A week prior to the race, I shipped my bike via bikeflights to a bike shop in the Jackson area. It arrived on Monday prior to my arrival on Thursday. I landed Thursday and go straight to bike shop to get my CC (my bike). I then drove to my brother’s house to assemble my bike. This was my first time using Scicon bike case, so I was a little anxious. The beauty of the case is that it does not require much assemble or disassembling. Everything was fine, but on the bottom of my frame I noticed several scratches. I get upset, as my bike is like my little child. Then I put my wheels on and my rear derailleur seems off, so I get more anxious. It was too late to take back to bike shop. My brother stated calm down you can also just ride another bike. I look, and say that it is not that easy. I am a somewhat functioning nervous wreck. My stomach is in knocks, and I am not doing much talking at all. I did come home to see my family too, but I was not in the mood to catch up. My plan was ride, and swim on Thursday, but that was not happening. Sleeping seemed like the best option.
I get up early, and decided to get a swim in in the pool to help calm my nerves. I go to a pool outside of Jackson and swim 1000 yards straight. I figured if I could swim 1000 yards, the 598 would be okay. After my swim, the bike shop was open. I take my bike, and the mechanic stated that my derailleur just need to be adjusted. He stated that it was fine. He also adjusted my front derailleur. This made me happy, and helped me calm down a little.
I decided to head up to Meridian which was about 1.5 hours from Jackson. First thing I did was drive the bike course. It was hilly, and had a few turns. Then I rode by the lake, the buoys were set up but there was no one around. My plan was to get a quick swim in, but not by myself. It was too early for check in, so I went to check in my hotel.
Race check in started at 5pm. I get my bib, and bag. I saw other people swimming. They did not have an official race prep, but I do get my question answered. I decided to swim to calm my nerves. I swam out to the first buoy with the kayak. I made friends with Terry in the kayak. I told him I was nervous. He told me to wear a red cap, and he would look for me on race day. I said deal.
I head to get some food, and back to hotel. I get my items together for race day
I woke up at 3:30 AM, I could not sleep anymore. I did stay in bed until 4:30AM. My stomach was still in knots. I could not eat, but I know that I needed something for fueling purposes. Transition opened at 5:30 am. I get there at 5:30AM. People were already set up. I could tell they were experienced triathlete just from their bikes. All high end triathlon bikes, and they had the end spots I wanted. I picked an area near swim exit where I would clearly see my bike. I set up my items like my last race. First a towel to wipe off my foot, and a bottle of water if I needed to rinse dirt/sand off. My helmet with my gloves, cycling glasses, head wrap, and my cycling shoes with socks and baby powder in them would be next in order. This race because I have the speed suit, I decided to have my half zip Tri top out to put on after the swim. My nutrition would be in my back pocket already. Last race I could not find my nutrition. So my plan was to have in place. That way I did not have to worry about. It would be in place in my dry Tri top. Next, was my visor, race belt, and running shoes, and a water bottle.
I put my speed suit half way on at the hotel, as it is hard to get on. I knew I would be visiting the porta-potty so I did not bother zipping it up. I can’t zip or unzip on my own without getting into some awkward positions. I talked to a few of the other athletes. They gave me advice, as they could see I was nervous. I see the couple that I met the night before. I finally meet David J who had been so helpful. He is a member of BTA- Black Triathlete Association. I had posted on the Facebook page to see who else would be at this race. He asked how many races I had done. I told him one. He said he was surprised, that I looked experience. I told him I had a great coach, and training crew- Infinity Effect. We were allowed to get in the water to warm up. I get in and do some strokes, and some drills as my coach suggested. That took my nerves from nine to about six.
The time was ticking away, and it was time to line up. This race seeded athletes in the order of registration. I was number #36. I made some friends in line as I waited. Each person started solo after they crossed the mat. I did the crazy leg run, and one dolphin wave. Then I started to swim. I tried to remember my coach Maurice saying to start slow. So I tried not to panick and take it easy. I made it to the first buoy. I grabbed it a minute to take a few breathes then I proceeded to the next one. By then more people were in the lake, which me more nervous. The people were to my left, so I just tried to stay right. I got winded, and I flipped on my back, and talked to myself. “Ouida you’ve got this calm down”. I don’t though. I raised my hand I wanted a kayak to rest. I raised my hand again, and thought okay what if I was in real distress where are the people. Finally one of the rescue boats comes. I say that I was not quitting, that I just needed a rest. They said grab on. I could not see where to grab. I finally saw and take a rest. I told them I was good, and continued to the next buoy. I then saw my kayak friend Terry. I swam to him. He was right next to the second buoy. The buoys were set up in a triangle configuration, and I took another rest. My googles were a bit foggy. I lifted them up just to see how far the next buoy is. I adjusted my googles and swam to the next one. My friend Terry said he would stay with me. I swam to the next one, then take another rest, then looked around. I asked am I the last one in the lake. He said no, there were a few others. I sighted to the flag pole it is right where the exit was. I said that I am almost home. I stroked, and stroked. Terry said that I was swimming better than before. I said, I was ready to be out of there. It seemed so far away. I tried to swim until I could feel the bottom, as my coach instructed. Terri and the guy at the exit say you can stand now. I stood and stepped to the exit. There was a large step up to the mat. The guy asked for my race number, I said hey can you help me. They were supposed to pull us up. I also asked could he unzip my speed suit. I ran to my bike. I sawmy BFF and God kids. They had made it.
