Triathlons scare the shit out of me!
Even though I have completed 11 triathlons (9 sprints, 1 Olympic and 1 Half Ironman) I still get that "I'm going to throw up" feeling as I approach race time.
It was no different as we headed towards the Cape for my 12th triathlon, 10th sprint and 6th Max Performance race.
Since the inaugural Harvest Triathlon (Sprint and Olympic options) was taking place in Wareham, Mass (down near the Cape), the wife and I spent Friday night at my parent's camper in Sandwich. The commute from Sandwich on race morning would only be 24 minutes compared to an hour plus from our house. Hello a little extra sleep on race morning! ;)
I leapt out of bed at 5am on race morning, 100% full of nerves. Even though as I mentioned I have completed triathlons before, but even so I get the most nervous over tris. Part of the problem is my fear/uneasiness on the bike. I am always frightened I will get a flat tire and be stuck on the bike course OR I would be found walking my bike back to transition. Haha. Yes practicing how to repair a flat tire is on my To-Do List. Additionally the bike portion is my weakest leg of the 3 so I think that's also why it is my least favorite/the one I fear the most.
Either way I keep signing up for the races and pushing my comfort zone. One of these days I will feel more comfortable on the bike.
But I digress...
We left the camper by 5:45 so we could - shocker moment - stop at Dunkin Donuts on the way! ;) The wife and I both needed some caffeine. :)
We parked in the events lot just before 6:30am. Right on plan! Woo!
It was a short walk from the parking lot to the transition/check-in area.
Bib/packet pick-up was a breeze. Well organized and a ton of volunteers around helping out with directions. We quickly put my number on my bike and helmet and I headed into transition to rack my bike. But first I needed to be body marked. Since my birthday is in September and they put your age at the end of the year, I had a big 35 added to my calf. C'mon... I have a few more months at 34. :P Well that change did mean I've moved into a new division 35-39!
Alright everything was set up and ready to go. I went over everything about 3 times to make sure I hadn't forgotten anything. Yes I even refer to my own transition prep blog post to make sure I have everything I need. :P
Standard pre-race photo complete with a side of jitters and sparkle.
I quickly took a little swim in the water to see how warm it was and luckily it was warmer than my OWS on Thursday. Yay! They said you could swim without a wetsuit if you wanted to, but I opted to wear mine. Just to be safe. :)
How gorgeous is Tihonet Pond? Another racer who was local said no one really swims in this pond so it was a pretty cool thing that we were. :)
Once I was done with the pre-race swim, I headed over to the wife to get a good luck kiss and headed to the start area for the pre-race meeting.
Race Director Tim is great at making sure participants have all pertinent info before starting the race. This was especially important before this race since there were 2 races happening simultaneously: Sprint and Olympic.
Swim - 1/3 Mile
We would be starting the swim in the water, treading water until we got the whistle to start. There was about 4 minutes in between waves and since it took us a little to get in the water and over to the start buoys, we weren't actually treading water for that long.
I was in wave 2 (yellow caps) so we didn't have too much traffic ahead of us in the water.
The horn went off and so did we. Well I was immediately kicked in the face and knew the race officially started. :P When I swim I keep my wetsuit unzipped a bit because I get a little too claustrophobic when it is zipped up all the way. During this swim that came back to bite me. At some point within the first hundred yards, someone had grabbed a hold of my zipper string and pulled it all the way down. Ahhhh hello taking on water. I felt like I was dragging the rest of the race.
When we hit our first orange buoy, the Sprint racers took a right and the Olympic distance racers continued straight. I did NOT line myself up well in the water so I had to cut in front of some other racers to get over and take the right. It led to a little bit of a swimming over people situation, but that is half the fun of triathlons, right? :P Once we took the turn, the water really opened up and I was able to get more into a rhythm. I still felt like I was taking on water since my wetsuit was still open.
We made the final right turn around the second orange buoy and headed back to shore. It was a little tough to site that second buoy since the sun was shining right behind it, but once we turned it was behind us. Woo! We would be siting the Max banner and the Swan boats. :P
It was a nice straight shot to shore.
We climbed out of the water and up a short grassy incline to transition.
If you can't figure it out, I was having some serious issues getting my wetsuit over my Garmin. Haha!
