This past weekend was the NJ State Olympic Triathlon with the current heatwave, I was not sure how to feel about this one. I took it easy on Friday night and then woke up nice and early on Saturday to begin eating and to set out on 5 hours worth of errands. Once I was done running around, I continued to eat and get all of my gear ready. As I mentioned this was the first race I was going to have to go to alone, well it turns out I have one of the best support systems out there. As soon as my best friend heard I would be going alone, she decided she had a hankering to drive down to Princeton, sleep in a hotel and get up an an ungodly hour to hang out. She would be my athletic supporter for the day and I couldn't have been more grateful.
We headed down to Princeton, ate at the hotel restaurant and then got to bed nice and early. And that was when I realized I had no race plan. Nothing to go by tomorrow when I got out of the water. Well after thinking about it and receiving some positive reinforcement for another fantastic friend and triathlete, I just said fuck it and went to bed. I mean with the 95 degree weather to worry about, who really cares about a race plan? Right?
We got up nice and early and drove over to the course, only to get lost 3 times and almost take down Bambi along the way. Once there, I got my race packet and headed to transition. So here is where the game changers came into play. As I was setting up my neighbor let me know not to unpack my wetsuit, the lake was 88 degrees, so we wouldn't be using them. I mean 88 degrees, that is actually disgusting! Oh well, nothing I could do about that one, so I continued to get ready. After my transition area was set, I put on my Garmin and even though it was at 100% battery life this morning, it was now dead. Ok, so no Garmin another thing I could do nothing about. So there it was, I was racing, no wetsuit for the first time, no Garmin for the first time and no race plan for the first time. And that is when it hit me, no restrictions meant I could just have fun! And so it was off to the start.
We got in the water and it was definitely 88 degrees, no lying there. It was so hot it made wearing a bathing cap uncomfy. As we swam you would hit incredibly cold spots and then really hot spots in the water. So it made for an interesting swim. Once out of the water, I started to think it might have been better to stay in, the humidity was out of control, it was like you ran up the dock and hit a wall of heat. Oh well, into T1 and get on that bike before it gets too hot!
The bike course was nice and flat. It had a few tiny climbs but nothing too bad. With no Garmin I just kept an eye on my speed the entire time and made sure to keep a high cadence and went by how I felt. By the time I hit the end of our second lap, I felt like I could ride forever. I headed back into the park with what looked like a negative split and was happy about my ride.
I got off the bike and my legs felt fantastic. I ran into T2 switched shoes and then it was off to run. By this time the temp had risen about 10 degrees and humidity was noticeably worse. I just told myself I would run based on how I felt, no walking, but I could slow down if need be. I started out at a decent pace, but by mile one the stomach cramps were back, oh well, I thought, just deal it is only 6.2 miles. By mile 3 I was feeling better, both physically and mentally, but also ready to get going because the sun was coming out and it wasn't being shy. I hit the 4 mile turn around and I felt great, then it was just a quick 2 miles to the finish. Around 5.5 miles I passed a guy and he muttered "take me home" as I ran by, so I said sure let's go and now I had a running buddy. Once we hit the finishing chute this guy seemed to be on fire, and then he pulled me the last .2 and there it was, we were done. Just as the temperature began to climb through the 90's I could change and get into the air conditioning!
Once changed, I checked my time, it certainly wasn't my best, but it was good enough for me:
Swim 30:36 (only 2 min off my last Olympic with a wet suit, so not so bad)
T1: 2:26 (not bad considering it included a decent run)
Bike: 1:20:56 average speed of 18.9 (I'll take it!)
Run: 55:25 8:56 pace (this is where I lost it a little, but hey it was hot, so I dealt)
Like I said not my best time, but with all the things going against me I am very happy with it. And I had a great time.
Now I have a few things I need to sit down and think about in terms of triathlon, along with finding another race or two for this year, I mean it can't be over yet!!