Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Athleta Iron Girl Syracuse Race Report

For many reasons Iron Girl is and always will be a very special race to me.  I spent much of last year travelling to almost all of the Iron Girl events interviewing inspirational women from all walks of life who were participating in Iron Girl.  This year, however, Iron Girl Syracuse is the only event I was at, but it was made even more special for me because I had 15 of my athletes racing, plus many more friends.

I was a little bit nervous going into this race only because I felt like I had a bit of pressure on me to perform well.  I was also thinking of my athletes and wanting to be there as much as I could for them.   My plan was to get all of my "stuff" done early and be available for all my "girls", so I could calm fears and give pep talks without having to worry about myself.  It all went to plan, and I spent the better part of my pre-race time, chatting, taking pictures, giving hugs and smiles and squeezes, and enjoying the atmosphere of transition.

Lisa and I made the 15 minute drive together as we have for the past three years.  It may seem silly, but it is little things like this that make a race memorable.  Thanks, Lisa!!

Lisa and I before the race.
I also got to see first-time Iron Girl, Molly, plus all of my athletes and my Y girls before the race began.

Molly and I - just ignore the finger there.

The Y girls!!  Aren't we pretty?

The big question of the day was whether or not the swim would be wetsuit legal.  I was secretly hoping it would not be, and then I would not have to decide whether or not to wear my wetsuit!  The water temp, however, was just under the limit, so it was a go with wetsuits.  After talking with some fast swimmers in my age group, I decided the wetsuit was the way to go, and headed out for a warm-up.

My wave was not going off until 7:25 and transition closed at 6:30, so I had quite a bit of time to warm-up and then relax before my start.  I decided to just chill beach side while I cheered for the other waves.  I'm pretty sure I was the only person sitting, but I wanted to conserve my energy!!

Finally, my wave was called to the corral.  My friend got this shot of me as the wave in front of us went off.  I really think all of my best race photos are of me in my wetsuit, cap and goggles...

Since this was a sprint, there is not a whole lot to say about the race.  My plan was to go fast.  I had a great swim and was 3rd out of the water in my wave.  I didn't look at my swim time, but realized later that the swim was definitely a lot longer than last year.  Even still, I knew my swim felt fantastic and I am happy with it.  I decided to take my wetsuit off at the water's edge because the run to transition was quite long.  A friend shot a winner of a picture of me running to transition...I named it "Iron Girl Death."

That is pretty much how I felt too!!  I hauled into transition and my HR was the highest here as it was anywhere during the race!!

The bike was uneventful except for the two women in my age group that passed me around the 2nd mile and then proceeded to draft for the rest of the bike.  I tried to keep them in my sights, but lost them around mile 9.  It was really disappointing to see such blatant cheating, especially at a race like Iron Girl that is about women empowering themselves...I guess these women felt empowered to break the rules. I ended up saying something to one of the women who happened to win my AG after the race.  She, of course denied it, but when I said, "I was behind you and saw you drafting the whole way," she said, "WE weren't drafting!"  Hmmm....  I have to say it tarnished the race just a bit for me.  My bike leg was hard and fast, just the way it should be!

The run was hard, as it should be in a sprint.  I don't know why I am always surprised at how much sprints hurt, but no matter how much I prepare myself mentally to embrace the pain and go with it, it still really hurts!!!  My run pace was just okay, but I pulled out everything I had and gave it my all.  All the cheers and "Go Kelly's" I heard along the way helped so much!  It also didn't hurt that my good friend, E., was right on my tail and gunning for me!  She ended up finishing about 30 seconds behind me, so I beat her just by the skin of my teeth!  Great race, E!!!

Right before the finish chute.

Right after the finish line with one of my girls!
Swim:  13:24 2:14/100 meters - but I'm pretty sure it was long
T1: 2:09
Bike: 52:12 20.7 mph
T2: 1:05
Run: 27:54 9:00/mile

Total:  1:36:44, 22/1053 overall, 6/187 F35-39

After the race, I had the great honor to see all of my athletes and friends finish!  What a wonderful day!  After a shower, I headed over to an Iron Girl after party and celebrated with great food and good friends!

Thank you to all of my "girls", you are an inspiration to me!  Thanks to the North Area Family YMCA for being a place where we can be our best selves.  Thanks to my wonderful family, Kel, Ryan and Noah, who get me and understand my passion and drive.  Thanks to all of you, my online family, for encouraging me throughout my adventures.  And a big thanks to all my sponsors, Team Trakkers, TYR, Avia, First Endurance, TriSlide, and All3Sports.


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  2. Correction, let's try that again! LOVE the photos and the run from the water is the best-I have one that's worse! Nice job and a trendsetter to say the least--we aspire to learn from you! And yeah, as I said earlier....thanks for staying in the lead and staying strong ;-) XXOO, E

  3. That's really disappointing to hear that someone who cheated won AG. It shouldn't be like that, but oh well.

    Awesome race Kelly!

  4. Yay for a great race! I get angry when I see racers cheating too. It's just so annoying and ridiculous that they feel they "need" to cheat to win!

  5. great job Kelly! this sounds like such a great race to help women get into triathlon (because sometimes I think it can be intimidating!)

  6. Congrats on the race, Kelly! You are clearly an inspiration to many. God bless.

  7. Congratulations on a great race!!!

  8. This was my first Syracuse Iron Girl (I live in VA and drove up for the race with my racing group, DC Tri-Babes). I had a great time. Although that swim seemed to go on forever, I made it through and enjoyed every minute of it. You are such an inspiration. Congrats on a great race. And thx for sharing the pics too.

  9. That's really lousy about the rider who was drafting. I'm such a rule follower, as a first timer, I was very aware of how I passed people, and made sure to keep my distance from the riders in front of me. I had a blast. Congrats to you on a great race, and I love the pic of you sitting down! : )

  10. Great race report-and kudos on having the guts to call out a cheater. I would have just silently annoying!!

  11. AWESOME RACE KELLY!!! Love the photos, what an amazing day for you!! Proud of you for saying something to the "offender" but I guess she is choosing to live in the land of denial. oh well, she probably didn't have nearly as much fun as you! Congrats to all of your girls too!! So proud to be your teammate :D


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