Thursday, February 10, 2011

2010 in Review Part III The Triathlon Relay

The swim start in beautiful Stonewall Jackson lake
The triathlon bug had bitten, and bit hard.  We signed up for our next triathlon, the Stonewall Jackson Triathlon at beautiful Stonewall Jackson resort in Lewis County, West Virginia.  Vance recovered from his strained diaphragm just in time to tear his calf muscle.  Frustrated but unwilling to give up, we entered the race as a relay team, "Team Lima Green."  Relaying a triathlon proved to be extremely fun, and I don't think any of us regretted the decision.  Vance was to swim 1000m, Jay bike 26 miles, and I was to run 4 miles as anchor.

We made it a getaway weekend, and camped at Summersville Lake on Friday night before the race.  We knew the cool waters of the lake would be a great post-race relaxation spot.  Grandmom and Poppy prepared a lasagna dinner for us in their camper oven and we carbo loaded around the picnic table under the stars.

Team Lima Green prepares to race
After a predawn scurry and preparation, we were on the road to Stonewall Jackson.  This place should have been easy to find.  Several of us had been there before.  But, somehow, the logistics coordinator (me) printed the bike route directions rather than the resort directions and we ended up driving about 20 miles out of our way to get there.  I am an early bird.  I like to get somewhere in plenty of time to case the joint, use the bathroom, and scope everything out, with time to iron out any wrinkles that may arise.  Well, this arrival was not so well planned.  We were pretty much lost, and without cell signal, we were at the mercy of the clock to get there in time for the team check-in deadline.  Our GPSs just laughed at us.  My nerves were shot, and if I would have had a heart rate monitor on, it would have been smoking.  But, miraculously, we found the resort and pulled into the foggy parking lot.  The good news was, we got a last-minute tour of the bike route!  We made it within minutes of the registration shutting down.  Shew!

Vance gets ready to swim
The next step was to figure out how to do our chip transitions, and to get Vance down to the water's edge for the start.  We had several mishaps along the way, Vance wore the wrong swim cap, Jay wore the runner's number (not intended for bikers), and we went through several pairs of broken sunglasses.  Luckily, the race start was delayed by several minutes due to fog on the water of the lake, obstructing the view of race officials and swimmers.

Jay returns from the bike leg
Finally, the race was on!  Vance completed a strong swim, and had to sprint up a hill to the transition area to where Jay was waiting to take off on the bike.  After seeing the route, I was not disappointed to only be running in this triathlon.  His bike route was an extremely hilly 26 miles, with constant ups and downs.  Whereas the Scenic Mountain triathlon was one long uphill, this was up and down the whole way.  He definitely had the most difficult relay leg, which took about an hour and a half before he returned to the transition area.  I spent the hour and a half trying not to jump out of my skin, and going to the bathroom way too many times.  I had a minor panic attack when I thought we had lost the runner's number, but I remembered that Jay had pinned it to his shirt.  Since before dawn, my body and mind were winding tighter and tighter, ready to run.  As anchor, I was terrified of losing a position on the run and couldn't wait to get going!  Finally I saw Jay returning on his bike.  He rode in, and I pinned the number on while he attached the chip to my ankle.

T2 Jay to Shannon
I ran out of there like a scared rabbit.  And, of course, in my panic, I forgot to sync my Garmin so I had no idea how fast I was going.   I also had no idea what to expect on the route.  Oh well, as long as I wasn't passed by someone with an "R" by their number I'd be okay.  (R for relay).  Problem was, I couldn't see who had Rs on their numbers and who didn't, unless they were ahead of me.  Hm.  So I ran scared, hoping to not hear footsteps behind me.  The route was all downhill on the first 2 miles, which meant it was going to be uphill all the way back.  Nice.  Amazingly, I passed a few folks, and no one passed me.  But later I saw in the results that a relay runner was only seconds behind me, and I didn't even know it.  Shew!

The big finish
Team Lima Green finish line photo
Team Lima Green came in fourth overall in the relays that day.  We had a great time, and spent a well-deserved lazy afternoon on the boat at Summersville afterwards.

Summersville Lake

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