Blalock Lakes was my very first tri (typing that makes it sound like I’ve done sooo many, ha!) so I knew I really wanted to do it again, plus I wanted to try signing up for an entire series. I missed the first race of the series because it was back in April, but I was so excited to do Blalock Lakes again, especially now that I’ve actually been doing some training.
I planned to drive to Newnan after work so I packed everything in my car so I could leave from there. It’s a good thing I did because my shift ran long and I just made the packet pickup with a few minutes to spare.
I’d also planned on camping but it turned out that the park had actual gates and closed them between 10 pm and 7 am, which was a problem because I wanted to be at the start at 7. So instead I ended up driving back to Newnan and getting a hotel room for the night. Again, I lucked out because the hotel sold out a short while later.
I set my alarm for the next morning but I woke up before it and only a little after my weekday alarm usually goes off so I laid on bed for a bit reading Facebook before deciding to get up. I wanted to get some Starbucks but forgot my wallet in the hotel room so I had to turn around to get it and decided just to go to the start because I was getting antsy that I was getting close to when I wanted to be at the start.
At the start, I realized my number wasn’t actually 89, like I’d thought, but 68. My number was on my helmet upside down. And I’d put all my stuff on the wrong rack. Whoops. I met 89 and she was super nice about it. I moved my stuff to the correct rack and it was more crowded because two women had huge tri bags right next to their bikes. As a result, all my bike photos from the race were filed under number 89 and not 68. I thought about using a market to draw a line under the bottom of my number, but I didn’t think it would actually do much good, and anyway, I didn’t have a marker.
I signed up as an age grouper because there wasn’t an option for novice online. I was pretty nervous about the wave start so I got in the water and swam a bit to warm up. The water was murky and I forgot to breathe out while swimming.
We watched the guys go and I put myself in the second rank of women. There was some panicking on my part as people swam way too close to me so I pulled off and swam slowly until they’d gotten more spaced out ahead of me. As a result, my swim time was a bit higher than it could have been since I sat there and treaded water until I felt like I had enough space. I didn’t really get a good rhythm down after panicking so I defaulted to two strokes and breathing only on my left side because that’s apparently my favorite side to breathe on. Again the swim seemed like it took forever but it was only about 15 minutes. I know I need some more work on OWS and some more courage to deal with the thrashing water.
I rushed into transition and found my bike and then rushed back out. I felt pretty good on the bike. The course was all right turns and reasonably hilly. I got passed a lot in the first half of the course and I really started to wonder what was wrong with me and how was I such a weakling until I started passing the people who’d passed me. I guess they got more tired as the course was on. I’m still figuring out all my gears and what gear is best for the given situation and that day I discovered all the other gears on my bike, which made a HUGE difference in speed! I really loved the course, it was very quiet and Blalock Lakes is gorgeous.
Finally I was back and hurried to my rack and changed my shoes. I got a huge blister from no socks last time so I made sure I packed them this time. It was kind of annoying to put them on and I think my left sock was higher than my right sock, but it beat getting another blister for sure. The run was pretty hilly and I was getting tired so I tried to think of all the positive things I could. One of my coworkers had joked I was like The Little Engine That Could so I repeated that to myself for a while. I took water at mile 1 but by mile 2 I wasn’t feeling so great and a little while later I started getting the heaves and had to walk until I could calm my roiling stomach. I never figured out what caused that but I decided it was maybe the Java Monster I’d had for breakfast since I didn’t get my normal Starbucks, or maybe just because it was 80 degrees with 80% humidity.
A spectator had brought a vuvuzela and was blowing it near the finish line. While annoying, it was great to hear it because I knew I was almost done. I finished, got my water bottle, and guzzled as much of it as I could stand while I ate most of an orange in slices. I checked the results posted but they only had me through T2 so I decided to run back to my hotel and shower and come back to see the final results.
I had to look up my time from four years ago because I thought it was 1:41 and while I wasn’t going to be upset at getting almost the same time four years apart on the same course, I was going to be a little annoyed with myself. I know, it’s only been like two weeks of training but still. Good news though, my time four years ago was apparently 1:47, so I still beat my time even with walking and letting everyone on the swim pass me.
I registered as an age grouper so I didn’t place, but I would have taken first if I’d registered as a novice. However, novices aren’t eligible for end of series awards and I wanted to try for that. Plus, this was technically my third open water swim so I’m getting to a point where I don’t think I need to register as a novice anymore. I’m still debating on the rest of the season; there’s a few races where I think I need the novice tag for confidence but I’m going to work on getting used to swimming in a pack like a bunch of salmon.
Like always, I learned a lot and had a good time. Plus, it makes for a good excuse to have pizza for dinner!