This one was MUCH better than my first this season.
The swim was 0.5 miles on a nice calm inland lake called Lake Chargoggagogmanchaugagoggchaubunagungamaugg, which will herein be referred to as Lake Cha. The start was very crowded -- legs kicking everywhere. I tried to keep moving, but I really like my personal space so all these people kicking me and swimming into me was really ticking me off. My breathing was really off too, and I was starting to get that panicky feeling again. So, briefly, I did the breaststroke, let the crazy people ahead, and once it was less crowded and I had my space, I swam again. I felt better, got into my groove, and finished off the swim. Lake Cha was nice and peaceful, without big waves, which was nice.
When I swim, I've tried to breathe every three strokes like I do when I practice in the pool. But it never works out that way. So, instead, at the suggestion of our tri club run coach, I decided to go with what I felt natural doing -- breathing every two strokes. It worked out well.
The distance from the water to the transition area, where our bikes and other equipment are stored, was long. So, it was a very long-seeming barefoot run in a wetsuit to get my bike.
The bike started off well. People who break the rules annoy me. One person was riding in the middle of the road, very slowly. I suggested to him to get over to the right. Then some woman passed me on the right (which is a huge safety no-no -- when you pass, you pass riders on the left), and was about to try to zig-zag through three riders. So I rode up next to her and said, "If you pass, you need to do it on the left." I don't think she was thrilled to hear from me. And she passed me again. Two miles later, there she was cursing at the side of the road with her bike upside down trying to fix a tire. Karma's gonna bite you, right?
The course got TOUGH!!!! Around mile four, we approached a huge hill. I put my bike in low gear, stood up, and powered through it. Some people walked. Then at the top of the hill, phew, that was tough, and around the corner was ANOTHER HILL, which was similarly steep. And then ANOTHER!!! Whew were my legs tired! Following these hills came a long downhill, steep at times, and my speed got up to 35 mph, which on a bike is damn fast. I hit the brakes at one point, which was good as the pavement went very rapidly from smooth to treacherous and bumpy and flying off the bike at that speed could have been really really bad.
The rest of the bike ride was considerably less hilly. I took it easier, so that my legs wouldn't be worn out on the 3-mile run. My pace on the 12-mile bike was 15.5 miles per hour, nothing to write home about, but faster than I could have done last season on this type of course.
The run flew by. I didn't feel like I was flying, but it went fast. I was breathing hard, but comfortably, unlike the triathlon two weeks ago. I remember catching up to a woman, who looked like she was struggling, and of course I said, "Good job, keep it up." She said, "My legs are so heavy... they hurt!" I looked down at the back of her leg, where our ages are written -- hers is 53. "Look, my mother is younger than you, and I could never see her doing one of these in a million years, so you are awesome! Keep going!" I think that got a chuckle out of her.
So I finished strong. I don't know when my next race will be, but it will likely be four weeks from now, once my bike and belongings arrive safely in LA and I have a better idea what my schedule will be.