Saturday May 31, 2015 was the day, my second olympic distance triathlon. I did this same race last year and it was a good race, so I decided to do it again this year. I got my race packet Friday and got all my stuff ready Friday evening. It was in Montgomery, AL and my mom, daughter and niece made the trip with me. We made it a girls weekend.
Sleep Friday night was sketchy, slept until about 3am and then tossed and turned. Woke up at 5am and tried not to wake everyone up in the hotel room as I got myself ready. I failed miserable at that, everyone was awake when I left at 5:30.
I was able to get some coffee before I left with my transition bag and bike. Walking 3 blocks with you gear bag, bike and coffee was a balancing act, but I made it. I put my bike on the rack and went to the body marking area (still haven’t gotten all the numbers off). I went back to my bike and set up my little spot in the world. For some reason I was nervous, but not really. It was odd. I started to get anxious about how “not nervous” I was. I met some other people in the transition area and even saw some people from last year. I decided to visit the ladies room and they had real bathrooms, it was awesome. I knew I had to go, but I was not ready for the major dose of the craps that happened. YUCK and uh oh……
The race people originally said we needed to be on the boat by 7, well then they changed it to 6:45. So I grabbed my wetsuit, swim cap and goggles and headed to the boat around 6:40. The boat pulled away from the dock around 7:05 and we were off. The sprint distance was starting first, so we stopped to let them off. Then we went further up the river and the Olympic distance started. We were jumping off the boat into the river according to our race numbers. I was number 323, so we all lined up in numerical order and off we went.
The swim was rough, it was the toughest part of my race. I was toward the middle of the river so the current was stronger. But that presented a problem, the water was choppier and it kinda freaked me out. I had to calm myself down at least 3 times, maybe 4. I lost count. The water was going up my noise and down my throat. I had to keep my head above the water to stop that from happening. I am generally a very calm person, but that river freaked me out. I kept sighting the bouyie’s one by one. I would pass one and focus on the next. It seems like they were 100 yards apart. That seemed to work, breaking it up into smaller sections was definately the way to go. Soon enough the swim was over and I was climbing out of the water onto the dock. We had to go from the dock into a tunnel, up the stairs into the transition area. It was a good ways away. But I made it, pulling my wetsuit off half way along the way.
Once I got to my bike in the transition area, I peeled my legs out of my wetsuit and dried off my feet, put on my socks, cycling shoes, helmet and sun glasses. Started toward the bike mount line and then promptly went into the ladies room. I had to go!! Thankfully nothing nasty came out. I finished in the ladies room and got on my bike. The ride was not easy but it was good. The road was rough and that always makes me nervous. But before I knew it I was at the half way point (of the first loop). The people doing the Olympic distance had to do the bike and run course twice. I ended up passing a lot of people on the bike. There was one gentleman who I would pass and then he would pass me and then I would pass him. I think we passed each other 5 different times. But that’s what happens. It’s like you have a cycling nemasis and you just keep passing each other. It’s not in a negative way, it’s just what happens. Around mile 20 the queen and bum were ready to get off the bike. Good thing there was only 5 miles left.
I came into the transition area, put my bike on the rack, changed my shoes, put on my race belt, put up my hair and quickly decided not to put on my fuel/water belt. I put my fuel in the back pockets of my race shirt and started the run. I always run with my fuel belt, but something told me not to take it. I’m glad I listened. I started the run and the first thing I thought was, wow it’s hot! My second thought was, I picked the wrong day to forget sunscreen. I pulled out my phone and sent my mom and niece a text to let them know that I was starting my run. The course was in the heart of downtown Montgomery. It was a very good course, I got to see a lot of the town and some cool historical sights. The volunteers were just great, very enthusiastic and you could tell they were having fun. As I was rounding a corner and coming up to a fountain I heard someone say “just go straight up that hill” my response was “gee great, thanks. Easy for you to say”. He just started laughing. As I looked up and saw the hill my first thought was, oh shit, THATS A HILL. I told myself I needed to run to at least mile three. So I could not walk yet. I just wanted to run at least that far. As I was running up the hill I saw a monument dedicated to the March from Selma AL to Montgomery AL that was lead by Dr. Martin Luther King. I literally got chills as I read that monument. I made it to the top of the hill and gladly took the cold water that the aid station had. It felt so good. The hill led up to the Capitol building and it is a beautiful building. We had to run around the capital and then back down the hill to loop around some other historical areas of the city. It was really a great run course. As I came to the turn around at the half way point, I saw my mom, niece and daughter walking from the hotel to the race finish line area. I yelled for my mom and she turned around and all three of the them started cheering for me. I ran around the turn around and there was my daughter ready to give me a huge high five. We smacked hands and away I went. I started the second run loop and was not looking forward to the huge hill. I came around the corner and faced the big hill for the second time. In all honesty the second trip up the hill was much better and easier. I was really happy because I was still running and had not stopped. Before I knew it I was at mile 4 and heading back down the hill. I ran down the hill and into the other historic sections and then I was at mile 5. There was no stopping me now. I saw 2 people in front of me and decided that I wanted to pass them both. I pushed myself at the end to be able to pass them, but I did it. I ran down to the finish line, made sure my race bib was facing out and crossed that finish line strong. I heard the announcer say “number 323, Janel Brooks, is coming across the finish line” . I immediately saw my mom and the pride she had for me was all over her face.
My time last year was 3:09:42 and I wanted to beat it. In fact I wanted to beat 3 hours. I looked at my watch and saw 2:49:54 and started to get excited. That is a huge time difference. But it was not the official race results. I needed to wait for those before I could get too excited. My family and I found some shaded seats under a tent in and I went into the post race fuel tent to get some water and food. I was telling them about my race and we were chatting with some other athletes. After a few minutes I went to the computer screens to see what my official time was. It was 2:49:49, when I saw that I almost fell over. How in the world did that happen?? I was shocked. The race director announced that the awards would start in about 45 minutes. I decide that I did not want to stay because I honestly thought I was not going to place. So we went back to the hotel and I showered and changed.
The next morning I looked up the official results and I was SHOCKED to see that I got 3rd in my age group. WHAT ??????? That seemed impossible, still does. Then of course I wonder how I could get my award. So I emailed the race people. I’ll keep you posted on how I get my award.