Sorry for the length. I think it took me longer to write the report than to do the race. Since I'm not good a comedic writing like some of our distinguished members, I figured I'd just write my thoughts down.
I won an entry for Celebrating Heroes in the MMTC raffle (thanks, MMTC!). It was the only additional race I could do this year, so I put all but one entry in for it (the last one went in to get reimbursed for Columbia). I hadn't done a sprint triathlon since Iron Girl 2007, so I thought it would be pretty fun to give it a shot. I've never been a sprinter (my first 50 of a 200 free was always almost as fast as my stand-alone 50), but Celebrating Heroes was a long sprint, with a long swim, so I thought I could do pretty well. This race was definitely a "C" race for me, so I didn't cut back at all this week. I did run intervals Monday and bike intervals Wednesday, so I knew my legs would still be a little sluggish come race day. I was hoping to go under 1:40 with a swim goal of 15 minutes, a bike goal of 19 mph, and a run goal of 7:30 pace. It was a little ambitious, but I thought I could come close.
The days leading up to the race were pretty busy. Thursday the whole family went to help with packet stuffing. It was a lot of fun and I had a chance to sit and chat with Viggo, which was cool. Friday I took the kids to the pool in the morning and helped at the club table at Expo in the afternoon. Saturday was bike racking and errands. Finally, Saturday evening arrived, but as is typical for me, I had a hard time getting to sleep. The 4:15 alarm came all to quickly.
Race morning was uneventful. Made it to the park a bit after 5. Got my transition area set up and headed over to swim start and the MMTC tent. Water temp was reported to be 84 degrees. Yuck! I hate swimming in warm water. Only good thing was I would get to try out my new Tri Clique Kawami tri suit - speed suit and tri suit all in one. It even has my name across my . . . ahem . . . backside. I love it! My swim start was actually fairly early (7:28), so there really wasn't all that much waiting around. Dave was coming with the kids and they made it right before the pink cap ladies got into the water. Well, I got to see Dave and Hayden anyway. Kaylie decided to stay at the tent.
Swim start was pretty nice. I got ahead of most people pretty quickly, so there was no contact. Well, no contact with other swimmers anyway. The swamp grass was a whole other story. Along the first leg of the swim, I literally felt like I was swimming through a field. And I think that grass was trying to pull off my timing chip! By the first turn buoy, I was ahead of all the pink caps except one and she stayed ahead of me the whole swim. I was never able to catch her. She ended up finishing first in our age group (but also placed overall, so was bumped out of the AG). By the time the swim finished, I was struggling a bit to breath. Warm water always does that to me. I have activity induced asthma and one of my triggers is warm water.
The run into transition was hard and my transition time really suffered. Thankfully I was on the first rack as you enter from the swim start, so I got a bit of a breather as I put on my Garmin, glasses, helmet, and shoes. Of course, then I had to run the whole length of the transition area and up the hill in my bike shoes. I really need to work on transitions more, but I just am not comfortable with the idea of a flying mount/dismount.
Bike 54:33/19.2 mph
The bike was fun. As I expected, my legs were fairly fatigued from my workouts this week and I was still struggling a bit to breath after the warm water swim. But, my plan was to hit the bike as hard as I could, so I did. I figured even if I killed my legs on the bike, the run is only 3.4 miles, so I would be able to hold on through that. I passed lots of people on the bike (the relays had gone off first) and no one passed me, so I was excited about that. As I was coming back on 108, I knew I would be close to my goal time, so I continued to push as hard as I could. I drank most of a bottle of Cytomax and ate half a Stinger Waffle.
Not much to say about T2. Again had to run through transition in my bike shoes. I threw my bike on the rack, switched shoes, grabbed my race number and bag of stuff and ran for the exit.
Run: 26:48/7:53 mpm
I knew as soon as I started the run that it was going to be a tough one for me. It was warming up and my breathing was still tight. I just tried to push as hard as I could. I mean, it's only 3.4 miles, right? I took my visor and bottle of cytomax out of my baggie and settled in to fight through this last leg of the race. Each hill was a mental battle to breath and not to walk. I have a tendency to push really hard on hills, just to get to the top faster and make the struggle end sooner. Sometimes that works, but sometimes I reach a point part way up the hill where I just can't catch my breath and end up having to walk. I've been working on making myself back off just a bit so that I don't feel the need to walk in order to breath. It worked today and every time I felt myself really struggling to breath on the hills, I mentally made the decision to back off and keep running. I made it to Gatorade Hill on the way out and it was great seeing all the MMTC folks. As I made my way to the top of the park, I passed one of the ASA teams. Watching the handler push that stroller up the hill, I figured I had nothing really to complain about. I was just carrying myself up the hill. I high fived them and picked up my pace again. At the top of Gatorade hill the 2nd time, I threw my water bottle to Sharon (thanks Sharon!) because I didn't want to carry it the last mile. My stomach was so done with this race and I knew I wouldn't be able to drink anything else. It was around that time that a woman from my wave passed me. She looked like this was just a walk in the park, but when I saw the 38 on her calf, I thought at least she isn't in my AG. Barring any catastrophe, I would finish at least 2nd in my AG. At the time, I didn't know whether the woman who beat me on the swim was in my AG or not. The dam was hot, and that last little hill was tough, but once I crested it, I knew the end was right there. I pushed as hard as I could and crossed the finish line happy. Whatever my time was, wherever I placed, I had pushed as hard as I could and left everything I had on the course. My run wasn't as fast as I was hoping, but that's okay. I'll keep working on my run speed and it will come.
It was a while before my stomach and breathing calmed down (my chest still feels tight). The tent was great (thanks everyone for helping)!! The cold towels really helped. I got to see Dave and the kids. I even got a massage (it's nice having an early wave). Then just hung around to see how the awards would play out. I ended up the 9th overall woman and 2nd in my AG. Since the woman ahead of me placed in the top five overall, I got to claim the 1st place AG award. It was fun seeing so many MMTC and Team Fight folks take home hardware. Lizzy had a great race and took 1st in her AG as well. I'm glad we'll never be in the same AG because she's going to beat me soon! It was a fun day! Tomorrow I fly out to Colorado for work. Nothing like recovering at elevation. That will be interesting. Next up is Age Group Nationals in August. I'm definitely more of an Olympic distance girl : )