Racing Pet Peeves: A Halloween Run 5K Race Report

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Photo by Gratisography on Pexels.com

So Drew and I decided yesterday afternoon that we’d run our town’s Halloween 5K today. We’ve run it pretty much every year for the past four years, and it’s a fun and fast course. Drew’s coming back from deviated septum surgery, so he felt like he wanted to go try out his new nose. I decided to tag along. I laughed on the way back home that, because we signed up so late, we paid more than a dollar per minute for the privilege of running. At least it was going to a good cause!

We parked and jogged on over to the starting line. It’s a fun race and folks really get into costumes (I don’t know how they run in some of them!). It’s always humbling to be passed by a dude in a full banana suit or chef’s costume (complete with hat!). Keeps you grounded. So, we also knew from past experience, that we needed to line up in the front if we wanted to have any chance of running the first half mile at all.

It’s a beginner friendly, fun race, so folks of all ages and abilities sign up. I love that aspect of the race, but I also know better than to park myself too far back in the corral. Too often, I’ve gotten stuck in the log jam, as Drew likes to call it, and blown any chances of getting a PR. I really wanted to push today to see how my fitness was doing, so up we went, dangerously close to the front of the pack. Drew kept edging up and edging up until finally I said I wasn’t moving any closer to the front. He motioned toward several ladies ahead of us in full princess costumes. I said, “OK, let’s move a teensy bit forward.”

Off we went! Everything was going swimmingly and I was keeping pace with my pack. I thanked Drew for moving us up closer and quickly found my groove. I didn’t have to dodge anyone or run around anyone and it was glorious! I passed a few people, but no one passed me, so I felt good about my placement at the start. I tried to push the limits of my pace without over-doing it and I felt good about my overall effort.

I lost Drew about a mile and a half in (His new nose is working very well, in case you were wondering!), but was still feeling pretty good about my effort. I wasn’t overly concerned with time. I just wanted to put out the best effort I felt I could. It was about miles two that it happened: my biggest running pet peeve…

Let me preface this by saying I’m sure something I do annoys someone out there. I try to be as un-annoying a runner as I can be, but, hey, we all have our pet peeves! Mine is the sprint walker. It drives me absolutely crazy. Let me paint you a picture:

Imagine, here you are working on your pacing. You’re doing well and keeping yourself on pace, not slowing or speeding up too much. You’re trying to keep yourself in a nice, even groove. You’re watching your line, so you don’t weave and get in anyone else’s way. Enter the sprint walker. He sprints around you at 7:00 or so minutes/mile, pulls right in front of you and, without any warning at all, stops dead to walk right…in…front…of…you. Now you’re just doing your thing, keeping your pace, and suddenly there’s a person right in your way, forcing you to veer hard right or left or sloooow down suddenly. Now you’re out of your groove. Now you have to fight to get back in it. Now right about the time you go to get around this person, he dead sprints in front of you again. And he stops short AGAIN. Rinse and repeat for the next mile….

You can imagine the frustration. You can also imagine the frustration when said sprint walker beats you to the finish line with these shenanigans by less than a second… UGH. Am I salty? Maybe a little. But this crap drives me nuts. Either run a consistent speed, give notice you are stopping, or get the heck out of people’s way. Any of these things are acceptable. But, please, for the love of everything holy, don’t sprint around a person and stop right in front of them. If you do it once, fine. We’re all tired. You are forgiven. But when you do this repeatedly for the better part of a mile, now you’re on my naughty list.

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My annoyed face

Anyway, despite the sprint walker (I wised up after a few times and prepared myself to dodge!), I still managed a 5K PR today and felt pretty good about my overall effort. I’ve still got a few miles to run today and then a whole bunch of miles to run tomorrow, but for now, I’m feeling good in the neighborhood!

 

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You’ve come a long way, baby!

I was thinking back the other day to the beginning of this crazy running adventure. The year was 2013. I was getting older and not any fitter. I’d been thin my whole life, but age was slowly increasing my waistline… and my blood pressure. The doctor said the dreaded word “medication” to me at a physical and I knew I had to do something. Most of my family landed in the medication zone and I wasn’t keen to join their ranks! I needed cardio and I needed it immediately!

