Tri U Mah (Timed Triathlon)
Swim, Bike, Run - 30 minutes per leg
Distance Covered, Indoors: 1050 yard swim, 12.2 mile bike, 1.63 mile "run"
So remember this last year?
For those of you who don't - that's the first ever Man vs. Machine triathlon known to Tri U Mah. Or possibly the world. Who knows?
Anyway, after having a blast last year, we decided to race Tri U Mah again in 2016. I mean ... who's going to let a pregnancy slow them down?
Or an ER visit for that matter?
So on that note, in what you can see is optimal race condition for me physically, the Saturday following my ER admission I meandered on down to the University of Minnesota Aquatics Center to throw down for my first official race of 2016.
Despite being extra buoyant these days, with an added floatation device in my belly, I was dreading the swim portion of this race. Mostly because I was worried about the physical ease of getting in and out of the pool, which is getting increasingly more difficult with this baby on board.
Thankfully, the staff on event day was extremely accommodating of me upon seeing my giant belly, and worked hard on relocating me to an open lane that was adjacent to a pool ladder.
Thank god, as this meant I could simply lower myself into the pool before race start.
Well, that and freeze my little man's balls off (no point in talking about my condition, since those froze off years ago). Seriously, though - that pool felt cold!
The good news was, finding a lane with ladder access took a considerable amount of time, so I didn't end up hanging on the side of the pool in the cold water for long. Our heat was scheduled to start at 4:25, and the last thing I recall was looking at the clock at 4:23.
Then the announcer started counting down 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... BUZZ!
And I was off.
Like all races, I started out on this one too fast. And like on all race swims, I started out in a mild panic. For some reason, I swam my first 2-3 laps taking a breath on every other pull. Eventually I found myself gasping for air and feeling like I needed to burp. Not really a great combination for someone who's pregnant, in 7' deep water, and already struggling to breathe on a regular "just walking around" basis.
I'm not proud to admit that during the first 10 minutes of the swim, I had to take several breaks on the edge of the pool to catch my breath and have coughing fits (yes, I was still working off the cold that put me in the ER 6 days ago, too).
Realizing things were NOT going well, I eventually had to give myself a firm talking to as I completed my next few laps. "CALM THE F DOWN! YOU DID THIS LAST YEAR JUST FINE. DO NOT TAKE A BREATH EVERY 2 PULLS. COUNT OUT 4 LIKE YOU NORMALLY DO!!"
Eventually, I started to calm down and settle in to a normal pace. But unfortunately the damage was done. Despite having high hopes of beating my distance from last year of 1250, I finished the swim at 1050. Oh well, I did the best I could. And considering this year I'm 20+ pounds heavier, over 7 months pregnant, and am working off the remnants of a serious cold ... well, ok. I'll take it!
Straddling the lane rope, since it was hooked right in the center of the ladder to escape (of course), I started working my way out of the pool. Tired from the swim, my arms were a little weak, and I had a fleeting moment where I thought I might star in "Ow, My Balls! Season 3".
Thank goodness, though, I managed to keep my grip and get out of the pool without incident.
Once out of the pool, I had 10 minutes for the transition from swim to bike - just like last year. And somehow just like last year, despite wearing my sports bra in the swim to help save on that struggle (last year did not go well - hey, I'm learning, give me credit for that!), that time seemed to fly by.
So yes - again this year I ended up tearing over to my bike just as the 30 second count down to begin was in process.
Unfortunately, the big let down for me this year in being so late was ... the staff was not nearly as accommodating and friendly on the bike as they were last year. Last year, I was literally pedaling standing as the woman assisting me was adjusting my seat. This year ... crickets.
People were well into their bike, like 1-2 minutes in, and I was screaming for someone on staff to come help me . It was incredibly frustrating. As you can see in the photos above, there were 9-10 staffers milling around the bikes, so there was really no reason for the lack of assistance. Yet not a single person offered to come to my aid as I struggled to lower my bike seat. Lame.
To make matters worse, the woman next to me on the bike was an absolute BEAR. She spent the first 5 minutes of the bike berating the staff because - in her estimation - we did not get 10 minutes in transition. Which I have to say ... uh, yeah, we did. Because I milked every last one of them.
PLUS! This woman. OMG! She threw her gear bag and wet transition towel down LITERALLY right under my left pedal. Like - right in the way of my pedal stroke. Plus, it was on top of my little drop bag (which I ONLY brought with me because of my gestational diabetes issues and being afraid to go without my blood meter and emergency sugar low candy during an hour and a half fitness event).
