The nice thing about early season races is that there is very little pressure. At least that’s the way I look at them. I worked Beaverdam into my schedule as a training day and what a training day it proved to be. The morning was characteristically cold; the norm for an early morning in April and yet I felt unprepared. I was able to peel off one layer at a time during my warm-up and in the transition zone while I set out my gear. By 8:00am the temperature had risen to a stifling 48 degrees. I’m still impressed by all of the racers who were able to get in the water to warm up and then get back out to wait for the race start. Once I got in I knew there was no way I was getting out so I hung back on the beach with a handful of other racers to wait for my wave start.
8:06am. All of the female competitors lined up behind an imaginary line in the water and the race began. The swim was uneventful for the most part. I think I lost feeling in my hands by about the third buoy, which may have been about a ½ mile into the swim. I didn’t worry about that too much until I got out of the water. Then it became a problem. I fumbled for a while to unzip my wetsuit. With no dexterity in my fingers, it was all I could do to grip my wetsuit hard enough to even pull it off. But I couldn’t put my prosthesis on until I got my wetsuit off and I couldn’t get out of the sand until I put my leg on so there I was balancing on one leg while trying to shuck a wetsuit with numb hands. It wasn’t pretty. Nor was it quick. The slowest transition ever and unfortunately it counted against my swim.
Once on my bike, I realized how hard I had pushed my legs earlier in the week. I dropped down a couple gears and tried to just spin for awhile to get the blood moving again. After that I felt pretty good. The bike ended up being a beautiful ride once it warmed up a little more. At one point my prosthesis unclipped from my pedal and all of a sudden I was riding up a hill with one leg while trying desperately to clip my cleat back into my pedal. But it proved tricky since the pedal was spinning and I have pretty imprecise control over my prosthesis. Good thing I’ve been doing my isolated leg spins since it wasn’t until I crested the hill and could coast for a second that I was actually able to clip back in. At least it kept it interesting.
Overall, my swim and bike splits were pretty mediocre. But thankfully I still had legs for a decent run. Despite a couple fairly big hills, I was able to maintain a 7:45 pace, which I was initially a bit disappointed about. But a 7:45 pace gave me a 47:47 run, which was good enough to give me 4th overall in women in the run. If you couldn’t tell, I was a runner before I was a triathlete! So 4th in the run, 18th overall for women, and 3rd in my age group. I can be happy with that!