Inspiration came from an unlikely source– Matthew Inman, aka The Oatmeal. (If you haven’t done yourself the favor–go check him out!) He wrote a comic called “The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances.” Suddenly, the impossible didn’t seem so impossible! Inman was a nerd — like me! — and he was capable of running.  Maybe I could run too!

Drew’s initial reaction was one of incredulity. At the time, he only ran while playing soccer and he thought I had lost my mind. But I laced up my (badly self-fit) shoes and out I went. At first, like most, I had no idea what I was doing.

My legs hurt. My knees hurt. I hated running… I’d run once around the block – a total of about a mile — as fast as I could. I could only run just a minute or so at a time before I had to stop and walk, gasping for breath. I thought the goal was to push my heart rate up as high as I could. I was an idiot.

I ran this loop three times a week — starting out running it only once, then gradually moving it up to three times a week. I mean, I wasn’t Wonder Woman! Who could possibly run more than once per week?!? Finally, I decided I wanted to train for a race! I have no idea what possessed me to sign up for a race, y’all. At this point, I hated running, but I’m really glad now that I did!

Drew and I picked Disney’s Expedition Everest 5K and I was off and training! (The idea of training to complete a 5K is now hilarious to me — but that’s part of what I realized!) I felt like I ran my legs off training right up to the event!

I remember getting to the event and lining up in the corrals– I was super intimidated! There were people eating GUs (should I be eating that?? I worried) All the others looked svelte and in control! I was a nervous wreck. I didn’t know if I could finish the race! I’d never attempted walk/running that far before. But I made it — in an abysmal time — but I made it…and I was hooked!

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The race that started an obsession! (I love how I look like I’ve just run a marathon here… It wasn’t sweat; it was raining!)

The next year went by and my “training” continued. I ran off and on, but never far and never enough to form a habit. In 2015, I decreed — I shall run a half marathon! It seemed like the hardest thing anyone could ever do!

By this point, I’d actually gotten fitted for shoes, which took care of the leg and knee pain, and I’d googled up some Hal Higdon, so I was on my way!

The plan seemed impossible! (Are we noticing a trend…?) But this time, I made running more of a habit and felt strong leading up to the race. We again went to Disney (hey, they have generous cut-offs, y’all!) to the Wine and Dine Half.

The Wine and Dine Half ended up getting delayed for weather that year and was ultimately shortened to seven miles…I was ticked. I’d spent all that time training! I wanted to use it! I googled local races and found a half in my hometown that very next weekend! I signed myself up that very moment… I didn’t realize the cut-off for that race was an hour shorter than the Disney race… Boy, when I realized that…

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The half marathon that wasn’t…

Again, I signed up. Again, I was terrified. Again, I finished!

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I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy in my whole life!

It was around this time I started to wonder…What about a marathon???

And you know how that story played out! All this building made me think back to the days where one mile was the workout and not just the warmup. It’s amazing what a little bit of perspective does for you.

What seemed impossible (and seems impossible for friends just starting their journey) is not only possible–it’s probable! What once took an eternity to get through is now a short, quick run! (And I love it!!) All these things I’d built up as mountains weren’t mountains at all! They were just little molehills! But it took me years to see it.

Our minds and bodies are amazing engines — capable of so much more than I ever thought possible. If you had told me, back in 2013, I would have completed numerous halfs, a marathon, an ultra, an Ironman, and was gearing up for two more marathons and a full Ironman, I would have thought you were crazy. Now it’s just another Saturday and it turns out I’m possibly a little crazy… Anyhow!

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Mile 22 and I’m still smiling! This was a fun race. (Minus the Drew being super hurt part…)

Just that little bit of perspective kept me going this week when I was feeling down about my training. New jobs (yes, I said jobs, plural!) and changes and stress have kept me off the road more than I would have liked, but perspective pulled me back.

