Ahh, I love firsts. You know, when you have no idea what to expect, a guaranteed PR. There is something refreshing about doing something for the first time. Rage in the Sage was to be my first long course triathlon, or half Iron distance (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, and 13.2 mile run). The trip out to Vegas was a total hoot. Three families, all these kiddos, and tons of bikes, wetsuits, etc. I was lucky in that I got to get into the Normatec pants for an hour late the night before my race. It gave me a sense of calm to get in the pants, and I felt really ready to go come race morning. I slept like a baby that night. Comfy bed. Also, I had Troy and Annie in bed with me, so it felt like home! 4am couldn't come early enough. Transition setup was a breeze, although the actual breeze had me worried that my shoes would blow away! Luckily the wind calmed down. The water temp was 56. Brrr! That's like Alcatraz! I got into my new DeSoto wetsuit for the first time and warmed up in the water for about 10 minutes. I think I'm the only one that warmed up for that long. It was really hard to put my face in the water but I knew that once I swam for awhile that everything would get numb. Sure enough after ten minutes my face, hands and feet were numb and I felt great. The half start was a ladies and guys start and it was really fun to be on the start line with Steve, Anthony, Keith, Tyler...all my peeps!
We got going in a mellow fashion and almost right away I found a lady that was swimming close to my speed. I swam next to her for a little while and realized that she swam pretty straight, and very consistently, so I hopped on her feet. She was just fast enough that I had to fight to stay on them, but that I wasn't going too hard. I stuck to those feet the entire swim. It was AWESOME, a real dream come true. The swim didn't feel any longer than an Olympic distance swim, and before I knew it I was getting to the shore.
So I get into transition and do my thing and I'm off really quickly. I look over and there is Tyler right next to me. I think he is pretty shocked because he's a faster swimmer than me, but, huh, there I was??? On the sweet Isaac bike and I'm off. Steve told me earlier to take it really mellow for the first five miles, so I did and guess who passes me? Anthony. Now Anthony is definitely a faster swimmer than me, so I'm pretty confused that this point. I take it easy for the first 5-10 miles and then I start getting into my groove. I really LOVED this bike course. It's rollers. You go up, you go down, no flats to be heard of. I got a good rhythm going and just had a lot of fun with it. I was cat and mousing with one guy and we were having a lot of fun with that. When I would go by him I would say "Meow". I was the cat...he was the mouse! I passed one lady in the first 15 miles or so and I had no idea where I was at in the race. As we approached the first of two turn around spots I started looking for ladies. I was pretty shocked when Anthony gestured that I was in third. What. Really? That meant I got out of the water in 4th? Are there like 5 people doing this race (that was my first thought).
At the turn I settled into my groove and just had fun. I didn't chase down the lead, I just biked within myself and figured if it was meant to happen, then it would. My mouse tried to take another pass at me, saying I had already "chicked" him twice that day. Ha, I just like saying that word..."chicked". Ha! Meow! Sure enough, at mile 50 right as I was passing by Troy, I passed the lead lady. I knew I had plenty in the tank. She passed me back to ask directions, which I thought was really funny. I told her the route and complimented her on her totally cute bike, and then worked on passing her back in a legal fashion. At mile 53 we had the second turn around. I checked the ladies behind me and the one in third looked very solid and seemed to be making up a lot of time on the bike.
Into transition and my "mouse" was racing me to the line, we both got a big giggle out of that one. Whoosh, and I was back out, thinking to myself...."Self, you are actually leading a triathlon, going into the run, which is your strong suit." "Who are you"? It was pretty funny to me. I just couldn't wipe the silly grin off my face.
The first three miles of the run course were brutal. It was hot and there were hills. I stayed very within myself and took it out at about 8:15 miles. I wanted to see where my legs were and I knew there were flat sections of the course that I could pick it up if needed. I had a lot of fun once I started passing the guys coming the other direction. I kept telling each of them what place they were in in. It kept me aware. I saw Anthony come by in 12th and Steve in 15th. I was pretty proud of my guys, they were doing really well. At the turn around I started timing to see what kind of lead I had. I got a bit scared, it was about 2.5 minutes. Eeek. I picked it up and ran a harder 3.5 miles. That section was tough because I was a little scared and I'm not used to running in that situation (scared...in the lead...both are new to me). At the 10 mile mark I took a look behind me and couldn't see anyone in sight.
Being that I had a 46 mile run to do in two days, I cruised it into the finish. The clock said 5:05, the results say 5:07. Either way, that sounds like a pretty good number to me. :)
Immediately afterwards I drove to Anthony's hotel room and got in the Normatec pants for 30 minutes. This was key and I'm so glad I did it. My legs needed to do some serious recovering. Then I got to go back, watch another teammate finish and pick up my award...A HUGE MAGNUM of wine. Too Fun!
The rest of the afternoon was spent back at the rental house catching up on everyones race stories of the day. It's definitely my favorite part of racing. I love sitting around and hearing about everyones experiences and adventures. It's fun to listen to peoples interpretations of the course and what silly things happened along the way (Michelle PIC put her helmet on backwards...that just cracks me up).
Later that night we hired a babysitter for the kids and went out to the strip to see Zumanity. It was so nice to go out with my team and Zumanity was totally AWESOME! I loved it! Then it was back home to the rental house to get a good nights sleep and to get ready to run a double crossing of the Grand Canyon...