MUSKEGON INDOOR TRI, JAN. 27, 2007
First tri of the year. LOL! Indoor or not, I'm counting it. Here is a picture of the final result of the day--all winners! (L to R: Don--race director; me; Jan; Amanda (Jan's daughter)).
The three of us after the run. (Once again, I look horrible! The hair!)
Mom and daughter winners!
We had a great time. It never hurts when you al walk away with awards either!
There were 12 heats of mostly 6 in each heat, so about 72 participants, including some teams. Our heat was number 6, so we were right in the middle, making it a long day. All in all, I guess I wasn't disappointed in my results, and until I can compare from last year, won't really know how I did.
The tri is held at a YMCA near the Lake Michigan lakeshore, about 45 miles away from Grand Rapids. Actually, the Y sits right on Muskegon Lake, next to a marina, a stone's throw from Lake Michigan, a prime piece of real estate, I'm sure. I have done races from this Y since I began running 19 years ago, so it has been a work in progress watching the area develop from mostly an industrial area on a lake so polluted it was considered "dead" for years, to a jewel in the rough, with one of the prime outdoor concert areas on the lakeshore, with high rise hotels, beautiful waterfront parks, the marina, and Lake Michigan beaches all within a couple of miles. It was an amazing sight, seeing the frozen Muskegon Lake out the windows of the Y. If you've never seen a big lake frozen, it is a sight to behold, like looking at the moon or another planet.
Anyway, we got there early, to get our bearings and figure out where everything was. Each event is held on a different level of the Y, so it was almost necessary to have a map and compass to get around the place. Fortunately, they had signs pointing us in the direction of the bike and run, not that we could remember which way to go 5 minutes later!
Each event is 15 minutes, with a 5 minute transition, which was good considering the distance we had to hike to each segment! Talk about long transitions!
The three of us were all in the same heat, me first, Jan second, Amanda third, so those were the lanes we also got in the pool. I was in the same lane as last year, next to the wall. The pool water was warm, but I didn't realize how warm until we got started. It felt good waiting the 5 minutes in the water, since the air in the rest of the place was freezing! But once we started, it was obvious it was too warm for me. I felt like I was breathing hard and working harder than last year, that's for sure. As I swam along, I felt strong, and could see down the lanes that I was keeping even with Amanda on every lap. She would pull ahead of me doing breast stroke (because she is so tall I imagine), but she seemed to falter some towards the middle, and I was able to actually pass her a few times. There was also this other woman next to Amanda who would swim down doing freestyle and then kick back on her back--yet she kept even with us the whole time! Jan is not that strong of a swimmer, so I lapped her a couple of times. When our 15 minutes was up, Amanda and I tied! It was weird, we both hit the wall and looked at each other and laughed! Twelve laps each, 600 yards, 200 yards less than last year! Yikes! I really need to work on my swim!
We hopped out of the pool, quickly got dressed for the bike, and hoofed it up a flight of stairs, down two hallways, and around another corner to the bikes. I still didn't have my shoes tied, but I didn't want the same problem as last year--having my bike seat set for someone over 6 feet, so I waited until I tested the seat and then quickly hopped off again to tie my shoes. This year, they used road bikes on trainers, instead of the mountain bikes like last year, so they were far more comfortable and easier to use. I had a Lemond, Amanda had a Trek, and I can't remember what Jan had. I had never even seen a Lemond. It seemed nice enough. They called Start and we started pedaling. It took me a minute to get the gearing right, so I messed up again on that, and didn't realize the computer indicated distance for a couple of more minutes, so I was just putzing along at first until I noticed that I wasn't making much progress very fast. When you have only 15 minutes, every minute counts. So a minute or two lost means mileage lost. The bike really is my weakest link and always has been. I always think I am pushing myself hard enough, but the results show otherwise. It always feels hard enough! So I struggled, trying to get the mileage up. I could really feel it in my quads, and soon realized my seat wasn't quite high enough. Oh well, can't mess with that now. About halfway through, my nemesis shows up to check out the "competition"--the Stripper with her daughter. "Is that Vickie?? Go girl. Pedal harder!" (Can't she see I'm killing myself already?? I can't beat her anyway on her worst day.") And while 15 minutes doesn't seem like a long time, 15 minutes at a killer pace seems like forever. You can't wait to be done! The last 2 minutes I pedaled as hard as I could, to get the mileage over the 3 mile mark, since I definitely was dragging. One more minute, and I again put all I had into it and went to 3.26. We all compared our distances: me at 3.26; Jan at 3.76; Amanda at 3.92. Woo hoo! She did great. To be fair here, Jan's chain came off once, so I figure she might have gotten closer to Amanda had that not happened.
