Tri the Parks: Mistletoe State Park

So, after I got home Monday from the Rev3 Williamsburg tri, I worked the night shift and figured I’d just give myself the day off since I’d done a solid days’ work the day before. Then I also took Tuesday off, then Wednesday, then Thursday, and then it was suddenly Friday and I had to pick up my packet before work. I wanted to do this race because it was only 30 minutes from my house so it was super convenient. However, I didn’t realize that I was also working the night shift that week and night shift never gets off in time and then I’d have to get up early to get to the race to set up…and that I hadn’t really packed my bag or anything.

I’m usually a really excellent planner and this was one of the few times where I just didn’t really plan it at all.

I got home and did a tiny bit of work putting my numbers on my bike and oiling the chain and making sure I hadn’t left my helmet in Virginia. I also hadn’t unpacked since the weekend before (I really dislike unpacking) so fortunately(?) most of my stuff was still in my car. P and I debated about whether he wanted to get up early with me and go fishing while I was triathlon-ing. Now, to me we never came to a concrete decision of yes or no but I told him I was getting up at 5:30 and leaving by 6.

I woke up at 5:30, he didn’t. I let the dogs out, fed the dogs, fed myself, and packed my bag and still no P. I figured he’d decided to sleep in. Then I took my bike out and he’d moved my bike rack onto his truck. Weird, I thought. But again, since he didn’t wake up I figured he must have changed his mind. It wasn’t until I got to the park and saw all of our fishing gear in the bed that I thought maybe he’d wanted me to wake him up…oops. Also I had both sets of car keys so even if he’d wanted to meet me out there, he couldn’t. I am pretty much the worst wife ever.

Setting up went pretty quickly for me and then I had nothing really to do but wander around and admire the other pretty bikes. The water was 84.5 degrees so wetsuits were out of the question. Fun fact: ever since I bought my wetsuit, it has been too warm everywhere I go to wear it. I guess if you want to guarantee yourself warm water, buy a wetsuit.


Trying a longer towel method

They grouped all the women together in one big wave (SUCH a big wave!) and to avoid getting pummeled I waited several seconds after the start before heading out. Even still, there were a lot of people and everyone bunched up a bit around the first buoy. The most surprising thing to me the whole day was just how good I felt on the swim. I felt calm and relaxed and even when I got a little fatigued I never felt like I needed to completely stop and catch my breath.

I had also decided that since I didn’t do any solid prep work before this race, I wanted just do it by feel so I left my watch and bike computer at home. It was different and I felt a little naked and lost not being able to look at times, but ultimately I think I liked it better.

The distance from the transition area to the bike mount/dismount was my only complaint. It was ridiculously long. So long that I had time to wonder if the time was getting rolled up into the T1 and T2 times.

The bike course was reasonably hilly but enjoyable, except that there was a lot of drafting going on. At the first turn I tried to pass a group of people but they bunched up so much that I had to drop back because I couldn’t pass a group of six people all riding two by two.

One of the athletes had a bad accident on course and after the race one of the women said she’d been there when it happened. A truck got annoyed by the cyclists on either side of the road and tried to zip between them, went too near a cyclist, who overcorrected on a steep downhill and ended up bloody and in the ditch. When I rode by the police car had moved to block traffic around him and when I came back they were loading him into an ambulance. I really, truly hate when people are jerks on the road. As I was explaining to P about why cyclists don’t and shouldn’t ride in the shoulder, jerks think then they have enough room to pass me and get much too close for comfort. If I ride in the lane, they’re more likely to be safe when passing me because it involves them entering the opposite lane. It makes me so angry that that driver felt like he was in too much of a hurry to pass someone safely and put their lives at risk.

The run course was partially trail, which was nice, but also went down and up a very steep gully, which was not so nice at all. I was pretty done with the race after the gully and still had another 2.5 miles to go. Seriously. I stopped at all the aid stations and tried to find the happiness in running but honestly, I felt pretty crappy. I just wanted to be done. Finally I saw the finish line but I didn’t even try to kick. I was just annoyed by a lot of things that morning (neighbor playing loud reggae at 5:30 that I could hear inside my house, accidentally leaving P at home) and hungry and wanted to go home.

I cleared my things out of the transition area and checked my time. Despite going watch-less, I was pretty close to my self-estimated time of around 1:40, even with all the walking I did on the run course. I also wonder how much quicker that time may have been without the extra distance from transition to the bike mount/dismount line.

I have a couple of weeks until my next triathlon and right now I’m not sure if I’m going to do it or not. It’s an “intermediate” distance but I’m trying to just go by feel at this point. Fortunately, I’m also back on the morning shift for a while and I tend to be able to workout better on it.



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