Last year, my and Doglady's first year of Triathloning - I did West Point and she did Sandy Hook. We both had an amazing time at our respective events. This year we were going to attend each other's. She was laid low by foot problems for West Point, but I still made it to Sandy Hook.
I stopped to pick up my race packet on Saturday and was also able to drop off the bike. My first opportunity every and a nice little detail. Then I continued onto my aunt's house, a shorter 1 hour away, and we had a lovely visit.
There is something stupendously ODD about driving to the race WHILE ITS STILL DARK OUT. The things we do for our sports. Holy cow, the beach was amazingly beautiful. However parking was at least a mile away from the start and I really had to hurry.
DogLady and I managed to find each other. She had parked her phone in her car and I wasnt wearing my glasses. It was a miracle! We chatted for a bit and then she had to go to her purple cap wave and I had to wait for my blue cap wave. It was really cold waiting on the beach. The shore was all little pebbles too - not the nicest thing to stand on in bare feet. When our wave finally goes in, the chop is pretty serious and the worst part was it was irregular. I was *never* able to settle into a pattern. While my "staring into the dark" anxiety never surfaced, it was because I was too busy wrestling with the waves. I had a slightly better time backstroking because I was able to time my breathing so that I was breathing OUT as the wave broke OVER my head and there was water in my face. I heard a few people calling for help from the kayakers, but I concentrated on just keeping going. Preferable without being kicked in the face (triathletes, you know what I'm talking about.)
I finally found a rhythm about 100 yards from shore - although what bloody good does it do you then? Then onto the rocky shore and up into transition. On my way thru, Doglady sticks a hand over the barrier and we slap five. I'm up and onto my bike before I start processing "Hey, she should be out on her bike. Maybe she's just really fast. Or I'm really slow." At that point, its too late to ask questions, you just have to shelve them and keep going.
Bike is only 8 miles and flat as a pancake. It reaffirms to me how much I like hills. Yeah, going up sucks. But that also means you get to go down. This is just relentless pedaling. And on the ride back, we are going straight into a headwind. Back into transition and off to the run.
A girl in a neon yellow jersey and I spend some time leapfrogging her until I pass and maintain a lead for the last 1/2 mile. Just when I think I cant keep running, and start to slow, she passes me again "How can you do this? We've been pacing each other the whole way!" And I ran with her all the way to the finish. And truly, I would not have run as well without the support of that anonymous stranger.
DogLady found me at the finish line and explained her DNF. I got to meet her delightful sister and brother in law. We are not allowed to go back into transition to collect our things until after everyone is out on the run course, so we hung around and made small talk. Afterwards, we went to another one of the beaches and hung out some more drinking water (I had to drive) eating sandwiches and generally bitching about the suckiness of the swim.
Yes, Doglady is an awesome person to do a triathlon with, but she's even more fun on a beach with a sandwich.
In short, if you have the opportunity to drive 2 hours and meet a SparkFriend in person, I recommend you do it. Best way to end the summer. I only wish Child and DH had been there to play on the beach with us.
Swim, 0.3 mi - 21 min
Bike 8 mi - 35
Run 3.0 mi - 31