I’ll toe scary lines again. I’ll break barriers. I’ll be terrified. But I’ll trust in myself and my training and I’ll make it all right — finish or not. I have no doubt a DNF looms in my future. It does for us all. But it’s OK now. I’ll get through it. After all, I always have.

Running, Racing, and Resting: It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks!

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Nothing beats the beauty of the Gulf!

Drew and I have had a crazy couple of weeks! Between work and racing, it seems like we’ve been out of town more than in it. We’ve had two trail races, both out of town, and a work trip all in the span of two weeks!

I’m not the type of person to often stop and smell the roses. Being pretty much as type A as a person can be, I’m always living one step ahead–the next training plan, the next race, the next work project. Running has been one of the few ways I’ve forced myself to be in the moment, particularly trail running. It’s really hard to think ahead when you’re just trying not to trip on that rock that’s just in front of you. You pretty much have no choice other than to be in the moment.

So while I definitely had to prepare for my conference, I also knew I wanted to take a few moments to breathe and enjoy the view. Take, for instance, this view:

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That’s not a filter, y’all!

It was spectacular to sit outside on my balcony, breathe in the fresh ocean air, and just be. Amidst all the craziness and prepping for the conference and prepping for my presentation, to have a moment to sit and watch the sea birds, listen to the waves, and feel the wind in my face was a welcome change.

We also made time for a smidge of fun. Down to the coast and back all in the span of two days was crazy but fun, and we tried to squeeze every bit of fun right out of it. We ended up eating at a little dock-side seafood shack that had some interesting decor that went well with my theme for the weekend.

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I can get behind this idea…

Now, I have a few weeks before life gets totally crazy again and I’m going to try to squeeze out all these “just-be” moments I can before that happens!

Georgia Jewel Race Report

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Me at the start of my race

Drew and I loaded up the swag wag and made our way to the Georgia Jewel. We had no idea what was in store for us once we arrived. We skidded into the convention center on two wheels mere minutes before packet pickup closed and ran to get our bibs. As soon as we calmed down enough from our mad rush to notice the atmosphere, we both said, almost in unison, “Woah, this is like a real ultra!”

Drew was excited; I was nervous. I wasn’t technically running an ultra the next day (only 18 miles for me), but it was the longest trail run I had ever done. I was intimidated by the elevation profile and wasn’t sure I could complete the run in the time cutoff. Drew had signed up for the 35 mile option, but he didn’t seem nervous at all.

The next morning, bright and early, we hit the finish line to load the bus that would take us to our start lines. We would have to make our way back to civilization and the finish line. Once Drew loaded his bus (he started earlier), I made my way back to the car, climbed in the back, and napped for another 45 minutes before I had to load my bus. I started feeling sick from nerves. I finally got up and just went to stand like a zombie until I could load the bus.

Thankfully, I met up with some lovely ladies who had done the course before and talked me through the course. I had never run a trail race on my own before and I was terrified! I have a horrible sense of direction. HORRIBLE. I get lost in the town I’ve lived in my whole life. I could see myself stumbling around off-course, little buzzards circling above my head, until they called out the rangers for me.

For this race, I had two goals: 1) Don’t get lost! and 2) Finish in the time limit. I held these goals in my head like a mantra as we wound our way to the starting line. After what felt like no time at all, we were off!

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Start is over by the guy in red…notice how he’s already headed up???

The start of the race was a 1.5 mile climb up the mountain. People sprinted around me and ran their way up the mountain, but I took my time. We had 18 miles to go–nobody was going to win it in the first mile! I set off on a quick, but steady hike and wound my way up the mountain. The first couple of miles went quickly and steadily as I finally made it to some runnable ridge line!

I ran with a nice new friend from Atlanta for a good chunk of the race, which helped the miles melt by.  We got to cheer for 100-milers as we passed each other. They started the other way, going from the finish out and then back to the finish. It was awesome to be able to cheer them on and help my mood too!

At mile 7 or 8, I must have hit a root and went sprawling. Thankfully, I wasn’t hurt too badly and made it through with some cuts on my knees. One cut was crusted over with dirt, but with at least 10 miles to go and no water to spare, there was nothing to do but keep going.

