I have done this race a couple of times, but last year had to take a medical deferment because of a foot injury. I was really looking forward to testing my fitness on a known course, but then the run course was drastically changed due to road construction. It went from a course with one hill in the first mile and the last two either downhill or flat, to a constantly rolling course with a short downhill finish. I was a little bummed, but I've been so focused on Syracuse 70.3 and getting going on my ultra training, that I was surprised when the race was only a few days away! I had definitely not been focusing on sprint racing physically, but I also didn't spend a lot of mental energy on it either, which I think has a lot to do with my feelings during and after this race. On the other hand, I had a lot of friends at this race that were doing either their first or second tri, and I was excited for them.
I rode over to the race with my friend, Lisa, and despite having gone to the bathroom at home, I had to make a pit stop at a gas station on the way there. Once there, I hemmed and hawed over where I set up in transition, and finally staked out my spot. I really took my time setting up and getting body marked and kept debating over whether or not I should go brave the port-a-potty lines since my stomach still was a little rumbly. As I was finishing setting up, I noticed a great-looking bike next to mine and realized I was set up to a woman who even the fastest guys around are scared of. I noticed her shoes were already on her bike, and I had been going back and forth as to whether I would try that at this race. I even practiced last week, but had pretty much chickened out. I said something to her, and she smiled and said it was her first time for that too and encouraged me to give it a go, which I did.
I donned the wetsuit, but there was no opportunity for a swim warm up. My stomach was still gently protesting what I was doing, and that had me concerned a little bit. I'm not sure if it was something I ate the night before or nerves, probably a little of both. I think I lacked a little bit of my usual excitement and energy going into a race. When my wave got in the water, it was almost like I was too calm. Once we got going, I felt like I got left in the dust by the faster swimmers. I was kind of hoping I could hang on, but after just a few minutes I felt like I was swimming by myself. I started passing a few of the slower swimmers from the earlier wave, but I just felt like I was swimming way behind the other women in my wave.
After the halfway point, I was really struggling. I began to think this might be the hardest swim I've ever done. I was wondering about my time. I kept looking to see how far I had left to go, and this was only an 800 yard swim! I just felt slow. I finally spotted the last buoy, swam all the way to the steps, and was happy to be out of the water.
Here is the weird thing. My time was really good for me. Much faster than it felt. I was thinking it might be around 16 minutes or so, but was shocked to see my split.
Swim 800 yds: 13:53 (1:44/100 pace)
I ran through transition, got out with the bike and into the shoes on the bike without a hitch.
The bike felt pretty good. I got passed early on by two women in the 40-45 age group. I tried to hang with them, but they dropped me on the hills. I pretty much rode the entire, windy ride, surrounded by men. I got passed by I few men, but I passed way more than passed me. I passed a couple of women, but many, and most right at the beginning of the ride. I felt like most of the fast women were way out in front of me. My stomach felt okay, but I did not take in much EFS drink just to be on the safe side. Again, my feelings were that this was okay, not spectacular, but not awful.
Bike 14 miles: 45:46 (18.7 mph)
In and out of T2 without a catch.
The run was hard. My calf was tight for about the first 1/2 mile or so. I reached into my mental toolbox and pulled out the special words that I have been using for those tough runs, and after that I finally settled in to a comfortably hard pace. Looking back, it might have been more comfortable than hard, but I think I did the best I could have done for that day. I did actually pass one woman in my age group which hardly ever happens to me on the run. Then I got passed by two more in my AG and several not in my AG. Overall, maybe 5 or 6 women passed me. It was kind of an out and back course, so I could tell that despite the feelings I was having of not being totally there, I was still in the top group of women, which was nice. On the return trip, I heard a lot of cheers for me from racers and spectators, and that really spurred me on to the finish. I sprinted hard for the last 400 yards or so, and good thing, as I noticed in the results another woman had been chasing me down and finished just 2 seconds after me. I was completely oblivious to this during the race, which I think is kind of funny.
Run 3 miles: 26:31 (8:50/mile)
27/252 women overall
9/29 F35-39 AG (tough age group, huh?)
Ultimately, I am pleased with the outcome, but I think I really neglected getting myself pumped up for this race. I have never had a race before where I just felt kind of flat, despite having a pretty solid day. It was strange, and I still haven't quite gotten my head around what happened. Shortly after the race, I had pretty much decided that I was going to take a break from racing sprints. I sent Coach Mary an email saying so, and she promptly replied with these wise words:
That is why I love having a good coach.
Next up, Syracuse 70.3...and I am going to rock it!!
Lisa (in front) and Sabrina. Sabrina had an amazing first triathlon,
and is definitely going to be back for more!!
Kristin and Karin ready to go despite the early hour.
Scott and Jessica who may or may not still be married depending on who was faster. ;)
Maria getting in the last little bit of caffeine to fuel that swim!