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Race Recap: Quad Cities Triathlon

Once upon a time, it was winter (albiet a lot warmer in TX) and I was waffling back and forth about signing up for the Quad Cities triathlon.  Internal monologue went something along these lines…
Yes! I love having something to train for, an event to look forward to, and the motivation not to embarrasses myself publicly.
Nah.. I have a wedding later that day.  I would have to figure out somewhere to train for the swimming part. My bike has rust on it.

Back and forth.  But I finally pulled the trigger and signed up… only to find it was full! I was placed on the wait list and lo and behold, right around my birthday, I got that magical email.  I was in! So we move to WI and we join the YMCA and I go swimming and I run on the treadmill and I run outside and I pedal on the stationary bike.  And I bike outsde. Twice. By way of excuses, it did rain A LOT this spring and I am pretty sure I will fall off my bike if I ride when its wet outside.  Also we were back home it Iowa for many of the weekends.. but enough with the excuses.  I knew full well that I should have put a lot more miles on the bike.

So when Saturday rolled around, it was safe to say I was most concerned about the biking portion. Okay, a little bit concerned about the all of it. My training had especially gone to hell that week once Joe broke his hand, plus helping him get ready for the wedding (as he was officiating it), and packing for the weekend, etc, etc, blah, blah, more excuses. I roll my eyes at myself as I type them.  But I was confident I could finish the while thing, just maybe not as fast as the previous 2 times I had done it.  Maybe not fast at all.
So Saturday morning… I was up around 5, trying to choke down a peanut bagel.  I knew I needed the fuel, but man, peanut butter doesn’t go down easy when you are all excited and nervous.  We got to West Lake Park a little after six.  Since we had come home from WI the night before, I had missed the packet pickup.  So I had to hustle to get my race numbers put on and pick up my timing chip and set up my transition area.  Oh and find somewhere to fill up my bike tires.  As I pulled my bike out of my car, I realized how very low they were.  Luckily, they have a tent with bike people to help you with any bike issues.
“What do you like your tires at?” he asks me as he looks at his fancy pressure gauge thing.
“Full.” I replied.  Half smart ass/half readily admitting I have NO CLUE about these things.
“Good answer” he says, accepting my cluelessness.  He pumps my tires to 100 …(pounds? gallons of air? idk) and his eyebrows go up as he shows me that my front tire was at 20 (or something).  I was glad I took the time to stop at the bike tent.   I almost didn’t because it was getting close to race time.

So I hustled my bike to my assigned transition spot, where I had hastily spread out my towel, shoes, bike helmet, etc for after the swim, and then I went on down to the beach, brimming with adrenaline from trying to get everything done in time.
(That’s me in the blue)
I caught up with Shannon and her sister Angie and their dad.  We chatted nervously about how we might have done a more thorough job training and how everyone around us had on wetsuits.  As the race got under way, we still had a ways to wait.  The QC Triathlon does a time trial start, which means that rather than releasing waves of people into the water at a time, every 3 seconds, 2 people enter the water.  When it was finally my turn, I  ran a few strides into the water then start swimming like hell.

Immediately, I cannot breathe.  The water is cold.  Not really cold, but cold enough to squeeze tightly on my lungs and that, coupled with the adrenaline, makes it hard for me to catch my breath.  I curse the people warm in their wetsuits.  Warm and buoyant.  I remind myself to borrow one next time.  Then I remind myself to calm down, take deep breaths, and breathe.  Eventually, I am able to settle into a rhythm.   The swim course is 600 yards.  By the last 100 yards or so, my goggles have fogged up and I can’t really see where I am going.  So I weave back and forth and try and spot the beach I am headed for.  I am frustrated because I know this is not an efficient way to swim.  But finally I feel the bottom of the lake below me and I rise to run out onto the beach.

My calves are cramping with every step on the sand, and my only thought is that I hope I don’t fall over in front of all these people.

I hear my fan club cheering me on.  Joe and my big brother Mike.  Mike is here! What a guy!

Up to the transition zone and out the other side with my bike.  The bike part (15 miles) goes well.  At the turnaround, I am doing better than expected.  Then I start heading the other way and discover the wind.  Oh.  That.  But still, I feel better than I thought I would and I am happy with my pace and -most importantly- I haven’t fallen off my bike.  Before I know it, I’m back at the transition zone, trading my helmet for a hat.

The  first 25 feet or so feel great! I can’t believe how good I feel!  And then my legs realize what I am asking them to do.  And then they don’t want to play along anymore.  They remind me that we haven’t done workouts this long and they’re not sure 3.1 miles is such a great idea.  But I cajole them into putting one foot in front of the other and to keep moving forward.  With less than a mile to go, I realize I am going to beat my previous times and if I really hustle maybe I can be under 1:40.  So I try to hustle.  With 3 miles down and point one to go, it seems out of reach but I power up the small incline to finish line.  1:40:10.  I am happy.  I can’t really breathe, but I am happy.The claw is out!! (Not to be confused with Joe’s claw) My claw comes out only when running.  Only the left hand.

But there you have it.  My Quad Cities Triathlon.  Here’s a breakdown of my splits, from this year and from 2010 and 2007:

Swim T1 Bike T2 Run Time
2011 13:43 2:56  54:17 0:55 28:19 1:40:10
2010 15:51 2:57 55:16 1:07 28:10 1:43:21
2007 13:40 3:22 57:38 1:12 26:57 1:42:46

And a couple of pictures from the day.

My fans, cheering me on!

Thanks for coming Mike! You’re the best!

You’re the best too, Joe! Double best! You couldn’t even properly clap for me, but you didn’t let it stop you.

And the rest of my fan club, who has gotten up early to watch my other triathlons, had a pretty good reason for missing this one.  My parents were running in a 2 mile road race and guess who came home with an age group win! Check out that hardware!

All said and done, another fun triathlon!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Carol Bailey permalink
    06/26/2011 6:44 pm

    We love reading your blog, Molly! We’re so proud of you! In spite of all the odds, you competed! You had some pretty valid excuses for skipping this one, but, being the determined runner/athlete you are, you didn’t let a few complications stop you. Like your pictures, too! Congrats to your mom, too! Do you get your running ability from her?
    We look forward to seeing you and Joe over the 4th. Love, Carol

  2. Theresa permalink
    06/26/2011 9:12 pm

    Congratulations Molly and Ann! I am so impressed. What a great way to spend a Saturday morning. Wish I had the energy for a Triathalon,Molly, and your best time to boot- way to go!

  3. Kara permalink
    08/12/2011 6:55 am

    Your mom is awesome.


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