I went in with no expectations--only to finish. My hope was to complete the course in under 2:15. This was my first time swimming in open water and while I did a practice run last week, I still didn't know what to expect in terms of times. On my practice it took me 1:56 with no transitions included, and I only ran 2 miles instead of 3.1. My real and official time with transitions was 1:53! Here's the rundown: 7:30 a.m.: I arrived to pick my transition spot and get my timing chip. Transition closed at 8:20 so we needed to be efficient (I had lots of stuff to set up for transition). Dave wanted to pump our tires...my pump does not have a gauge, so we used his. Evidently, I have been riding around at only 80 lbs of pressure this whole time when I needed 125! Air should make a difference for me. This took what seemed like forever. 8:05: I picked up my timing chip and made a final restroom stop before putting on my wetsuit. I wore a singlet suit which is a one piece bike shorts/tank top unit used for all three events. Thing is, it zips all the way up my neck and I actually can't reach it to zip or unzip by myself. A very nice and surprised woman in the bathroom helped me, thankfully.8:10: I set up my transition area. We had general rows assigned to us (I had a choice between G or H blue), but most people were already there so I didn't get a great space. A real nice gal moved bikes over for me to squeeze mine onto the rail. I set everything out in its proper order. Wetsuit time...I 'Suit Juiced' it all inside, and Body Glided my legs and arms. No use...It was still just as difficult to get on as if I hadn't, and in my ineptness I added three small tears to the left back thigh getting it on. 8:42: This was the official start time, but the start was really at 8:52, as the same day registrant line ran really long. I waded in the water and chatted with some really nice other women in yellow swim caps (women age 30-34 all had yellow). SWIM 0.6 miles: This was the worst swim I have ever had. Although I felt really prepared for it, I totally did not anticipate not being able to see in the water. It was near panic-inducing. On the length where I could stand, I was OK. I would swim a minute or two, stop and stand, get my bearings, and begin again. On the stretch where the water was too deep, it was nearly terrifying. I couldn't manage more than 15 strokes before I'd get way too nervous and then I'd do 30 seconds to a minute of backstroke to pull it together before turning back over for 15 more strokes. Despite that, this was still my single fastest time for this distance--it would have totally rocked if I could have actually swum the whole time. It may have had quite a bit to do with my fabulously buoyant Orca wetsuit. BIKE 20k: The transition to the bike was ok--about 4 minutes. Getting the wetsuit off was a time killer, but it was OK. The bike went really fast for me on the very flat course where the roads were smooth. I did around 18 mph there...but half of the roads were rough gravelly type roads where I simply could not keep speed up, and so I did around 15 mph there. The course was exceptionally flat save three good hills--one of them was just monstrous, and I passed two people walking their bikes up. All in all it was good, and my sweet husband and girls were waiting near the bike finish with their signs yelling "Go Mama!" RUN 5k: I had a fast transition even though I took my time--about a minute, I think. I changed my shoes, took my gloves off, and traded my helmet for a hat, and grabbed a gel. I forgot to drink....hmm. I ran a nice easy pace and felt good. Half of the run was on grass and the other half was on concrete and road. We ran right over the dam and that was a very beautiful and nice touch. I wasn't sure what my pace was as I forgot my Garmin 301, even though I had laid it out...I suspected about 11 or 12 minute miles. After checking the results, I learned it was a pleasantly surprising 10:33 minute mile pace. FINISH: They announced my name, my city, and my number upon crossing the finish line, and then the announcer added, "And a happy birthday to you!" which was a very nice touch. Thanks to my sweet husband for running up to tell the announcer that it was my birthday…although as a result we did not get a finish line picture. In the end...I am pleased. Being my first triathlon, it was both my best and my worst. I beat my goal by a whole bunch and feel really good about it. And, I am now a triathlete!