Thursday, September 1, 2011

Gator Bait Triathlon!!!!

It's been almost two years and a knee surgery since I've raced a triathlon with a run longer than a 5K.  I've been babying my poor knees and when I run 6 miles the left one likes to lock up (I think from internal swelling) and hurts like heck. 

Moving to Mississippi posed a little bit of a challenge for me to find enough races to fulfill my sponsor requirements - so I saw that Vicksburg had an Olympic distance race and went ahead and signed up.  The Gator Bait Triathlon - first year race - sounds like fun!  Love the name of the race.  My friend Deanna signed up too - another girl's road trip!!!  And then I talked our friend Judy into signing up for the 1500 meter Open Water Swim!  Deanna had a friend, Carla who is a photographer who wanted to come and see her race - we had a really fun road trip planned!


Carla, Deanna, Judy and me!

We loaded into Deanna's car on Friday afternoon and headed to Vicksburg.  Judy had decided that if the race organizers let her that she was going to go ahead and change from the open water swim to racing the triathlon.  It would be the longest race that both she and Deanna had ever done. 


Race morning came and we were happy with some cooler air temperatures!  Got everything set up in transition and went for a really quick jog just to see where the run started.  After my little run I grabbed my swim cap and goggles and made my way to the water to get in a warm up.  Saw Dave and Jim at the boat launch - two swimmers from USM.  I think this was going to be their longest triathlon ever too.  Dave is a super fast swimmer and ended up having the fastest swim split of the day!

There were only three swim waves - this was a small race with only about 100 competitors.  A far cry from my last race in Shreveport where there were 1100!  The women and relays went off in the third wave.  Funny that even with the small number of people in my wave that I had two people (men) swim across in front of me going left to right and one girl right on my shoulder with her arm swinging over my head.  Fortunately for me she didn't swim straight and moved off at an angle to the right.  The water was warm and the swim was long.  Judy swam into a dead fish and it freaked her out - she worried about alligators for the rest of the swim.  This was Deanna's longest open water swim and she was a little stressed by it but did just fine.  I ended up with the 10th fastest swim split of the day.  Judy had the 4th fastest time!  My speed suit rubbed a little place on the right side of my neck - should have used some Aquaphor before the swim!!
Garmin HR Avg: 170 / Max: 174

The bike course was flat and fast, just slightly downhill at the very beginning, I remember looking and seeing 23+ miles per hour.  It was an out and back course and the only complaint I have is that at the turn around there wasn't anything very visible to let you know it was coming.  Usually there is a traffic cone in the middle of the road.  There was a volunteer standing on the side of the road and once you got to it you could see a red line painted across the road.  A slight breeze and some shade from the trees on the way out was really nice!  My plan was to take two gels during the bike (I was trying something a little different today - usually I would just take one for a 40K). I took one just after I settled in on the bike after the swim and another at about mile 20. I'd also rubber banded my tic tac container of Recovery e21 onto my handle bars and transfered it to the pocket of my tri top so I'd have them for the run as well.  Took two e21 about a half hour into the ride. I passed Judy and one other girl who were both out of the water ahead of me and didn't see any other girls on the way back.  I was leading the women's race!!!! This has never happened to me before on the bike!  Deanna had the fastest women's bike split of the day - that girl can ride fast!
Garmin:  21.3 moving speed.  HR Avg: 162 / Max: 187

I'd read someone's post on BeginnerTriathlete.com who had run the course in training and he'd said to take it easy on the way out because on the way back the sun would be blaring in your face.  So I decided to heed the advice and ran what I like to refer to as "gently" on the way out.  My legs were a little stiff from the ride and they loosened up right away.  A guy passed me just before the mile mark and told me that there weren't any other women any where near me and to keep it up.  I checked my Garmin and was running 7:42-7:50 miles - this made me very happy.  It didn't feel like I was running a sub 8:00, everything felt smooth.  I had my e21 in my pocket and took two at about mile 2 on the run and another at mile 5.  I slowed down a little on the way back and didn't push the pace.  Right as I passed the 6 mile mark my right calf tried to cramp so I had to watch how I placed my feet.  Thinking back I know I didn't drink enough on the bike, or the run for that matter.   First place Overall Female!!  I'm pretty darned happy! 
Garmin Avg Moving Pace: 7:56.  HR Avg: 171 / Max 179

After I finished I jogged back out onto the course to cheer on my friends Judy and Deanna.  Deanna won her age group and Judy won the Masters Female catagory!!  And befitting a race called the Gator Bait Triathlon - the awards?  A real gator head on a plaque!  They're mailing us little personalized plates for our plaques! 

A great time with new friends!  I can't wait to race with them again! 

Hattiesburg Triathletes!
Jim, Dave, Judy, Deanna and me!
Three more triathlons for me this season!  I'm going to hate to see it end.