It had rain overnight and it was dark and muggy when I loaded the car Saturday morning. I had checked the weather radar and there were showers in the area but it was dry for the time being.
Gayle and I left the house a little after 5 am. Lebanon, Tennessee is about 50 miles from my house and I wanted to get to the park around 6. The rain held off until we turned off the interstate.
We got to the park around 6 and got a great parking space. As I later learned, parking was at a premium. It was still raining, but not hard, as I went and picked up my race packet. Jeff Y. from work was signing in at the same time.
Gayle waited in the car as I got my “stuff” together and headed off to set up my transition area.
I had anticipated the rain and brought a couple of plastic shopping bags to keep my shoes dry. Because of the rain, everyone seemed to be concerned about the wet road on the bike.
As I was setting up saw Greg F., also from work. This was his first tri.
Headed off to the pool to do a “practice” lap. The water was cool but not too bad.
I headed back to the car to check on Gayle. Gave her the “lay of the land” and headed back to the pool to wait. With 450 participants, it was a little crowded on the pool deck as we waited our turn.
I spotted some friends and we passed the time chatting. Gayle pointed out that the dad of Sara’s boy friend was doing the race. I had not met him before and Gayle documented the “meeting”.
Finally it was my time to swim. They let us get in the pool and push off the wall for this race. I liked that much better.
I felt good about the swim, even though I am slow and a bunch of people passed me, I just kept to my rhythm and pace. On the last lap, the lady in front of me stopped and stood up, blocking the lane. It messed me up. But I took a couple of breast stokes and was able to get around her, recover. I headed to the stairs out of the pool and to the transition area. The rain had stopped by this point but the road was still wet.
The bike route had been described as rolling hills. Here is the elevation chart from mapmyride.com.
The hills were not that bad, I was constantly working the gears.
The race folks had warned us that the last 3 miles of the bike course were “rough”. I had talked with several folks that had done this race before and they said that the road was heavily patched. It was terrible. It was the one place where it was down hill to flat that I could have made some time up but felt I was all over the road trying to find the least bumpy path.
As I headed up the final hill to transition, I saw Gayle.
Changed shoes and headed out for the run grapping a cup of water and a gel as I left the transition area.
Had a great run and felt strong. I don’t remember being passed by anyone.
One of the “cool” mind games I play when doing a tri is ” I can beat this guy.” When they do the body marking, they write you age on your left calf. So when you come up behind someone, you see their age. So my version of this game is “I can beat this guy, he is 34 or whatever.” It is a great motivator.
I had less than a mile to go and I was about to pass a lady who’s age on her calf was smeared but I though it said 54, my age. She was doing great and really looked strong. As I passed her, I told her she was doing great. A second to two later, she responded, “Old people rock!”. I knew she had seen my age. I told her they ought to give us extra points for being out here. To which she responded, “like in golf”.
Made it to the top of the last hill and across the finish line. Glad to be done because the humidity must have been 100 percent.