Thursday, May 30, 2013

Woman of Steel Triathlon

Me and Lucy after the race.  Check out my new triathlon suit! It looked hideous on me but it was so functional!

A couple weeks ago I did the Women of Steel triathlon sprint with my sister Lucy.  For the first time in my life, I actually felt pretty prepared for this race and I felt strong throughout the entire race.  The competition was steep, especially in my age group so I didn't do as well as I had hoped, but I still felt great about my performance.  I finished 7th in my age category of 70 women and 33rd overall out of over 400 women.  I have to also say that I love sprint races.  I can't think of anything more boring than running or biking for hours upon hours.  I just love the quick transitions and events of a sprint tri.  I am, however, doing an Olympic length at the end of the summer and I'll let you know if it was fun or not. 

The day was cold and it rained for the entire drive until I reached the event location.  It threatened rain and sprinkled a couple times during my race, but never let loose. I believe a lot of prayers kept the ran at bay because it was pouring everywhere else around the entire valley.  Before the race started, all the women were standing around the pool trying to hear what was being said at the pre-race meeting, laughing, dancing to try to keep warm and making sure they were in the right line.  We were all supposed to line up according to our projected swim line.  I got in line at the end of the 5 minute group, but I noticed that there were many women in front of me who were not swimming fast at all.  Looking back, I should have gone in the four minute group, even though I know I couldn't have gone that fast.  If I had been in that first group of women, I bet I would have had someone to keep up with during the bike portion because all the first women were the ones who won, even if they didn't have great swim times.  The swim was in a 50 meter pool, which made it an individual start and also made it so I wasn't competing with the women who were in my same category and ability.    So, for the swim, we started in an outside lane, did one lap, then ducked under the lane line and did another, ducked again and did another-it was very strange.  As I ran across the timing mat to start my swim, I slipped and fell.  I hit my knee, but the rush of adrenaline was too high so I didn't feel anything until the end of the race.  It wasn't too bad anyway, but kind of embarrassing, ya know.  The swim was hard for the first 100 meters and I felt like I wasn't getting any air, but then my blood started to flow and went faster and felt stronger.  I passed a couple women and so did Lucy.

I hopped out and ran to my bike in the freezing cold.  I pulled on my shoes, my arm warmers and started the two loops.  During the bike, I was only passed by one woman.  I was hoping to catch up to someone who was going hard, but I didn't and all the women in the second lap had all just started and were in the slower groups so I had no one to ride with.  I was disappointed to see that there was a bunch of glass in the bike lane and I saw at least 5 women changing their tires right after that.  I would think that they would have checked the route for any serious hazards.  Thankfully, I avoided getting a flat.  I lost about 10 seconds because my chain fell off, but I fixed it quickly and made up lost ground.  It was pretty cold outside and as I was riding I was so glad I borrowed Justin's biking sleeves, but I didn't want to waste time putting on my gloves so my hands were freezing as well as my feet.

My transition to the run was very fast.  All I had to do was take off my helmet and I was out of there in a flash.  My muscles felt a little strange, but since I had done quite a few bike to run workouts I felt better than I had felt during all my other triathlon transitions from bike to run.  The only problem was that my feet were frozen and couldn't feel a thing!  It took a little while to get up to the speed I wanted, but I was glad that I still felt like I had energy to push myself and wasn't just dragging myself along.  I was running hard and passing everyone, except for one woman who passed me.  She looked so fresh.  I wonder if she was in the relay or something.  Anyway, only one woman passed me on the run, so I felt great about that.  The last half mile was downhill, so it felt great to be sprinting downhill approaching the finish line.  I caught up to a lady who was running pretty fast at the end and had a sprint to the finish with her.  It was fun, until her children ran out and almost tripped me.  I beat her though.  Woo hoo! 

That was the end.  I was hoping to get podium, but the winner was in my category and there were a few women who were at least 5 minutes faster than me.  The two right ahead of me were only about 30 seconds ahead, so I might have been able to get 5th, but 4th place was way faster than I think I could have done so the podium was totally out of reach.  I was happy nonetheless.  I got a cute necklace instead of a lame medal and waited for my sister to finish.  She came in about 7 minutes behind me, but got 6th in her age group.  She did awesome!  It was so fun watching her run in and cross the finish line.  We ate some fruit and then headed to the car because the threat of rain that entire morning came to fruition and it started coming down.  We were so fortunate to have finished before it really started coming down and I had to get back to meet my family at the movie theater, so we left before the awards ceremony.  Lucy and I both thought, "why am I doing this to myself?" during the race, but afterward we both agreed that it was so rewarding we would do it again. 

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