*RECAP* I swam... I biked... I ran... I Escaped the Cape!

I HATE being underprepared/underplanned for anything in my life: work, races, vacations, etc.

So you can only imagine the level of fear and self-doubt that lay over my head this past week like the little rain cloud that used to cover over Eeyore in Winnie the Pooh.

What was causing this cloud of self-doubt? Lack of training for the Max Performance Triathlons Escape The Cape Sprint Tri.

There was absolutely no one to blame, but myself. In the past seven weeks, I dropped the ball on the swimming and biking training. Now in those seven weeks, I PRed a 5k, ran a half marathon, completed two marathons and had a blast in my first Ragnar Relay experience. So it wasn't like I was sitting on the couch twiddling my thumbs, but I was slacking on the cross training. 

I was disappointed with myself for this, but there was no use in beating myself up. That wouldn't change anything AND it would just put me in a worse spot.

So I vowed that I would go into the triathlon with the best mindset I could - a positive one. I reminded myself multiple times that I had done this before - 5 times before including a Half Ironman - and that this was supposed to be FUN.

Ooohhh yeah that's why I sign up for these crazy adventures.

On Thursday (June 11), we took Roxie (my bike) off the bike trainer, put a nice new tire on the back wheel, and put air in both tires. While I might not have ridden Roxie outside since my last tri of 2014 (September), she was as ready as she could be for the race.

On Friday, I did a 5-mile "shakeout" run with my girl Heather before tackling packing for the triathlon. I was actually able to use my own blog post to help me out (yay!) and make sure I packed what would be essentials for my race. I know everyone needs different things, but this post included what works for me.

Yes I most definitely wear a Sparkle Athletic skirt over my trikit during triathlons. It usually gets me the "best dressed" compliment from at least one volunteer. ;)

With the triathlon packing done, I quickly threw some non-race clothes in my Apera bag since we would be spending the weekend at my parent's place on the Cape.

The wife and I headed out just after dinner on Friday night to avoid traffic and alleviate some race-morning stress of trying to drive down from Boston.

Alarms trilled off at 5:30am on Saturday. After a quick english muffin breakfast, the wife, my dad and I were on the road to Onset for the race. Goal was to leave by 6:15 and we were in the car at 6:25. Ummm close enough? My mom stayed back to watch the pups (thanks!)

The pre-race jitters were once again setting in. Yes I absolutely still get nervous before a race!! Yes I get more nervous over a Sprint Tri than the marathon. I think it is the unfamiliar and my lack of confidence on the bike that really throws me for a loop. But as they say: if it doesn't scare you, it doesn't challenge you. Or something like that.

I relegated myself to the backseat to focus on getting my head in the right place. As I mentioned earlier, it needed to be filled with positive thoughts and reminders that I was doing the race for those that couldn't!

We had an easy time locating the free parking lot (rather than the paid lots) in Onset. It was probably a 1/4 mile walk from the parking lot to the bib pick-up/race area.

I quickly grabbed my packet (#65) & swag (t-shirt & hat), stuck the bib number sticker to the bike helmet and put the bike number on Roxie before we headed across the street to transition. I debated stopping at the local bike shop tent to have them check out Roxie, but figured I didn't want to mess with her so close to race time. Plus I knew the tires were full.

I told the wife and my dad that I would meet them shortly on the beach since they were not allowed in transition with me. I was body marked upon entry to transition.

Setting up my area took my focus away from nerves and on to a specific task, which I needed. Once I was set up, I hit up the port-o-potty - first time while using my one-piece trikit. Oh hey new experiences. :P

After another once over on my spot, I grabbed my wetsuit, goggles and swim cap and headed to the beach area. I would be meeting up with my cheering section as well as my friends Haley and Steph. Steph would also be doing the tri and her wife Haley would be cheering along with my crew.

I got my wetsuit on and hit up the water quickly to see how chilly it was.

After the safety meeting and National Anthem, we walked as a group to the Swim Start. 

Swim - 1/3 Mile

 Walking to the Swim Start

Walking to the Swim Start

It would be a point-to-point swim, which is why we walked as a group to the other end of the beach. Nothing like a little workout before the race. ;0) I was the second wave to go out. We went through the timing mat and into the water. The swim would start in water. We had about 90 seconds in the water before we started. Perfect amount of time for the 1,000 pep talk of the day. :)

The horn went off and so did we. I immediately had a problem breathing. I had been sick leading up to the race and worried about how my breathing would be affected. I quickly changed game plans and focused on staying in my stride rather than worrying about any of the swimmers around me.

The swim was a straight line which definitely made sighting easier. So it was all user error - aka my fault - when I swam straight into one of the inflatable buoys marking the course. Bravo Dani Bravo! I actually laughed at myself before getting myself around the buoy and continuing on.

Once I got into the groove I felt great. I didn't have a watch on in the water so I had no idea how the swim was actually going. I just wanted to make sure I felt strong the entire time.

I could see the beach getting closer and I decided to attempt to pick up the pace. I remembered to keep swimming until my fingers grazed the bottom of the harbor.

 End of Swim & Transition Area

End of Swim & Transition Area

I tried to come out of the water strong and work on getting my wetsuit pulled down partially before hitting transition.

Time: 9:39
Pace: 1:39/100 yards

Transition 1

I had my wetsuit down to my waist by the time I hit transition. I hopped into the little baby pool to wipe off my feet and headed to my bike which was in the opposite corner from the baby pool.