We hit the first aid station, filled up, and kept going. The next aid station was supposed to be two miles after the 100-miler water drop, so we were all in high spirits once we saw that water drop that was supposed to mean one of the hard parts– the rock garden–was over. Unfortunately, we only thought we had been through the rock garden! As it turns out, the rangers had put the water drop in the wrong spot (or maybe I misunderstood where it was supposed to be…hey it was hot!): before the rock garden, not after it. So what we thought was a two mile jaunt to the next aid station turned out to actually be four. Through the hottest part of the day. Oh no.

We came upon a gravel road that was well marked, but in our delirium, we (and the guy in front of us) just kept running straight. After living and dying by the little white flags, we got suspicious when we didn’t see one in a quarter of a mile. I pulled up my handy dandy View Ranger app and, sure enough, we were off course! We yelled for the guy in front of us, but he didn’t hear us! (I really hope he made it back!) We turned and kept on going, now back on course.

By this point, the heat was incredible. Also, it was here that I lost my company as we ascended up to the rock garden. I looked around and I was alone! With nothing to do but go forward, I trudged on up to the ridge line. Up on the ridge line, there was little opportunity for shade, and the rock garden lived up to its reputation. The rocks there were more like boulders and running through them proved tough. So I switched to power-hiking and moved my way further through the rock garden and further up the mountain. A crazy thing started happening — I started passing people!

My slow and steady and food strategy was working! I passed some folks looking pretty rough. One guy was curled up in the fetal position. I asked him if he was OK and if he needed anything before moving on. The mountain had clearly taken its toll on him, but there was nothing to do but keep moving. People all around me kept asking me about the next aid station. No one had budgeted water well because we were expecting to only be two miles from the next aid. We all had the same worry: we were running out of water!

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What a view!

Finally, after a spectacular ridge line view and a hellish walk down a loosely packed gravel road with absolutely no water left, I spotted the aid station like an oasis in the desert! It was one of the most glorious sights I had ever seen! Here was the conversation:

Me: “Oh, am I glad to see you guys!”

Them: “We’re glad to see you too! What do you need?”

Me: “I need two cups of tailwind, two cups of water, and to pet that puppy!”

They laughed, I got to pet the sweet puppy, and they got me nice and fixed up for the last three miles. The volunteers at the race were nothing short of amazing!

I knew I had about three miles to go and the worst of the worst climb, Mt. Baker, looming ahead of me. I was in pretty good shape. I was sore, but my feet were in good shape, and I had water again, so I was feeling strong on the way back to the finish line.

Finally, after a harrowing walk through some weirdly pot-holed power lines, I rounded a corner and saw the posters… Mt. Baker was in front of me. Believe me when I tell you that Mt. Baker was the hardest ascent I have ever done: 187 ft. of gain over .10 miles for a grade of 32%. Walking up it was excruciating. I switched positions several times from bent double to very small, quick steps. The only thought running through my mind over and over was “Just keep moving; don’t stop.”

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Frankenfoot!

After what felt like an eternity, I arrived at the top of Mt. Baker. From there, it was a quick jog to the finish and I was done! I sat down, had some water and then a beer, and basked in the glory with the other finishers. I went to the car to change shoes, notice a heinous blister on my toe, and wait for my favorite fella to finish the 35 miler!

I chatted with other folks waiting on their people to finish 35 or 50 miles and that made the day go by quickly. As the 35 milers started coming in, it seemed like every person that came through I jumped up trying to see if it was Drew. Person after person came through, but no Drew. I started to worry. I knew how bad the heat was when we came through our section, so I could only imagine how bad it was by the time Drew and the other 35 milers came through. I walked back and forth between Mt. Baker and the car, hoping to catch a glimpse of him.

Finally, while walking back towards Mt. Baker, I saw him. I ran over to walk with him on the last stretch. He was clearly hurting, but was in good spirits. I talked him into running out the last bit and I ran him into the finish!

