Me? I’m good.
As a matter of fact, I am frickin’ spectacular!
Why, you ask?
Because that dog-forsaken road tri (The Steamboat Classic) is over and I can go back to being normal, TT-hating Cory.
To be clear, The Steamboat Classic was a super fun, well-organized event. The people were super cool and oddly normal…and calm. It was a rather cool deal.
Because so many of you have been right there on the edge of your collective seats just WAITING to hear all the hilarious details of a tri-hater gone tri, here I am to spill the awesomeness.
What is awesome?
You know why?
Because I did that shiznit in under 2 hours (1:58:49) when it was guessed I would do it under 2.5 hours and I knew that the girl who won my age category last year was at 1:54…or at least that is the number I had in my head.
But wait…that is not the actual awesome part. There are a few…and they are ALL very funny (and rather amazing!)
Here we go…
First, this was my first time in a 50 meter pool.
Yeah…I actually refused to warm up in it and for the first few minutes, I wouldn’t even look at it.
(That sounds like an AWESOME start to a tri, yeah?)
So then we all had to line up based on our projected swim times and there was not a sign for “Swims Like a Rock”, which coincidentally is the true meaning of my name, if you did not know that.
So, I had to line up in a 14-15 minute section or stand alone in the 18 minute section…and even that seemed pretty fast for me.
I met some really funny ladies while we chatted about how slow we all are and one said to me (I think because I had on the most awesome Black Sheep Cartel tri suit ever), “I am not going in front of you. I bet you act like you are slow and are really fast. You are freaking me out.”
I literally cracked up.
“Ummm, no. I promise you that when I say that I do not train on the swim and that my only hope is to not die and not walk the swim, I am not being humble. If I could use Disney Princess floaties on my arms, I would.”
I told her that I would likely backstroke the entire swim. She looked at me as if I had 3 heads. I get that a lot, actually.
Sadly, she did not buy that and made me go in front of her.
We stood on the pool deck forever/an HOUR (whichever comes first) while the swimmers took off one by one in 20 second intervals, so we all got to know each other pretty well.
I think I bonded a bit more with Chris, who is a mtb’er and it was her first tri as well.
She had been training hard on the swim and I was pulling for her. I decided to make her my rabbit.
She went off just before me and while it would have been cool to use her to pace me, 25 meters into the first lap, I freaked out and had to flip over to backstroke.
No worries, I thought. I will alternate.
In a serpentine swim.
Stephanie, the lady who doubted my swimming “prowess”, caught me at the wall with 3 laps to go and I let her pass..but then caught her…while still doing the backstroke.
That part felt good actually and I relaxed.
Plus, my lungs were not as shot as they would have been if I had you know…actually free-styled.
Hey, I was told not to waste my energy on the swim and I didn’t; just time.
We start laughing as we climbed out of the pool with an “I told you so!” and we were off to T1.
Here is where I lost an extra 2 minutes.
My crap was laid out nicely and I got it on wicked quick, but I chatted with some people, looked at Karl’s bike computer in amazement because he was already done with the ride, screwed around with my Strava, and then did a cx bike mount and off I rode.
I knew that Chris/rabbit was out there somewhere, but where???
I also knew that I had to DO something on the bike because I am allegedly a bike racer.
While true, I am not a road racer or a TT’er, I still pedal regularly (allegedly) and this should (SHOULD) be the easy part for me.
I had on that goofy TT helmet (which I secretly love and always have because it is pretty), and got out of the saddle to chase on to someone…anyone.
In my mind, I am dead last in the swim (it turns out that was correct) and I needed to make up some time.
Now, if you have ever read any of my previous blogs from back when I did race the skinny tires, you know that weird things happen to me when I have a number pinned/strapped to my person and I get on George, the road bike.
I freak out.
I stop breathing like a human.
I spazz; I cry; I vomit; I get in a fetal position on the front lawns of strangers…
I hate road racing OHHHHHH so much.
Some would argue that I hate it because I am bad at it and I would argue the opposite. I am bad at LOTS of things and bad at all stuff which involves a “Start” and a “Finish”, but nothing freaks me out like racing my bike on the road.
OK, so you will be impressed to know that none of that ewwwwey stuff happened yesterday.
I simply breathed like a human being while not riding as if I was on a Sunday stroll in the park with the purse pooch and actually did some passing of people.
It was nice….and new for me.
Now, I will not pretend that I was as fast as my lady roadie friends who shred the legs of mortals, but I ended up second on the bike leg and old George was naked as a jay bird of any TT’ing components.
No aero bars; no wicked rims.
I just rode in the “praying mantis” position taught by my teammate Gina Poertner…and it worked. I felt very calm and relaxed…and grateful.
Chris (my rabbit) was the 3rd person of 8 that I passed and I knew I had to keep moving so that I could make up the time lost in the swim.
She cheered me on as I rode and I was really happy to have met her.
The bike course had some pretty cute hills and this worked out for me. Had it been a straight, flat course I would be sitting in a corner and pouting.
