Danskin 2011 and Cottage Lake Tri and Tri Again

So I was planning on doing the Danskin Sprint Triathlon again in 2011, but then some good and some bad went down.

First the good. Four days after my first (awesome) 2010 triathlon experience, I met my (now) husband. Fast forward a few months and then right about the time I should have been hardcore training for the 2011 tri, I was instead hardcore wedding planning.

forget the ring, look how awesome my nails look!

We got married in June and took off to Jamaica for a week which also was a great excuse for not interfered with my training. I did get some training in, but it wasn’t anywhere near what I needed in order to beat my time from last year. About a month before the race I decided that I would just wing it, go out there and have a good time, not worry at all about beating my time, just go and enjoy the experience.

Then the bad happened. During a softball game about two weeks before the race, I pulled my right quad while sprinting to first base. I hit a home run grounder, took off flying and felt a horrible pop in my leg. When I got to the base it instantly started hurting. BAD. I limped around the rest of the game and when I got home I could barely walk. I RICE’ed it and WebMD’d it to confirm that I did in fact pull the muscle. After about a week of it not really feeling better at all, I decided I should not even attempt the tri  😦 I didn’t want to risk further injury. It really was the best decision b/c if I had decided to go through with it, I would have almost certainly damaged the quad more.

Even though I wasn’t going to be participating, my good friend Jocelyn was, so I decided to go anyway to cheer her on.  It was her first tri (she was inspired to do it last year when another friend of hers and I did it) so there really was no way I was missing out on going and cheering her on to the finish. So although it was tough to be there and not be competing, it was still so awesome to be able to see her and cheer and support her on to an awesome finish!

Right before the swim. Look at how fake happy she is!

at the bike finish

showing that finish line who is BOSS

Since I missed out on the Danskin tri, Paul and I decided to look into doing another tri later on in the season. He had been itching to “tri” (I know right? that worked itself in there perfectly) one out as well and as luck would have it, we found an awesome sprint tri that was not too far away.  This particular race was actually a shorter course than most sprints, perfect for beginners (him) and injureds (me).

We did a couple practice swims in the lake, did some great bike rides by our casa and did minimal lots of run training. My quad was getting better and so we headed out that early Saturday morning to do the Cottage Lake Tri and Tri again.

The course is a little on the short end b/c if you so choose, you can do it TWICE. The horror.

400m swim, 9.1 mile bike and 1.5 run…repeat. We brilliantly chose NOT to repeat.

I was a lot little nervous mostly b/c I was unfamiliar with the bike course and being someone who has only been riding bikes for just over 2 years, I’m still not all that good. I am scared to death of don’t particularly like riding in traffic and don’t really have any idea what do do with major hills so confronting a course that I hadn’t seen before was pretty daunting.

There were only about 200 or so people in the race so it was waaay less crowded than the 3,500+ at the Danskin. Paul and I racked our bikes at about 7am and waited for everything to begin. Our awesome spectators got there in plenty of time to take pics of us before we headed into the water.

always with the cheesy grins us two

The swim for me was easy. I really enjoy swimming and fancy myself to be pretty confident in the water so the 400m was nothing I was too concerned with. I know, so humble I am. I actually passed Paul and exited the water a few seconds way before he did. He was quicker to change and get on his bike though so he sped off before I was even able to get going. Not so fancy after all I guess, huh?

Starting the bike ride I already knew I was in trouble with a capitol T. Where we took off was actually on a slight incline and I couldn’t get started. Took me a good minute at least to get on the bike and start riding. That may sound like no time at all, but believe it is FOREVER in race time.

The first half of the first lap of the bike route was pretty enjoyable and I was cruising along thinking, “OK, this aint too bad” and then…dun…dun…dun…my worst nightmare. A GIANORMOUS hill. Crap. What do I do? I decided to just kind of go for it (I must have been delirious or something) and instantly regretted it when I popped my chain. I had a panic attack stayed calm and huffed and puffed walked up the hill and attempted to get it back on.

TEN  minutes later I was on my bike again. T.E.N. Seriously, I don’t know what happened. I don’t know if it was all the people passing by, or just the pressure of the situation getting to me or what, but I could NOT get my bike working again. Considered numerous times just walking back to the transition area and calling it a day. But somehow that didn’t happen and I got the bike going again. As I was coasting back to where I would start lap 2, Paul was ending his lap 2. He was super excited to see me, but I was feeling utterly defeated.

I took off on lap 2 and cried for about the next five minutes while riding and tried to hide the fact that I was crying from the people along the course route cheering us on. Thank goodness for sunglasses.

This time when I came up to the hill I dismounted right away, walked up and then went on my way. I learned my lesson. By this time I knew the race was more than half over and I really just wanted to be done with it. I wasn’t feeling anything but sad.

don't be fooled, there are tears behind those sunglasses and that smile!

By the time I got back to the transition area, Paul was done with the race and waiting for me. He walked me back up to where I changed out of my bike shoes and got on my running shoes and he told me he would run with me. I was so upset that I just needed to be by myself to gather my thoughts so I had to tell him no even though it was really hard. I took off on the “run” and did some more crying for the first part of it. I ran here and there but most of the time I just walked and kind of zoned out. I was embarrassed, I was frustrated. This was nothing like my first tri experience and I just wanted it to be over and to go home. There was no one to blame but myself, I hadn’t trained enough and I knew it. Even through all that frustration though, it was OK, I knew I could do better, I am capable.

I got back to the finish line and Paul, Jocelyn and Nicole were super supportive and encouraging even though they knew I was not feeling it. We got some goodie stuff and our gear and headed out.

excited it was OVER

Even though my 2nd tri will not go down in the record books of anything I am really proud of, it was something. It was NOT sitting on the couch doing nothing. And my hubby has officially caught the tri bug and can’t wait to do more. We decided we are going to buckle down and make it a priority to compete in a few of these together in 2012. We are excited to see what we will accomplish!

Have you ever had a bad race experience?

Have you ever injured yourself before a race and had to back out?