Then we grabbed our stuff and head up another 2 flights of stairs to the run. Talk about feeling your legs! We had to go up to a track above the basketball court. We have to dodge people coming down the steps and standing in the way of the gym watching the game, but we get through the obstacles and up to the track with 2 minutes to spare. The track is 19 laps to a mile, much like being on a hamster wheel, but really not as bad as it seems. They stagger the start, with three on one end and three on the other end of the track. The three of us started together then. Amanda and I were the only ones who heard them call start, so we started running and everyone else just stood there. I hesitated and asked Jan if we were supposed to start, when they called it out again, and we were all off. Amanda, with her long legs, immediately went to the front of our three, but Jan soon passed her, and I just trailed behind. The other three runners were coming up behind us, but only the lone male in our heat passed me before the first lap, so I felt I was holding my own. I wanted to get at least as far as last year, but I couldn't remember at first how many laps that was. Eventually, I realized I needed to get 30 laps to beat last year. This was tough, was all I could think when we started. My injured shoulder and arm were hurting so bad at this point it caught me up every time I had a spasm. Fortunately, after about 4 laps, that eased up. Round and round we go, where we'll stop, no one knows, as the saying goes. I'm telling you, I couldn't wait to get this thing done. I basically relied on momentum to pull me around that track. I really had no idea how I would do or how I was really doing against the others. I was getting lapped, so I knew I was behind everyone. The only one who didn't lap me was Amanda, and I didn't know why. She should have passed me at some point, but she never did. Jan lapped me twice, and another woman in her age group lapped me twice and then got ahead of Jan, so I was hoping she wasn't getting ahead. A younger girl also lapped all of us, but again, you really can't be keeping track of anyone but yourself, so we would have to see at the end how it all came out. I hit lap 19, the 1 mile mark, in 10 minutes. Yes! I wanted to get another 9 at least. I decided I would be happy with that. At 3 minutes to go, it seemed still an eternity before we would be done. Then 2, then 1, and I needed to get one and a half laps done to get 28. So I pushed it here, coming up behind Jan just at the lap mark, and 5 seconds before the finish! We both stopped at the 5 second mark, since nothing after the lap would count anyway. What a relief! I didn't beat last year, but I was still okay with that. I did what I could, it was what it was, and I feel I put as much as I could into it. Again, Amanda and I tied on the run! 28 laps, 1.5 miles.
We cooled down, got dressed, and then sat around waiting for awards, for 2 more hours! But as you can see, it was worth waiting for. The plaque I got was a fluke! The first place overall woman was in my age group and took masters (she beat all but 2 men). The race director forgot his glasses and couldn't see a thing, so was making mistakes on age group awards, mine included. I went to him afterward and asked why he didn't take the first place woman (and masters winner) out of the age group and he said he did. "No, you didn't. You gave her first place, Tamara second, and Joan third. That left me out." He was very apologetic. I was only trying to make a point for the standings, not get anything. But then he reached into his award box and said, "Here. I have one award left. Its yours for me messing up." LOL! So I call this the whiner award! I'm always amazed at the people who whine and get their own way. Maybe it works!
All in all, we had a great day. Jan and Amanda both took second in their age groups, both missing firsts by less than 200 yards--the swim for Jan, the bike for Amanda.
At least I know what I can do, and how much more I need to do, before my first outdoor tri this year!