Total Time: 9:56
Pace: 1:42/100 yds
Overall Place: 56/250
I went to the right row on the first try! Woo!!! This is big for me. I usually run past my row, but luckily our team was in an end row and I put my stuff right at the end of it so I couldn't miss it. All about making it easy for myself.
I didn't want to fall over while taking my wetsuit on so I just sat down in the grass. Was helpful to put my socks and bike shoes on without continuously almost falling over. Hello lack of balance. :)
Got my shirt, sparkle athletic skirt and bike helmet on. Took a hit of water and was off. Not my fastest and not my slowest trip through transition.
I got a boost as I left transition when I saw my friend and PT Zak cheering me on!
Bike - 13.5 Miles
Oh hello dear bike! Let's get out on the road and have some time together.
Can I just say the wife kicked ass with the photos this race?!?! :)
My goal for the bike was three-fold: 1) smile during the entire thing even if I had to force it :P, 2) enjoy the scenery, and 3) remind myself to stay in my own race.
During the bike, I get passed A LOT! It is wicked easy to let that get into my head. So every time someone passed me, I cheered them on and followed by saying to myself: "It's okay. You are biking your race. You are doing great." Let's just say I did that QUITE a few times.
I was trying really hard not to get down on myself. I knew I was doing the best I could. I really was feeling strong the entire bike and could tell my Flywheel classes were paying off. I was owning the hills and letting myself build some speed on the downhill. I am also scared of flipping over if I go too fast so I usually spend the downhills on my brakes. :O)
Also I did my best to really take in the surroundings on the bike. The cranberry bogs and Ocean Spray factory were a cool local flair.
I can tell you I was over the bike by Mile 10 and said out loud: "will we ever finish?" Haha. I just wanted to get to my zone. My Garmin was actually on overall time so I couldn't tell how many miles I went. The only sign I saw was at Mile 5 so I knew I had gone at least 5 and that was about all I knew.
Once I started seeing the event parking, I knew I was coming back to home base. We had one final left turn and we were back to the dismount zone.
YAY! I made it through without a flat tire and I still felt strong.
I need to commend Tim for having so many cops and volunteers out on the course. I didn't get lost and felt super protected. There was also a pair of bike repair guys driving along the bike course in their van, which made me feel more comfortable in case I did get a flat.
Special thanks to the ladies of ZOOM that gave me a little extra confidence boost as they - of course - passed me! :)
Total Time: 44:19
Pace: 18.3 MPH
Overall Place: 102/250 ---> hello drop in overall place :P
While my spot was close to the entrance from the swim, it was the opposite side of transition area from the bike. :P
There is a great member of the race staff who I see every Max race and she loves my Sparkle Athletic skirts as much as I do. She commented once again and it made me smile. I've gotten negative comments about wearing my skirts to triathlons in the past so I love the positive reinforcement from this woman!
Once again we had a primo spot and I didn't overshoot my stuff. I slid my bike in and threw on my visor and my sneakers. I grabbed a GU to take with me on the run and I was out. The run out was right next to the swim entrance.
Run - 3.1 Miles
Note: The results say 3 miles, but I confirmed with the race director that the run course was 3.1 miles. So I am updating my splits and overall pace based on the 3.1 miles.
Alright alright alright we are now in my zone.
As soon as I left transition, I spotted the wife! Ahh just the pick-me-up I needed. She gave me a big high five and I was ready to kick some trail butt. Oh yeah I didn't mention that part. The run was actually more of a trail run along the cranberry bogs. I didn't know that until well we started the run.
The sun was up and it was getting hotter by the minute. I just wanted to give the run all I had. For the week leading up to the race I was having SHARP pains in my left hip. Zak did a little work on it the day before and we were just hoping it wouldn't flare up during the race. Thankfully it didn't hurt at all during the swim or bike, but it never hurt during those activities. It only hurt while running.
I told myself it was just a 5k. Do what you could and you would see Zak at the finish for some stretching.
I wanted to push the pace since I feel like I haven't in quite awhile.
