Over these past few weeks, this blog has done its level best to combine fishing and triathlon. Yesterday in the midst of the Half Full Triathlon, I did just that, much to my chagrin.
Swim: So there I am about halfway through the swim, and I’m making good time. I didn’t have any goals when I planned this race out a few weeks ago, but after the schedule got changed, my only goal was to be out of the water before the first (aka Lance) of the half distance race caught me. The aquabike division was the last wave of the Olympic, and I was the very last person in the water. I was on pace to do my average swim, and stay ahead of the half distance racers, but as I made the 2nd to last turn, I felt something on my foot. At first I assumed it was seaweed and tried to kick it loose. I couldn’t get it off, so I stopped to pull it loose, and that’s when I figured out why it wouldn’t come off; it was tangled up fishing line, a bunch of it. Long story short, cold water making my hands too numb to do much with my fingers in the water and tangled fishing line led to a panic attack. Right there in the water, I’m freaking out; every kick makes me more nervous that there’s a hook somewhere in the tangle and I’m going to wind up with it in my foot.
In the end there turned out to be no hook, but my panic meant the pointy end of the half race passed me by a few minutes in the water. Coming out of the water I finally got the fishing line off. Not a big deal in that I really had no goal for the swim but to survive it, but I was about 8 minutes off even my slower Olympic distance swims. 58 minutes is not a respectable time for a .9 mile swim but on this day, with this situation, I’ll absolutely take finishing over not.
Transition: was another special event all it’s own. When I peeled my wetsuit off, I could have quickly been on the bike and on my way, but by then it was raining and it was really cold. Plus I knew what lie ahead, a bike ride I wasn’t at all trained for, that was about 2 1/2 times as difficult as advertised. In fact, by the time I made it to transition, the ambulance was already being called out to the bike course to carry someone dealing with symptoms of hypothermia off to the hospital. I took my time and made myself as warm as I could; compression socks, short socks over them, arm warmers and a tech shirt over my tri top. Compression socks with frozen hands and toes are damn near impossible, to the tune of a 14 minute transition. That’s like 5 or 6 transitions for an athlete with better transition skills than mine.
Bike: Timberman has 2,000 feet of elevation in 56 miles. Rev3 Anderson has 1,043 feet in 23 miles. Half Full Tri had 1,924 feet of climbing in just 32 miles, and unlike the other two, it was hellish weather. Cold, gloomy, rainy and at times with some wind. When I couldn’t ride fast, I rode slow. When I couldn’t ride slow, I walked. When I couldn’t walk, I stood and rested leaning on my bike. I made sure I was on my bike as much as I could be, until the cramps didn’t let me. Then I rested,stretched, and rode some more. It was a slow slog, made easier only by the fantastic people riding around me who would ask how I was doing or give words of encouragement. Even Lance said “Morning” as he passed me on the bike. The hills on this ride were tough, and didn’t end until I turned into transition. My time for the bike was incredibly slow, around 3 hours, though I don’t have my official time yet. I do have my garmin which I forgot to shut off until I was on my way out of transition.
What’s strange about aquabike is that once you get off the bike you’re done, but you still have to go run through the finishing chute. So technically, it’s still a triathlon, but the run is about 200 yards. I did it while holding over my head a bib with the name Rebecca Tabat on it. Rebecca if you aren’t familiar was Rachelle’s cousin who passed away a couple of years ago from abdominal cancer at just 19 years old. She’s why I joined Team Fight. And she’s why I did the race even with all the Lance drama.
And she, along with my friends Derek, Jordan, and John Young remind me why you should never quit no matter how much it hurts, or how much you want to stop. And sometimes, when you don’t stop, you get rewarded with more than a finishers medal. By finishing, I podiumed for the Men’s Aquabike. 3rd place. A podium at a Rev 3 event. No matter how happy I am with how I did this year that was something I never expected to see myself type. I really had an enjoyable weekend, and I have some final thouhts on the Lance stuff I’ll share this week while I spend a couple days figuring out what’s next. In the meantime I’ll leave you with my Rev 3 podium photo.