I swam then I biked then I ran.
All in a row.
All by choice.
And you know what?
It was fuuunnnn!!
The Iron Girl Webster Sprint Tri was a BLAST from Start to Finish.
Okay there was some slight cursing during the bike (I'll get to that later), but for the most part I was alll smiles!
The triathlon ended up spanning over three days rather than just Race Day! On Friday, I shared my triathlon prep post and on Saturday I had the honor of participating in the Iron Girl Expo with Got Chocolate Milk. I never thought I would be asked to participate in a Q&A panel at a triathlon expo or co-host a shakeout run, but both were a blast!
With a 4am wake-up call on race day, I tried to spend the night before relaxing in bed, enjoying my Zensah compression shorts and socks and just calming the pre-race jitters.
Can I stress how quickly 4am seems to come? :P
I leaped out of bed since I knew we were on a tight schedule to make sure we made it out West on time.
We were on the road by 4:49am and in the parking lot for the race at 5:52am. Booya! Yay for no traffic on the Mass Pike.
The weather was in the low 60s with clear skies. Perfect racing conditions.
The parking lot was just over a mile from the Start so the race provided port-o-potties at the parking lot (HUGE WIN!) and shuttles to the Start. They were moving regularly and had amole busses available (ANOTHER WIN).
Finish shoot I would see a few hours later
I headed straight to the transition area to be numbered up and to set up my gear.
This race was my third triathlon (all Sprint) so I looked at my transition set up from previous races as an example. I laid everything out then stood back and made sure the things I needed first would be in front - aka bike gear, snacks in the middle and run gear farthest back.
As I mentioned this would be my first tri using the bike shoes so it would be a learning experience either way. :)
Transition closed at 6:30 so I gave the layout one last glance over, grabbed my goggles/swim cap and headed out to meet the Got Chocolate Milk ladies.
The atmosphere was buzzing with excitement. The beach was full of ladies and their support crews. I took a quick dip in the water to see how the tri kit would feel while swimming. Remember I haven't swum in the tri kit yet so again new experience for me. :P
I love chatting with people before a race. It pushes the pre-race jitters out of my mind since I am busy focusing on the other person or people. So things like this amazing group photo get me motivated and ready to jump in the water.
Only thing was the picture was at 6:45am and my wave wasn't starting until 7:30! :P
The wife and I moved closer to the Start Area on the beach so we could hear the National Anthem and start cheering on the earlier waves.
The Iron Girl Webster race manager, Sarah Frey, came over to chat with me while on the beach. I have to say it was a really nice gesture and a pleasure. I had nothing but positive things to say up to that point about the race. The IRONMAN group knows how to run an event properly. Volunteers were nice, helpful and everyone seemed happy!
It was also cool to hear more about her background in triathlons, etc. What can I say I love hearing people share their journeys!
Before I knew it was time for me to line up. I gave the wife a kiss for good luck and headed to the Start Line. I could feel the butterflies in my stomach, but I tried my hardest to keep the positive thoughts going. I also had to remind myself that I chose to be there. ;)
Swim - 1/3 mile
We started the swim in the water. I moved myself closer to the front of the group to hopefully avoid some of the extra kicking and punching that can happen when a group of people start swimming at the same time.
There were 5 minutes between each wave, but I swear it was really 30 minutes. It felt like a lifetime between getting in the water and the 10 second countdown.
But then we were off.
Can you see me? ;)
I could definitely tell a difference racing without a wetsuit compared to with a wetsuit since it gives you a little extra buoyancy. But I felt strong. I have been working on sighting - keeping a target in your sights while swimming - and it was paying off. I was definitely swimming in a straighter line than the two triathlons last year.
As we took the first of two left turns in the water, I swam straight into the wave before us. I stopped for a moment to get gauge the situation before swimming a tad to the left to get out of the mass of orange or red cap swimmers. Thankfully that gave me a nice lane to get back into a rhythm.
I was trying to swim using more of my arms than my legs. Sarah Reinertsen told me in her Ironman she exhausted her arms as much as possible since you don't really need them the rest of the race. I tried to take that to heart.
With the second left turn done, it was straight to the Swim Finish on the beach. I kept my eyes on the Swim Finish Arch whenever I needed to re-sight.
I kept swimming until my fingers grazed the bottom of the Lake then I stood up to run out of the water.
Crossed the Swim mat and officially entered transition.
I was 1/3 of the way there! ;)
There were some small rocks and gravel during the run/jog from the water to my stuff.
Total Time: 10:55 Pace: 2:03/100 yds Overall Place: 55/583 Division: 10/83
After hobbling/jogging over the rocks/dirt/asphalt to get to my bike. Step 1 was to put on my shirt with my number on it. I didn't want to forget that. Second was putting on my helmet. I should've taken the time to readjust my ponytail a little more for comfort but I was caught up in the moment.
So folks take the time to get comfortable in your gear - it's what transition is for. ;)
I wiped off my feet with my towel, put on my socks/bike shoes, adjust my Sparkle Athletic skirt, grabbed my bike and I was out the gate. I took a quick swig of water, but should've eaten my mini Luna bar then. My mistake! I need to remember to fuel before the bike.
It was odd running to the "mount" spot in my bike shoes, but thankfully it wasn't too far.
Time: 2:56 Overall Place: 100/583 Division: 10/83
Bike - 12 miles
Friends, I recommend looking at the course map before the race. :P I had NO idea there was such a HUGE hill and other rolling hills during the bike course.
We headed out of transition for the 12 mile loop. This was my first race in bike shoes so I was really hoping to see an improvement from my previous races where I wore sneakers.
