Saturday marked the end of "tri season" in Memphis. Ashley & I got up at 4:30am to head out to Collierville for the Annie Oakley all women's sprint triathlon. It started at 7am at Herb Parson's lake.
(Awesome photo bomb by teammate, Grace.)
We did a practice ride on the bike course the week before, and found out first hand how killer it is. The last four miles are all hills and the course ends with a crazy steep hill. Like crazier than Shelby Forest steep. So even though the bike portion was 11 miles, 2 miles shorter than usual, I was dreading it.
It was weird to arrive when it was still pretty much pitch black, but it was awesome to see about 200 women competing. It was also chilly, which was definitely a new sensation. Tri season has been HOTT. (There were also lots of guys milling around. After our race, was the Sharp Shooter Tri which is mostly men.)
We got our transition area set up and then mingled with teammates and friends. I was pretty calm, maybe because I felt like I was still asleep. It wasn't until right before I dove in the lake that I turned to Ashley and said, "Wait, are we really doing this again?"
The good thing about swimming in open water is that you just pretty much have to keep going. To quit mid stream would cause quite a ruckus and involve climbing into a canoe. No thanks. The reason I bring this up is because Herb Parson's Lake is NASTY. Oh my goodness. Of all the open swims we've done, this was by far the worst. The water stunk! And because it was chilly out, the water was way warmer than the air, which made it feel nasty too. I definitely felt a little panicky because of this, which I guess made me swim faster. I had my best swim time ever! 12:34. That's a little over a minute faster than Memphis in May, which I did the most training for. (However, there were rumors that the MIM course was more like 500 meters than 400.)
I was SO happy to get out of the water, but I did feel more worn out than usual. I haven't done much swimming since the last tri, and I regretted it.
I drank some water, got my socks and shoes on (no easy feat when wet), my helmet, and then headed out on my bike. My legs were not cooperating and I felt like I was just crawling on the bike. Thankfully after about 6 miles, I was able to pick up the pace a bit and I somehow made it through all of the hills. But man, that last one is just so mean! Coming back into transition, I was huffing and puffing and my quads were crazy tight. My bike time was 43:17, which was actually way faster than either of my two practice runs. I have no idea how that happened.
Back in transition I remembered to put my race number on (I forgot at Mighty Mite), but I forgot to grab my water bottle. Thankfully there were several water stations set up and the cooler temps made it less necessary. The run was just 2 miles, rather than the usual 3, but it was a trail run, which again involved several hills. The run is always the hardest part for me even though running is my strongest sport of the three. I'm just so beat by the time I start running, I have a hard time pushing myself. Thankfully along the way I found a teammate and was able to keep pace with her for awhile. In my head 2 miles seemed a lot shorter than what I was running and every time I thought I was almost done, there would be a switchback and more trail. I definitely need to get a watch so I can actually know where I am and set a better pace. But whatever. I finished! Yay! Run time was a very disappointing 25:50. Sure it was a trail run, but dang. Pitiful.
Total time 1:24:45.
My goal for next year is to hone some mental toughness and really push myself.
I'm happy tri season is over. I'm ready to get back into some nice, long runs. But I will definitely miss it too. It was really, really fun. I will definitely keep swimming and biking as much as possible.
p.s. If you ever do the Annie Oakley, try your hardest not to swallow any lake water! Almost the entire team got sick afterwards!