The chatter before the Summer Sizzler triathlon at Beaver Island State Park was mostly about one thing -- the weeds in the water.
Since I practice open water swimming in Lake Erie where I routinely am on the lookout for dead fish and get fists full of seaweed I didn't think this would be that big a problem.
So after the Saturday race when I was talking with friends and acquaintances, the first statement after the standard, "How did you do?" question was "How about those weeds?"
I was greatly looking forward to this triathlon because it involved the shortest distances of any race I've done. And that 400 meter swim? You can stand up the entire time because the river is rather shallow. Hence, the problem with the weeds.
I'm still a back-of-the-swim pack girl which is fine with me. But this time, I stayed pretty close to the rest of the pack. I did have to stand up once in the middle of the swim, not because I was having problem with the actual swimming but because I had gotten so tangled in the weeds I needed to wiggle out. Seriously, it was like an underwater jungle. Remember Aquaman in the Superfriends cartoon? He would swim at the bottom of the ocean and call on sea creatures for help? Well, in this episode, the Legion of Doom clearly lured Aquaman to a remote, dark corner of the ocean where no school of fish could come to his rescue.
Still, I got out of the swim rather quickly and did not learn one lifeguard's name.
The bike flew by on a short, flat course. Granted, there was some wind in your face on the way back, but nothing to really make an impact. I used the first two miles as a chance to warm up my legs in an easy gear then kicked it into race mode. I got low on my handlebars, sang "Everybody Wants You" by Bill Squier in my head (hey, it's a pretty good cadence song) and started passing people who got out of the water before I did.
My faux pas of the day came when returning from the bike in transition. While I identified the entrance and exits for each event in transition before the race (much like looking for the emergency exits when you're on airplane) when I came in with my bike I was totally turned around. Where was my bike rack spot again? Oh yeah, over there. I got my sneakers on and promptly turned to run ... out the wrong way before a volunteer kindly corrected me. In the world of "transition time" I probably gave some away there, but then my airheaded-ness gave me something to laugh about on the run.
On the run, I was caught by Karyn, who was doing her first triathlon and pretty much kicking butt. This was great for me. Karyn runs slightly faster than I do but not so much that I can't keep up. We actually got a chance to chat for at least a mile before she wanted to pick up the pace. God speed to her. I stayed at my pace and let her go.
In the final results I finished in 1:09.05. I was seventh out of 20 in my age group, 32 out of 108 women and 131 out of 244 overall.
And as a bonus, I got to take home a few extra weeds from the river as the plant life attached itself to my trisuit.
I have one more triathlon on my schedule for this year -- the Finger Lakes Triathlon on Sept. 21. That's a month to improve and gain more confidence in my swim and hopefully turn in the best performance of my inaugural season.