I ripped off my speed suit, and tried to put on my Tri top. It took me three times to get it on right. I thought maybe that was not the best idea. I put on my head wrap, glasses, and helmet. I then dry off my feet, get my sock and shoes on. Last I put on my cycling gloves. I was not the last person out of the water, as I saw a few bikes left. I mounted and the race started on a hill.
Swim 32.32 minutes 1/3 mile-
Transition 3.18 minutes
One of the guys who had his bike placed right next to me told me to start in small chain as there is a hill at the start. Also my coach always states that too in order to get the legs moving after the swim. My heart was racing after the swim, which is normal I learned after my first race. I still tried to pick up some speed. I wanted to gain some time from the horrible swim. I gained some speed at it was flat for a few minutes, but there was a turn so I had to slow down. I see my brother, he had made it. I sped out to the highway. It was on, nice and flat for a few, then the first incline about 550 feet came. I saw a few people walking. I asked if they were ok, they say yes and I cruised on. Then the descent, which I alway love. I coasted, got some water my heart rate was finally slowing. I came to the third major turn I again picked up the pace. There were a few people cheering from their homes. I see David J from BTA headed back. I passed a few more people. I saw the couple that I had met, and a few others I meet the morning of the race. I rode and rode. I tried to get some nutrition. I took a bite out of my waffle and the rest fell to the ground. I thought, oh well. I kept pedaling, the turn around was near. You had to make a U-turn then head back. I was thinking that this is fun. The highest elevation was 619 feet what was not that awful. I continued to roll passing a few more. We get back to the highway, and the last major incline. I thought almost back let see what I have left. I tried to go as fast as I could but the turn back into the Lake area was near so I had to slow for the turn. I rode to dismount, and ran to get my visor, glasses, race belt and shoes.
Bike 59.31 for 16.5 miles
Transition 2:38 minutes
The race pack had a nice small water bottle in it. I thought this would be nice to run with. I walked the first minute I put some electrolytes in my water as I was wanting some last race. I hydrated then I started doing my intervals 5 to 1. I felt great for me. I feel like I am running my usually pace 11:30 to 12. I looked and was actually faster. I saw my family, and my God kids run on the side with me a minute. I make it to the first mile. I think great. I am still keeping my pace. I got to the water station. They refilled my bottle. I slowed up a little not on purpose. There is shade on far end of lower lake. I picked up a little speed. I continued on I still feel good. I had one mile left. I kept running. I saw the finish line. I picked up the pace, I wanted to finish strong. I ran and crossed the line. I looked and looked and thought where are the medals. No, medals WTH I did not know this. Not that I run, race for medals but it is nice to have one at the end. Oh, well my brother was waiting for me at the finish line. He hugged me and then my BFF with my God kids congratulated me. I made it Triathlon number 2 was done. It felt great other than the swim. As I was packing up my things I see Terry the kayak man. I thanked him for helping me make it out of the water.
Total TIME 2:18:04
Sunfish is a great race for beginner. The race is run by racers- IronMan I was pepping their tattoos. The swim was calm, clear. There was great support. Only bad part, it was too hot to wear a wet suit. The bike had hills but not too bad, elevation gain was 500 feet. It was very well marked. They had people of people to block traffic and to direct us the correct way. The run was nice, it was shaddy part of the way. The bad thing was no MEDAL. It is hard to compare my two races. They both were spirits, but thus bike was 16.5 miles versus 12.5 miles with the last one. The elevation gain was higher on this, but the actually elevation was higher with my first race. The swim was the same distance but I did not have my person swim buoy and there were more people. They had better support with Sunfish. The run hands down was better in the Sunfish road versus trial run on my first
Rest for a min, and back to training. Next up is Chicago Triathlon. I need to get my mind game right- the swim is my struggle. I will overcome though. I was really upset with my swim, but then I thought this time last year I could not make it half of a lap in the pool without stopping.