Remember what a hot and sunny day it was on the eve of our sprint triathlon? Well, on race day we were up at dawn, even though we weren’t sure if it was dawn because this is what the sky looked like:
As we sipped our coffee and ate our peanut butter and banana toast we prayed that the rain would hold off. But as you can see by the raindrops on the windshield, it did not. It was pretty exciting to see the course mapped out with cones as we drove by, but it made me nervous to race with traffic… especially in the rain, so I tried not to think about it. After a quick bathroom break at Wal-Mart in order to avoid the gross outhouses, we made it to the race.
We had to park pretty far away, which is usually very common for most races. In that case, either have someone drop you off or make sure you can carry all your gear. We finally made it to the transition area after pinning on our race bib…
and putting our timing chips on our ankles.
We got the last 2 transition spots next to each other! And we realized that the box was for our extra gear so we were able to lay our stuff out beside our bikes. We were really glad we brought plastic bags to keep our sneakers dry because that’s when is started to downpour.
We immediately got angry and were so annoyed. Out of all the beautiful days we had this week, why was TODAY the day it had to rain and be freezing out? But then we realized that we were wasting a ton of energy focusing how much it sucked that it was raining, so we decided to embrace it and have fun.
The worst part of the entire race was taking off our jackets and waiting for the race to start. It was FREEZING and raining so hard at this point. We decided to go and get in the water since we were already wet and it felt like a hot tub. It was AMAZING! This triathlon taught us to be ready for anything… rain, flat tires, untied shoelaces, feeling sick, fumbling with Bonk Breaker bars, almost hitting spectators and racing with wet sneakers and socks… just to name a few. Also, some of our pictures are blurry because it was raining so hard!
DAVEY: I was in the the 2nd wave and since I was already in the water, I found myself smack dab in the mix of swimmers. I was up towards the front and when the horn sounded, I started out really fast. I think it was a mix of adrenaline and the excitement of being in the front of the pack but I was setting myself up for a big mistake. In fact, it’s a mistake I warn others about. I’m not sure why, but I started swimming in an all out sprint and by the time I got to the fist buoy, my speed caught up to me.
Compounding my problem, the water was extremely choppy that morning, and I kept gulping water whenever I took a breath. By the time I rounded the second bouy, my lungs were burning I had gulped so much water that I felt sick.
On my way back, although I was making good time, as I passed the canoe, I decided to stop for a second, catch my breath and then finish the last 50 meters of my swim much slower than I started out. I was talking to the guy in the boat and he said that the same thing happened to him and he ended up throwing up when he got out of the water. I finished the last bit of the swim, hoping that I wouldn’t throw up too.
JESS: I was in the 4th wave and like Davey, since I was already in the water, I wound up in the front of the pack. I usually like to stay over to the side to avoid getting kicked, but I decided to see what it was like to be in the front. As the horn went off and we started to swim, I was so glad that we had practiced open water swims in our training because the murky color of the water didn’t freak me out.
The water was really choppy and the current was strong, so the swim was pretty tough. At one point, I looked up to sight and noticed that there were a lot of swimmers in front of me. I started to get discouraged, but then I realized I had caught up to the men in the 3rd wave! Woohoo! As we ran out of the water, I heard someone yell “9 minutes” and since my goal was to finish the swim in under 10 minutes, as you can see, I was pretty excited!
DAVEY: My initial plan was to not eat anything during the race, but as I ran into T1, I thought that taking a bite of a Bonk bar would help ease my upset stomach. I didn’t have it set out, so I had to dig through my bag to look for it which cost me some time. I ended up just putting the bar in my pocket for later. I geared up for my bike ride and started off.
The bike was my strongest part of the race. It was probably because I felt like I had to make up time from my swim. I also made a last minute decision not to take my sunglasses because the sky was so dark and it was still raining. The only problem was when another bike was in front of me, the tire sprayed a ton of water up into my face. It would’ve been nice to have some clear or lightly tinted sunglasses!
