Monday, August 6, 2007

Sixth out of Six!


Yesterday I raced in my 5th sprint triathlon, the Sandman in Aptos. It is the toughest of my meager season with a 1/2 mile swim, 15 mile ride (with some decent hills I might add) and a 4 1/2 mile run on the beach.

I arrived with family in tow at an ungodly hour in the morning (this time we ALL had to wake up at 5:30am). Found a spot for my bike in the transition area, stood in several lines to register and get number written all over me (they write you age on the back of your calf!) Back in transition I slithered into my wetsuit after applying various creams and gels to my body. Then it was off to the water for the start.

As I was walking over I chatted with a lady who shared that "I use these triathlons as training". I correctly drew the conclusion that she does Ironman Tris. I had met someone like that at my first triathlon, who was racing 5 weeks after giving birth. Well, it turns out it was the same woman! And she just had another baby - 6 weeks ago. "I do one triathlon in between each baby". The next one will be her third. You can imagine what it does for my ego when my toughest tri is someone else's (who just gave birth) "training". Ugh.

But I must say the calibre of athletes at the Sandman is much higher than at the Tri4Fun. Which, of course, makes it harder for me. PLUS this year they did not separate men and women. We all started together, by age group. Oh, yea. I wondered if male elbows and feet would hurt as much as females'.

The swim: I get in before the start to acclamate my heart and breathing to the shockingly (you can't help but scream "Woo! Woo!" after you go under) cold ocean water. After warming up a bit I get out and stand next to the far flag. I plan once again to use my supreme strategy of starting from the side and swiming a diagonal line to the first bouy, hopefully passing many slowpokes who crowd in to a straight line to the bouy. It was a long swim! I can't tell how I did because Joe couldn't get the kids over to where we come out in time. You can't see much when you are in the water. I think I did OK. I know I passed a few of the folks in the wave before me, but I couldn't tell where I was compared to my own wave.

The ride: After a hectic transition - trying to put socks on wet feet when you are rushing and can't sit down is, let's say, challenging. I clipped on my tri belt with my number - 120 - off I went. The thing I don't like about this ride is that it starts out going up. And up. And up. It is about 8-9 miles up (not super steep, just steady), 2-3 miles zipping down hills (aaaaahh....) and a few more rolly, polly ups and downs at the end.

Now, I thought I was in decent shape. But you should see the calves of the many, many people who passed me! These things are like bricks. Like moulded.....marble! Mine on the other hand are more like moulded....marshmellows. I did the best I could, but I think (here is my theory) that I did so well in the swim that I was up in the group of people who are actually triathletes. So they just whiz past me on the ride. Eventually I settled in between a young man from the first wave and another woman from my wave. When I jumped off my bike at the end, I couldn't feel my toes and my legs were wobbly.

The run: Shoes are on and I'm running down to the beach again. Along the way I slurp down some disgusting chocolate flavored gel stuff that is supposed to give me more energy. Yuck. I handed the wrapper to two young guys standing on the beach - they looked confused.

The two highlights of the day were seeing my kids and hubby on my way out and back from the run. Rose was in the water, jumping up and down, screaming, "Maamaa! Maamaa!" Marie looked on in confusion. Richard stood there acting cool. And Joe cheered me on, "You're doing great! Keep going!" That was fun.

By this point I was really, really, really tired. So I decided to run at a pace at which I could still breath rhythmically and didn't hurt too much. Again, I was passed by a few folks, but not quite as much. Now, you must understand that I can check out the age of everyone who passes me. If a youngster (under 35) passes me, I feel OK because they started five minutes before I did and I must've passed them somewhere before. And I was actually inspired when the 52, 53, 55 year old women passed me - I had a five minute lead on them. But, who knows, maybe that will be me someday. I hope so.

So I ran. The beach was good - mostly hard packed and flat. We run two miles out, up the bluffs and through a camping area, back down and two miles back on the beach. The stairs up the bluffs were hell, as usual. The run back on the beach I got into a pretty good rhythm, stretching my legs and pumping my arms. It felt OK. I don't think that chocolate stuff kicked in until I was almost done.

At the end, Rose ran with me for about 50 yards. That was cool, except that she was getting in front of (yet another) person who was trying to pass me, and then getting in front of me. But she dropped off I ran into the finish alone and exhausted and triumphant. My time was almost 20 minutes faster than last year! 2:04! Even I was impressed. The whole event felt much harder to me, but maybe that's because I was going faster!

Indulging in coffee, good muffins and berries after an athletic event is pretty sweet. I stole some for my kids and we munched them on the boardwalk. We even got to see dolphins frolicking in the ocean - really spinning and flipping and everything! Everyone was going, "Ooohhh! Aaaahhhh!" at the dolphins.

On the way out, I thought I'd just take a glance at the time sheets to see where I ended up. Names are listed be finishing time, so I looked down, and down, and down. And there I was! Sue Lockyer, 2:04, 6/6. That's right. Sixth out of six people in my age group (which I assume as 35-40 years old). My inner competitor felt sad. But oh well, I figure that triathletes probably get better with age, and the older I get the more competition there will be. Hopefully I will get better too!


Mike said...

I can't imagine the training even required to do a tri. Congrats, again.

Sue said...

Really, it's not that much. I just try to swim, run and ride once a week. Sometimes, if I'm lucky I run twice. Anyone can do it if they are in reasonable health. It's fun!

Anonymous said...

Mazel Tov you beautiful amazon jock!!! I know you like to keep making better time, I'm just amazed you swim in the ocean! I'll salute you with my cup of coffee from SF! love, s

Anonymous said...


Sue said...

S: thanks! you sure know how to make one feel great!

Anonymous: Ha! Ha! Ha! :)

your friend from the smoking section said...

I have a feeling that Gran Nina was bragging about you in Heaven!!!