September 13, 2009

Crash and Burn: A Triathlon Story

A) I love running races right in Washington DC. There's just something so cool about running past national monuments and the highest seats of power in this great nation.

B) I love running triathlons. I've been doing them about 10 years now, and I've loved racing in lots of different states, from Utah to New York to Florida.

As they always said in math class, A + B = C

C) Since I moved to DC a couple years ago, I've wanted to compete in the Nation's Triathlon, and this year I had my chance.

I debated even showing up for registration, since my IT band has been bothering me a lot this summer, but I decided on Saturday to go for it. Getting signed in and dropping my bike off on time was then a close call, but we made it just in time. I woke up early on Sunday morning and drove across the bridge, parking my car near the Jefferson Memorial.

Swim
Supposedly, the Potomac River is pretty gross. I've always heard that, but swimming in it wasn't bad at all, at least in terms of water quality. The Schuylkill River, which I swam in for the 2006 Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon, was much dirtier and definitely had more debris in the water. Ew. Starting the swim going upstream was a little bit of a challenge, though, and my time showed it. [Swim time = a slow 34:09]Bike
Loved, loved, loved this bike course! Gentle rollers along smooth roads. That's a recipe for a fast bike split. My only qualm with the bike course was that the dismount was kinda sudden. As in, little to no warning that it was time to dismount. As in, I couldn't get my foot out quick enough and had a major wipeout for all the spectators to watch in horror and amazement. [Bike time = a fast 1:12:50 (and that's including the crash)]Run
Oh the run. That fickle, foul friend. Sometimes he's got your back, and sometimes he takes the opportunity to stab you in the back. Today was, sadly, the latter. I was rockin' and rollin' for about 4.5 miles, and then the debilitating shots of pain began exploding from my IT band.Let's just say that the last 1.7 miles were "off pace". Many of the people I'd blown by since the start of the run went plodding past me during my walk breaks, and that was hard to stomach. When I finally limped across the line, I immediately went to the med tent and got some ice and an ACE bandage for my IT band, and that helped a lot. [Run time = a painful 56:42]On the bright side, I realized that even with my terrible last 1.7 miles of the run, my total time (including transitions) was 2:47:57. Not blazing fast, but encouraging considering that it could have been about 10 minutes faster without the IT band issues. And that time still equated to an overall placing of 1,349/3,933 participants.

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