So, yeah. Her stinky, sweaty, wet towel was getting my medical device gross. I was not impressed, and I'm not ashamed to say I kicked her crap out of my way before I started pedaling. Which I still don't think she took a hint to.
Aside from the issues I had with adjusting my seat, and my crappy neighbor, about 10 minutes in I noticed my right leg/foot was cramping and I realized why. Whoever was on my bike before me hadn't loosened the toe cages properly, so my foot was only sliding into the pedal about two thirds of the way in - on both sides! I was again frustrated with the lack of staff involvement. With the breaks they had in between waves of riders, there really should have been no reason for them not to loosen all the toe cages for the next group of riders.
Needless to say, at this point I was SUPER missing my clip in bike cleats. I didn't wear them this year because I had decided to sacrifice them for convenience - after all, changing shoes with a basketball on my gut isn't exactly easy. So for 2016, I opted to just wear one pair of shoes for the bike and run to save myself the struggle of changing shoes. But in the end, I'm not sure that sacrifice was worth it.
Wanting to put all the negativity that seemed to be piling up around me aside, I decided to switch off my brain and just focus on my bike cadence instead. My goal was to keep around a 90-100rpm, and by tuning out everything except the music that was blasting over the audio system ... I did just that. For the most part, anyway ... except for any moments the baby was stretching in my belly and telling me I needed to sit up straighter. LOL!
Somehow, when all was said and done, I looked down at my mileage calculator and I had gone much further than the 10 miles I had anticipated. Score! It's amazing what you can do when you really set your mind to it.
Time to disembark the bike and head to the treadmills.
Again like last year, we had a 5 minute transition from the bike to the run. Since I had nothing I really needed to do this year, like change out of my bike cleats, I found myself wondering how to pass the time.
Well, to be fair, I did kind of need to pee. Imagine that - a pregnant woman needing to pee - but I knew there was too much competition for the one bathroom stall available, and that I could manage to wait, so I skipped it.
Just when I thought to myself "gee, how will I pass the time", I was saved - once again, by my crab ass neighbor.
Oh yes, the bear returned. And she was bitching once again about the lack of time in transition. Because she "has been doing this race since 2008, and there has always been 10 minutes between the bike and the run, and this is bullshit!!!" *direct quote
Seriously? Um ... did you check the website before you registered this year?
* Actual screen grab from the registration page.
Having no patience left, I looked at her and said "You know, I did this race last year, and I only had 5 minutes from the bike to the run. And what the hell would you do with 10 minutes here anyway? Aside from the fact that I might like a chance to pee, I don't see the reason for it."
Not wanting to be wrong, the woman kept arguing and mumbling, and I finally just said to her "Well, we're here now so whatever." And from then out I just tuned her out. I just couldn't understand why you would be so upset over an event that is supposed to be fun.
And not to be catty but ... why did it even matter to her? When the time came to start running, she walked right next to me on her treadmill. So it's not like she was some elite racer that was about to clean out her age category or anything!
Not wanting to be a part of that negativity anymore, I turned my attention down the run lane towards my friend the skeleton ... who was getting much love from the staff for her InkNBurn outfit. Turns out they remembered us from last year, asking her if she was the one in the muscle suit. LOL! Awesome!
I lamented to them that I couldn't fit my InkNBurn anymore, pointing at my belly, and we all had a good laugh. Even the girl in between us on that side was impressed that I was 7 1/2 months pregnant and still competing. The good energy and fun times abounded.
Even though my face might not have showed it.
Since I gave up running at the end of race season in 2015, and this was the longest workout I had done in ages, by the time we were 15 minutes into the treadmill portion I was starting to get pretty pooped. Thankfully, the time passed relatively quickly, and not long after we started ... we were done.
BOOM! Another race in the books.
Thanks for coming along with me, Mini-Cobb!
Immediately following our run, my partner and I dashed over to the food table to refuel. With my dietary restrictions, I could basically have like 1/8 of a bagel with cream cheese before going out to dinner, but let me tell you - I savored every bite.
Once we had some fuel in our bellies, it was time for a few post race victory photos:
And then we headed to the locker room for our post race victory showers - which were quick because, let's face it, a pregnant lady's gots to eat!
Oh, and thank goodness for nice race swag, because I had to wear my shirt to dinner. Good thing I thought ahead and registered for a size larger than my normal.
(Photo of swag to be added later - my pregnant brain keeps forgetting to take a snap of it)
Yes it's July 2016 and I'm finally adding the photo. Deal with it.
And that is the story of Mini-Cobb's first ever tri. Since he's already hung in there for several 5Ks, a 10K and even a 10 miler, I figured he'd be down for one last race before his birthday ... and I think I figured right!
Here's to another race soon!!