The festivities began on Saturday, the day before the race, with packet pick-up and bike check in. I was a little nervous about leaving Buttercup over night, open to the elements, but as it turned out, it was really nice to not have to deal with loading and unloading the bike first thing in the morning. There was a pre-race meeting, which was mostly just reassuring everyone that they were not going to drown during the swim (I would guess that about 60-70% of the participants were doing their first tri), but I sat and listened anyway, because you just never know. I like to be prepared. There was a nice little expo with several vendors, and I got myself some unmentionables (trust me, they made Kel blush) from whooha gear. Check out their website for some very cute and inspirational t-shirts and more. My plan was to get checked in and then ride for about 20 minutes, but that did not happen. Oh well.
I played with the Syracuse Symphony Saturday night, so after a very late bedtime of 11:30 p.m., I was up a little after 4 a.m.. I picked up my friend, Lisa, and we headed to the race. We were there just after transition opened, and got a great parking space. Got my transition area set up, took some pics, helped someone change a flat tire (good practice, right?), and had a great warm-up swim before the race started.
My goal for this race was to push as hard as I could. I had some fairly loose time goals, but I just wanted to see how fast I could go. I knew I would be a little limited since I was coming off Musselman just a week before, but besides that I was not holding back. I even decided to not wear my Garmin, and just go for it. I ended up not even using a watch since I forgot to start it at the swim start and just took it off in T1.
I was in the third wave, and the start was a running start from the beach. I got right to the front, and just hit. I was able to draft for quite some time, which I find to be particularly hard to do on a regular basis, but I found some feet and was able to stick with them. I sighted well, despite the rising sun right in my eyes until the first turn. I'm pretty sure the swim was short, because no amount of adrenline is going to make me go as fast as they said I went!
800 yd. Swim Time: 12:25 1:33/100 yds (yeah right!)
I had a great T1, even though my wetsuit didn't come off as nicely as I wanted it to.
T1 Time: 1:29
The bike course was a fairly easy, 18-mile course, with very few hills. I blew out of transition, but couldn't really get up to speed until about the second mile, since the first mile was on a little access road, that was pretty crowded and not very smooth. Once I was on the road, I hit it and felt like I was moving fast (since I didn't have my Garmin on, I had no idea how fast that was). I was pushing pretty hard and my HR was pretty high. I had no sense of distance or time and when I saw the first distance marker, I was thinking I was about halfway through...nope, just five miles!! So I decided to settle in a little more, and relax into the speed. I got passed by only two people during the entire bike leg, but I passed a lot of women from the waves before me and a few from my wave. One of the people that passed me was an insanely fast women from the wave behind mine on a carbon Cervelo. The other women was in my age group, and we pretty much played leap frog with each other until about the last 2 miles, when she got me on a little hill, and I couldn't hang. I got my feet out of my shoes just great, and into T2 with a big smile.
Bike Time: 54:15 20.6 mph!!!! (my fastest bike split yet!)
T2 went great. In and out, just like it's supposed to be.
T2 Time: 57 sec.
The run was a very flat out and back. The day turned out to be pretty muggy and warm, and as soon as I started the run I knew I would not be running my fastest. My legs felt very heavy, my breathing was labored and my HR was sky high (I just knew). I got passed in the first mile by quite a few women in my age group, but there was just no way I could keep up. I kept moving and a couple of times thought to myself, "Kelly, if you can do 13.1, you can do 3.1!" It just felt very hard. I pushed harder on the last mile to the finish, and was so relieved to be done. My goal for the run time was under 25 minutes, so close but not quite.
Run Time: 26:19 8:28/mile
Total Time: 1:35:25
24/461 overall (not counting the one pro)
This is the best placement percentage-wise I have ever had (even when I placed 3rd in my age group last year, I was not in the top 10%). I was very pleased with my race, and am looking forward to another sprint in September that I will race on more rested legs. Hopefully my run time will improve. Among the top 30 finishers, my run time was the slowest. In fact, my run time was the only one above an 8:00/mile average in that group. I really need to do some speed work.
I will definitely be back to do Irongirl Syracuse next year. It was a great race. I loved racing with just women...it really had a different vibe from other races. I loved seeing so many women finish their first triathlon, and then ask me when there is another one they can do!! I watched the last person finish, she ran hard and crossed the line with a huge smile on her face. Everyone was clapping and cheering. Now, I get emotional when I watch the Ironman Hawaii finish on tv, but to see this woman, pushing herself to her limits, really got me. No matter how fast or slow, a finisher is a triathlete, and I was so lucky to see that on Sunday.
Me and Lisa M., who passed me on the run to take 18th OA.
Me and Lisa B., who finished her first triathlon with a huge smile!! I'm proud of you, Lisa! Now sign up for Skinnyman, already!!