Have I ever talked about how much I love racing? Digging deep to challenge your physical and mental threshold is the ultimate thrill. This past weekend’s race was exactly that…a challenge. I pushed every step of the way.
Backtracking a little to the start, it was an early wake up since I drove about 1.5 hours to Crystal River. Arriving with about an hour until start time, I was ready to set up, warm up, and mentally prepare to race. Sometime around this point, it dawned on me my race belt was sitting at home on the counter. Apparently nobody brings spare race belts so I had to get creative by pinning and tucking my number into my tri shorts. So much for successfully utilizing my checklist.
That hour flew by and I was near the start waiting for my wave with Jess, Steph, and Meghann. This was actually my second tri of the season, so I wasn’t quite as nervous about getting back into the swing of racing. I competed at the Danskin Triathlon on Mother’s Day as a tradition my mom…report to come later. While waiting for our wave chatting about the course or how we felt, I reflected on how incredible it was to have a group of women I could train and race beside without the competiveness that can sometimes interferes with friendships. Swimming in high school brought out the cattiness in my group of female friends. Not proud but it was high school right?
My main goal for this race was to race. That and get a feel for where I stood with my training before officially starting to be coached. Oh by the way, I just had my first week of training under Felipe, the coach for XP Multisport. Felipe and I have known each other since a Crystal River Sprint I did my first triathlon season back in 2007. He’s a great triathlete and knows his stuff. For a long time I’ve resisted being coached because I’m stingy with my money and triathlon is already an expensive sport. With such a wonky schedule working nights and 12 hour shifts, I decided it was time.
Crystal River, May 2007
The swim felt great for the short 400 meters. I’m finally getting more consistent in the water and have enjoyed pushing my body during practice. Steph has been a great lane buddy in the pool because of her swimming background so I was excited to be racing along side of her. She had a better start with dolphin dives and pulled a few yards ahead at the beginning. Before the first buoy I pulled up next to her. We swam stroke for stroke for maybe 25-50 meters and I pulled ahead. Knowing Steph would be really close I didn’t let up pace the rest of the swim and caught up to a few other waves. I popped out first for women with Steph 5-10 seconds behind me. Mary and her husband came to cheer all of us on so it was motivating to hear my name cheered throughout the course. She also captured some great shots along the way.
Swim Time: 6:09 (400 meters) 9th/ 275 Overall
As usual, I need to work on the bike. This is one of the main reasons I’m excited about being coached. Somebody to force my sometimes lazy butt to actually put time in the saddle to get the bike speed I always talk about needing.
Since the bike was 15 miles I knew it was a matter of time before I lost my lead. Here’s to having confidence on my bike . Currently my bike odometer is with another friend so I hoped the mile markers along the course were accurate and I shot for 3:00 min/mile using a stopwatch which translates to 20 mph on the bike. On a sprint I should be going faster but this is where my bike fitness is currently. I averaged around 2:50-2:55 min/mile and was passed by the first female maybe 5 miles into the race. There was that inevitable middle aged man that I played yo-yo with on the bike. We went back and forth the entire race and I was annoyed and afraid of getting a penalty. I kept having to drop back when he passed me and then speed ahead when I felt his pace was slower than mine. Argh.
At mile 9, Jess zoomed past me and I was excited she was close to placing overall. By the way, it’s her first tri season and she is kicking major butt, mine included. Couldn’t be more happier to have another female to push each other in training. My legs were burning by this point and mile 15 couldn’t come fast enough.
Bike Time: 43:27, 20.7 mph (15 miles) 94th/275 Overall
The 5K felt long with the Florida heat and no shade. Coming off the bike I was still first in my age group but I didn’t know where second place was. Of course I should be “racing my own race” but I’m competitive and other people always provide that extra push when I’m tired. Out and back runs are always fun because you can see people you know and spot competition. Mary incorporated taking pictures of us into her training run…that’s multitasking for you. At the turnaround I saw second place in my age group 1-2 minutes behind me but couldn’t determine if her pace was slower/faster. I refuse to look behind me in a race so I just assumed she was faster and braced myself every time I heard footsteps coming up.
With half a mile to go I developed one of those annoying and terribly painful side cramp. One of those that digs into your diaphragm and makes you question the fun of racing. Since I was sure the next girl in my age group was right on my heels I refused to stop and cursed my diaphragm instead. Is anybody else motivated by talking to different body parts? Is that just me? Grateful for the finish line in sight I sprinted in and finally felt relief from the cramp. Mission accomplished…I raced the whole time.
Run Time: 22:28 (5K/3.1 miles), 7:29 min/mile, 66th/275 Overall
Total Time: 1:13:09 1st in Age Group, 10th Female
DRC Sports puts on a solidly run race. I highly recommend any of their races if you are looking for a competitive local race. This race in particular promoted the youth triathletes and had several international racers. Kaitlin Shiver, a pro triathlete originally from Melbourne, Florida, raced as a way of supporting the junior triathlete talent identification program since that’s where she got started. One of the swimmers from the team I grew up swimming for and then coaching was there and actually won for his age group. He has really blown me away by how far he’s come in the sport.
A side note, there was a little mix up with my registration/check-in that morning. One of the volunteers didn’t see my name on the online registration list. So they had me “re-register” as a day-of racer. No big deal. Turns out my name was really on the list which meant I had two race numbers. DRC Sports called my name to the registration table 10 minutes prior to race start to clear everything up. Again no big deal, I just kept my day-of registration number since body marking already done and race numbers already set up. Well, when I checked the results after the race my time was a few minutes slower and I was second in my age group rather than first. Bummer, I must have gotten a time penalty. I found a DRC employee and asked to see the penalty list so I could find out what I did or if there was a mistake with my time. She was really helpful and took me to the tech guy to figure things out. Within minutes they determined my number was placed in the wrong wave which was why my time was 3 minutes slower. Problem solved. Thank you DRC Sports for being helpful and putting on a fun race.
After waiting around for awards our training group took a trip to Rainbow River for some relaxation and tubing down a beautiful spring fed river. Felipe and I did this with fellow Tri-Knights and TriGators (the triathlon clubs for UCF and UF) back in 2007 so we thought it was worth repeating. Even though I had to be at work that night I was really excited for the afternoon. The fun time was totally worth a little sleep deprivation; I got a short nap in before my shift started at 7 pm but I crashed hard Sunday morning. Check out Meghann’s recap of tubing Rainbow River.
Rope swing on Rainbow River
Well off to make today productive…errr read, train, and clean. I’m looking forward to British Trivia tonight at a local pub with my cousin and her husband. She’s working on her PhD in British history and one of my strange passions in life is King Henry VIII and all things Tudor (this was well before he was made cool by “The Other Boleyn Girl” and “The Tudors”). We are going to rock Trivia night.
What are some of your quirky passions? Have you ever done anything cool because of them? I studied at Cambridge one summer taking a class on King Henry VII…one of the best summers ever.