FS Series Beaver Dam Olympic Tri

Around Christmas, Matt mentioned that he was swimming a lot more and was really interested in doing a triathlon.  I said I would totally join him for one, and was he thinking of doing a Sprint (1/2 mile swim, 13 mile bike, 3.1 mile run)?  He said, no, he wanted to do an Olympic, because he would actually have to train for it (double those distances- 1 mile swim, 25 mile bike, 6.2 mile run).  Well duh, that's why I asked about doing the Sprint!  But I said I would do the Olympic with him, and he nodded.

Little did I know, he was plotting.  I was booking swims right and left- swim meets, the Bay Swim, Nanticoke, and just figured I would be doing an Olympic in September some time.  And then he sent an email to everyone declaring he and I were going to do this Olympic Tri in Raleigh, NC on April 20th, and did anyone want to join us?  Well, actually he gave two dates, but one of them was the day before the Bay Swim, so that wasn't going to really happen...  So it was really only ever the April Tri for me.  And then Matt managed to convince Beth, Dan, and Celeste to form a relay team and come play in North Carolina!

I am terrible about cycling outside when it's even a little cold, so I only had one weekend of cycling behind me, and I'm pretty sure those two rides totalled the mileage I would be doing for the race.  But at least I had all my swim training.  And I had been running a lot more before I hurt myself falling down the stairs!  I meannnn, what could go wrong.
So Friday after work (well, around 2pm), I bolted down I-95 to Chapel Hill, NC.  We would be taking over my Aunt and Uncle's place there and using it as a home base.  Thank goodness!  Thank you Rich and Janis and Grandpa for letting us stay there!  I got there first, Celeste got in after I went to bed, I think like 10:45 maybe?, but the poor NYC crew got in around 2:15am.  I have no idea how they managed to function the next day for the race, but they are just beasts, what can I say?!
So I woke up to these silhouettes in my window.  Kathleen, your room is awesome.
Then I got to meet Beth's bff Celeste finally!  She gave me a huge hug and she had made all of us water bottles for the race.  Notice that Beth and Dan had run and bike depicted on theirs respectively, while Matt and I had all three drawn.  Ugh, too freakin adorable! 

The race!  We got there, checked in, got packets, set up transition, got body-marked with our numbers, etc etc.  I swam a little in my wetsuit to warmup.  Then it was time to go!  The first wave was Men 39 and under (blue caps), so Celeste and I cheered on Matt when he swam off!  Then Men 40 and up (white caps), then finally the Female wave (pink caps).  Woot!  I got close to the front of the pack for the start, but still had to climb over some people to get to open water in the front.  I kept fighting to get out in front, then kind of realized there was no one there fighting me.  So I looked on either side and didn't see any other pink caps, so I just kept going!  I caught up to the white cap wave pretty quickly, and by the first turn buoy, I was in the thick of them.

**Please note, that when you get to a turn buoy, the spread-out group condenses to take the turn as tight as possible, so you end up getting kicked and climbed over, but it's never on purpose.  Well, apparently I was being a little too forceful, because one of the guys goes, "The first pink cap, but not a lady."  Bahahahahaha, amazing.  Dude, you made my day.  So I kept going and left them far behind.

After the last turn buoy, and passing a lot of the blue caps too, I recognized someone swimming!  I thought it might be Matt, but I didn't know that his goggles were mirrored.  Then I realized he was doing one-armed fly and I was like, oh that has to be Matt!  So I smiled at him and kept going.  Then I ran up the beach to a ton of cheers of "yay first girl!!".  That was amazing, I've never been the first!  I ran by Beth who seemed mad but was cheering me on!  (I found out later that Dan had figured I was the first pink cap coming in all by myself, but she hadn't gotten her camera ready in time, so she was mad she wasn't getting a picture of me).  I ran into transition and sure enough, a minute later Matt came in and goes, "Did you see me?!"  And I go, yeah!  I saw the one-armed fly, I figured that had to be my brother!  He goes "I saw the first pink cap, I figured it had to be you!"  So then I went off on my bike, and he caught me pretty quickly.  He shouted (we weren't allowed to draft on the bike) while we rode that the first white cap caught him at the first buoy, so based on that, he figured I would catch him, so he was lookin for me.  It was cool to see him while swimming and now getting to talk while biking!  But then he took off up a hill and I had no way of following.
So- many hills and 26 miles later, we came back into transition again!  Beth and Celeste were there to cheer me on and tell me that Matt had a couple minutes on me, but that I could catch him!  I laughed and shook my head because I was exhausted after that bike.  Maybe training would have been a good idea :-) 
But I took off running, and my quads immediately started cramping.  6.2 miles of cramped legs wasn't going to cut it, so I stopped and stretched a couple times, but nothing was really helping.  Luckily, the course was an out-and-back twice, so every 1.5 miles meant a turnaround and water stations!  I grabbed both water and gatorade each time, and was finally able to run the last 3 miles without stopping.  That was awesome!  And I did catch up to Matt, who unfortunately had way worse leg cramps, where if he stretched his quads, his hamstrings cramped, and vice versa.  So he was having to walk more than he wanted.  And I saw Beth on the run too!  She had joined in the game and it was cool having the out-and-backs because 1) you got to know the course and 2) you got to cheer on people you knew a couple times! 
I knew I was going to regret this face as soon as Celeste took the picture...
So then I ran into the finish and saw Dan and Celeste cheering me on!  And once again, I surprised them and they didn't get a photo finish, but I swear, you don't look your best during these things, it's really ok with me that there were minimal pictures, lol.  I finished at 3:07.44, which was really ok with me!  I need to train better, but seriously, I was so happy!  Umm, especially because the sport I do train a lot, swimming, I kind of dominated at.  Turns out I was the first girl by over 3 minutes, and was 5th overall after the swim.  Too bad it wasn't just an open water race :-)

Matt and Beth finished great!  Maybe a little more tired, but really excited to have finished!  I wish I could remember what Matt was telling us at this point, haha, but he wasn't walking, he was running. 
We had some post-race food there, but were more excited about our cook-out at Rich's after, so we headed to a grocery store, stocked up on a ton of food, and headed back to shower and eat before the Durham Bulls game later. 
PS- I was tricked into going to a Minor League Baseball double header.  Matt- I committed to an Olympic Tri in North Carolina, and you repay me by tricking me into going to a double header.  It just hurts.

It was fun though, and apparently I need to see the movie Bull Durham.
Then we took a scenic route back to our car after we saw Wil Myers hit a home run in the 4th inning of the second game (they didn't make me stay the whole time!).
Durham was adorable!  I would totally make sure I walked past these water features whenever possible if I lived there.  Then we headed back and I crashed pretty hard that night.  I woke up sore, but so excited that I had completed an Olympic!  The weather had been perfect, and the company was awesome!  And.  That 1st place swim finish got me super psyched for my open water races coming up :-)

We all headed out the next day, to drive a lot again, but at least this time I wasn't super worried about a race and I could just zone out and get back to DC as fast as I could.  PS- thank you cops for not pulling me over!

Thank you guys for an awesome weekend!  Thank you Matt for making me commit to a race I wouldn't have done on my own!  And thank you Rich, Janis, and Grandpa for letting us take over your place for a whirlwind 36 hours!  It was a fantastic trip, and race, and I wouldn't mind doing it all over again next year!

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