What a rush! I absolutely love the adrenaline coursing through my system, my mind racing, and my muscles aching. Nothing comes close to this feeling and I am so grateful for each and every opportunity to race.
Last night I went out with friends to grab Mexican (great pre-race food) and see an early movie. After packing my car full of my tri gear and bike, I was in bed before 10 pm. All set to race at Escape from Ft. DeSoto in the morning. Except my phone died in the middle of the night and I woke up at 5:30…the time I was supposed to be arriving at Ft.DeSoto to pick up my packet and warm up for the 7:00 am race start. Just GREAAAT! Somehow I didn’t cry and just rushed out the door by 5:35 and said a little prayer I wouldn’t have any issues with parking. Fortunately, I was able to set up all my gear before getting kicked out of transition and scooted off to the swim start.
Just when I started to breath again, the adrenaline kicked in and I was in race mode…I wanted to go hard today and test my fitness. Before I knew it my wave was sent off and the rest seems like a blur. From the moment I take off in the water until the second I cross the finish line my mind chants one phrase, “Go faster, push harder. dig deeper – you can do this.“
I don’t have much a plan when I race. It unfolds depending on how my body feels through the swim, bike, and run. Usually, I try to size up my competition on the swim after the first 50 meters. Two other women were with me – one about 10 yards in front and the other right by my side. It was difficult to tell if I could catch the first girl but I was going to shake off the second one. Before that could happen we caught up to the second wave and I had to focus on dodging pink caps. Only managed to kick one person and I felt really bad about that…it must be instinct from water polo when somebody grabs my leg. Bam! I just kick out at the hand.
Finally after being pummeled by the current and waves we reached the last buoy and turned towards the shore. This is when I start to hope the really strong cyclists and runners are minutes…not seconds behind me.
Popped out of the water and started to hunt down the first swimmer in my wave. Caught her when I pulled my bike off the rack and ran out of transition. The bike is always a mind game for me. To give it everything or save a little for the run? Nahhh…I’ll just give it everything and hope I have enough for the run.
Inevitably, there is always somebody I go back and forth with on the bike. This race was no different. She was 33, had a Cervelo P3, wore an aero helmet and stayed with me the entire 10 miles. This is a love-hate relationship for me. While, I love duking it out on the race course, I hate feeling like the USAT official is going to come up and give me a fat 2 minute penalty because it took longer than 30 seconds to pass the other cyclist.
Only one woman passed me on the bike in my age group and she was fast…really fast. I had no chance unless she ended up walking on the run. Overall, my legs felt tired on the bike but I was holding around my goal pace.
Pulling into transition on the bike, I was determined not to die on the run. This was my only goal. Well that and hold off any other woman in the 25-29 age group. My chant kept going, “Go faster, push harder. dig deeper – you can do this.” I was only 3.5 miles from finishing.
Ft. DeSoto is always a tough race venue because you get the waves on the swim, wind on the bike, and the sand on the run. Usually this zaps my energy and makes me feel like I’m running through, well…sand. Today I felt strong even through the sand and ended up only getting passed by a one woman. She was 35 and killing the run. These women are what a few friends of mine and I like to call BATMs (BadAss Triathlon Moms). Really all mothers that even race tri’s are BATMs to me but it puts a big grin on my face when I see somebody a 10 or 20 years older than me kicking my butt. To all of you BATMs out there- you rock. You are my role models.
Finally, the finish line appeared and I went a little faster, pushed a little harder, and dug a little deeper until I crossed. This is why you race…such a feeling of accomplishment and excitement. I love knowing that at any moment I could have backed off or quit but I didn’t. Crossing the finish line is always a good feeling, even after a bad race.
This, however, was a good race
2nd place in age group out of 49 women!
8th woman out of 370.
Overall time was 1:11:03.
1/2 mile swim – 11:51
10 mile bike – 28:05
3.5 mile run – 27:33
Not too shabby for the first tri of the season.