Monday, August 9, 2010

Aflac Iron Girl Syracuse Race Report

I never know quite where to begin when I write a race report.  I wonder if I should have a cute story about the day, or begin with my thoughts, or what.  For some reason I just get stuck.  So for this race report I will follow Julie Andrews' sage advice and start at the beginning.

After a full day at the Expo interviewing women for the Aflac Iron Girl webisode, I headed home.  Kel and I decided that I should definitely not cook, so we went out for dinner with the boys, which was nice.  I got to bed relatively early and slept terribly, which is normal for me the night before a race.  One thing to note:  this is    the first year since I have been racing triathlons that I haven't had any crazy tri dreams leading up to races.  Not sure what this means, but, for some reason, they have stopped.  Of course, that doesn't mean I didn't have other crazy stress dreams, just no dreams about triathlon.

I got up early, fixed my usual pre-race breakfast of an EFS bar and a chocolate-banana smoothie, gave my friend Lisa a call, and headed out to pick her up.  We rode together last year, and at the last minute (the morning of the race) I decided to give her a call to see if she wanted to ride together again.  I'm so glad I did because it seemed like it was good for both of us.  Here's a picture of us after we arrived at the park.

This was an unusual race for me because not only was it an Iron Girl, which I've been going to but not racing all season, but it was also the first race where I had coaching clients racing.  (Let me say, I feel like "coaching clients" doesn't even come close to the feelings I have developed for these women.)  I also had a ton of friends from the Y racing, many of them for the first time.  I was so excited for them and spent a lot of time before the race taking pictures, doing last minute coaching and encouraging, and just having a good time with the music and the energy.

I did take the time to set up my transition, and then, once transition closed, headed out to the swim start to get a nice warm-up in.  I forgot to say that is was quite chilly Saturday morning.  It was 53 degrees when I left the house, and I don't think it warmed up at all until the sun came up.  The water was actually warmer than the air,  and I was glad I had decided to wear my wetsuit, since I had considered going without to save time in T1.

Swim - 600 yds

My swim wave went off at 7:15.  My plan was to go all out.  It was a beach start with a little bit of a run into the water.  I'm positive I was the first person in my wave to hit the water.  Oneida Lake is pretty shallow, but I started swimming as soon as I could.  Some people around me were still running and ended up running into me, which kind of annoyed me, but by the time we were to the first buoy, the contact was done.  I also felt like I was about to hyperventilate, so I took a couple of gliding strokes to get my breathing under control.  After that I went as hard as I could.  My sighting went well, and I ended up passing a few people from the wave before me.  I think I came out of the water 3rd or 4th in my wave.

Time:  8:32 1:26/100 yards


I had a longish run to my bike, and moved quickly but with purpose through my gear.  This was a little longer than I would have liked, but it is what it is.

Time:  2:17

Bike - 18.3 miles

Again, my plan was to go all out.  The course was pretty crowded, and I passed a lot of women that had started in the three waves before me.  As much as I love Iron Girl, one of the things I don't like is that a lot of the women don't realize they can't just ride in the rode wherever they want.  I think I scared some people when I would yell, "On your left," and several times had to cross the yellow line in order to get around larger groups of women.  Anyway, about a mile in I got passed by a woman in my age group.  I was able to keep her in my sight for most of the bike, but then I lost her when a truck was causing a little bit of a bottle neck.  I didn't get passed by anyone else, and felt like I pushed hard.  Every now and then I would downshift and increase my cadence in order to save my legs, and I do wonder if that cost me a little bit of time.  Still, I beat my time from last year by over a minute.

Time:  52:54 21.1 mph


Smooth and fast.  Slower than last year, but I had to run my bike all the way through transition to get to my rack.

Time:  1:01

Run - 3.1 miles

This was the big question mark for me going into this race.  My goal for the run was to embrace the pain and hold onto it.  Usually, if things start to feel bad, I just slow down.  Not on Saturday.  I was going to love that pain and hold onto it.  Heading out of transition, I had no idea where I was in my age group.  All I knew was there was at least one other person ahead of me and most likely 2 or 3 since I think I was 4th out of the water and don't think I passed anyone in my AG.  The run wasn't about catching up, though, it was about running my race and being proud of that....and run I did.  The pain came early and I latched onto it.  Right after the turn-around a woman flew by me and I saw she was in my age group.  There was no possible way I could hang with her for 1.5 miles, so I said darn, and kept up my own pace.  Since the run is an out and back, I got to see a lot of people I know.  They all had some encouraging words for me, but all I could do was wave.  I didn't have any thing left for cheering.  Once I saw the finish line, I picked it up even faster and sprinted in.  I had to collect myself before I got my medal because I came pretty darn close to losing it!!  That means it was a great 5K!!

Time:  25:56 8:21/mile

Total Time:  1:30:41

Good enough for 16th overall and 4th in my age group.

Kel and the boys were there to cheer me on. 


This race was a huge confidence boost for me.  This was my best run in a tri yet, and that was coming off not great run volume and no speed work.  It was also a wake-up call that if I really want to be competitive it is the run that needs the most work.  I was 20th overall in the swim, 14th overall on the bike, and 76th overall in the run.  That is a big difference, no?

This was also a special race because I had so many people that I had trained racing.  Eleven women in my 12-week training group from the Y, plus many others that had participated in my Tuesday/Thursday outdoor rides from the Y, and my Y open water swims.  I am proud to say they all finished and pushed way harder and faster than they ever expected to!!  I was like a proud trimommy, taking pictures, listening to race tales, and soaking up the amazing energy of women who have just accomplished more than they ever thought possible.  What a high!!

I also was there working in my role as Aflac Iron Girl Host Across America, and consequently was interviewed by the local television station.  You can check out the piece here.

All in all, it was an amazing day in every respect.  I applaud all of the women who came out and gave it their all on Saturday, and every day.  I know how much it takes for all you mothers to kiss your children on the head and go for a run or a ride.  For all of you wives to head to swim instead of spend a relaxing evening with your husband.  To put yourself first for an hour or two a day is not an easy thing, but it is so worth it and so important!  Thanks for inspiring me!


  1. Wow, awesome race! Congrats. Cool to have everyone there and do well. The TV bit was cool to!

  2. Thank you for inspiring us too! It was an awesome race! (And I agree on the one downside-- it doesn't seem like many women knew to stay the heck on the shoulder. I got stuck for quite a while behind a pair that insisted on riding abreast with the one on the left practically straddling the double yellow line).

  3. Well done-you had a terrific race and the pictures (as well as the words) tell the story of the day!

  4. Wow! You did fantastically! I beat last year's time, but I was about 46 minutes behind you. LOL! Next year I we will all do better!

  5. Way to charge the water, super fast swim! Excellent bike as well, I'm glad there weren't any problems with the passing, that is tricky. I like the idea of embracing the pain on the run.
    Congratulations on so many positive things!

  6. Nice race report Kelly! Nice job on your finish!!


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