Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Pigman Race Report

The short version would be that that things did not go as planned.

But let's start at the very beginning....

The week leading up to the race was a little crazy, long work days, friends in town, etc. Needless to say it was not the relaxing low key week I had hoped for leading up to the big race. My normal routine was so far out of wack there was no way to reel it in. For example, I usually pack my race bag about a week ahead of time. This way I have plenty of time to make additions or subtractions to the gear, I don't feel rushed, and I don't forget things. It's part of my triathlon fung shui. Leave it alone.

Saturday arrives...we're suppose to be heading out by 1pm. At like 12:40 I'm scrambling to get in the shower and nothing, not a single item, has been packed. Bryn and Noah arrive at 1:15'ish packed and ready to hit the road, not to mention Ryan's been there all morning trying to keep my focused on track. When all is said and done I'm packed and we're on the road by 2'ish. A quick stop at Culver's for lunch, some ice cream spilled on my lap (what can I say, I'm a classy lady) and we're on our way.

~This portion of the race is brought to you by the Douglas'~

Here we are cruising along the scenic HWY 151 through be-oooo-tiful Iowa country side, Bryn and I are enjoying our Disney sing along at the top of our tone-deaf voices, we're making decent time....when all of the sudden the car is slowing down. In fact one might say it's rolling to a stop. Our driver, Noah, apparently overlooked the fact that we had been running on empty for some time, and that we had in fact just run out of gas.

Strike One Noah. Lucky for Noah, we happened to have coasted to a stop right in front of the Douglas' farmhouse. We all voted that he who ran us out of gas must make the walk of shame and grovel for gas. Plus, Noah is still milking his geriatric limp, and was therefor most likely to have pity take on him. Luck for us the Douglas' were quite friendly and had a well stocked barn. They gave us a couple gallons of gas and told us what exit to take to fill up as to avoid this problem in the future. And we were back on our way.

Packet pick up was going smoothly....that was until I saw the sign on the wall stating the water temperature. 79degrees. Just one friggin degree above 78, which means no wetsuits. It's safe to say that sent me into a blind panic. No wetsuit?! Sure, I've swam multiple miles in a pool sans wetsuit, but 1.2miles in the open water? No dice. I'll drown.

We found the race site and campground we were staying at no problem. We set up our tents, I sorted, packed and repacked my gear bag, and made some final tweaks to my bike. After I was satisfied that I had everything I needed for the race the next day we decided to head out to scout the swim. While I was hoping that seeing the swim course would make me feel better about the no wetsuit possibility, it didn't. It's safe to say it made me feel worse. 1.2 miles in a lake looks huge. Gigantic. Un-swim-able.

Trying to keep my mind off of the task at hand we went to scout out some food. After aimlessly driving in various directions in the fine city of Cedar Rapids we ended up settling for an Outback. At this point I was hungry and not too picky, so Outback it was. There was food, I was fed, and we headed back to the campsite. On our jaunt back to the site Noah was channeling his inner race car driver and decided to test the CRV's limits....right up until we passed the DNR-mobile. Next thing we knew there were flashing lights and a man with a gun at the side of the car. Apparently 45 in a 25 on state park grounds is enough to get you stopped. Strike Two Noah. Speed aside, there were other incriminating circumstances that made this routine traffic violation more than a little unnerving. I, however, safely tucked away in the back seat, found this whole situation quite funny. Especially when Mr DNR had the insight to ask if one of us was doing the race (yes, my fancy schmancy TRI bike was still on the vehicle). Mr DNR was kind enough to take pity on us and let Noah off with nothing more than a verbal warning.

Back at the site and headed to bed. It was perfect sleeping weather, and other than what sounded like a dying cow in the adjacent field, it was peaceful night's sleep. Right up until the alarm went off at 5 am. Ick.

I got up and got motivated for the day. Tri gear on, contacts in, teeth brushed. I realized about now that I forgot pants to wear in the cool AM weather, so I put my pajama bottoms (complete with flamingos and firetrucks) back on. I managed to eat a mini bagel with peanut butter and banana for breakfast. We quickly discovered that the water in our campground didn't appear to be potable, so water with my morning meal was a no go (I crossed my fingers and hoped to find water near transition). I sun-screened up and headed down to transition to get set up.

My first quest was to find out about the water temperature. Fingers crossed.....did it drop that one degree? Would wetsuits be allowed? AM Water Temp.........drum roll please......77 degrees!! HALLELUJAH! It looks like I would survive the swim. Game on!

Being as I was the only person I knew doing the Pigman this year, Bryn oversleeping (and Noah was back at the site motivating her) and Ryan puppy sitting (and seeing as we had already used our get out of jail free card with the DNR to avoid a Noah's speeding ticket) I made my way by myself down to the swim. There's always that 10 or so minute wait just before my wave when the nerves set in, and this was no exception. I was struck with cotton mouth, having to pee (not so easy to do when you wearing a wetsuit), and just generally being antsy and wondering why I though this was a good idea. But before I knew it I was in line to start and all those thoughts and issues and passed. They decided in stead of a mass way start, each athlete in a given wave would be started at 3sec intervals, which was AWESOME! Talk about the best swim start ever.

And I was off, swimming away, directly into the sun. Yeah, my clear goggles were not meant for swimming into the sun. While I felt great and was swimming like a fish, I must of looked like i was drunk! I could not swim straight to save my life. After what seemed like an eternity of zig-zaggy swimming I reached the first corner buoy and made the turn. I was a 1/3 of the way done already! And now that I could see my swimming vastly improved. Let's be honest here, no records were going to be broken, no races won, but my swim was going a -ok. I rounded the last buoy and kept chugging along down the home stretch. I came out of the water feeling better than expected. I made the bit of a jaunt from water to transition and I was ready to ride.

Out of the wetsuit and into the bike gear. I had my great support crew there cheering me on and motivating. I checked and double checked that I had everything and I was off.


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