Race Morning: Didn’t sleep much the night before; a mix of nerves, plus a huge storm from 12-3am kept me awake most of the night. I was out of bed at 4am and kind of just tried to relax a little. I ate an Arnold’s flat bread with pb and packed my bags. I had laid everything out the night before but I am super neurotic like to pack the bag in the morning. We were all loaded up and on the road by 5am and after a trip to wawa (neeeeeeeed caffine!) we were on our way. I knew we would be early, but after the fiasco the day before I wanted to leave a little extra time just in case. Plus, the earlier the better as far as I am concerned; I wanted good parking and a good spot on the bike rack and I would prefer to get there and have time to relax, rather than have to park far and then feel overwhelmed and rushed.
Pre Race: Arrive @ 545 and right away saw some of my teammates who were volunteering. Walked down to the race site with them and got body marked and headed into transition. Roughly 15 minutes after getting into transition they made the dreaded call: No Swim. HUGE BUMMER. Even though it was kind of expected give the storm the night before, it being official really sucked. Seriously, it pretty much ripped my heart right out of the race. And I wasn’t alone. All the sudden the excited vibe went to a depressed vibe and it was all in all pretty sucky. There were at first some tears, then anger/frustration and then you know what….we adjusted. Some girls left and didn’t race at all; and while I had a few moments of “maybe I won’t race” they were fleeting and there was no way I was going to back out. I have to say, this is where having a team really helps; there were many women as dissapointed (if not more) than I was, including some of my teammates. It was great to have them to vent with and be all bummed with and then get over it and kick ass with 🙂
Okay…so the race itself….officially a DUathlon–> 1.9 mile run, 17 mile bike, 3.1 mile run. Of course I started the race saying “I’ll just take it easy on the runs, walk if I have too”, you know…my usual speech that I never actually follow through with because at the heart of it I am a competitor and there was NO WAY I was going to just “take it easy” on the runs. As for the bike, I just wanted to get through it without crashing or getting a flat. I set a goal of 2:15:00, however my main goal (of course) was to finish.
Run: 18:25- 9:42 avg. 634/987
They started us in heats just as they would have for the swim: we brought our caps and tossed them as we crossed the start line. It was really nerve-racking waiting for my “wave” and I was super thankful that I only had to wait for four before me. The run itself was really good. I felt strong and fast. It was exactly the confidence I needed going into the race!
What would I do differently: Nothing. This was a great run for me.
Got into transition (I was near the bike out so I had quite a run through transition), grabbed a GU and put on my helmet. Struggled for a few seconds getting my bike off the rack but in a matter of seconds was on my way out.
What would I do differently: Um, not struggle with the bike?
Bike: 1:15:57- 13.4 avg. 923/987
Coming out of T1 there was a lot of congestion and that made me nervous right off the bat. I decided to walk my bike up and out the way of the crowd and mount there. This was a good idea as I was able to get myself together. Before the race had started, my teammate Shauna gave me a little pep talk basically telling me that I would be fine and that when I felt unsteady or nervous to just tell myself over and over that I am okay. As silly as it sounds, hearing that really helped. I felt really unsteady through the first few miles but I just kept telling myself I was okay and I was doing fine. There were a few times I felt panicked so I simply pulled over and got my bearings together. I was also having a hard time drinking and riding so I pulled over a few times to drink. The first loop was sketchy and I was definitely being cautious, but at some point towards the end of the first loop I got a surge of confidence and decided to just pedal my heart out. Once I put aside the fears completely I was able to actually enjoy the bike ride. I was actually comfortable and happy on the bike. 🙂 I even passed a few people!! It was great. The bike itself was a nice course… few (very small) inclines and at one point major wind, but other than that (oh, and a duck crossing!!!) it was great. My second loop was awesome; much better than the first. I only stopped one time on the second loop and even managed to drink and ride! I felt like a little kid- this was a HUGE step for me.
What would I do differently: Be as confident on the first loop as I was the second. I rode the second loop 13 minutes faster than the first.
I was so hot and so sweaty and so hungrywhen I came into transition that all I could think about was eating my clif bar and pouring water on my head. I racked my bike and tore into my bar. I wanted to be quick so I washed it down with some water and poured what was left on my head.
What would I do differently: bring something to eat on the bike. This was my plan but I forgot to grab it on the way out. Next time I will not forget.
Run: 35:06- 11:20 avg. 697/987
I started out really (read: really really really) slow because my legs were dead. Holy cow they were not liking the whole run-bike-run thing. Oh, and at this point…it was really hot in the sun. I continued on fairly slow for the first mile and then picked up the pace once I saw the water/ice rag/heed stop- it was WONDERFUL. Seriously, the ice rag was amazing! The last two miles were great…I ran great and my legs were even feeling pretty good. As I came into the finish shoot I heard all my teammates screaming for me and someone yelled out “age-grouper” ahead so I gunned it down the finish line.
What would I do differently: I have to put in more time for brick workouts. My legs were really dead in the beginning and it cost me quite a bit of time since I had to move so slow. Other than that, nothing different.
Overall: 2:14:49. 841/987
I made my goal time by 11 seconds!!! SCORE! Overall the race was great, even despite the swim cancellation. I felt so empowered being out on that course with all the women. With the exception of one woman (who clearly didn’t get the message that this is a fun event) who was not very nice on the bike course, all the women were so supportive of one another. When I was pulled over of the bike, women would ask if I was okay and when women were walking on the run, others were cheering them on to keep on going. It really was just something that can’t be explained in words. In addition to all the wonderful women were the great volunteers–> shout out to my TT bowtie guys :). Having them on the race course was so encouraging. Every time I would pass them, on the run or the bike, they would be there cheering me on and keeping me going. The other thing that really kept me going was my mom- she made a sign and everytime I saw it, it just made me smile. I see signs often for people and it was just really cool to have one for me! I know I keep repeating myself but the whole event is just amazing. I was really stressed about doing a DU but I am so glad I went through with it. It isn’t something I would choose, but at least now I know that if it happens again, I can do it. I am a DUathlete 🙂
Post Race: After the race I caught up with my mom (who got stung by a wasp!!) and my teammates. Everyone hung out for a while in the tent…ate A LOT of food, drank some champagne (we always have champagne!) and chatted about the race. After the awards, and pictures and more food, we headed back home and I pretty much didn’t leave my bed for the rest of the day/night!
I said it a million times already and I am going to say it again: CGI puts on a great race. I would highly recommened this for an woman and I recommend it even more so to those of you looking for a good first race. People travel from all over to participate in this race and it is no surprise to me that they do. Having volunteered it last year and race it this year, I can vouch that this is a race to race.
Here are some pictures from race day- Enjoy 🙂
Some TT Babes before the “wave” start of the 1st run.
Chatting it up with my teammate Bill, one of many Bowtie Guy volunteers from my team,just before the race.
After the race, posing on the new ride 🙂
I already can’t wait until next year…and while I know I can DU it, I hope I get to TRI it!