My day was amazing: 18.3 miles and 3179 ft. of elevation. What an awesome adventure!

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He was so happy to be finished!

 

Race Report: Chewacla Cha Cha 10K

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Trying not to fall down the hill

Drew and I have a lot of trail races on the ole race calendar for the next month or so, this being the first. The race happened to be the inaugural race held in the town of Auburn, Drew’s alma mater town! When he heard about the race, he got a crew together with the thought that everyone would run the race and then later go to the game.

We hit up a super-cool Air B-n-B and rested up day before the race. Up bright and early, the crew made our way to Chewacla State Park to hit the trails. All of us had signed up for the 10K option and so we got our bibs and milled about before the race, chatting with folks and checking out the trails. At 8am, away we went!

The heat and humidity were oppressive — even at 8am. The beginning of the race was hectic as the 5K and 10K folks all started together. I tried sprinting to get ahead, but I got stuck in the conga line, as Drew called it. I chugged along behind folks because it was just impossible to pass. I didn’t really mind though, because the heat was pretty intense and the hills were a little more heinous than I had anticipated.

This one will be flat, Drew said. There won’t be many hills at all, Drew said. Drew, unfortunately, was wrong. The hills weren’t bad, but they were numerous and rolling. The piece de resistance, though, was the massive hill right at the end of the looped course. The 10K option was a two-loop trek through the state park, and the views were beautiful–hills and all!

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My feet are hurting, but I keep smiling!

About half-way through the first loop, I realized my feet were really hurting….like reaaaaally hurting. My poor feet were feeling every little rock and bump in the trail, making me feel more tired than I really was. For some reason, my shoes had just flattened out and weren’t springing back at all. I kind of felt like the little mermaid, as I ran. Mind you, not the pretty Disney character– oh no! I felt more like old-school, walking on shards of glass little mermaid. It was an unpleasant experience to say the least.

 

As I chugged along behind folks, I rounded a corner and, bam, we had finished the first loop. I stared at my Garmin in disbelief once I saw the time until I realized, the course was short…. Way short. The end result of the two loops was about 4.5 miles.

Even though the course was short, the race was seriously fun! The four of us made our way back with our medals and then most of the others had much fun at the game (even though Auburn lost… I’m cursed, I tell you! I should never be near sporting events!).

All-in-all, Chewacla was a great warm up for the main event next week: The Georgia Jewel!

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Victory!

 

Rise and Grind, Y’all! :Rocketman Tri Race Report

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Me and my new pal Jonathan happy to be almost finished!

So the last tri of my season this year was Rocketman Olympic+ Triathlon. That little plus will be more important later! I saddled up the Forrester and the hubs (he’s a really good sport, y’all!) and off we went to our local river to jump on in! (Well, me anyway…). The distance was a little over Olympic mainly due to the swim being 1900 meters (Half Ironman distance, y’all!). HOWEVER, we were promised it would feel a lot more like the usual 1500 meters due to the current assist, so going in I was really nervous about the distance.

I was nervous about swimming in the river. I still haven’t shaken the sheer terror of swimming in open water. What can I say? I have a healthy fear of dying, and drowning has to be one of the worst ways. Sure, I can swim, but in the middle of the river with kayakers seemingly forever away, drowning seems like a real possibility. We lined up and jumped in one at a time on a dock 1.2 miles away and were to swim back to transition.

The problem was I didn’t really see how deep the water was that we were jumping in and I’m just not about to risk slamming down hard onto a rock at the beginning of a race, so I ease on in and proceeded to sink BACKWARDS UNDER THE DOCK, y’all…. Seriously. I thought I was going to die! Thankfully, I made it back out and off I went. But because I saw NEAR AND SUDDEN DEATH looming in front of me (or should I say behind me), I started panic breathing almost immediately and pretty soon I just couldn’t breathe at all. That same sensation of drowning I had at the Ironman I had all over again.

