Neal and I started the weekend at the participant meeting at the NCFFA Camp on Saturday evening. We drove to White Lake, NC, which is about 7 miles from Elizabethtown. We picked up my packet, complete with official WLS tee and my race number (133) for my swim, bike and run. We browsed the expo and dipped our toes in the water. It was a beautiful night and the water was warm (about 75 degrees) and I decided that I would be able to swim on Sunday without my wetsuit top.
On Sunday morning, we left Wilmington at 6:00am and arrived at the camp/event site around 7:15. We parked outside the event on Highway 53. Neal and I both biked to the camp. I dropped off my bike and headed to the body marking and chip timing stations. I had to send Neal back to the car to get my water bottle for my bike. One of the secret weapons I learned from Cheryl Osborne (my mentor for the SheRox Tri) was to freeze the water in an insulated bottle overnight. By the time I was on the bike I had some righteous cold water to quench my thirst!
I went back to the bike and set up my gear. My bike was on the outside of the rack which is a huge plus. When you're in a transition area with almost 700 bikes you can get discombobulated. Someone had already marked the outside of the rack with a carolina blue sock, so I marked my bike seat with my cowboy hat.
The next 45 minutes seemed to stretch on forever. The race was set-up in a wave format. The fastest of the fast (elites) go first and every 5-7 minutes another wave is released. The first wave started at 8:00am and my wave of 35-39 year-old women and the Athena division had a start time of 8:32. I stretched, jumped in the water, tested my swim cap, my goggles and my stroke. Repeat.
Thinking peaceful thoughts.
FINALLY, the horn sounded and we were off!
I was really excited about my swim despite a shaky start. My left goggle lens was foggy so I had a hard time sighting the first turn buoy. I also started out way left which probably slowed me down BUT, my my stroke was even at the first turn and my last 300 yards were fast!
Neal, my GAS man (gear-and-support) met me a the end of the swim and let me know I was right on pace. He followed me to the bike transition area which I think I raced through in under 3:00 minutes. (My results lump my transitions in with the bike segment so I'm not positive about exact T1 and T2 times). The bike is a 14-mile, 2 lap course around the lake. The course is flat as a fritter but it was WINDY! On mile 5-6 and mile 14-15 I slowed from a 3:32 mph pace to about 4:40mph. Yuck! I literally shook my fist at the wind during the second lap. Overall, I was pleased with my effort on the bike: my max speed was 21 mph and my middle miles were faster than my first lap. I basically did intervals on my second lap: 2 minutes hard and 1 minute recovery. Plus, I passed a 25-year-old with a tricked-out Trek. HA! My estimated bike time (without transitions): 50 minutes.
I was so excited to cross that finish line. One thing I love about triathlons is that there are two timing mats at the end of the race. The first timing mat gives your race info to the announcer and the second mat records your finish time. As you run over the finish mat, you can hear the announcer say, "from Wilmington, North Carolina.....Elizabeth Andrew!" I like it!
Mark your calendars for the morning of SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 19. That's my next triathlon and it's here in Wilmington! It's the YMCA Tri at Wrightsville Beach and there's still time for you to enter! If you don't want to compete with me, you can join EA Sports. Not that EASports it's Elizabeth Andrew Sports! You can be a part of my cheer squad. I would love to have people scattered along the course to cheer me on. It truly makes me faster. Maybe we'll have a party after at the nearest Chick-fil-A! :)