Sahuarita Lake Triathlon 
Monday, May 26, 2008, 10:57 PM
Posted by Administrator
Whenever someone asked if I was ready for this race, I would say, "I'll be participating - not racing." Spending 12-hour days, as well as some weekend hours, at the office does not allow for ideal training. I wasn't sure whether or not I should even sign up, but decided that, if nothing else, it would provide motivation to keep up some semblance of regular exercise - and it did.

And so I awoke at 3:40 a.m. ready for a slow, and probably somewhat painful, race. While the event did not start until 6:30 a.m., I had volunteered for body marking with the Tri Girls and had a 5:00 a.m. report time. For the non-triathletes out there, this means I used a magic marker to write race numbers on the arms and legs of athletes. As far as volunteer assignments go, handling the biceps and quads of triathletes in not a bad gig. Also, arriving at the crack of dawn earned me excellent spots for both my car and my transition area.

Once again, I was racing solo. Last week, Paul was just getting over shingles (see Police Memorial Challenge below) when he developed a case of pneumonia. He just can't catch a break lately! He's feeling better every day, but a triathlon was absolutely out of the question.

Relief volunteers arrived at 6:00 a.m. and I handed over my marker, so that I could hit the porta-pottie one last time and put on my wetsuit. I was surprised to see a few people spraying themselves with Pam cooking spray to accelerate their own wetsuit-donning process. After a race, I feel disgusting enough being covered in sweat, sunblock and whatever's in the lake water...I wouldn't want to add cooking spray to the mix. I prefer to use a trick Paul showed me. Bring along a plastic grocery bag, stick your foot in it, then pull on that leg of the wetsuit - it slides easily over the plastic. Then pull the bag off and repeat with your other limbs. Much cleaner.

The morning had started off chilly, but the temperature was perfect by the time the race started and was ideal throughout the race. I cheered on the first two swim waves and then took the plunge with the other pink caps for wave #3 of the 1K swim. After the initial shock of the 75 degree water, I felt very comfortable in my wetsuit. Many people had opted to swim without one, but I needed all of the warmth and buoyancy I could get.

This swim was tough for me and lasted FOREVER. It was a straight out-and-back course. Sounds easy enough, but I have a hard time swimming straight when there's not a black line underwater to follow. I kept veering to the middle and toward the oncoming traffic of swimmers who had already made the turnaround. I had one pretty good collision with a swimmer form the first wave who seemed to have the same problem. I was relieved to make it to the turnaround, but dismayed to see 16:15 displayed on my watch. Not only did that mean I'm incredibly slow, but it meant I had another 16 minutes until I'd be out of the water! Apparently swimming 2 to 3 times a month isn't nearly as effective as swimming 2 to 3 times a week like I did last fall.

Alas, I survived and was greeted by some fabulous TTG cheerleaders as I climbed out of the lake. While swimming, I had been thinking that the lake was not nearly as gross as rumored. Then, when I got out of it, I noticed the green crap stuck all over my wrists and ankles. It didn't occur to me until after the race when I looked at other racers that the sticky green crap was also on my face and neck - disgusting.

I had a smooth transition and then headed out on the 25K bike course to the supportive cheers of more TTG'ers. I took it easy the first few minutes to catch my breath and take in some sport drink. The course was a nice, smooth road with minimal traffic. It is also an out-and-back course which I love. In addition to cheering for other Tri Girls, it's fun (in a humbling sort of way) to watch the fast athletes fly by. Cycling is the area in which I have the most to gain. I know that, if I focus on it, then I'll shave a lot of time off my races. Maybe that will happen someday...but, for now, I plugged along and hollered "good job!" to all those who passed me.

There is a 2-mile hill leading to the turnaround, and it was great to crest it and fly back down. At the bottom, while shifting out of my big chain ring, my chain jammed and I had to stop briefly to correct it. Otherwise, the bike was smooth - slow but smooth. I managed to get down one gel and a good amount of sport drink. My legs were tired, but I felt great otherwise.

I was thrilled to pull into transition, although slightly peeved that I had to run to the far corner of transition to use the porta pottie. Can't they put one closer to the in/out areas for the bike and run?!? I headed out on the course and it felt great to run...for about 30 seconds. Then my shins started screaming at me. My legs didn't have much left in them and so I did a walk/run for the 5K. As time went on I decided to use more frequent, but shorter walk breaks which seemed to help mentally.

I was relived and happy to reach the finish line and wound up with a time of 2:18. As I had absolutely no expectations for this race, I'm totally fine with that. However, the race definitely makes me look forward to the time (which should come in mid-June) when I return to a sane work schedule and can get back to training again.

I stuck around to chat with the Tri Girls, as well as for a post-race massage. At most races, the free massages are about 5 minutes. At this one, they were about 20, which was really annoying to everyone waiting their turn, but heaven once you were on the table. I enjoyed every minute, but felt somewhat sorry for these wonderful massage students who had to rub down sweaty, smelly, green-crap-covered triathletes with their bare hands. We're a far cry from your standard spa clientèle.

All-in-all it was a great morning. As I suspected, the race was slow and, at times, painful. But it's so satisfying to feel like I've pushed hard and challenged myself.

And for the Tucson Tri Girls - congrats to all of the racers; thank you to those who volunteered and cheered; and best of luck to all those racing at Deuces Wild next weekend!
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