Finally, I calmed down enough to start actually swimming instead of panic slapping of water. It was then I realized that a) this water was actually amazing and clean and b) THERE WAS NO FREAKIN’ CURRENT. None. Nada. No assist (I’m sure there was some but…). It was like swimming in a slightly wavy bathtub, so I plodded on holding my ground and not losing too much and not getting passed much. I felt pretty good for the first half or so of the swim.

By half-way (or so…I refused to look at my watch), I was flagging. The combination of lack of proper training and sheer, abject terror had left me drained and hungry. The peanut butter I’d eaten that morning was all but gone. I was swimming on fumes! Also, the drag created by my suit was really taking its toll on me. I need a swimskin desperately! After what seemed like an eternity, I finally saw the turning buoy that signaled the end! I’d made it!

Some very nice volunteers hauled my tired butt out of the water and off I went into transition. I gulped down some Sword, put on my bike gear and off I went….right into some nice hills! I hadn’t anticipated those. Oops. The scenery was lovely though, so I kicked it into high gear, literally, and put my head down. Time to grind this crap out.

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‘Bout to put the hammer down! (But first…photo op…)

I made it to the turn around in good time, only nearly wrecking into the ditch a little bit. (Double oops… I don’t even want to think about how close I came to plummeting down into that ditch!) I put the hammer down and raced my way back to the river. The roads were not closed, so often we were dodging traffic. Sometimes it felt a little like we were playing Frogger. Thankfully, the cars were very nice and shared the road, often motioning us around them to let us continue on our way. It was awesome how nice everyone was, really! I told my legs to shut up, tucked up into aero, and hammered out last four miles. Before I knew it I was running back into transition several minutes before I thought I’d be.

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Pretty much sums up my running…fighting that clock

I spent waaaaaay too long in T2, y’all. Like, I holed up and had a freaking picnic. By the time I hit the run, it was melt your face off hot. The event had started an hour late due to swimming logistics, so I started running an hour later in the day than I anticipated. There was little shade on the route and by half a mile in to the 10K I was feeling it!

I’d have to run and walk and run and walk. I couldn’t ever get into a groove because it was just too hot. I chatted with some nice folks along the way and finally, after what felt like forever, I made it to the half-way point. It was here a very nice lady made my day! (Her and the ice filled towel they gave me. Heaven!) Here’s a paraphrase:

Nice Lady (NL): You’re looking great still!

Me: Thank you, ma’am! Thanks for being out here!

NL: No really, you look effortless! Your form is excellent! You should do an Ironman.

Me: I’ve already done one, ma’am!

NL: *laughing* Well, no wonder you look so good!

So, thank you, Nice Lady, for giving me the boost to move my butt back to the finish line!

With about 2.5 miles left to go, I met up with a small group and ran with them for a bit. Then, I met up with my new pal, Jonathan, who was suffering from an injury and still plugging away! How he made it that whole way was seriously an inspiration and made me suck it up and just run! We chatted and pumped each other up the last two miles or so until we reached the finish line. It was an awesome way to end the day!

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Super hot and happy to be finished!

Overall, this was a super fun race and I’ll definitely be back next year. The volunteers and other racers were all super nice and helpful! They really made the experience wonderful. All that, and I hit my time goal!

2018 tri season may now be officially over for me, but I’m already plotting next year’s races and planning how I’m going to get over that elusive 140.6 finish line!

Huntsville Sprint Tri Race Report

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Before the mayhem

It’s hard to believe that my adventure into the world of triathlon began one year ago, almost to the day. I signed up for the Huntsville Sprint Tri last August to see if I could even finish the whole thing. Terrified about bike handling and just the endurance required to finish three sports in one go, I worried my way to the starting line to see if I had what it took. When I finished, I immediately knew the multisport life was the life for me!

When Drew decided he’d like to do this tri again this year and that he’d recruited one of his work buddies, I decided I’d join in too. I love to enable people to do these awesome things I love! Running and triathlon has become such a big, awesome part of my life that I love when people are experiencing it for the first time.

