Now, I'm not normally drawn to "women only" events. Okay, yes, I once ran the Nike Women's Marathon, true. But hello, San Francisco? Plus, they do let men run that race. I've got nothing against women specific events, I just don't seek them out. I was a little worried that it might be an Everybody Wins, Let's All Hug type of event. I couldn't have been more wrong. The atmosphere of was wonderful! With only 100 athletes, the field was incredibly small and I recognized women on the course from the pre-race meeting and the swim line. They had a show of hands and I would say most of the participants were racing their very first tri. And that's wonderful!
My goal for this race was Hard. Race hard. I'm very comfortable with endurance racing but shorter distances elude me. I just don't know how to gauge my effort when there is no time for correction. I made a race plan. Swim hard, pass if I need to. Bike hard, all out effort the entire way. Run even harder, do not run above an 8 min pace. Totally doable, right?
Welp, the swim went perfectly. No panic here. I was seeded 48, so right smack in the middle. (cause I'm slow, yo) The water was a toasty 85 degrees to no shock to the system when I slid in. I took off and while my hard effort looks more like a leisurely swim, I was pleased. I passed three women. (but only at the wall, there were strict instructions on passing - they were very careful to make sure this wasn't an aggressive environment and I complied)
Before I knew it I was out of the pool and running to T1. Hopping on my bike, I stood up until I found a cadence I was happy with, just like Drum instructed. Shannon, the RD, had warned me pre-race that the roads were in pretty bad shape and that I might not want to go all out. She wasn't kidding. Also, as soon as I started pedaling my legs remembered what I did to them last weekend and if they could talk, it would sound something like, "Oh no she di-in't!" Bitter is the best way to describe my quads. Ouch. Still, I passed everyone I came across and was passed by no one. (that doesn't mean I passed EVERYONE, just everyone I came upon) I made sure to offer encouragement each time I passed a fellow racer. I might be aggressive but I'm not a meanie.
Heading out for the run I was soon in for a big surprise. A good part of the run course was on trails. Whoops. While I run on trails, and have raced on trails, I am NOT a trail runner. I'm a road girl. And this slowed me down tremendously. Still, I passed every runner I came upon. Once again, offering encouragement as I did so. It rained lightly the entire time I was outdoors. I'll never turn down a light rain on a run! Making my last big turn, a cyclist on a hybrid came up next to me, obviously struggling. I told her to put it in an easy gear and spin fast, to ready her legs for the run. She said thanks, but didn't change gears. I could tell by her cadence that she was in a hard gear. So I ran beside her for bit calling out, "Spin baby, spin!" Seeing what I thought was the finish, I picked up the pace. Turns out, I was wrong. It wasn't a straight shot. I had to go through more grass! Ugh. Not my strong point.
I have no idea what my total time was as there was only a timing mat for the pool entry and run finish. I saw a clock time, but as mentioned, I was much later getting in the water. My garmin revealed my bike and run times and I'm not entirely pleased with my effort. I could have gone harder. No excuses here. Tired legs, higgledy piggledy streets, rain, trails, whatever, I could have gone harder. But, that is the whole point of this summer, to really learn what my hardest effort feels like. I'm still learning - it's only my third one!
I'll figure it out eventually. I'd like to pick up a 5K this month because I do know how to race that distance. It's been forever since I raced a 5K and I need to find my racing legs again before my next sprint.
Meeting the famous Shannon from Iron Texas Mommy!
Before our race started they had a kid's mini tri. Oh mah guah, cuteness overload! DK and Karen both had kiddos racing so we watched the little ones in the water. Their boys both did great! There was one tiny little thing, a girl in a rainbow goggles just like mine, she was about 5 or so. She jumped in the water and fahreaked out. The look of terror on her sweet little face, oh my heart hurt for her. I've been there! Her dad was at the pool's edge and fished her out. But a few minutes later, she AND dad got back in the pool and she did it! We all screamed and clapped as she made the entire length of the pool and back, dad swimming by her side. So stinkin' cute! Almost makes me want to get a kid so I can make it do triathlon, ha! Once she was out of the water and wrapped in a towel, I went over and high fived her, telling her how brave she was and to go balls out on the bike! She smiled and nodded in agreement. (okay, I might not have used the term balls out, but you get the idea)
Did you tri as a kid? Do your kiddos tri?