If you’ve been following me on Instragram you know I’ve been in Italy for 2 weeks which doesn’t lend itself to much quality training…but…Italy! This was my first weekend back from being across the pond, so I intentionally kept this weekend free from races. My sister decided not to race a local tri at the last minute, so I got her entry. The condition to be able to “race” this weekend was to treat like a super brick and hold back. Breathing and not getting hurt were the number one goals. I picked up the WORST allergies at the end of our trip to Rome. So on top of zero training for the past two weeks I was also very congested and coughing up a lung.
Registration closed before I had decided to race, and race day registration was only available race morning instead of at packet pickup. I packed up my car and got to the race venue 10 minutes before packet pickup and transition area opened. This race isn’t super strict, so people were allowed to rack early. Arriving 10 minutes early still had me as the 5th athlete to be racking. This transition is set up the swim entrance facing north, and all of the other ins and outs facing east. I was able to get the very NE end cap. WOHOO!! After I racked I friend informed me that the race director wanted the faster athletes on the front racks. I doubted I really “belonged” on that first rack but decided to stay anyways since I was already set up.
I asked the ladies one by one in the fast lane what their pace or projected finish time was so I could try to place myself correctly in the pool. Thankfully there ended up being enough room in the fast area not too far from the steps because there was no way I was climbing out of the gutter today. I tried to place myself after ladies finishing around 7-7:30 for 400 yards. Once we were allowed in the pool I did a quick 50 yard warm up and then got my watch set up to start. The goal for the swim was to do a moderate pace that would keep my breathing under control. I wanted to get on the bike without wheezing. I seemed to have placed myself perfectly because everyone to the right of me got out just before me and I made a bee line to the stairs on my last lap. I got to the steps in 8:16 which wasn’t too bad considering.
Next was transition. I still wear socks on sprint bikes and today was the first time I have ever gotten stuck in my socks. It cost me precious seconds struggling to pull them on. I think the super short transition had my feet wet enough that it made my socks stick. I got out of transition and on my way in 57 seconds.
I decided not to have my typical bike data showing (distance, time, average watts, current watts, average speed, current speed) and just left my tri watch on my wrist. I’d just focus on my breathing and not over doing it. I passed a few women pretty early on but didn’t really keep track so I have no idea what place I came out of the water or where I was on the bike course but I didn’t really care at this point. I glanced down a few times to see my speed and it stayed around 20ish mph on the way out but I knew we had a headwind on and off. Just before the turn around I passed the first guy! That was a first in a pool tri with a huge time gap between the men and women’s wave. They had a 13-minute head start on us. It was on! I started counting the men I passed and decided to try for a slight effort negative split even though I had no idea what my watts were at the moment. One by one I hunted down men on the way back. As we were rounding the last two turns into the school I spotted the last guy I would be able to pass, bring it to a total of 6. I finished the bike course in 27:17 about 20.3 mph.
This transition was going to be super quick because I was right by the mount line. I think it was 16 seconds based on GPS. I forgot to press the lap button so it’s a little muddled but I could still scroll through the GPS information and I correct my split times. There’s not much to do in a Sprint T2: remove helmet, remove shoes, slip on running shoes (stretchy or locking laces are a must), grab visor (optional) and race belt and run!
I didn’t see another woman cyclist until I was almost 1/10 of a mile onto the run. The condition to be able to be here today was to hold back and not get hurt so I had to not get sucked into the excitement of the race and just focus on steady breathing. It took ¾ of a mile for anyone to catch me but when she did I wished her luck and to go win this thing! After we finished the first loop of the run there were a lot more runners on the course because we did 2.5 loops with slower participants merging with the course. My least favorite part of this race is running across a stretch of grass to get to the track finish. It kills my shins switching surfaces like this. I took it easy across the grass before picking up my stride a bit. I knew there was another woman chasing me down so after rounding the corner on the track I sprinted as hard as I could.
I finished 10th place and managed 1st in my age group. I was happy with the day. It wasn’t about winning or PRs today. It was just about going out and having fun, which I definitely did!
Place: 1/4 age group, 10/36 women, 42/90 overall
Swim: 8:16 (400 yards @ 2:04 /100 yard)
Bike: 27:17 (9 miles @ 20.3 mph)
Run: 40:09 (3.4 miles @ 11:80 min/mile)
Final Time: 1:16:56
Special thanks to my bike sponsor Rubber Soul for always keeping my ride in tip top shape, Betty Designs for decking me out in the best apparel, Coola for keeping my skin protected with top quality sunscreen, Balega socks for keeping my feet blister free, SBR sports for all my race day anti-chafing needs, Boco gear for the best visors, and Momentum Jewelry.