Since I was in a wee bit better shape this year than last year, I seeded myself up in the swim. The swim is honestly my strongest sport, but I was afraid of the carnage last year and seeded myself waaaaay too far back and was forced to tread water behind a wall of people for the entire swim. So up I went and got in line. The start of the swim is awesome. Two-by-two, swimmers jump into the water and zigzag their way to the exit on the other end of the pool.

Now, honestly, this shouldn’t be too hard, but given the fact that this tri is extremely beginner friendly, coupled with the fact that lots of these people have never competitively swam and don’t know how to swim in lane with others (thanks for that lesson, Coach Tammy!), the carnage is bound to happen. Folks will often seed themselves too far forward and then flag about half way (or less) and cause a log jam of bodies. Not much fun, but I knew it was coming.

Apparently the guy behind me did not know or care about this crush of bodies. He thought we were all going too slowly, (we really weren’t…only about 10 seconds behind our seeded time). So this guy proceeds to LITERALLY SWIM OVER ME and everyone else on the right side…NOT THE LEFT, which is the passing lane.

Remember, this is not an Ironman, nor is it an open swim where swimming over folks is just kind of a fact of life. Everyone’s scared in the open water and you really can’t see, so I can get how that happens. But THIS IS A POOL. AND it’s supposed to be beginner friendly. I really don’t think many people are going to come back after nearly drowning from a dude swimming on top of them.

Anyway, I back off and let Mr. Speedy go on and get out of the way. And he’s just mowing people down on the right side, actually causing everyone to slow down because now they’re sucking in water from the onslaught. I had to switch to breaststroke for a lap to let the water I’d swallowed clear, and then was back on my way. UNTIL I CAUGHT UP WITH MR. SPEEDY…and passed him (on the left or course because I’m not a barbarian). At which point, he proceeds to sprint and swim over me AGAIN. NOT COOL, DUDE. Please keep in mind that I am not sprinting here. I’m just swimming my normal pace as I can while passing when it’s safe.

Dude proceeds to swim on top of me three times and then I’d had enough. Clearly, he was not as fast as he thought he was, which is cool, but you don’t have to nearly drown your competitor…not really sportsman-like. The next time I saw Mr. Speedy, he tried to swim over me again and I pinned him into the lane rope. He backed off. Was this enough for him to learn his lesson? NO. He tried to swim over me again! (He’s constantly slowing down and then sprinting, while I’m just swimming my steady pace.  You know, the pace I said I’d swim…)

Finally, we were about to turn the last corner and head for the finish. Mr. Speedy was having none of it, so he sprints to catch up and tries to pass me on the right for the last time. At this point, I was DONE with his crap. The last lane is HUGE and there’s no reason why he should have been anywhere near me. When he tried to swim over me, I frog-kicked as hard as I could and hit something soft. He backed waaaaaaay off. I kicked it into high gear and got the HECK OUT OF THAT POOL.

I was fuming as I made my way into transition. There was no reason some dude should have been so rude to everyone. It makes a miserable day for everyone involved and this was supposed to be the event that welcomes everyone into the fold!

Thankfully the bike route was blessedly free of annoyances and I finished in a great time. 2018 HSV Sprint Tri-4956

_88A0291The road had been freshly paved—oh the simple joys of a freshly paved road! I got to cheer on kids as I passed them, which is always fun. The kids on their little mountain bikes are the best–peddling as fast as their little legs will go! I felt like my bike handling skills are improving, but I still corner like a granny at the supermarket…One day….

The run was a little hot, but really pretty nice for this time of year. I’d totally forgotten that a lot of the run is on grass and gravel. I didn’t bring the right shoes for it, but I made it work anyway. I got to cheer some folks on as I started my second loop, as folks were starting their first. It’s nice to be able to offer some words of encouragement to folks who look like they are flagging. I know I always appreciate the sentiment when I’m flagging! Overall, everyone was much nicer and encouraging on the run, which I greatly appreciated.

All in all, it was a fun race, swim aside! We all finished in great times and had fun celebrating post race. On to the next one: Rocketman Tri to finish out my season!

2018 HSV Sprint Tri-5262
Racing for the finish!