This past weekend was a blur. Jason and I were both racing in Washington, and doing two races on the same day, in different cities was a bit of a logistical challenge.
We were up early to catch the 6am ferry (for the second time this week) to Port Angeles. We had four different places we had to be, so an early start was a must. I was doing the Danskin Seattle Sprint, an all-women's race. Jason was doing the Lake Stevens Ironman 70.3 in Everett. Our first stop was Seattle Center, where I picked up my race package. I had never done an all female race before, and to my surprise there were over two thousand women signed up. Package pick up went pretty smoothly, but then things started to go sideways.
Once again on the ferry as the sun came up.
We had to go to the transition area to drop my bike off. Seattle has a traffic problem, which is not exactly a secret, but Saturday was off the charts. The Mercer exit to I-5 (the one we needed) was closed, so we had to snake through downtown and some of the heaviest traffic I'd ever seen in that city. Finally out of downtown, the road to the transition area was being paved and was single-lane traffic. I pretty much thought I would have a nervous breakdown - we just don't have serious traffic where I live, one of the benefits of island life!
We finally got to the race site and I dropped my bike off. Walking back to the car, I was grumbling to Jason about the plan for tomorrow... the organizers wanted us to park at Safeco Field, then take a shuttle to the race site. Problem was, bikes weren't allowed on the shuttle so after the race, you had to take the shuttle back to your car and then drive back to the transition to get your bike. If there's anything that drives me batty, it's inefficient use of time. I joked to Jason and said "I should pay one of these houses $20 to let me park in their driveway for the day". About a minute later, he pointed to a sign on someone's lawn: "Reserve Race Day Parking Here - $20"... is that coincidence or the universe smiling at me?
Bike dropped off, parking reserved, back in the car to drive to Lake Stevens where Jason was racing Sunday. We didn't want to go back through the paving zone, so asked my Garmin for an alternate route. Well, it was either set on "scenic and windy" or "let's screw with them", as the route we took to get back to I-5 wound around and around, circled, up, down, and I was pretty sure another nervous breakdown would happen.
In Lake Stevens, we had to go to the high school to pick up Jason's race package, then to the transition to drop his bike. Finally we were at our hotel for the evening, relaxing and setting the alarm for another ridiculously early wake up.
Once again up before dawn. I dropped Jason off at his race, and drove into Seattle for mine. At least no traffic issues on an early Sunday morning, so I was pretty relaxed when I arrived. I set up my transition area, and then headed to the porta-potty where I learned something interesting. Usually porta-potties are pretty disgusting at races, and I was expecting the same as this particular race had a couple of thousand ahtletes. I opened the door, and was shocked at the pristine condition. Sure, it had been used, but it was clean and tidy. My best guess as to why - there were only women that had used it. I can only assume that guys live out their fireman fantasies in the porta-potty, imagining the entire thing on fire and they are the only ones who can put it out.
My transition area. Normally my helmet is on my bike, but
(you can't tell from the picture) the racks were really high and
all the bikes were dangling off the ground. I figured if someone
bumped my bike my helmet and glasses would scatter.
Wetsuit on, down at the lakefront, where my wave was corralled together on the shore. This race had a lot of beginners in it, which is awesome, but many of them didn't have wetsuits. Lake Washington is cold, so I didn't envy them! One woman next to me said she was jealous of my wetsuit, but wouldn't be when she was already on the bike when I was still taking it off. Umm... what? I won't tell you what I wanted to reply to her, instead I just smiled. But for the record - hey beeyotch, I have no trouble getting out of my wetsuit, it literally only takes seconds.
I wanted to have a strong swim, so at the gun I sprinted hard - really hard - and figured that whoever was with me in 50 meters were the feet I wanted. It worked, there was one woman with me and I swam on her feet for the rest of the 800m. We had to swim through a lot of non-swimmers from earlier waves, some doing breast stroke and some literally just treading water. She and I came out together, and I was pretty happy to see 13:35 on my watch (my goal was to be under 14). The timing mats were a ways up the shore, so my official swim was 13:59... still she and I had the fastest swim in the 40-44 age group.
I had a great transition (despite the long run to/through) and wanted to push really hard on the bike. I had more miles in my legs from the summer of riding than a 20 km leg warrants, so I decided I'd at least ride as hard as I could. I didn't once let up for the whole ride, and passed literally hundreds of women - I was feeling like a rock star! Guess how many people passed me on the bike? None. Zero. Nada. Zilch! My bike time ended up as 36:42 (my goal was 41), good enough for the 4th fastest bike in the 40-44.
Another speedy transition and I headed onto the run course. I was a little worried that riding so hard would mean that I couldn't run. I started slowly and tried to increase the pace the whole time. As one woman went by, she told me how great I looked on the bike, which totally made me smile. I think I started too slowly, but I am not a good runner and am really trying to work on that this year. I can push the pace in the swim and the bike no problem, but I don't have the confidence to do this on the run yet. I really wanted to run 35 minutes, as the last 3 sprint races I've done (2 last year, 1 this year), my run has been 37.xx. I was looking at my watch for the whole last mile realizing I was close, so I really dug deep and ended up running 35:14.
My total time of 1:31 put me in tenth place in the 40-44, but I'd also checked the "Athena" division where I placed 2nd! I packed up my stuff, got my award, and headed back on the road to Jason's race... where he won the men's 40-44 in a blazing 4:23 for the day. Definitely a weekend worth the craziness.
My 2nd place award.