One of the big races that is part of the 5150 Series that attracts around 3500 people and a big prize money for the pro. I organized a big group of people to head to St. Petersburg, Florida to tackle this race with Tri-2-One awesomeness!
A group of 14 of us looking strong! So many of us that we had rent a house and 2 condos for the team. Now let me ask you, how much fun can be a RV full of triathletes?. Well, 7 of us with bikes & gear, filled an RV and it was quite the experience!, plus the bikes were treated like royalty! (they stayed on the bed! LOL) So much fun!
We got there on Friday and on Saturday we did a morning pre-race workout in the race site. I felt relieved to change the scenery and to do our workouts in a different place than Miami. Afterwards we had some lunch and went to the packet pick up and mandatory bike check in. In the afternoon we had a nice dinner with around 15 teammates and our coach (that just had arrived to cheer us!)., and went home to relax and prepare for race day.
Race morning. Headed in the RV to the race site. Prepared transition, and headed out until race start. The waves started so late for us that many just hang out around and tried to be patient. A group of us stayed out of T1 to catch the pros as they were heading out on the bikes.
Around 7:30 I started heading to the race start. I suit up half way with my wetsuit and headed out. Arriving to the wave start I suit up completely and I was ready to go! The last couple of months I have been practicing my swimming a lot and improved a lot thanks to the help of my partner Juju (we are both heading to World Championships! visit her blog!), so this time I wanted to see the results of that improvement.
Around maybe 400m of the swim I started to feel unusually warm, then warmer, and then insanely hot. I was suffocating inside the wetsuit!!! It was hard to keep the pace and I couldn’t breathe normally. I tried to suck it up, but I was loosing my cool (I am very good at keeping calm on the water, is like a second nature, but this has never happened before), and I had to start swimming doggie style since I couldn’t breathe. I was telling to myself, “this is impossible, I can’t continue the race like this! “, visual images of me quitting and having DNF (did not finish) starting to be so clear like the sky. I felt like if I didn’t stop, that will be it… the end of me. I saw one of the race kayaks and waved at her. We headed to each other and then I grabbed the kayak. I told the girl in the kayak, I can’t breath is too hot!, she replied “yeah, some people are complaining, you are not the only one.” As I was trying to relax and catch air, one jet sky with 2 lifeguards came close asking how I was doing. One of the guys said, “come on, let me help you take out the wetsuit.” Came close to him and started taking out the suit. My Garmin was stuck with the sleeve, so I had to take out my Garmin and pull my arm out. Put my Garmin in my wrist and now the bottom part. The guy grabbed the wetsuit and start pulling as I was pushing. After some struggle the suit was out. What a relieve! I asked them where could I get my suit back, and they didn’t have any idea, and they only said the local Police Station.
Whatever. I had a race to continue so I took off. As practiced in the pool I continued the swim, and felt much, MUCH better. But still had in the back off my mind the precious minutes lost by the wetsuit. Finally got to T1 grab my bike and headed out. At this moment I was just like whatever. There’s no reason to try to catch time. Certainly I was not cruising, but I didn’t had that fire telling me to go and push, I just wanted to finish the race, I had paid an inscription fee, so I wanted my medal.
The bike course was falt but with a lot of curves. It got a little windy at the end, but still nothing compared to the headwind of Ironman Florida. Got to T2 and headed out for the run. The run was really nice, with a lot of people cheering and throwing water with their house hoses (yup, it was hot!).
At least I felt better on the run this time, and when I finish the race, I was not devastated or dying either… I guess it was just a “meh” race, because of the incident and several stuff I had on my head.
Now… where to find my wetsuit. I asked volunteers, race officials, and each told me different story. Finally I found a guy with a radio, he communicated with the boat with all the wetsuits, eureka! Got my wetsuit back!
Total Time: 2:39:28
Swim Time: 32:38
T1 Time: 1:31
Bike Time: 1:12:15
T2 Time: 1:32
Run Time: 51:34
83rd out of 154.
Not really happy with my numbers, although the swim with incident and all was faster than Nautica's. In a certain way, I would have been really dissapointed if I would still wanted to go to Nationals, but then again my priority now is just Kona. On the other hand, the best thing of the trip was traveling with my crazy teammates! There no I in TEAM!!!
Probably this will be my last race until Kona, all my resources now have to go Hawaii!!!. Some excited news coming up regarding Ironman World Championship! Stay tuned!