The Columbia Triathlon May 17, 2009
Family, friends and MMTC members made this a very memorable race for me. Being local also had its advantages!
Pre-race: Went to packet pickup on Friday with my youngest daughter Jenny and met Chrissie Wellington; we had watched the Hawaii Ironman competition with the club last year so it was so cool to meet her. (Of course I told her that Jenny was doing her first kids tri this year!) After bike set up I met up with club members Mark Yost, Mike Matney, and Mike Barone for dinner; Columbia ’09 was already turning into a great event! Mike B. was hosting a pro Uli Bromme – so I got to meet her too.
Last year when I did Columbia, the only club member I knew was Chip. This year I knew tons! I saw quite a few near my “home rack” including Jeanine (from Nations tri!) and then lots more at the club tent before the start. What a great difference it was! A lot of the club members I saw were from the open water swims I set up… so that turned out to be a great bonus for me.
Swim: 33: 45 (1.5K) Last year this was my most stressful part of the race, but after a few club open water swims and some great guidance from Coach Keith – whom I met at Chip’s creek swim - I no longer stress out. I concentrate on my breathing and stroke and get through the very long swim. My wave was 3rd – so I really enjoyed going out early and it was coed – so that was interesting. I swam stroke for stroke with some male swimmer for a good distance and I will never know who he was, but he was good company. My time improved and I was happy. I had only swum once indoor and did 3 OW swims since my last race in September…so I wasn’t expecting to go too fast; but for me it was all about not being stressed. (No worries; I get a lot of swim practice over the summer.) Saw lots of club members along the fence as I ran up to transition…. that was awesome!
Bike + T1: 1:46 (41K) I have decided that biking after swimming is my favorite part of the triathlon. It is so great to give your arms a break and start using your legs. I was very curious how this year’s bike portion would turn out. Last year I was in the second to last wave and I had to stop on Triadelphia Mill Road for what seemed a very long time while an injured biker was medivac’d away. This year I had a new FELT bike and my times were guaranteed to be better. They were, but not by as much as I had hoped. I will just blame it on the rain and wet roads. Getting a new aerodynamic tri bike was great, but it gave me issues I never expected. Clipping in & out and shifting with aero bars was not as simple for me and it took me a long time to get use to. Luckily I only live one mile off of the bike course – so I got a lot of practice on the course; which is where I always ride. So, unlike to most of the competition, Columbia just feels like a ride home to me. This year I had 3 of my best friends waiting at the Triadelphia Circle to cheer for me… that was so wonderful! They picked that spot so they could see me twice…. that was twice as nice! Being local does have its advantages! Being in the third wave had another great advantage: I got to see all of the pros cycling by while I was going out - that was pretty awesome! Surprisingly, I hardly saw any women on this ride – just a handful. Mostly it was the 30 something men zooming by with their fancy tires that let you know they were coming and wearing their tear drop helmets. I didn’t mind getting passed by them. A fellow Felt bike rider called out “Nice Felt!” as he passed - Cool! While I was biking up Green Bridge I was lucky and a friend Tom came up (also on a Felt) and we road up the steep hill together... so it made the hardest part enjoyable! I didn’t have any clip in issues or shifting problems on the race – so I guess I am finally past that. But I still take my down hills slower.
Run: 1:02 (10K) I started triathlons because I liked to run and enjoyed the cross training. However, running after biking has turned out to be the hardest part. It took over half the race before I really felt like I was running. Saw lots of club members on this portion and that was very nice! Like everyone else I saw Sadj around mile 4. I took one of my many walk breaks there and afterwards could finally run at a better pace. Like Nation’s tri I ran a portion with Jeanine… and I think we were both glad this wasn’t a hot race. I had practiced the run course a few times because I knew how tough it was. I am pretty consistent with my time but because this was a race I finished this run a little faster (which amazes me). Competition is a good thing! I took Jelly’s advice and picked up speed sooner than I normally would – so thanks! When I came around the last bend I saw my husband and Jenny, who is my biggest supporter – so that was great. It is also my favorite part of the run where I can finally run my fastest… because I know the finish line is near! I enjoy a strong finish. I wanted to point out that I finished before Mark Yost! Having an hour head start did help! I did not want him to crush me on Gatorade hill so it was a successful run.
I am so glad to be a Mid Maryland Tri Club member – everyone has been so helpful and friendly and I had so much fun at the Columbia Triathlon because of it! Thanks for all of your motivational support!