I wasn't ready for the incline at the beginning of the run, but I saw some guys coming my way which meant we would be ending on the down. Okay self - let's make it to the down. ;)
The run was going to be along the cranberry bogs and I couldn't wait to check them out. This is the time I miss having my phone and wish triathlons let you carry them. I miss taking pics while on the run course. But I made sure to take some mental ones. :P
Mile 1: 8:03
Oh man there wasn't much shade on that first mile. I was in my zone. I was actually passing some of the women that had passed me on the bike. In my head I said: "You're in my home now!" Which is ridiculous, but it motivated and pushed me to go even faster.
I told myself I could have my GU as I approached the water stop which would be about half way through.
We hit the cranberry bogs around mile 1.2 and they didn't disappoint. It was also more pact dirt around the bog, which was a nice break from the more gravely/rocky start.
I had a couple hits of my GU (wasn't in the mood for the whole thing) just before we hit the water. The water was the division between the Olympic and Sprint. The Olympic sign pointed those runners to continue straight up and I happily turned right at the Sprint sign. :) I do have the say the volunteers at the water stop freakin' brought the energy.
And the right turn also brought us some shade! YAY! I might've also yelled: one step closer to beer as I ran. Not sure everyone around me appreciated it, but I needed the motivation.
Mile 2: 7:48
Hell yeah! I was happy to see a 7 at the front of that mile. While I wish it was faster, I was also making sure the hip was holding up.
Okay self one more mile and you know some of this has to be downhill.
The last mile was pretty much packed sand/dirt with a few rocks, but not nearly as gravely as the first mile.
We were also nicely shaded, which was a treat.
I started seeing folks coming towards me which meant I was on my way home. So we ended up doing a big lollipop type loop as I was coming back to the 2 volunteers I had seen about 15 minutes earlier. :P
Loved the high-fives from the volunteers!
Mile 3: 7:56
You know what the best part was? Not a lick of pain in my right IT band/knee! YAAYYY the dry needling and strength training was paying of!!!
I could hear the Finish Line announcements and I dug as deep as I could. Final 0.1 push was a 6:xx pace according to my Garmin. HELL YEAH! Gives me hope for the future.
Again super wife to the photo rescue... she even got my Finish Line leap!
Total Time: 24:35
Pace: 7:56 min/mile (again I am going off of 3.1)
Overall Place: 34/250
Division: 2/17 ---> HOT DAMN!
FINAL TIME: 1:21:50.7
Here's the surprise... I PLACED IN MY DIVISION!!!!!
Right after getting my medal, we headed down to the post-race party area so I could see Zak at the Boston Physical Therapy & Wellness tent. I was ready for a quick stretch and a session in the Normatec Recovery boots.
Special shoutout to my ZOOM teammate Lindsey who finished 4th overall! She is a daily inspiration to me.
Once I had my recovery, we headed into the beer garden. Each participant got 2 free Bad Martha beers! Bad Martha is from Martha's Vineyard and delicious. Loved being able to #DrinkLocal after the run.
They also let participants and spectators have as many taste tests as they wanted. :)
How awesome is the medal? I loved that the beer garden had chairs and games set up.
After the beer, I took the wife to the free BBQ tent. Each racer also got a free BBQ sandwich so I let the wife have mine since she had a long morning. She enjoyed that while I went to transition to grab my stuff.
This was the aftermath from the race. :P
While gathering my stff, the wife texted that awards were starting in 2 minutes. Alright time to find out if I really placed. Even though I printed my results 3 times, I dtill didn't believe it. :)
When they got to female 35-39, they called my name first. Umm what? How was I first in my division. I figured it out. The girl that was actually 1st in my division was 2nd overall. You can't win an overall award AND an age division award so that bumped me up to 1st.
Ahhh I soaked being on the podium up and just wish I could've been up there longer. ;)
Once I got my award, we headed back into the beer garden for my second free beer.
Can you tell I was a little excited?
Big thanks to my #1 sherpa/supporter/photog!! She puts up with a lot and always has my back during freakouts!
Overall it was an amazing day. Great course, kick-ass bling, tons of volunteers/cops, delicious beer and food and an amazing energy overall! Team ZOOM even pulled out a win in the team competition by 1 point. I will 100% be back next year!
Note: I did receive complimentary race entry, but all opinions are my own. Ain't nobody got time for lyin'!