October 03, 2008

Tri Babes

Like many people (particularly women, sorry for the stereotype), I like to buy things on sale. I can't pass up a good deal, even if it is something that I don't actually need and sometimes don't even really want. This usually happens for things like clothing and outdoor gear, but is not limited to material items. Current example: triathlon. How could I pass up the opportunity to enter a race for 77% off the normal registration fee? Forget that I wasn't planning to do a tri this fall. And that I stopped swimming and biking so I could focus on half marathon training. And that the normal triathlon prices are so astronomically expensive, that this really isn't an amazing deal. These details are not important, what is important is that I was getting a good deal.

So, that's how I found myself at the starting line for the Tri Babes race weekend before last. This was an all-women sprint distance race (750 m swim, 12 mi bike, 5 k run). This was my first all women's race and I didn't notice too many differences from a normal triathlon, but I was pretty happy to not have men molesting me on the swim and sprinting by me in the bike and run.

I should go back and explain the real reason I was at this race. After swearing I would not do so (because hanging out with undergrads makes me feel old), I finally caved in and joined the CU tri team. I decided that this winter should be devoted to staying in shape, rather than drinking beer and eating junk food and pretending that skiing will keep me fit (which it might if I did it more than once a week). It was through the team and by volunteering at a race a few weeks ago that I got such a good deal on this entry fee. Ten women from the team competed in the race, many of them new to the sport.

The race went fairly well. The swim was uneventful, but the bike was not. Early on, I took a wrong turn when I followed the person in front of me. It is rather amazing that I succeeded in getting lost on this course because it was incredibly well-marked and there were volunteers at every intersection. There were even two volunteers at the intersection where I made the wrong turn ... they just neglected to say anything. After I realized my error, I re-traced my path and probably only lost about a minute.

Then I had an energy gel catastrophe ... again. I was squeezing the gel into my mouth when I felt a chunk. Josh and I have both had chunky Clif Shots recently. We don't know if this is because they are old or if they went through a freeze-thaw. When we return from a trip, all unused gels get thrown back into the drawer, so it is impossible for us to track the history of each gel. If anyone knows the cause of our chunky-gritty gel problem, please enlighten us, as these are really unappetizing. But this is off topic, because it was not the gel that was chunky, but the fact that I had a dime sized piece of wrapper in my mouth. I am pretty sure this wrapper chunk came from inside the packet because I inspected the packet afterward and determined it was not a piece that was torn off while opening. Because gel is nearly impossible to spit-out and I didn't want to risk swallowing this piece of plastic/foil, I was left to stick my finger in my gooey mouth to remove the offending wrapper piece. This led to stickiness all over my fingers, then handlebars, face, shorts. However, I have not found any gel on my helmet ... yet.

But I guess my issues on the bike did not hinder my run, as I ran an 18:06 5K, besting my PR by 2 minutes ... just kidding. Obviously the course was much shorter than a 5K. Which I am kinda bummed about because I have been feeling pretty fit, light, and fast lately. I thought I might have a chance to break my post-high school 5K PR (because the HS PR is still too fast to even contemplate breaking), but I guess that will have to wait for another day.

I ended up in 3rd place overall (out of 222) and 1st in my age group (out of 38). The CU team had a pretty good showing with 2nd and 5th place overall finishes as well. Even more important, the girls new to the sport seemed to have a good time and may be headed toward full triathlon addictions, which are easy to get and impossible to break especially with reduced entry fees as temptations.

No pictures this time. I carpooled to Longmont for this race and left Josh at home. I figure I drug him to enough races this year, although I think he may have been a little more excited for this one as a result of the multitude of fit looking women and the absence of men in spandex.


Molly said...

When Phil and I were at REI this weekend, they were sampling the intentionally chunky energy solution. Clif Shots gummy chunks. Tasted like KoolAid in a yummy Swedish Fish snack. Maybe you should consider switching?? I don't know if you could potentially choke to death on them while shotting gummies mid-race though... that would obv be bad.

Ashley said...

Molly -
I love Shot Bloks. But I love all gummy candies. If only they made peach flavored Shot Bloks in rings (like gummy peach rings from the bulk section in Winco) - then I would be in heaven.

I would be upset that you called me a nerd, but I guess I can't deny the truth.