I still do not know how I got into this race. I signed up and didn’t really knew much of it. What I found out the week leading to the race: 4 hour drive and a hilly course. Honestly, it would not be that bad if I was not 6 weeks away from my “A” race, an Ironman. Ha! I know, any other normal human being would not go and that was probably the right thing to do. But I promised my friends I would make it. Now, I had top just tell my boyfriend that he was in for a 8 hour drive within 24 hour window. Opsss!
The race was Saturday morning in Pulaski, TN. Boyfriend was joining me (miracle happens, right?). We decided to leave right after work, which meant longer drive. I gave the news right after he said: ” 2 hours and we are done”. He looked at me like I murdered someone but he is a good sport and cursed my friend that invited us instead. Haha! Sorry Shannon, I blamed you 100% for it. We drove through some traffic and lots of mountains, the drive was nice. We were heading West so the sun was up for a very long time. We finally made it and we have about 5 hours of sleep before race start. So the day before: was work, drive and making it to the race location. We arrived pretty late but Shannon’s family was up and waiting on us with chocolate strawberries. How can you not love them? Even though, I quit chocolate… someone I brought was pretty happy with that, he took all my portions. Ops!
The morning of: Alarm went off and I went on to change. Shannon was up, she is usually the first on transition in the morning. She was ready to go as I was still chewing my first bite of usually breakfast: bagel and cream cheese. I made sure to eat faster and we were off to the race. The race was small, so the transition are was tiny so I rack my bike and went to check the pool for my 200yd swim. The bike ride was on Tennessee mountains and that had me worried. My ears pooping while driving the day before. The run was a 5k and how bad could that be? The truth is I did not look at anything. I only knew a bit from the bike ride from Shannon’s dad, and that included the new information that some dogs could be chasing you down some road. If you know me you can only imagine how stressful I suddenly became. I love dogs, but I hate when they chase me and my riding buddies.
Swim: it was a 200 yard pool swim, not that bad right? Well, you had to change lanes and it is fairly short to warm up. So I jumped on the pool prior to the start to warm up. That was a good thing because the pool was also a diving pool without a lane on the bottom and the depth of it threw me off a little bit at first. I did a couple of 100’s and jumped out of the pool. It was a warm day, so it was refreshing. The race started and I think I self seeded myself pretty well, I am becoming more and more aware of my swimming abilities. I started well, but as we all know my last 50 were pretty lame. I did pass one girl from my age group on thew swim. Time: 4:14
T1: I am usually pretty good of “recognizing the area” prior the race. For lack of good reason, I am going to say I forgot to check this one out. It might have to do with the fact that I was so unimpressed with the size of the transition that I did not even did my homework. So I got to my bike and realized that I had no idea where bike out was. Ops! I asked aka yelled to the universe and my unimpressed (and very competitive) boyfriend yelled back the answer and nodded his head in disapproval. And then it hit me, I was not prepared for this. Oh well, move on and try to make the best out of it. Time: 0:53
Bike: Short (16.3 miles), but hilly ride. Some hills were long and I really wish I had my road bike at some points. I kept thinking, I should have listened to Shannon. But it was too late now. I kept my eyes open for dogs as I heard there might be some somewhere. Around mile 10, the girl I passed on the swim passed me on the bike. Argh! I tried to keep up and off she went…. but just enough to be on my eyesight, and annoy me as I couldn’t close the gap. Towards the end, she disappeared… I bet she was running! Time: 1:00:53 (average pace: 16.1 mph)
T2: It was supposed to be quick. But I didn’t have my cap out (it was a hot sunny day) and I was not sure where the run out was. Oh, the boyfriend disapproval look again! I know, I know! I thought there were 2 people ahead of me, I yelled at him and got a confirmation. Two people, one probably 3 minutes out. Well, she needs to be a really slow runner for me to catch up but I was not ready to give up, just yet. Time:0:55
Run: Ok, I usually like the run part. The main issue is that I just don’t like 5k’s in general. They are so uncomfortable and knowing someone is 3 minutes ahead of you makes even harder. The course was a little confusing with turnarounds, loops in a field and a finishing on a cemetery. So I couldn’t see the girl all the time, but I saw her coming back and I it gave me a little boost. But by the time I made to the turnaround, I realized she was too far ahead of me. I knew the 2nd place overall was not going to happen but I kept moving and pushing. And suddenly, I hear steps coming towards me and they are becoming closer and closer. And then, she passes me. I try really hard to keep up but it is nearly impossible, I check afterwards the everyone’s results (yes, stalking….) and they were faster runners for sure. I gave my 100% but it was just not enough to close the gap. Time: 29:21 (average pace: 9:29/mi)
Overall, it was a great experience. I learned that I can never underestimate a race, even if it is a sprint triathlon. You always have to figure out the “wheres” and “hows” of the race. After I finished the race and my boyfriend knows I am upset. He waits till I am okay with just being 1st of my age group to tell me what went wrong (not knowing transition and not being ready… yada yada yada….). I hate it that he is right. All my friends placed in their age group and Shannon finally beat Anca! They are on the same age group and Shannon is the A student, while Anca wings it most of the time. It became a joke between the group, so I was happy that Shannon finally came through and finished ahead of Anca. They are racing again in August and I will be sitting on the first row with signs. 🙂