Warning-- More background than you really need to know:
I started training for my first triathlon in Jan 2009, but a knee blowout a month before my August race put an end to things for that year. I was ready to start up again the following Jan, training for IronGirl 2010, but family matters suddenly derailed my training in the month leading up to it and my 1st race was pretty disappointing. TriRock Annapolis this May, my 2nd tri, was a good confidence builder. So, Celebration 2011 would be my 3rd tri, & since I had been able to train all year w/o interruption, I really hoped to put together a solid race. I’d been working with coach Liz Flynn (BeMore coaching) and her combination of tough workouts & amazing encouragement have done wonders to help get this lapsed athlete & mother of multiples back into better shape. I really appreciate that she’s as enthusiastic about the progress of her beginners as she is of the elite athletes she trains.
Pre race: Alarm at 5:00 am, banana & water on the way to the event, a gel saved for right before my swim wave (I was in a late wave). I double checked my transition set up this time to make sure I had everything out of my bag, made sure my bike was in an appropriate gear, put on sunscreen, & put my earplugs in my pocket.
Warm up: some dynamic stretches while waiting for my swim wave.
Swim: 00:27:41 | 02m 32s / 100yards Age Group: 4/10 Overall: 657/947
This year, given my swim wave, I felt comfortable taking a more aggressive starting position over by the buoy. The start went well & I got into a rhythm pretty easily. I hesitated a little passing between a couple of women who started out breast-stroking(?), as I didn't want to time it wrong & get a serious kick in the head. Aside from that, there wasn't much traffic. Another woman & I were really equally matched; swimming side by side for a few hundred yards got the competitive juices flowing pretty early. Unfortunately, we kept swimming into each other which was kind of annoying. I felt I was on a really good line & didn't want to get edged off course, so I finally paused for a second & then cut behind her. I was actually really pleased with my sighting - I kept a great line the whole course and managed to sight w/o interrupting my stroke. This was a nice improvement over IG where I went way off into the weeds a number of times and had to pause and do breast stroke when I tried to sight. I did the corkscrew around the buoys & kept my speed up okay. I know I wasn't swimming especially fast, but I had a nice sprint to the finish, swimming until I hit bottom.
T1 3:12 Age Group: 1/10 Overall: 360/947
I opted for no socks this time & that was a good move. I had pre-baby-powdered my bike shoes to absorb moisture (a suggestion from a friend). I wasted a little time trying to just wipe off my feet & go, but that didn't get the pond grass off. A quick squirt from my extra water bottle did the job, though. I had some Shaklee sports drink in one of my bike bottles & started sipping on that as soon as I was out of transition.
Bike 01:08:00 | 15.44 mile/hr Age Group: 1/10 Overall: 538/947
I felt really good on the bike. It was different having so many people around, as most of my training is early am on empty roads. I didn't have any trouble passing people, but I often came up on them at a time when I wouldn't normally be accelerating, so that was a little different. For some reason, though, I didn't ride as hard as I do on training rides - usually I'm doing some serious breathing at the top of the hills- in the race, not so much. I'm not the fastest on the hills, so I wonder if I just "fell in line" behind whom ever happened to be in front of me, assuming that I couldn't pass them in the allowed 20 sec. (In training, with no one in front of me, I can just go for it.) The upside is that there is definitely room for a lot of improvement here.
My family was waiting right at the rail on the curve coming into the park - very fun to see them there.
T2 00:02:40 Age Group: 4/10 Overall: 758/947
I took way too much time slowing down to see where I needed to dismount & then hadn't even un-clipped when I got there. A quick run downhill, rack the bike, & start my Garmin. I had decided to put on socks for the run & I felt like I was all thumbs as I tried to do so. I grabbed a gel, finished it as I left transition, & tried to wash it down with some water from the aid station. It was then that I discovered the downside of my new chocolate flavor gel - it was still stuck all over my mouth. (and this after actually stopping to finish the whole cup of water) I spent the first mile of the run thinking about how good some more water would taste at the next aid station.
Run 00:39:27 | 11m 36s min/mile Age Group: 2/10 Overall: 766/947
My first mile was a little off pace, but I wasn't worried, figuring I'd find my legs & pick it up. (I was targeting under 11 min miles.) Unfortunately, that didn't happen. Sure I was a little tired, but nothing serious; mentally, though, I was exhausted. All day, I had really been looking forward to the run segment. Running is not my strong point by any means, but I'd been doing a lot more running with plenty of good hill workouts over the past few months, so I felt really ready for the course. I had rested up, too, so my legs were fresh. For whatever reason, though, I just couldn't get myself to attack the hills. Maybe I need to get an MMTC jersey so my pride would make me to push it harder going past all the cheering MMTC volunteers on the course ;) Once Gatorade Hill was behind me I was able to pick it back up a little, and I ran the last 1/2 mile or so well. It probably helped that my kids were waiting just before that last hill...
Post race: the iced towels sure felt good!
Overall, this was a really good race for me. I hadn’t expected so many of the faster Athenas to sleep in on Sunday, but I enjoyed getting the 3rd place award anyhow. I also beat my IG time by 24:37.