Leave it to Mother Nature to remind me of the unpredictability of Spokane spring weather. I remember thinking last weekend while riding across sun-soaked pavement how hot I felt, sweat trickling down my face. On the wet and cold Saturday morning Troika Triathlon (sprint, Olympic, long and duathlon courses) happened to fall upon, my sweat mixed freely with beads of water, both falling out of the ski and splashing upon me from passing cars. To marvel at the irony only makes me shake my head. Well done, Mother Nature. Touché.
What more need I say? We all hope for stellar conditions on a day we pay significant amount of money for the opportunity to knowingly push ourselves past a level of serious discomfort. We all know the feeling of race officials kicking us out of transition with nothing but our wetsuits on to keep us warm while rain pelts us from above, generally at least 30-45 minutes prior to the time we actually dive into the water. Perhaps what surprised us on Saturday morning more than the misery of swimming in the cold Medical Lake water was how much more pleasant the swim turned out to feel compared to the "swim" we all experienced on the bike ride.
In fact, trying to use my frozen hands to pull out the silicone ear plugs I'd jammed into my ears and remove my wetsuit that seemed to have latched onto my ankles proved impossible. Looking at the results, it appears my slow transition times cost me valuable time overall. Though my less than stellar performance on the bike could possibly have done me in, too.
|Photo by Rene Guerrero Photography|
My sentiments regarding the weather quickly turned to concern when, upon dismounting my bike, I felt relatively disoriented. I reminded myself that despite the puddles I'd landed in, this was neither the time nor the place to experience the sensation that having sea legs imparts. So I
It turns out unbuckling my helmet proved harder than taking off my wetsuit. When I couldn't make progress with my headdress, I shifted my attention to my shoes. By the time I'd donned my Hokas and bib number belt, my fingers had regained enough function to unbuckle my helmet, but the time spent floundering cost me more precious time I didn't have to lose.
|Photo by Rene Guerrero Photography|
I thought to myself how difficult that might actually be given I had not yet tracked down either of the two women ahead of me by the end of the first lap. Yet I should have trusted myself when, after making my way through the park, I spotted the talented Kari Cardon about 100 yards in front of me. At the time, I pondered whether or not I should expose myself so soon. We had two more miles until the finish line, and her form from behind convinced me she ran strong. I don't know what compelled me to go for it, but I decided to maintain my pace, and it proved fast enough to catch up with her.
With just over a mile to go, I passed another woman thinking I'd run my fatiguing self into first place. However, I later found out my competition had actually finished well ahead of me, and the other woman I'd passed had merely finished her first of three laps of the long course race.
Not often do I find myself at the finish line shivering. On this day, I did. Bryan finished a few minutes after me, and we quickly gathered our soaking belongings from transition before seeking refuge in the truck. Though not the most pleasant of race experiences, I remind myself how fortunate I am to participate in these athletic endeavors regardless of the weather and conditions. Now, I look forward to tackling Ironman Victoria 70.3 this weekend, and so far, the forecast looks a little more accommodating for a race.
|Photo by Craig Thorsen.|