I felt like the motion was more fluid. I am still not comfortable on the bike enough to take my hands off the handlebars so I didn't bother putting water bottles on my bike (yes something I am working on), but I should've checked whether they allowed camelbacks or not and should've brought it either way. I originally thought it's 12 miles I can make it, but I definitely needed it. Another learning experience.
Mile 1: 3:39 Mile 2: 3:57 Mile 3: 3:51 Mile 4: 3:48 Mile 5: 6:20 Mile 6: 3:07
Sooo do we have any idea which mile the largest of the hills was located? ;)
There were many women walking their bikes up the hill, but I made a deal with myself that no matter how long it took me to get up it - I would ride the entire way up. I grunted, I swore, I breathed heavily, but I did it!
And it felt AWESOME! Tiring, but awesome.
Mile 7: 3:36 Mile 8: 4:15 Mile 9: 3:16 Mile 10: 3:28 Mile 11: 3:21 Mile 12: 3:33
Rolling hills for most of the course gave me a LOT of practice on shifting gears, which I needed.
I also need to work on not being so scared when going fast on the downhills. I always imagine me flipping over my handlebars and crashing so I slam on the brakes. I need to get a little more confidence, which I assume and hope will come over time.
At least while ladies were passing me on the bike, they had my Sparkle Athletic skirt to compliment me on. ;)
I did come off the bike feeling excited. I really felt stronger and more knowledgable than I did a year ago. I need to keep reminding myself that I am newest to biking and every chance I am on the bike is a learning experience.
I was proud of my shifting and staying in my own race rather than getting upset when folks passed me ... which happens a lot.
Total Time: 47:35 Pace: 15.1 MPH Overall Place: 172/583 (can we tell it’s my weakest area) Division: 24/83
Well you know a transition won't go as well when you go into the wrong lane. Yup, took my bike down the wrong row before realizing it and hauling booty to the correct one. Oops!
Gotta thank the wife for catching this action shot a I changed from bike shoes to sneakers. I was shaking so much that I was having trouble tying my shoes, which slowed me down. But I stopped took a deep breath and tried again - success! I chugged some water and headed out. Again this is where I should've had another mini luna bar, but I was sooo excited to get to the run part (my fav) I skipped it. Another life lesson.
Time: 2:12 Overall Place: 262/583 Division: 44/83
Run - 3 Miles
Hello old friend. As someone that hated running for most of my life I never thought I would get excited for the run portion of a triathlon. But it really is my happy place and comfort zone.
The run was an out and back (which we passed when coming in on the bike) so there were a TON of people to high five and cheer on. I was having a blast.
I LOVE cheering people on so this was 3 miles of it. The course had some inclines, but nothing terribly challenging.
My legs felt a little heavy right off the bike, but quickly got acclimated.
I can only simply say the run was like a party. It was such a great energy and excitement knowing we were 2/3 of the way done. You know I was secretly wishing the run portion was longer ;) but I didn't let on to anyone else about that. Ha.
I wish I had my phone because the run portion was weird to be mid-run selfie-less. Priorities right?
There were volunteers clearly directing us where to go and offering up water/Nuun in a water stop that you saw on the way out and back on the run. So two stops for the price of one.
There was an incline during Mile 2, but it came with a down hill.
The run was through a little neighborhood so you could see the water in between the houses.
I just couldn't stop smiling.
As we took the final right down the Stretch. You had the bikes coming in on your left, you had runners coming towards you on the right as they headed out on the run. It was awesomely motivating commotion!
Then there it was ... the Finish Line shoot. As you came down the shoot you could hear the announcer say: Dani Holmes-Kirk ... you are an Iron Girl!
It was freakin' cool. I mean I will never hear you are an Ironman so this was the closest I will get and it was awesome.
Total Time: 23:16 Pace: 7:46 min/mile Overall Place: 47/583 Division: 7/83
After receiving my medal from an adorable young lady, I immediately headed to refuel with some Chocolate Milk.
Oh it was heaven in a little Nestle Nesquick bottle. I needed the carbs and the proteins so these tired muscles could recover!
Since the Chocolate Milk booth was RIGHT at the Finish Line, I could refuel and continue to cheer on the Finishers.
I had actually heard Chrisann's name announced when I was heading out on the run. She did amazing.
I want to thank Natalie from Got Chocolate Milk for all her help over the weekend. :)
Right next to the Chocolate Milk tent was the post-race spread for the athletes. Mmmm mini cinnamon rolls. I had two and enjoyed every bite!
Photo Courtesy Iron Girl Webster
Overall, I am really happy with how the day turned out. I tried new things out: tri kit, bike shoes, wearing a Sparkle Athletic skirt for bike/run and focusing on staying in my own race.
I also learned things I need to work on: proper fueling/hydrating, the bike - just all of the bike, and transitions.
Oh and the biggest thing, not getting caught up in rankings. Not one of my close friends or family asked where I placed. They just wanted to make sure I finished and I had fun doing it. Why I put this pressure on myself? I don't know, but I am working on it.
I also want to thank Chrisann and her Iron Maidens for welcoming me with open arms into their group for the weekend. Talk about one inspiring and motivating group of women!
I owe an extra WOO to Chrisann who went back on the course to run in with the final participant.
I was cheering them on and caught this action shot after I started walking back to my car. Marge, pictured above finishing her first triathlon, battled bike malfunctions, but kept moving forward which meant dragging her bike 30-40 minutes until she found the on-road bike mechanics. How about THAT for heart?
*** Iron Girl did a GREAT job putting this race on. I will recommend it to any lady I meet looking for a good, welcoming, supportive and fun triathlon.
But with no adult beverages onsite, I did have to wait to cheers until I got home. ;)
Did you participate in Iron Girl Webster? What did you think of that hill on the bike course?