Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Important Thing Is I Finished

Yesterday, Oct. 4, I did the Giant Acorn Sprint at Lake Anna. I will remember this event for two things. First, I had a hard time with the swim; so hard, in fact, that about 100 or so meters into it, I considered raising my hand and quitting. I decided to keep going to the first buoy, though. After a few minutes there trying to catch my breath, I headed for the next buoy. The swim didn’t get any easier, but I persevered. I don’t know why the swim was so difficult. I like to swim, and I’m fine in a pool. In past open water swims, it’s taken me some time to adjust to the cooler temperatures, but I was wearing a wetsuit at Lake Anna and really didn’t feel cold in the 74ยบ water. However, except for brief intervals, my breathing was ragged and my stroke floundered. I felt marginally better with my face out of the water, so I backstroked and sidestroked from buoy to buoy, and, eventually, I finished. My swim time was 26:58, many minutes slower than I’d expected, but I was so glad I’d gotten through it, it felt like a PR.

At T1, my left foot got stuck in my wetsuit, and my chain came off my bike when I lifted it off the rack, but I was still on track to finish well within the allotted time of 2½ hours.

The bike course was pleasant, at least until the end. At the 10-mile mark, I thought I was going to make or even beat my anticipated time. The last two miles, however, seemed to have an unexpected abundance of “rolling hills.” I would have known this if I hadn’t taken a wrong turn on the way to the marina and/or had driven the course before the race. Anyway, the terrain slowed my pace. Then, as I was coming into the marina, I encountered participants who’d already finished the race who were leaving with their bikes and gear, and spectators with dogs and children. I decided it would be safer to dismount early and walk my bike in than to try to ride through the crowd, which added a few more minutes to my bike leg.

T2 was uneventful, and I was off on the run. I soon suspected I was the last runner on the course, and by the turn-around point, I was sure of it. I’ve never been the last finisher before. But I was having a decent run – certainly better than my last two sprints, so I put aside my embarrassment at being last and concentrated on finishing strong. My time was 2:21:05, 20 minutes and 20 seconds behind the other woman in our age group.

Although I’m disappointed with my performance, I’m not totally disheartened. I didn’t quit. Some of the things that slowed me down might not happen again (of course, there are always unknown obstacles to overcome!), but they’re things I can aim to improve next year. And most important, I finished my fifth sprint for 2008 and secured my spot in the Setup Events awards.

3 comments:

Kate said...

Great job Kathleen.

Fave said...

and you beat your time of 2.5 hours!!!!

it's hard to overcome obstacles, but those make the finish line even sweeter.

SusieQ said...

Kathleen,

Me thinks you are being a bit too hard on yourself. You hung in there, even though the swim unexpectedly threw you off.
Great season for you!