Me and April, a teammate, in the transition area before the race.
Half mile swim, 18 mile bike, 4 mile run. Lots of celebrities. I saw David Hasselhoff (looks far older in person), Mario Lopez (looks gorgeous even in a wetsuit and swimcap), and Jeremy Piven.
I did something different -- instead of racing as an age group athlete, I raced as an Athena, the category for women 150 pounds and higher. My weight hovers between 148-150, and on the morning before the race, I was 150 so I decided to go for it. Coach Jamie didn't agree with my decision -- he says I'm "competitive" and should "be fair", while another coach suggested I should use my size to my advantage and race in the Athena category. While I admit that I am a normal weight for my height, being tall (5' 9 1/2") presents a definite disadvantage in triathlon, since long legs biomechanically are horrible levers on the bike and serve as somewhat of a disadvantage for running.
The swim was a bit choppy. Some of the waves got some big swells, while ours didn't seem so bad. I felt my swim was good, though I must admit I crashed into the third buoy before I went around it. Yes, clutzy, but only cost me a couple seconds. Even getting out of the water, it was a bit choppy.
I was pretty breathless getting out of the water, probably because of all the chop, and was having a heck of a time running through the sand to the transition area. My bike ride was good, for me. One benefit of being in a late wave is that I get to pass people on the bike, which isn't a common occurrence since the bike is my weakest leg of the race. One girl on an archaic bike with no pedal clips kept passing me, and then I would pass her. Every time she pulled up next to me, I laughed to myself, "I have a Cervelo! Your bike isn't supposed to pass mine!" But in the end, pride took over -- I wasn't going to let THAT bike beat me :) and I passed her for good.
I enjoyed the run. Coach Jamie wanted me to run it in 8 minute splits. I didn't quite hit that goal, but did run about 8:30/mile, and saw great friends and teammates on the course. Best of all, my 4 year-old niece had just run the Tot Trot, and I saw my family near the finish line -- with about 200 feet to go, my brother yells, "Good job -- 2 more miles!" I laughed, and dashed for the finish.
In the end, I finished in 2 hours and 3 minutes, five minutes faster than last year. I placed fourth in the Athena category, which means I got to stand on the podium, which I have never had the chance to do at a large race.
I couldn't have had a more thrilling birthday!