It pays to be old & fat!

September 20, 2006 on 6:08 pm | By | In Race Reports | Comments Off on It pays to be old & fat!

My neighbor, the elite triathlete, had mentioned I should enter a race as an Athena sometime since, “I’d be surprised how well I’d do.” You see, some races have a special division for the big boys & girls — Clydesdales: men 198 pounds and over, and Athenas: women 150 pounds and over. Seems like a rather low weight for the women, but as long as it works in my favor, so be it.

The Subaru tri didn’t offer that division, but the Kirkland tri did. I figured what the heck! At 160 pounds, I am indeed an Athena. Much to my surprise, I finished No. 1 in my division (Athenas 40 and over) at 1 hour, 42 minutes, 45 seconds! Okay, so there were only 10 of us in the division, but STILL!!! If you grouped all the Athenas together (25 total), I’d still come in No. 4 (just don’t ask what my overall place was; it wasn’t that great!)

We got to bed by 9:30, but once again the alarm went off much too early. However, my darling’s admonitions against drinking too much wine were for naught, as I awoke rather refreshed. After my ritural race-day breakfast of steel-cut oats, coffee and bananas, I was ready to race.

Since we decided not to set up our bikes when we picked up our race packets, I wanted to get an early start. Turns out we didn’t have to leave quite as early as we did (5:15), as we were totally set up by 5:45 (leaving an hour to kill). But it was a nice surprise to see Joann, whom I met at the Subaru tri, setting up next to me (she too entered as an Athena, but in the lower age group).

As a co-ed race, the Kirkland tri definitely had a different vibe than the Subaru one. While people were supportive, there was a distinct undertone of testosterone. Fine by me; I just wanted to have fun! My darling’s division started about 20 minutes before mine. I saw him off with a kiss and chatted with a couple of other Athenas. Although I had visited the port-o-potties a couple of times, the coffee and sports drink had filled up my bladder again. But there was no way I was going to try to peel off my suit to relieve myself, as we were only 10 minutes from starting (besides, by now the lines at the potties were quite long). About a minute before our start we entered the water. They say there are two kinds of people: those who pee in their wetsuits, and those who lie about it. Let’s just say I made sure there was quite a bit of room around me as we waited for the starting gun 🙂

Once again I had some trouble breathing, particularly through my nose. But soon enough I got into the groove and started passing a few folks (and got passed by a few from the divisions behind us). As I left the water I felt like I had been on a swing for too long — I had that kinda dizzy/spacey feeling. Joann beat me by about a half a minute. It seemed like I took forever to get through the transition, but I was finally up on my bike and cruising.

I had been warned that this was a very hilly race, and it certainly lived up to its reputation. However, I had driven the route a couple of days prior, so I pretty much knew what to expect. On the last long hill I kept telling everyone I passed (yes, I actually passed a few folks) that it was the last hill — HURRAY! Imagine my dismay when another one cropped up toward the end. Where the heck did THAT come from? Had I missed it on my drive through? Was the route map I followed wrong? Fortunately I was no where near the folks that I had reassured, but I’m sure they were cursing my name. The bike leg finished with a long downhill, and I was proud of myself for only putting on the brakes a couple of times.

Like the Subaru tri, the run leg started uphill — not fun when your legs feel like lead. But running is my forte, and I soon was passing several people. I even got to see my darling as he was finishing up the loop (he was hard to miss considering he wore a Viking helmet). Halfway through the run I passed Joann, but made sure I shouted a few words of encouragement. Thankfully the run was rather flat except for the beginning, but we got to run down the same hill to the finish. Hallelujah! My darling was waiting for me with his Viking helmet and a plate of strawberry shortcake.

This will be our last tri for the year, as it’s the end of the season. Fine with me, considering the weather has turned gray, wet and cold. But today I received a Team in Training flyer promoting the half Ironman in Victoria, BC in June 2007. Who knows, we might just be crazy enough to do it!

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