Nation’s Triathlon September 13, 2009
I had a good omen on my way down to DC for bike racking… I heard a new song that I really like on the radio and it worked – I had a great event and got a PR by 20 minutes over last year. I heard the same song on my way home… it was doubly satisfying. Hey if it helps - it is good by me.
I had to make 3 separate trips into DC for this one event due to conflicts with my daughters’ game schedules. Early Friday for packet pickup/required meeting; late Saturday for bike racking and a great pre-race pasta party with tri-friends up in Potomac; and then of course very early race day. Getting into DC is not an easy task – getting out seems even harder!!! Dealing with the logistics of the The Nation’s Triathlon does take extra time but I thought it was worth it. A race in DC does have some benefits: I enjoyed walking in the dark to the transition area early on race morning - I passed by the Lincoln Memorial and it was so impressive seeing the statue all brightly lit up. The contrast with the darkness was awesome. Then on my way back after the race I looked over and saw all the American flags flying around the Washington Monument. NICE! They made a lot of improvements to this race from last year…like moving the finish close to transition but the atmosphere of the race was definitely different. I was wondering if the Nation’s tri might be growing too quickly.
Since we didn’t have a MMTC tent it was very hard to find other club members in the huge, crowded swim waiting area – I think there were supposed to be 19. (Although, I am not sure where they would have placed our club tent – I didn’t see any). I did catch up with Mark Yost and hung out with him until “brunch” when our waves were finally lining up - which was cool since I met him last year at this event. Also ran into Deb Taylor and Jeanine Murphy-Morris. I actually was in Jeanine’s wave so I was near her at the start of the swim, the middle of the bike ride and at the run out. (I had met her last year at Nation’s tri too) After today, I appreciate our local Columbia race and other supported tent events so much more; it really adds a lot to an event having a place to hang out and meet up with other club members. (Can’t wait to volunteer at the E-man tent next year)
The water felt nice and cool. Sighting during the first half was easy… just shoot for the arches of the Memorial Bridge. Sighting after the turn around was impossible due to the glare of the sun. I just followed swimmers’ caps until I was right in the vicinity of the finish line dock. I was totally surrounded by white caps by the time I was at the bridge… those 50 and above men in the next wave were quick! It is interesting what you think about while on the swim. I realized that my next triathlon was going to be Lake Placid. Oh my! I better enjoy this Olympic distance while I could. My last years swim was a few seconds quicker and I thought this swim seemed longer… but that doesn’t mean anything.
I did six minutes faster than last year… but I had a hybrid bike last year so I certainly hoped so! There were tons of people on the road for the bike portion so I spent a lot of time passing folks on the left. But that is nicer than being all alone like I was at Eagleman! The ride is pretty flat – perfect for aero bars and fantastic with no traffic to deal with. Two weeks ago I rode the route with friends and the traffic was crazy – so it is best to just wait for race day! I think the ride is the most fun part of this race – but some of the roads were rougher than last year.
This is where I made most of my time up from last year. Last year was brutally hot – today’s weather was near perfect. I stayed to the left for most of this run. I find that I am too influenced by the pace of what ever group I am running near & I wanted to run my own race. It helped. My favorite part is always the end – It is the only time I feel like I run fast. I passed lots of folks in front of me in the last few hundred yards. I wanted to make it a 60 minute run. Close enough! They called my name out and that was cool.
After the race I met up with friends from the pasta dinner and for the second year in a row Jeanine and I saw Mark Yost get his award for his age group. This time around we were NOT surprised!
I didn’t feel like my race was over. Getting out of DC was crazy – too many things were going on Sunday afternoon and I hit a lot of closed sections. So it was a challenge! Then I had to race up to Timmonium around both beltways to make to it to my youngest daughter’s first field hockey game. She is my number one fan and I just spent the last month and half teaching the girls how to play – so it meant a lot to me to see this game. It turns out that I had quite a little fan club myself – the girls all cheered for me and had a signed balloon waiting for me! It was special! They were excited and asked me a million questions about triathlons. Of course they all wanted to know if I got first place! The other coach told them finishing is winning and I have learned - that is so true.