The swim: I debated whether I should warm up in the water or not (remember I had no time goals here) but decided I would. The water was warm, perfect with my wetsuit (very few swam without one) and immediately I knew things were going to be...GOOD. My wave was the last one, with 40+ women and a few men who were on relay teams. But basically the fast people were long gone so no worries about being swum over. I would guess I was about halfway toward the front of my wave. A little jostling in the beginning, but I felt good. Slow, yes, and I was never out of breath/pushing hard, but that was part of the plan (this time). I just picked off the buoys, and though by the last one I was ready to be done, if I had needed to I really could have kept going! I never panicked, and kept thinking to myself, why, this is almost enjoyable! The official results aren't up yet but by my watch it was .9 miles in just under 32 minutes. I had figured about 30, so...fine. I can't wait to see how that stacks up with my age group...
T1 (Tonly): Slow. Yeah, yeah. Of course it was slow, there was a long walk (well, run for everyone else) from the beach to my bike. And after being extended for 32 minutes with no weight on it, the ankle wasn't happy to be asked to go fast (relatively speaking here). So couple that with trying to get the wetsuit over my ankle without crying, and it apparently was about 5:27. Ouch.
Bike: Not the 17+ I had hoped for, not by a long shot!! By this time, the sun was out and it was HUMID after the morning's rain. I hadn't eaten enough (always a gamble...eat enough, and risk serious GI distress...I figured I'd rather be weak than in pain), so pulled the GU out of my saddle bag and that seemed to make a big difference. This course was HILLY. I'm used to hills, but this redefined rolling hills for me. I would go from 40+ on the downhills (FUN!) to I think I hit 6.2 on one steep uphill. Of course I passed a lot of people. This was expected, given my wave and the fact that, by the time I left transition, there were very few people behind me! I am VERY curious to see others' bike times, as my average was only 15.2 yet I really couldn't have gone much faster. I definitely have a problem maintaining momentum up hills, and a few times (ok, a lot of times), I said screw it and didn't even try. The lack of competition that far back didn't help my speed, but again, I had FUN, and really that was the point today.
I waited around FOREVER for the awards. I actually thought I might have been the only aqua biker, and, well, you know what that means. They went through most of the age group awards (but missed some, including the only 60+ year old woman) but then said, oh, we're not done but we're not ready to give those out yet. UGH. So I went up and asked, and they sent me back to the timing truck, and the guy there told me I'd won. Out of 2 females. Though I did also beat the 2 males. So I went back to the stage and asked for my award, and left. No going up on stage, no fanfare (though honestly no that many people stuck around for the real awards anyway), which I guess annoyed me a little.
On the drive home, I was pissed. I'd had fun and won my division. Why was I upset? Took me a long time to figure it out (I had a long drive), but I guess I came up with the fact that this is just a consolation prize. My competition is now the fat, lazy, and crippled. And ok, I'm the fastest one. So fucking what? I'll get over it. I have no choice. But my performance, fun though it was, didn't deserve a prize. There's just no real meaning in what I won.
All the real athletes ran.