Some points to consider.
1. It was cold. Holy hell, it was cold. I was really glad to only be doing the indoor swim in the heated pool.
2. It was windy. Holy hell, it was windy. I was really glad to only be doing the indoor swim in the heated pool.The wind was especially nasty given the cold snap we're having, and the generally insane hilliness of the course.
3. The race director, Mico, said that next year they aren't allowed to call themselves the Jingle Bell tri because another charity race, the Jingle Bell run/walk for arthritis, got all pee-pee-hearted and demanded that Mico stop because, wahhh, they were Jingle Bells first! (Seriously, are we at a point where someone throws a hissy ecause of something like this? Or threatens LEGAL ACTION?)
4. Our runner made me green with envy. She finished the run in about 25 minutes. It's a hilly, difficult run, too: fully the first mile or so is up a steep hill, and then down a long sandy hill, and then a gradual uphill to the finish. This was a reverse tri, and she tagged off in T1 for the cyclist.
5. Our cyclist, herself Courtney, prevailed against a very hard, hilly course with a stiff headwind and gusts up to 25 mph.
4. Very well run race, benefiting the Rio Rancho Policeman's Fund. Now that's the way to get those police out there for traffic control!
6. the swim is a bit of a cluster fu*k. People get clumped up, and because you're going up and back in the same lane before moving over to the other lane, it's dangerous to pass someone.
So here's what happened:
As I ran into the pool area to begin my team's swim, there was a guy in front of me who seemed, shall we say, somewhat uncertain? about getting to the pool. So, I ran around him and jumped in, and took off. About halfway down the second lane, he passed me. Fine. But then--get this--he immediately slowed down and started breast stroking. WTF?
I tried to pass him and he sped up.
I dropped back, and he started breast stroking again.
Worse, when he got to the end of the lane at the end it was like he and some other guys just stopped to breathe, and then when I came up on them they would take off, so I was constantly stuck behind 4-6 guys side-stroking, breast-stroking, whatever.
I was actually cursing while I swam. Finally, I put on a burst and swam between them, flipped, bounced the wall with my feet, and shot under the rope ahead of them to the next lane, because, dammit, I wanted to get home sometime that day.
The guy that had originally passed, me, I think, was pretty annoyed at having been chicked and chased my feet for the rest of the swim, but I finished in 8:50 and got out, running across the timing mat. Dammit. I know I could have gotten faster if I hadn't been behind the breast-stroking sisters.
Anyway. Not bad for not having been in the pool for 3 months. Best of all, the atmosphere was kind of energizing! I was excited for the people there, and excited in general, and I drove back home planning my training strategy for Ironman St. George! Westward, HO!