I knew the race would be difficult. I felt prepared. I was organized. Felt pretty calm.
Leading up to the race I took exceeding good care of myself. Got good sleep. Didn’t do anything crazy in yoga. Walked with CAUTION everywhere. Practiced the swim in my mind everyday. Visualized.
Those that know my things about the water. When the officials said no wetsuits in the age group competition I got a little worked up. Mainly because there was a decision that I would have to make. I just wanted all the decisions to already be made. I’d never done an open water swim without my wetsuit. I could wear my wetsuit and go in the last heat but I might run out of time. After asking the coaches and my heart, I decided to wear the wetsuit and go last. My biggest goal of the race was to get the swim done without having an asthma attack.
The water was really ROUGH. 2 to 3 foot swells. IT WAS AWESOME. I started out, didn’t panic, worked to keep calm, felt fine, just couldn’t quite get the the rhythm of the freestyle. Without drinking a ton of water. I got pretty good at getting a nose full of water and snorting it out. So I did a lot of breast stroke. Found a rhythm. Found a way to ride the waves a bit. Stopped drinking so much water. In the back of my mind I was aware that I needed to get around the buoys faster. So I’d go back to the freestyle, where I managed to find this feeling of moving through the water better. Then I’d drink some more water. And move back to breast stroke. I was getting there, slowly. The chic I was keeping up with was pulling away. I was getting a little nervous. Then the guy in the kayak told me I had 12 minutes to get in. I had three more buoys left. I said “F$CK”, measured the distance, concluded that I wouldn’t make it. And said “F$CK” again. I start to sob a bit. WHAT??? CRYING IN THE LAKE???
It’s hard to cry, breathe, swim, sight for the finish and not get drowned by the waves.
At the point, I had resigned to not getting in on time. And I wanted to finish this $250 dollar swim strong. If this was the last of my race, i wanted to do it well. So I pressed on. Hard.
The guy in the kayak said “You got to do your very best.” So I start swimming harder. More than what I thought I had. On my weak side. Faster. Breathing becomes more forced and here it comes, the wheezing. The asthma. I had this fleeting thought that one wrong wave and this sharp edge I was forcing myself on could really suck. But the kayak guy was right there with me. Shouting me on. Then I hear the announcer of the race yelling my name. And everyone else. That was pretty cool.
I ran out of steam. Asthma attack. I had nothing left. I’m looking at the last 50 yards thinking “I JUST CAN’T DO IT”. I can hardly get to the boat ramp, knowing my time is (has) running out and I just have NOTHING left. I’m pretty sure I didn’t make it. Then I hear the announcer say I’m the last swimmer. My first thought “SWEET!!! That swim didn’t cost me $250 just 5 bucks”. Second thought, you got to breathe. I hardly see anyone, until I see Anna. A friendly face asking me if I’m alright. I say “I don’t know”. And just keep walking to my bike.
Time in the water: 1:11.
Side note: Chomps before the swim do me good.
Getting on the bike was easy. Getting going was easy. I had my feet under me. I was thrilled. As I crossed the dam I left the swim behind me and started looking up for the next person to pass. It was DIFFICULT to see bikers coming in, but heck…
I kept telling myself, “You’re the cut off swimmer. You MADE it.” At first I passed a few people. It wasn’t as triumphant to pass the ones on the side of the rode with flats and what not. But I took what I could get.
Side note: I can’t pee in my wetsuit for some reason. So… after passing a legitimate racer (someone still moving forward), I stopped and did a QUICK pit stop. I did spy for bad plants. Didn’t need that kind of drama. QUICK QUICK, I’d be @#)$( if that guy passed me back.
Didn’t find the bike ride THAT bad. Not after that brutal Atlanta 70 mile training ride. The tea pot song wasn’t helping much. So I changed it…”just keep pedaling, whens this gonna stop, heck if I know…” I’d look up, damn hill wasn’t done yet…”apparently not yet, just keep pedaling, whens this gonna stop, heck if I know…” Hahaha.
I got to mile 25 with just 7 F-bombs. I was pretty proud. I was trying to keep it under 10. Though I counted the ones in my head, not just out loud. Maybe that was being to hard on myself.
Every person I passed was AWESOME. I knew that at about mile 36 things were gonna get easier. And the killer wind was gonna be my ally. So when we turned, I hit it hard. AWESOME. I actually enjoyed the bike ride.
Besides the left butt bone. And the wasp.
So flying down a BIG hill, 40 miles an hour (not letting up) something flies into my shirt and I get a sharp sting. The F-bombs just started flying. I look at my hands, at my speedometer, at my boobs and decide to just ride it out. I totally forgot that they can only sting you once. That would have helped. So I’m sort of freaking out that I have a bug in my bra that’s gonna keep stinging me. I get my arse but the next hill. Come to this awesome streaking halt and flash the sheriff sitting there directing traffic to release my wasp. DUDE.
That was the only time someone passed me. For about 30 seconds.
Finishing that ride was AWESOME. I felt great. Perpetuum. That nasty drink at the aides stations sucked. I ate 2 salt capsules every hour. A lot of chomps with caffeine and the orange yummy beans.
I almost took a dive into the “BIKE IN” blow up thing. hahaha. Didn’t quite get both feet unclipped. Managed to save it and get on with the day.
Bike Time: 4:01
Starting the 13 miles was hard. My legs felt ok. It was just plain HOT. And the run was so incredibly boring. The highlights of the run: Running with Glen for a bit. Seeing Dan a bunch. Seeing Ashlea’s rockstar @ss. Kelli on her last bit, getting myself an “another lap to go kiss”. The honey badger sign at the aide station. She recited the video to me, so that was cool. “He’s so NASTY…He doesn’t give a SHIT. He just takes what he wants!” The water hoses. And the seasoned triathlete that said this was a really hard race.
I walked at each station. One cup of water over the head, one down the back. The cup of ice down the cleavage. (Thinking back…I wonder if this helped the wasp bite not get angry.) Two cups of water into the stomach, refill my little hand water thingy and off I went. I only ate two Gu’s, which surprised me. The one that I kept in my pants tore me up!!!! I kept up eating the salt capsules. I felt pretty good until I got to the pit of hot hell, down by T1 and the porta potties. NASTY. The water hoses had such a big impact. I would get TOTALLY drench and feel SUPER FABULOUS until dry.
I passed a lot of runners. I tried not to walk. I walked more on loop one. Average pace was 12:20. Loop two got better. ALMOST DONE. Pace quickened to 11:00. Still feeling pretty good.
Knees started hurting the last 1/2 mile. So I slowed down. That last bit SUCKED. I had it in the bag and my legs were saying “hey, missy, we are REALLY tired”.
Rounding that corner though, into the shoot was awesome. I saw someone walking and thought to myself “WHAT!!!! This is where YOU DO NOT WALK!” This is where you dig deep and pull yourself together.
Icing on the cake. The announcer saying “Here’s Bonnie Kissinger, boy I’m glad to see her finish!”. That was TOTALLY AWESOME!
Run time: 2:33.