Sunday, April 27, 2008

Western Oregon University Triathlon 2008

I had an awesome time yesterday at the WOU sprint triathlon, I want to tell you everything so try to stick with me, this race report ends includes stuff about Bill Clinton and a hilarious shower scene! EXCITING!

A couple of weeks ago I ran into this Guy who does a lot of the local sprint triathlons on a mountain bike. His name is Guy by the way. He's pretty darn fast, he rides slick tires not big nobbies, and he has a better than decent run so don't ask me why I started a smack down with him. I think it started when he asked me what swim time I put down, you have to give a swim time for these pool triathlons so they can place you in heats, and we realized we both put the same time and would likely be in the same heat. I thought I could take him in transition and on the bike but he would easily put me to shame on the run. Guy did the race last year so I looked up his results and got some bad news, he was 20s second from the women's race winner so from that point on, Guy was the women's race lead and I was going to get my butt kicked.
The weather was perfect on Saturday, sunny with a high of 70. Bill set up the tribabe booth next to the transition area while I checked in at registration and got ready to race. I saw the race director and she told me Bill Clinton was going to speak at the location where the race registration and awards were to be held (the gym) that day and they got 2 days notice about the event. The Clinton campaign had to pay for a large canopy and chairs for the race so we could still have the awards ceremony. It also meant 300+ people lined up around the transition area waiting for Clinton to speak. It was totally wierd.

Anyway, finally to the race: the swim was in a funky little pool that has the shallowest shallow end I've ever seen for a lap pool. I could sit on my knees in the water and my shoulders would come out of the water. Flip turns at the end would be nearly impossible without brain damage. I think the timing people came up with this idea to have continuous heats with 3 swimmers per lane the entire time. We still had heats but as soon as a swimmer finished, another swimmer jumped in and started their 500. The bad part of this is the heats were by swim time so when I jumped in I was instantly on the feet of a guy who put a slower swim time than I did and when people came in after me, they were going to swim faster. It was a bit of a mess. I also had a breast stroker in my lane who kicked me a couple of times and stole my draft (I was drafting off of a guy and he caught her but she only let him pass so I was stuck behind her breast stroke kicking which irked me--major pet peeve for me, if you are going to do a triathlon, swim freestyle!) I think my swim time was around 8:20, not a PR by any stretch but it was done.

Out into T1 and Guy is right there! We both scrambled to get our biking stuff on and I think Bill was yelling at us from his cheap seat. This bike course is kind of brutal, within 1 mile you are on rollers and within 2 miles you are on an extended climb. Guy caught me on the climb and I worked to keep him within 50 yards of me until we hit the flat section where I hoped to kick his butt. He yelled something to me about not pedaling on the downhills so I decided to stop being a chick and pushed the downhills so I wouldn't lose any time to him. We were having a blast with eachother, taunting and encouraging, he's a great Guy ;) With my great luck, the flat section had a head wind so I made no time on Guy there, in fact, he passed me right before we turned off so I had to work again to keep him in my sights. We had to climb back up that big hill and I caught Guy about 1/2 way up the climb and I didn't look back. I think I made it into the transition area about 30 seconds before he did but a woman passed me right at the end of the 18 mile bike ride. It was the only woman who passed me the entire race and I recognized her as someone who won a race I was at last year. YIKES! I think my bike time was around 1 hour but I don't know for sure, it was probably more than that.

Somehow Guy beat me out of T2 so I went hauling butt out of there and passed that woman back. She told me I looked strong and I told her "You're from the heat behind me so don't worry about me!" I thought she probably had 10 minutes on me. I was surprised that I was able to run as hard I was going but soon enough I felt a cramp coming on in my abdomen. I had to get rid of it before it got worse so I slowed down my breathing but tried to keep the pace up. I had some mental battles on the run, thoughts about wanting to walk and asking myself why I was doing this, did I really need external validation in this way, just ridiculous mind defeating stuff. That was the only part of the race I regret, I did not have my mental game totally together BUT I didn't walk, I pushed all the way to the end, no women passed me and I crossed the finish line with a smile. Guy beat me by just under 2 minutes and he was waiting for me at the finish. The run here is a long 5 k, I think they advertise it as 3.23, my run tim was around 25 minutes and I think everyone's time was a good bit slower than a typical 5k time.

The race director is so thoughtful and awesome, she had a cooler full of Odwalla juices and catered in sandwiches from a local shop at the finish. I wanted to hang out with the other racers in the sun but I thought I better get back and shower since we had a party to go to afterwards and the Clinton people were lining up around the block. I figured I had done well enough in the triathlon to place and since no one passed me, I might even be the 2nd place female. I grabbed my bag and headed toward the locker room. A cop greeted me and said, "You have about 1 minute before the bomb sniffing dogs come in." FABULOUS!

Luckily there was a woman showering in there already so I told her the news about the cops and the dogs coming in as I stripped off my clothes. She said, "I paid $6,000 for these things, I hope someone sees them!" I looked over at her chest and it sure did look like she paid some big money for those things! I took a 30 second shower and rushed out to put some clothes on and she said, "I'm going to put my thong underwear on." which she did and I think she was just waiting for her moment. I got dressed and tried to start drying my hair when the cops came into the women's locker room with their bomb sniffing dogs. They had the race director with them and by then the women was dressed so we hustled it out. One of the cops said, "Sorry to inconvenience you ma'am." So I had a shower with a woman with implants and I almost had a shower with a cop and his dog. What a day!
Bill packed up tribabe stuff while I went to the awards ceremony. Guy won the mountain bike division and beat the fastest female of the day and I was the 2nd overall female and was 49 seconds behind the lead female. I think I had 49 seconds in me but! I kicked butt for my first race in a year and a half. Guy and I had a blast racing each other and it was a tough race and an awesome day. YEAHHHH!!! Here is a photo of the rivals: