Have Helmet, Will Travel

Grab a cocktail or cup of coffee, this is going to be a long one. I took a weekend trip to WI for all of my favorite things: friends, family, beer, triathlons, and tattoos. I'll explain.

First things first. Somehow I managed to pack all of my racing gear, including bike shoes, pedals, wet suit, and water bottle, into a carry on sized duffel bag. My helmet wouldn't fit, so that was my personal item. I received some strange looks and a few questions. I think I'm going to start travelling with random objects more often. It was hilarious.

I decided to rent a bike instead of shipping mine. But the only thing the Trek store rented out were the Madones. Darn, I had to pick up a $4236 bicycle to race with. John made the comment that if I finished on the podium, I could keep the bike. He later clarified that AG podium didn't count, but if I beat any of the elites (who weren't injured) that I could also keep the bike. Please make a note of these statements for later.

After picking up the bike, my friend AM and I enjoyed a Berghoff Oktoberfest beer and then went to the Great Dane for food, drinks, and to meet up with CZ. CZ recently did Ironman WI. What a stud! I love getting to meet other virtual tri friends! This is what I had for dinner: WI Cheddar n Mac, served with a pretzel and I had the Devil's Lake Red to go with it. That would make any German happy.

Cheese curds, of course.

CZ, me, and AM after dinner.

I had to share the bathroom at AM's with her turtle, Tattoo. I've never taken a couch-surfing vacation and to be honest, I had a lot of fun.

We drove to the race site on Saturday. Here is a pumpkin on top of a silo. You do know what a silo is, right?
I don't have any pictures during the race just yet. I forgot to check the weather and had to buy a long sleeved shirt when I realized it wouldn't be above 65 until after noon.

As for the race itself, the start was cold - 52 air temp and 72 water temp. The water wasn't actually that bad. I heard there were about 1750+ starters. The elites went off at 7, my wave was at 7:43. I was nervous as always and I don't know why. I hadn't really trained for this race and was just doing it for fun. At some point, I hope the sweeping nausea before a triathlon will go away. Nerves is one thing, not being able to stomach food is another.
I started close to the front of my wave since I knew there were a lot of first-timers I was looking to avoid. No offense, but it's natural to freak out during your first open water swim and it's not fun for those who catch a thrashing arm or leg in the face. I found open water and cruised. The swim was point-to-point, which I've never done before. I came out in 12:59, or 1:38 min/100m, my fastest swim split to date by over 20 sec/100m. I think that means I stink at sighting.
T1 was slow - 3:56. I struggled trying to get my long-sleeved shirt on over my wet body, but I'm glad I did. I grabbed my rental bike, whom I named Chip for the day, and took off. I could easily launch into a side bar about how amazingly awesome it is to ride a $4200 bike, but I'll save that for later. Chip and I had a good time and great ride. I was passed by only 1 person and did the ride in 37:44 (19.7 mph). Sweeeeet.
T2 again was slow (2:45). There was a cluster at the dismount and I got stuck behind some slower moving women. Oh well. On to the run. I left my shades on and took off. 3 miles. I was excited. With the distances I've been running while training for Heartland, 3 miles is nothing. I skipped the first aid station and just started passing people. I stopped at mile 1.5 for Gatorade and kept on. I was feeling well, so I decided I'd pick up the pace at mile 2 and run hard in. Just like speed work with KT, I told myself. Run like Meeka. The run for me was huge - I didn't get passed by a single person and that never happens. The run is usually my weakest area and it says a lot about my training that I showed that much improvement. I finished strong and my watch said 1:20. Nice!
I hung out until AM finished and cheered on the other finishers, which was a lot of fun. A few bottles of water and I was looking forward to the blueberry pancakes we were planning on afterwards.
Me and Chip, post race. Check out that hair!

Since when I returned my bike, the racks were empty and I didn't see anyone from my AG on the entire run, I checked the results on a whim.
I had to look twice. Three times. Really? I couldn't believe it - AG 25-29, 3. Kevern 1:19:57. I sprinted all the way back to transition to find AM and tell her the news. My first podium finish! Can we stay for the awards ceremony? Pretty please?? Of course!

It wasn't just the bike, either. My swim time was my fastest ever and I set a new PR in the 5K of 22:32 or 7:16 min/mile. I am still in shock. My fastest run pace in a short-distance tri before was 8:30. I knocked over a minute off my pace. I owe SO much to my training partners KT and MO for how much I have improved this year.
So final stats: 1:19:57, 3/179 in my AG, 36/1711 finishers total. If you remember what my dear husband said, you'll remember a podium finish meant the bike was mine. I would argue that I have photographic evidence, AG or not. Besides that, I beat 3 of the elites!! I'm currently in negotiations for new carbon wheels and an upgrade to Ultegra components for my bike since I know $4200 is a lot for something you have to pedal.
The story isn't over just yet. I mentioned tattoos earlier and I wasn't just referencing AM's turtle. In celebration, I got a new tat on my left wrist. It's a good time since I'm done swimming for a little while.

I also met up with my parents and little brother for dinner, and my cousins later that night. Me and BM went out the breakfast before she dropped me off at the airport. That is what I call a successful weekend.

Bring it on, Heartland.


sophianchor said...

Oh boy oh boy! You look so hot on the podium babe! Most exciting. Can't tell you how proud I am to be your friend. Looking forward to Monday. Ben is excited to function as boyfriend and chair.

Mud u

Christi said...

Congratulations on a great race!!! A podium finish is something to be really proud of!!!!