Monday, June 10, 2013

Arrr..Matey! Recap of the Pirate Tri!

All I had to do was swim 1/3 of a mile, bike 14 miles, run 3 miles and be super fast in transitions!  Yesterday's race couldn't have gone better, everything before the race was near perfect, which very rarely happens. I hoped to make packet pick up by 3pm the previous day but I was the photographer for a 10 mile trail race at work and had to post those results online. It was a great race and seemed like everyone had fun! I sure did and I wasn't even racing.

Gina and I arrived at the Point Sebago Resort Campground at 4:30 and checked in. I was very surprised as I listened to the reservationist explain all the amenities. She pointed out the sports center, the tiki bar, general store, putt putt golf, and all the events happening over the two days. Funny she didn't mention the race. If we were camping for the weekend I'd want to know nearly 400 triathletes would be racing though the resort! The whole run course was in the resort and the bike course used the entrance. I did not feel like I was in Maine, most people were buzzing around in golf carts, don't people walk anymore? We found our spot and began to set up. I checked out the bathroom which I could throw a rock to and there were free showers! I had a pre race workout, Steve calls it a brick opener. 40 min ride-15 min warmup with 3x3min power intervals, this gets my heart rate up and my body ready for racing. I brought my trainer in case it was raining, luckily it wasn't but the roads were mostly gravel so I just spun at the site. After 40 mins I had to transition right to a run with more quick hard efforts. I ran through the campground to the sound of games and laughter and a spot on the podium in my head.
It was very humid, so glad there were showers. We drove the bike course and studied all the pot holes, hills, corners and had to mentally follow Steve's plan-don't stand up on any of the hills, spin easy but fast. This saves energy and keeps me more fresh for the run.

We returned and walked over to the transition area inspecting the flow, very important to do that. When in race mode its nice not to have to think about where to go.  I met up with my friend Armand. We hung out for awhile and talked tri. Checked the water, very chilly!

We made our way back to the site to make dinner. Grilled chicken, zucchini, squash, peppers and tomatoes with salad, my pre race meal. I checked over my bike, changed the wheel to Steve's 3 spoke HED, put new bar tape on and of course painted my nails by lantern!  It was a nice and relaxing night.
Packet pick was at 6:15 and Steve was arriving at 6:30, so the alarm was early. Egg, avocado and cheese sandwich and half banana for breakfast. Double checked my tri bag and we walked to the check in. So nice to be so close! Last week my race number was 842 and my wave began at 8:45 this week I was 242 and my wave started at 8:45 I had a superstitious good feeling. We walked over to the transition area. They are very organized all timing chips hang in order by number. If a chip isn't picked up they know who didn't race. After the trans area closes, they take the display to the finish line and pull the chips off the racers as they finish and hang them back up, great system.
They asked if it was my first race or if it was Gina's first time watching because Gina was taking lots of pictures. We both answered, neither and explained I was gong to London and write a Blog.
After asking my age he wrote 49 on my calf...ooops!

The transition area was on the beach so everything would be sandy, I can't stand that feeling but there was nothing I could do. I knew where my spot would be from the night before and hoped to get there early enough to get the outside. Each rack has a range of numbers. It was first come first served and I got the spot I wanted. I set up right on the end which is quicker then running into the row.  I was worried about someone taking my spot so I remembered to leave my wetsuit, pad and tri bag. The trans area closed just 15 mins before the race start so I could go in and out for my warm up. I set up my spot-bike, bike shoes, helmet, glasses, running shoes, and race belt...that's it!
I went out on my warm up: 15 min easy 2x3 min power intervals w/ 5 min recovery in between, 15 mins back, transition to run with hard efforts, 10 minute swim with hard intervals. After riding and running I was really sticky, so getting into my wetsuit was quite comical! Reason #975 I have the best coach...he threw his coat in the sand for me.

There were a few minutes to warm up in the water before the pre race meeting. The water looked nice but it was cold about 55º. My hands and feet started to go numb but had to get my arms ready to swim. I had a much better warm up then at my tri last week.

Pre race meeting was lead by a pirate! Then the national anthem played, which always brings tears to my eyes. I think of what my younger brother went through during three tours of duty. It must have been so hard and that makes me want to race strong for him!
Gina grabbed a picture just before my wave, I was so nervous. Coming off a win the week before, I was hungry for another podium spot but with nearly 400 racers I really wasn't too sure of that. 
All women 39 and under lined up on the shore! I had a plan, stay on the outside and out of the chaos. It was a little longer to the first buoy but I could settle in quicker.
The swim went so well compared to every other race. After a few minutes I almost always start to panic. I look up and see all the swimmers ahead then I try to go faster instead of focusing on my pace. I will sometimes break out of freestyle to get my catch my breath. Not this time, I pushed that panic feeling out several times and just kept swimming. The field usually spreads out after the first buoy, but there were so many swimmers, it was crowed the whole time.  It was hard to see, we were swimming into the sun but I just kept the big orange buoy in site the best I could. I swam until my hands touched the bottom so I didn't have to run in waste deep water like others were.
Steve and Gina had me 20th out of the water, not great. I looked at my watch 10:36. I felt faster but stayed in freestyle so I was relatively satisfied. I pulled my arms out and booked it to my spot. I was a little slower than normal, the cold water really took a toll on me. As I stepped out of my wetsuit I was grinding all the sand into it and it made me cringe a little, but it did wipe most of the sand off my feet! I pulled on my bike shoes, helmet and glasses I was out in 1:08.