I kept an eye out for Jess and when I saw here, I yelled to cheer her on! It was fun to pass each other! The rest of my ride was uneventful until I came to the last stretch that led to the transition area. Right before I turned into the chute, this guy was walking and not paying attention to how close he was to the road and at the last second he looked up and moved out of the way as a few other bikers and I rode by. (So, make sure you are aware of the spectators when biking!) As I was sprinted to the finish, I realized I that my front tire was flat. I had no idea how long it was flat for and I decided not to stop and change it since I was so close to the dismount area.
I was feeling much better by this point and was ready for the run.
JESS: When I got to T1, I saw that Davey’s bike was already gone. I hurried into my sneakers and helmet, decided against wearing sunglasses since it was still pouring out and started to run with my bike. I was feeling really good on the bike despite the slippery road and just focused on maintaining a steady pace. Davey spotted me and yelled out and we cheered each other on as we whizzed past. I actually passed quite a few people and was feeling really good until the turn around. On the way back, we were met with an insanely strong headwind. No wonder the first part of the bike felt so easy… the wind was at my back.
The second 1/2 of the bike was a battle against the wind. I started to get mad again at the rain and now the wind, but then I just smiled and pressed on. I tried to make conversation with people in passing, “How about that headwind?!”
When the bike was over and I dismounted, my legs felt like lead. I mean the heaviest lead ever. We had practiced bricks in our training, but this was intense.
DAVEY: In T2, I didn’t double knot my shoelaces and they came undone right away. I also realized that my Bonk Bar was still in my pocket because it was hitting my leg as I ran. I ended up tossing it to the side of the road and kept on running. (It was still there when I went to get it after the race!)
As I ran, I felt good and strong. I was focused on starting off easy and I aimed for a negative split as I felt better. Although I had felt good on the bike, I usually drink 2 full water bottles on every ride. However, since my stomach was upset from the swim, I couldn’t even force myself to swallow any more water and so when I started to run, I was really thirsty. When I got to the first water station, I heard them saying they had Gatorade, and I grabbed a cup and chugged it without slowing down. There was only one sip of really strong Gatorade in the cup and it did little to quench my thirst.
After the turn around, I skipped the water station all together because I was so intent on passing the girl in front of me… which was another mistake because at this point, I felt my quads starting to cramp up and I realized I was becoming dehydrated and should’ve grabbed some water.
My legs held up fine and I pressed on and sprinted to the finish, having learned lots of valuable things to apply to future triathlons. After my finish, I waited for Jess and was able to cheer her on and get a video of her finishing. All in all, it was a great race and we learned a lot!
JESS: My T2 was really fast because I was already wearing my sneakers, which were now soaking wet. As I started to shuffle along, I couldn’t believe how slow I was running. I was hoping that after a mile I would be able to feel my legs, but that didn’t happen. TONS of people passed me on the run. I started to hate the fact that they write your age on your calf because I was being beaten by 27 year olds and 56 year olds and 62 year olds. I decided to get over it and take it one mile at a time. I heard someone call out my name and looked up and saw Davey run by. We cheered each other on again and kept running.
Honestly, that 5k was the hardest and slowest 3 miles I have ever run. I mean, there was even a girl who was WALKING and she passed me. AND, GET THIS, she corrected my running form as she ran by. WHAT?!?!? Well, I knew she was right, but I wished she said, “good job” or “you’re almost there”… but instead she told me that I should take smaller strides. At this point, I couldn’t really make my legs do anything but move forward, so I decided to take her advice another time.
As I reached the home stretch, there were more fans who started cheering and that gave me the energy to push through to the end. I smiled even though I wanted to stop and even though my legs hurt so bad. As I ran through the FINISH line, Davey was there cheering me on and even got it on video! (Also another exciting tidbit, as the announcer said my name, he also told people to check out our blog!!!!)
And then the sun came out.
We wore our medals with pride as we got food and waited for our results… and maybe ate one too many oreos.
All in all, it was a great race! And we learned a ton of tips for racing in the rain!