There weren't too many ladies in transition when I got to my bike so I wasn't sure to read that as 1) I was wwaaayy behind and everyone was already on the bike or 2) I was towards the front of the swim pack.

A girl a couple of bikes down let me wash my feet off again in her little pool before I got my gear on for the bike. I put the bike helmet on since I was scared of being penalized for not having it on (not sure where I got that fear), but it is the first object on once swim stuff is off.

I am not comfortable using just the trikit on the bike so I put my shirt on and my Sparkle Athletic skirt on before getting my bike shoes on.

After a quick bite of KIND bar and a sip of water, I was out of transition.

Time: 2:45.3 (need to work on that)

Bike - 10 Miles

I think we've all learned the bike is my weak point and the one that causes me the most nerves. I actually had a dream the night before that I got a flat tire on the bike portion and was stranded on the course. Not like I would be stranded, but the dream was too vivid.

I clipped in and headed out. The bike was a 5 mile out-and-back course. 

I pretty much talked to myself the entire time and prayed not to get a flat/fall of the bike. I did witness a girl in front of my get pushed off the road by a passing car. Thankfully she landed in the front yard of a house and swore she was okay, but it was nerve wracking. She was right in front of me - that could've been me.

There was a steady headwind the entire bike - yes both ways - which made for a nice challenge. I saw two girls in front of me that I could see were in my age group and I just tried to stay as close to them as I could. But as we hit Mile 8 they were off and out of my sight.

I promised myself that I would find them on the run.

We came back to transition along the water and it was gorgeous - windy - but gorgeous.

Lucky with one final right turn it was time to dismount and start my favorite part of the tri. :)

 Pic taken post race!

Pic taken post race!

Time: 33:50
Pace: 17.7/MPH (definitely need to work on this)

Transition 2

 Transition pic from post race

Transition pic from post race

Racked my bike, grabbed a sip of water, snacked on some KIND bar and switched to sneakers and a visor. Once I added my belt with bib I was off. While heading to the Run Out corner. I was trying to stop my Garmin 220, which I used on run mode during the bike so I had some idea of how far I had gone.

Trying to stop and restart before hitting the run start didn't happen, but I'd be happier grabbing some of my run rather than none.

Time: 1:20.8

Run - 3.1 Miles

Here we go! This is my jam. ;) Haha.

I had no idea what the course would include, but I was ready to be in my comfort zone. Plus I had a goal - to find the two girls that had passed me on the bike and pass them on the run. Since my legs felt done, I needed the goal to keep moving forward.

Just after hitting the first water stop at about Mile 0.5 we hit a nice incline. As I approached the hill, everyone ahead of me was walking. Now I wasn't judging folks for walking the hill, I was just confused because every single person was walking up it. I had never seen that before during a race. I knew I needed to power up the hill so I tucked my elbows, stuck out my chest and chugged along. I bet it looked like I was running in place, but I felt like I was flying. Lying to myself much? :)

I asked someone on the course if there would be additional hills, but it was there first time too so they had no idea.

Now I had passed one of the girls while on the hill so I set my sights on the other age group competitor. Just before the Mile 2 marker, I spotted her. I dug deep to make a break on her left. It wasn't so much a break as a fight against the headwind. :P But I successfully passed her just after Mile 2. 

Okay self home stretch. 1 mile to go. I saw someone in front of me and just focused on staying with them or trying to pass them. I needed another goal to focus on as the legs felt like lead. 

The scenery was absolutely gorgeous. I missed having my phone with me to snap some pics. Stupid tri rules. ;)

After one more final climb (not as steep as the first), it was time to make a break for the final stretch.

I saw this guy just before we entered the chute and I was gunning to pass him. (Enjoy the slideshow below)

He doesn't look pleased to have been chicked.

And then it was over! 

Time: 22:12
Pace: 7:10 min/mile

Triathlon #6 was in the books: 1:09:45.1

Hellz yeah! It felt amazing to have accomplished another awesome race.

Final results

Overall the race was great! Lots of volunteers and police along the course. Plenty of water at the water stops during the run. 

I am really proud of how I did with how unprepared I felt. Once again I proved to myself that I am stronger than I think. Maybe someday I will believe in myself more. Someday.

Steph ROCKED the race as well!!! I loved seeing a familiar face out on the course!

After grabbing my Escape The Cape Tri water bottle at the Finish, I headed over to see what was happening at the Boston Physical Therapy & Wellness spot. It looked like they were doing some free stretching and I jumped RIGHT in line. I only had a wait a few minutes for my turn and it was heaven!!!

I actually found out these guys were actually based from a spot less than one mile from my house. Looks like I will be setting up a free injury screening with them to once and for all figure out what is wrong with my hammies.

With your race entry you got free local pizza, but we had to jet home to have breakfast with my mom so I passed. But it smelled and looked delicious. We also had to skip out early on the awards ceremony, but the award table looked great.

I was able to finally meet Tim, the race director, who was a pleasure to work with. I thank Tim again for partnering with Weight Off My Shoulders (I did get comped entry for the race).

Big thanks to my wife and my dad for coming with me to support me at the race and a thanks to my mom for missing out so the pups had someone to hang with!

I highly recommend the Escape The Cape Sprint Tri as well as the entire Max Performance Triathlon Series. I will be participating in the Title 9 Womens Only Sprint Tri on September 13 and I can't wait.

Have you ever done the Escape The Cape Tri?