Okay - first let me give props to the people who deserve it by saying, it is so much easier to do a triathlon as a team than it is as an individual. So to all those people who I passed yesterday, while I was on my bike (well, except the other team's rider), I am sorry. I had only one event and I blew all my energy on it.
That said, Chris, Becky and I participated in a sprint triathlon yesterday in Southern NJ. What that means, is that, each of us participated in one event. Becky, is our swimmer, so she swam the quarter mile (in the black lake), I'm the biker (though Chris can really smoke me, it's still the only event in which I had any chance at competing), and we all know, Chris runs. So, as a team, we entered.
And to get to the chase, we won for Coed Teams!!!!!!!!
And yes, there was one other team so we actually did beat someone, but hey, we won!
So here's how it played out.
On Saturday, we drove down to Southern Jersey (planning on spending the night at Chris's dad's place in Ocean City, which is a 30 minute drive from the start). About exit 40, I realized, I'd left the directions to the race at home, on my desk. So we pulled into the Atlantic City rest stop on the parkway (in the torrential rain), ran inside to the gift shop and asked if they had a map. Crazily (in the midst of Jersey), they had New York maps, Pennsylvania maps but said they were out of New Jersey maps. As we were leaving though, we spied a map of Cape May County. Not sure if the race was in Cape May County or Atlantic County, Chris plucked the map from the rack to check, figuring if it was in Cape May County, we would buy the map.
That's when Lady Clerk One, grabbed the map back and said, "You can't look at the map." To which Chris replied, "I just want to see if the place we're headed is on the map so we know whether we should buy it." Lady Clerk Two (the one who told us that they had no Jersey maps - guess she didn't know that Cape May County was in NJ), without moving from the chair in which she sat, repeated, "You can't look at the map."
To which Chris replies, "Fine, you look, and tell me if it's on the map and if it is we'll buy it." Lady Clerk one looks at a list of "attractions" on the cover of the map, and replies, "If it's not listed, it's not covered." Chris looks at the list and doesn't see it, and starts to unfold the map. And Lady Clerk Two, still seated, says, "You can't unfold the map." Lady Clerk One repeats, "If it's not listed, it's not covered."
I do not have time for this nonsense, neither does Chris. He starts to unfold the map while I look at both of them and say, "There are hundreds of towns in Cape May County, do you think they're all listed on that first page? We're not trying to cheat you but why should we buy something we don't need. You have a real great way of being helpful."
Chris sees our destination and we buy the stupid map. I just don't get people some times? Do people really come in, unfold maps, plot their course and then return them? Has this been such a major issue in the past, that the rest stop feels like they can't let people look at a $5 map before they buy it?
I get in the car, and show the girls, see this is a map. This is what we used before Mapquest and Google maps and navigation devices.
Since we're nervous about navigating the old-fashioned way, and much to Sammi's chagrin, we decide to head to the park immediately to pick up our race package, rather than waiting to pick it up before the race the next morning. So in the torrential rain, we navigate (via map), to Belleplain Forest where we find some very wet people handing out race packages (chips, numbers, etc.) and tee shirts. Next we head back to Chris's dad's house for the evening.
On Sunday, we're up at 5:30am, and out of the house by 6:00 (they want everyone on site by 6:30 for a 7:30am race start). With a quick stop at WaWa, we're good to go. We're all nervous but Becky shows it the most by being her usual, teen, manic self, going from good mood to bitch in five seconds flat and back again.
None of us have ever been to a triathlon before and don't know what to expect. First let me say, the people who do these are some major athletes. I mean, for the most part, total muscle. And they're serious, while we're a bunch of hacks, wandering around, having no clue what's going on. We figure it out though, because people there were pretty darn helpful.
First, we put my bike on one of the staging area racks. Now everyone else is laying out their gear for the bike and run (which occurs after the swim), so they can have quick transitions. Since we're each doing only one event, that doesn't concern us so much. Then we confirm that Becky starts with heat 4. For the swim, around the black bottom lake, they start in four waves, three minutes apart. After that, we just wait (and get eaten alive by gnats).
Finally, at 7:15, there's a meeting on the "beach." They go over the procedures and rules and the first wave of swimmers goes into the lake, waist deep, and waits for the starting horn. And they're off.
I stick around until Becky starts and then hustle back to the staging area where I see one other team also waiting for their swimmer. I get on my helmet, gloves and shoes, and nibble my nails. The other team's swimmer arrives and their biker takes off, shit! A few minutes later I see Becky running towards me (yes, she's actually running - for as much as we both joked that we weren't taking this seriously, I guess she got into it). Oh, and she's running across dirt, woods, gravel, barefoot. She gets to me, puts the chip anklet on me, and I run my bike to the start area (holy shit, I'm running my bike - I guess i decided to take it seriously too - you get caught in the moment). My heart rate is already over 161 by the time I mount my bike and take off!
And man do I. I can't help myself, for the next 15.2 miles, I'm pumping away, with heart rate reaching into the 180s, I try to calm down, slow down, but there's a thrill to passing people, and a few miles in, I think, maybe I can catch that other team, and I do! But I'm tired, and I'm thirsty, but heck, I can't blow it now, so I finish that ride at a personal best of 19.2mph in 47 minutes, average heart rate of 174 (95% of max the entire ride). I get off and run the bike back to our staging area, my thighs burning for that 200 feet. I yell to Becky to grab the bike as Chris and I struggle to get the chip anklet off me and on to him. I tell him, I think we're in first for teams and he takes off.
After I catch my breath, Becky and I walk over to the water stand near the finish and one cup does me fine. Then we wait, and we wait. We see the other team's rider return, only a few minutes after me and their runner start; she's a woman, but she looks strong. Becky tells me about the swim, how she had to do it with her head out of water because it was just too dark in the lake to see anything. How one man kept cutting in front of her, only to dog paddle so she had to go around him.
Then we realize we didn't notice what time Chris started so we don't know when to expect him and of course I get nervous. But I'm being eaten alive by the bugs, so I don't even have a moment to nibble on nails while I'm swatting at gnats. Then Becky says, "I smell bug spray." Sure enough, a woman, waiting next to us, had some off that she let us borrow - so to you woman with Off, thank you!!! You're a life saver.
Finally, Becky spies Chris through the woods and we start yelling. He sprints in and finishes his 5K in 19:58 minutes with pace of 6:27, the fastest he's ever run. And yes, at the moment, we have absolutely no pictures because none of us thought to bring a camera but hopefully the official photographers captured some.
So overall, yes we only beat one other team but hey, it's still a victory in my book. Not to mention the fact, it's the first actual race I've ever participated in; I can definitely see where people get addicted to that feeling. Lastly, I think the fact that we did this together, made it great.
Now we're waiting for Sammi to be old enough to participate - who knows, maybe we'll have two team Riemanns, Chris and Becky versus Sammi and me (I wouldn't place bets on us for that one).