It took about 10 mins for my quads to warm up, they felt so constricted. I couldn't go as fast as I wanted. I started my game: see a bike, reel it in and pass. I saw a bright pink t shirt and passed her. She was strong and I underestimated her because of her equipment. No aero bars or race suit. I really need to stop making those judgements! She passed me on the first hill, we passed more racers. She stood up I stayed seated and spun. I was able to pick up a few more gears as we crested the hill and I passed her. She got me on the next hill along with another girl who had a tri bike with aero bars. Same thing they stood up and passed me but I got them at the top. We descended and I took off. As we picked off more and more riders we played leap frog. It was awesome! That doesn't happen to me very often and it was fun to try to catch them and vis versa. One more steep hill, still I stayed seated they stood up and passed me.  I caught them at the top and stayed with them. We raced so hard back to the trans area. I was slightly behind them and wanted to beat them out of T2.

T2 starts when you dismount your bike and finishes when you run out of the trans area and counts towards your overall time. I got off my bike, ran it to my spot, took off my helmet, changed my bike shoes to running shoes, racked my bike, grabbed my race belt and ran out total time: 36 seconds!!

I focused on high turnover on the run and got back to my game see runner, pass runner. I was really pushing it and almost got sick. I tried looking at my watch to see what my run time was as I passed the mile markers but my math isn't that great to begin with- doing it while racing was impossible. Next race I think I'll restart my watch for the run so I can pace much better. I caught up to a guy in my age group who didn't seem to be running that fast. I got near him, he heard my breathing and picked up the pace. I tried staying with him hoping to pass him but I couldn't. It made me a little faster though. I turned the corner and the crowd was wild which somehow makes you find a little bit more and I sprinted to the finish.
I stopped my watch at 1:14:58 hoping it was podium worthy. I was so spent I knew I really pushed it and it felt awesome. Each race I am able to dig a little deeper. I found Gina and Steve, they counted me as second female. I couldn't quite accept that because I knew women 40+ started in the wave after me and they are super competitive. I started tearing up as I hugged Gina and Steve. We checked the results which unofficially showed me as second female! We walked the shore and I drank my recovery mix and talked about how I felt. We had some time before awards so we went back to the campsite and I dropped all my stuff off and changed.

The awards started promptly upon our return without much warning. I could tell the timing company wanted to leave. The podium was in the back of the tent and wasn't great for spectating or for pictures.  It sure was rushed. All winners received a pirate hat and I got $50 to Maine Running Company! I was so excited to be on the podium again! They continued with age groups. I knew I was first but wasn't sure if they'd recognize me again. They didn't, second place in my age group was recognized as first with a finish time of 1:23, eight minutes slower than me. I remember just a few summers ago finishing with that time wondering how the winners raced that fast. Now I'm in that spot and it feels pretty cool! I'm torn with the decision to award this way. It's awesome they don't let winners double dip but when you look at results I was first in my age group, I earned it. However I've been on the other side where I was second in my age group but was awarded first and I felt funny.
As I was waiting for a massge and man came up to me and said"I've heard so much about you and am so exicted to meet you" It was Jim Soroka a local triathlete who has raced in the Kona World Championships - 2.4 mile swim 112 mile bike and 26.2 run- amazing! We chatted and made plans to train together. Another local triathlete from Madison, Christian Carlson met up with us. We all placed in our age group!

Gina headed back to the campsite while we were chatting and made lunch! It was so nice to come back and unwind with her and Steve. Having someone doing the little things for me is so helpful thank you so much Gina, you make racing fun and relaxing!

I never wear nail polish except for race day, bright green with words of encouragement. 

We packed up the car and started home, first stop ICE CREAM then a nap. Again I can't thank Gina enough for driving to my races, I can zone out on the way home.

I finished 2nd out of 188 females and 32 of a total 365 triathletes! 
Link to results

As I cross races off my schedule I'm reminded of how close London is and I don't want it to come. After Sept 13 I may not have goal to train for and won't be asked: when is London? How's training? Are you getting excited? When is your next race? Don't get me wrong I can't wait for it to come but not knowing what is after, is on my mind. I know I can qualify for Worlds again but I can't afford to do it in the near future. Yes I can raise money, but training, working full time and part time with Team Skidmore duties this summer is almost overwhelming, plus I have no time for friends.

But I love racing so much, it's me.

Next event Sunday, June 16th Team Skidmore 5k Fun Run/Walk or Bike at Great Glen Trails click here for details. Tell everyone you know, it's an easy 3 miles and perfect reason to get Dad and the family out for some exercise!

Next race Nashua Tri June 23!

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