1 hour, 49 minutes, 51 seconds

September 11, 2006 on 8:42 pm | By | In Race Reports | 2 Comments

My first triI’m hooked!

I was warned that this might happen — triathlons are addicting!  In fact, about an hour after I got home I was online signing up for another tri this weekend.  What’s even cooler is that my darling is going to do this one with me!  (It’s our 6-year wedding anniversary this Saturday, and even though he’s not one to do organized races, he figured it’d be an easy way to get out of buying me a gift :))  Now for a recap.

I awoke Saturday morning to find the weatherman was right: it was raining.  Not a problem for me, but I felt sorry for my client who was hosting a barbecue later in the day.  I had spent all day Friday prepping for the barbecue so that I wouldn’t be too stressed on Saturday.  But I still had to drive 30 miles south to Federal Way to pick up my race packet before heading to my client’s.  I wanted to make sure I got there right when they opened — 10 a.m. — so that I could shoot straight to my client’s house immediately after (the barbecue began at 3 p.m.).  I actually arrived early, but it gave me an opportunity to check out the swim course.  I also met another woman who was in my wave, Joann (this would be her second tri; she did the Danskin a few weeks ago). 

The barbecue went off without a hitch, and everyone thought it was so cool that I was doing a tri the next day (my body marking was peeking out under my t-shirt).  I made sure I stayed hydrated, plus I took time out to eat a proper meal.  We finished up about 8 p.m., which gave me plenty of time to finish packing for the tri and get a good nights’ sleep.  I even abstained from my typical post-event libation (double vodka martini), although I did enjoy a half glass of champagne at the client’s house.  I managed to have a rather restful nights’ sleep, although the 3:45 a.m. alarm came much too quick.

For breakfast I decided to stick with my tried and true: steel cut oatmeal with a couple of bananas.  Some fitness nutritionists warn against too much fiber before a race, but it’s never been a problem for me.  The oats fill me up and keep me going (and more importantly, do not upset my stomach).  I also downed a bottle of vitamin water, as well as a couple cups of coffee and a bunch of water (fortunately there were a ton of port-a-potties available!).

Although it was a bit chilly, the skies were relatively clear.  We got to Steel Lake about an hour and a half before the race start, and I quickly got my gear in place (Joann arrived early as well, so I placed my bike next to hers).  Since we had so much time to kill, my darling took the opportunity to shoot a bunch of pictures (including the one above and the one in the About section.  I think the latter looks like a Nike ad!).

After a 10-minute calisthenic warm-up/motivation talk, led by Subaru’s triathlon spokeswoman (a gregarious gal with personality to spare!), we were ready for our swim.  We jumped in about 45 seconds before the official start to get ourselves acclimated (and yes, there was a final pee involved), and then the gun went off.  I knew that swimming with a group would be a challenge, but I didn’t think I’d have much of a problem since it seemed our wave was rather small.  However, I immediately started having trouble catching my breath and found myself getting overtaken by most of the swimmers.  After several self-affirmations, “You can do this Betsy!” I was finally able to catch my breath and settle into a groove.  Soon enough I was passing a few swimmers (although I was also being passed by swimmers in the wave behind us).

After 18 minutes, 40 seconds I emerged from the water, but I still had to run a few yards to cross the timing pad (where my official swim time would be recorded).  I was pretty dizzy after the swim, but I managed to slip off my wetsuit halfway for the run back to the transition area.  I quickly shimmied off the suit, threw on some socks, my bike shoes, sunglasses and helmet, wolfed down a couple of Clif shot blocks, kissed my darling and was off running with my bike — not an easy feat when wearing bike shoes (we couldn’t mount our bike until after we were out of the transition area).  Joann was about a minute behind me (she too had trouble breathing in the beginning of the swim), but I had a feeling she’d kick by butt in the bike portion — her forte.

The ride featured relatively easy rolling hills through the Weyerhauser corporate campus.  I’m still somewhat nervous on the bike (I had had a nasty fall a couple of years ago), and I therefore use my brakes a bit too much.  But I kept reminding myself there’d be no traffic, so I let myself go full bore.  Still, I was passed consistently.  At one point I saw another biker broken down on the side of the road; I debated stopping since I didn’t think I could do much to help her.  But she looked so frustrated I had to at least ask how she was.  Turns out her chain had fallen off (for the second time) and she couldn’t seem to get it back on.  Since I’m no bike expert I couldn’t help her, but reassured her that there’d probably be a help van coming along soon (at least that’s what we were told).

The bike portion ended with a rather steep hill; many have to walk it but I was able to power up it.  As I was rounding the bend toward the transition a group of people starting shouting, “Go Betsy! Go Betsy! Go Betsy!”  I had no idea who they were!  Turns out my darling had just been standing there taking pictures and had yelled my name to another blonde with an orange Shebeest shirt. Bike finish

Back at the transition I was not surprised to see Joann’s bike already there.  A quick change of shoes and I was off running.  But OH!  My legs felt like lead and my hamstrings were rebelling (I KNEW I should have stretched them more).  The run — two 2-mile loops — started off with a steep hill up a single-track path, followed by another hill on a residential street.  Three more hills followed, with each steeper than the last.  Although I was slow, I managed to stay running (I also passed Joann about half-way through the first loop).  I sped up a bit for the second loop, and even though I dreaded having to run those hills again, it seemed easier since I knew what to expect.

I felt really strong during the run, although by now my timing chip was really starting to chafe my ankle.  About 100 yards from the finish I got a second wind and sprinted toward the finish.  Volunteers were there at the finish to take off the chip, and sure enough there was a ring of blood around my ankle.  But what a small price to pay for such a tremendous accomplishment!

Overall the experience was absolutely fabulous.  Everyone was so encouraging (I’ve heard this isn’t necessarily the case in co-ed triathlons), and the volunteers were terrific.  I’m a bit sore today, but it’s nothing compared to what I felt after the half marathon.  In fact, my darling and I just swam a half mile in Greenlake to prepare to this weekend’s adventure.  Stay tuned!


  1. Congratulations! And happy Anniversary!

    Comment by Chef Mark — September 14, 2006 #

  2. Thank you Mark! Unfortunately the weather has taken a bit of a turn for the worse, so methinks it’ll be a tad colder this Sunday. I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn’t rain!

    Comment by ovens2betsy — September 15, 2006 #

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