We got up at 5AM and had the bikes loaded to hit the road by 5:45. It was an early start but we were treated to a beautiful sunrise.
New Town was already full of racers but we found a place to park and took our gear over to the transition area. The bike racks were set up by bib number so Liz and I set up on opposite sides of the transition area.
(Liz setting up in the transition area.)
(My gear set up in the transition area.)
(The view of the swim finish area from my spot in the transition area.)
After we set up our gear, we went to pick up our timing chips. I had never used a timing chip in a tri. It wrapped around your ankle with a Velcro strap. I felt sorry for the poor volunteer that had to take that sweaty thing off of me after the race.
They also put your bib number on your arm and your age on your calf. For some reason, having a race number written on me in permanent marker makes me feel cool.
(Liz getting marked for the race.)
A quick 'last call' stop at the porta-potties and we were ready to get started.
This was the perfect triathlon for us to ease into the experience of open-water swimming. We lined up by bib number and they sent a swimmer into the water every 3 seconds. It really helped to keep us spread out and we were spared the experience of having people mobbing each other and getting punched and kicked while we were swimming. The only times it got a little crowded were when we turned corners on the course and when we got to the finish and people bunched up getting out of the water.
Liz was #191 and I was #229 so she was in the water first. I caught up to her almost halfway through the swim and, not long after that, she said she was feeling nauseous and considered taking a break in the shallows. Her stomach had been bothering her this morning and swimming in the disgusting water made things worse. (We smelled a little funky all morning because of the nasty green water.)
I talked Liz out of stopping and stuck with her while we changed strokes to recover a little. We used buoys as short-term goals and it wasn't long before Liz found her rhythm again. By the time we turned into the last straight away, she was back to form and I actually had trouble keeping up with her at the finish.
After the swim, we parted ways to transition to our bikes. Both transitions went smoothly today but I was far from competitive in my transition times.
I ran my bike out of the chute and got on the road hoping to make up some time. I know I'm not a great swimmer but I was hoping to at least pick off some people on the ride.
At first, I was pleasantly surprised by the speed I was able to maintain. My bike computer was reading over 23mph and I was cruising pretty comfortably. I got about 10 miles into the 20 mile ride feeling really good. Then we turned into the wind.
The entire 2nd half of the ride seemed to be into a headwind. My speed dropped from 22 or 23 mph to 17 or 18 mph. The wind helped keep me from feeling hot even though the temperature was rising fast, but I noticed I was still sweating a lot. The last 5 miles seemed to drag by but I pulled back into the transition area pretty happy with my ride.
I put my bike back on the rack, changed shoes, grabbed a G2, and shuffled my way out of the transition area and onto the run.
I really need a new seat for my bike so my legs not only had that post-bike-ride heavy feeling, but my butt was stiff and sore so I was moving pretty slowly coming out of the transition. I worked up to a jog and waited for things to loosen up.
The run was two laps around a 2 mile loop but there weren't any mile markers and I was just wearing my Timex so I didn't have a clue what kind of pace I was running. By now it was really hot out and people were struggling on the run. I still felt like I was moving at a slow pace, but I was passing people consistently.
There were a decent amount of spectators along the run and everyone was cheering the runners on and trying to be encouraging. Some of the New Town residents set up their sprinklers in the street or stood in front of their houses with hoses to help cool off the runners. The race volunteers also had water stations and sponges soaked in cold water. It was awesome having the support along the course.
I picked up the pace for the second lap and felt good finishing the race. My watch read 1:57 when I crossed the line and I grabbed an ice cold bottle of water and turned my attention to figuring out how Liz was doing.
I hadn't seen Liz since we finished the swim and I had no idea how she was doing. I didn't know if her stomach was still bothering her, if the wind got to her on the bike, or if the heat was too much on the run. At our last triathlon a couple of years ago, Liz's knee forced her to walk almost the entire run portion of the race and I was hoping today would go better for her. I found Cara and Mike and hung out in some shade to look for Liz.
It wasn't long before I saw Liz come around a corner on her way to starting her second lap of the run. She looked like she was moving well and she was on pace to finish with a time much faster than she planned. I had snagged a cold bottle of water for her and passed it off to her as she went by for her second lap.
I still wasn't sure how she was feeling because she was so focused when she went by that she didn't talk much. I could tell the heat was bothering her, but she was still running well so I was hoping she wouldn't overheat in the last two miles.
Cara and Mike went to get their gear and some post-race snacks and I moved closer to the finish to cheer Liz in. Even with the heat, she made good time on her second lap and finished almost 30 minutes faster than her final goal time!!! In fact, she was cruising over the last 50 meters and I haven't seen her run that fast since she almost sat on a snake at the Lake.
We found a shady spot to sit in while she cooled off and recovered a little... savoring a good finish.
I grabbed some of the post-race food and brought it back to our shady spot (sandwiches, cookies, pasta salad, bananas, a Coke, and a Sprite), but neither of us was very hungry yet. We nibbled and shared stories from the race until we were ready to grab our bikes and gear and head back to the car.
We stuck around for the attendance prizes and some of the awards but didn't win anything this time. The sun was baking hot by now, so we called it a day, loaded the bikes on the Outback, and cranked the AC for the ride home.
(I Love my Subaru!)In terms of difficulty, I would rate marathons as the hardest thing I've done... a 15-mile trail race I ran in Kansas City as the second-hardest thing I've done... and this triathlon as a close third.
It was months of training but it all paid off well and I think Liz is becoming a tri addict. I'm also feeling good about my fitness level at this point in my training for New York.
It was an awesome race and I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in doing a tri.
Goal For The Day: Race!!!
574th out of 615 finishers.
203rd out of 226 females.
41st out of 47 females ages 25-29.
Swim - 27:22. (rate 2:57)
Transition #1 - 3:52.
Bike - 1:17:24. (15.3mph avg.)
Transition #2 - 1:48.
Run - 44:35. (11:08 avg.)
218th out of 615 finishers.
165th out of 373 males.
33rd out of 71 males ages 30-34.
Swim - 25:31. (rate 2:45)
Transition #1 - 2:45.
Bike - 59:30. (19.9mph avg.)
Transition #2 - 1:36.
Run - 27:51. (6:57 avg.)
Notes: Liz's ultimate goal was just to finish the race. She thought it would take her about 3 hours. She hoped to finish the swim in less than 30 minutes, average 13-14mph on the bike, and survive the run. She finished in 2:35, averaged over 15mph on the bike even with the wind, and rocked the run even with the heat. I'm SUPER proud of her!!!
I wanted to survive the swim, average 18-19mph on the bike, and have something left for the run. Mission accomplished!
Run - 4.00 Miles.
Bike - 20 Miles.
Swim - 1,000 meters.
Run - 80.11 Miles.
Bike - 62.51 Miles.
Swim - 3,700+ meters.