But, it wasn’t and so I am not.
I rode back into transition feeling really good.
Karl was on his transition mat and done with his race. We chatted while I figured out what I was (and was not) taking on the run.
(Another 2 minutes lost. GRRRRR!)
Now, I always run with my phone because it has my Strava and I like to see the miles.
Also, for some reason if I fell apart on the run, I would have tunes and games on my phone to amuse me (in case I have to await an ambulance or other rescue vehicle).
Karl said, “It’s not likely anyone is going to call you,” and laughed.
So very funny, that one. F*cker.
True…but had I known what he could (and yet did not) tell me about how unmarked the run course was, I would have taken the phone.
As he did not (and I like to blame him for shit that really makes no difference), I left without my Strava/phone.
When I started the run, I felt wonky.
I got a sharp side stitch and tried to work it out by jamming my fingers under by ribs.
I pulled over and did some Vinyasa to work it out and calm me.
So this is where the other amazing part of my race comes in (because the bike part was not amazing; only abnormal for me).
Each time I would start to run, this knifing pain would slice me.
As I ran past the hospital, I looked at it and wondered if it was challenging me.
It seemed as if that asshole hospital was calling my name on the wind and playing Jedi mind tricks with me.
Well, I out Jedi’d the little bastard because I ran on…but not very far. Just far enough that I would have to go backwards to get to it and you don’t go backwards on the race course. So there you go.
I could not get my running right and so like any other crazy person would do (especially one who knows that not many people are behind them in a race), I started talking to myself.
I mean, I was sort of letting myself have it…talking myself out of being mind-fucked and lame.
I was shocked that I was struggling with the run because that is the one thing I have actually been doing lately.
It was “killing” me not to know how far I had gone. I do really well with making my runs into little victories. When I do not know my distance, I sort of fall apart like the true baby that I am.
Little victories, people. Little victories.
I need goals (and victories), and running for the sake of running is just stupid…unless of course we are discussing machete-chasing incidents which rarely if ever happen.
When I say I was struggling, I mean I was struggling like I did on my very first attempt at running when I was a wee lass.
I would run a block and then would switch to that geriatric mall walker bullshit you see early in the mornings if you find yourself in need of retail therapy.
Then I started calling myself a mall-walking lame ass and that made me feel really, REALLY old. And lame. But mostly old.
So then, I pulled out a move that would not only save me physically, it would save me mentally.
This move is so ninja it didn’t even know it was ninja.
Are you sure?
Because once I tell you my secret to finishing my run at an 8:54 pace, you cannot un-know this information and you will want to bow down to my awesome ninjaness.
It will change the way you look at me and if you don’t smile, you are either dead inside or so up your own triathlete-ass that you forgot how to have a little fun.
I skipped my run.
Not, “stopped doing it and ended my race and therefor not finishing”.
I mean, I skipped like a four-year old child with a puppy and an ice cream cone on a sunny day.
Not only that, but as Chris/rabbit (who was behind me) would tell me later, I skipped my happy ass a block off the course and did a little extra.
She kept calling out to me, but I was in my ninja zen mode and could not hear a thing.
Now, of course when I took the last two turns I started running like Forest Gump, but frankly, felt a lot better…and still have my toenails and knees in tact.
I crossed the line and was so happy to have a sweet man there to bend down and kiss my feet…
Oh…wait…nope…he was just taking off my timing chip.
Oh well; he gave me a fist bump and I was done and there were still people out there so I knew I was not DFL, so that was good. For me.
Now, at this point I was pretty sure in my mind that the ”run” took me 90 minutes to match my physical age of 90, because why would I not think that?
There were hills, I was delirious and talking to myself….and skipping.
(OK, even Betty White doesn’t skip and she is saucy, but you get it.)
I met up with Cristel and Karl, showered, and headed over to a super yummy brunch and award ceremony.
(Yes, I ate the award ceremony.)
It is after all this that I saw the results.
My actual time is 1:58:49.
I did it! I am under 2 hours and nothing else matters about the whole event in that moment except that I am not dead, I did not quit, and I am under 2 hours…
…until Karl sent me the splits and I saw my run time.
*gives mind-blown gesture*
8:54 pace. 3rd place in the run…skipping and geriatric mall-walking.
2nd on the bike and 3rd in the run…in a field of more than 3…and 6th place in my category.
We are off to see the Wizard indeed!
While all of this makes me happy, I am a realist to know I cannot pull that skipping nonsense in the XTERRA, but for today, I am wickedly ecstatic.
…and I think Anna is smiling too.
I have taken a lot of heat in the past 24 hours for doing this triathlon and all I can say is that I brought to it the cx spirit of fun and bad-assery that would make my dirty pink teammates proud.
Plus, Michelle called me “one of those mean cx girls”, so I knocked her lights out and took her trophy.
Bring on the dirt!
*Note: No Michelles in the hurt in the writing of this blog or the racing of this event.
All photo credit goes to Yvette Liebesman and Brent Newman.