I was scouring the crowd for Pete and George, but I didn't see them. I was sure they'd find me before I left on the run, though, so I still took my time. I got all ready, even stopped at the port-a-potty, and never saw them. I didn't know what else to do but just get out on the run and try to get back as fast as possible, so off I went.

I was still feeling sorry for myself for being so slow for the first part of the run, but after a while I actually started to enjoy it and started giving encouragement to the other runners out there. I felt amazingly good. For some reason I couldn't make myself go any faster, though. I kept looking at my heart rate and thinking, "I can push harder than this," but I never really would. I guess my heart just wasn't in it. And I was still worried about George. It's amazing how something like that can affect your performance. You'd think it would be separate, but a lot of triathlon is mental, and I was mentally not there. I just didn't feel like I had any drive in me to go any harder.

Pete was at the finish line holding George, who was crying. I kind of slowed down when I saw them, my instinct telling me to go right to him. But then I heard the announcer say my name, then she said, "Come on, Colleen!" and I remembered that I was about to finish so I sprinted across the finish line!

FINISH TIME - 3:16:51

My knee was hurting a little towards the end of the run, but other than that I didn't even feel that tired. It was disappointing. I had planned on being ready to collapse at the finish line, not just walk away with a plate-full of food.

We found a shady spot for me to sit and eat and feed George. He's such a great little baby, and Pete said most the time he was fine. I think he might have gotten a little dehydrated, though, because it seemed like he constantly wanted to eat for the next few days and he was more fussy than usual. Poor thing. I really shouldn't have signed up for any races while I'm nursing. I figured all that mattered was for my body to be ready, but I'm just not mentally prepared. I have to do twice this distance in a month too! Yikes. At least I'm not trying to go fast for the half, and George will be eating solid foods so that should help.

Looking at my results, it turns out I was 4th out of the water in my age group! That ain't bad. :) I was 7th, on the bike, and 11th on the run. I came in 9th out of 13 total in my age group. Not great, but my looong transitions sure didn't help my speed.

I watched Chris finish while I was feeding George, then saw her afterwards in transition. I rode up to the parking area with her and she said something that really hit home. She said, "I may have been last, but I was last out of a really amazing group of women." That is so true. These other ladies are just so fast! I'm always amazed and humbled by how fast they are. I really can't compare myself to them. I'm there for me, to have fun and stay in shape, so I shouldn't worry about what place I am or who passes me or whatever.

I got all depressed about not getting a PR, when really I should just be grateful that I was able to do this distance without any problems 6 months after having a baby. I really am grateful. I just need to look at it in a different way than I have been. It was a fun race, a great training day, and I'm glad I got to do it. And really, it was a 17 minute PR for this course. Last time I did it, it took me 3:34:05. I really have nothing to complain about!

Pictures are here. I'm number 154 if you need to look me up. You can totally see me stop in my tracks when I look at my watch getting out of the water, and the unhappy look on my face when I'm taking my goggles off. I also love the one of me running to the finish line where you can see Pete in the background holding George and cheering. Zazoosh did a pretty good job with the photos, and I'd totally buy some if they weren't $9 for one little digital copy. I just can't justify it. But, I also can't justify stealing their photos to put on here (especially since they name them "dontstealourphotos.gif") so you'll have to go to their site to look at them.

Thanks for reading! Have a great night. :)


  1. I am very impressed you did a tri after having a baby 6 months ago. I am realizing my body isn't the same while I am pregnant. I am a little scared to see what it will be like post baby. I think you are amazing!

  2. good work!! nursing babies are the best and worst for us, i think. way to rock it and i can't wait to here the report of your next one.