It was very nice to be 30 mins from a race however it was a little tricky finding it and I was late, by my standards. I need about an hour to get in my bike, run and swim warm up. On the way to check in I saw the team, the team to look out for. Larry, Curly and Moe; Leah Kelsh, Kerry MacDougall and Stacy Burke. They were walking the path like they owned it; sunglasses on, straight faced, walking in unison. I was scared. Just kidding they were all smiles and commented on how serious Regina Steve and I looked. What can I say we had our game faces on!
I checked in and all the volunteers knew I was coming, I know the race director Vince so he must have mentioned it to them. "You're going to win" they said after I got my race bag. I didn’t know what to say. It felt good but I also felt like maybe I shouldn’t have registered for such a low key race, no offence to the race at all. I didn’t want people to think I came to show off or expected to win. So I said "you never know what might happen". Thinking a flat or a crash or cramp or anything. Then I was like great, you might have just jinxed yourself.
The transition area was tiny compared to my other races. There were 48 triathletes racing. We had lots of room so that was nice. A few women commented on how this probably wasn’t my first race. I smiled. I got marked and set up my transition area. I made sure to say hi to Vince. I headed out on my bike warm up. It was 7:45am and race start was 9 with a 8:40 pre race meeting. I knew I had to cut things a little short. Before I went out Steve suggested I wear my jacket as it was chilly but making sure I said hi to Vince, caused to me forget my jacket. I could have used it.
My PI’s (power intervals) felt good and I made it back by 8:15 then switched to my run. Jogged for about 7 mins and did my run PI's. Legs weren’t feeling great they were heavy and sluggish. I wasn’t too concerned because the same thing happened this week at the Salomon Spring Trail Series at Great Glen Trails. I had a crummy warm up but felt light and quick during the race.
Back to TA at 8:30 and walked down to the water it was pretty far and on gravel. We were allowed to put shoes on to run from the water so I took that opportunity. I got down to the water and saw Christine Fleming a member of Team Skidmore!! I had sent an email out to let people know that my next 3 races are local and she came. Sorry if I missed anyone!
I put my suit on with Steve’s help of course. My new suit zips from the top so I can’t even get it started. Leah and another swimmer were already in the water and only three of us actually warmed up. It was a little chilly but nice.
|Michelle, Me, Stacey, Leah and Kerry!|
I really enjoyed knowing others that were racing. I’ve never experienced that. It keep me calmer and more relaxed. After the National Anthem we moved to the start. My goal was to draft off Leah. She said "Yea right, you're pretty fast I'll draft off you." I laughed pretty hard at that one! Most of you know how much I struggle in my swim speed.
After a quick group shot of all women, we lined up. This was my first all female race! The horn sounded and we were off.
I stayed out front right next to Leah until the 1st buoy, that never happens. Once we made the turn her and another women took off. I drafted for 20 strokes but couldn’t hold on. I swam the straightest swim ever until the last turn to the beach. I though we were exiting to the right of the last buoy so I sighted for that direction. Totally my fault I didn’t look at the exit. As I got closer I could see Vince on the dock waving us left. I swam in as far as possible so I had less water to run in. And got out as 3rd swimmer, that never happens.
As I ran up the stairs, I took the top half of wetsuit off. Really didn’t need to do it then because TA was so far away, so lost a few seconds. I put my shoes on which filled with dirt. I ran to T1 and Leah was cheering me on, she was part of a team and had already tagged her cyclist. I had the worst T1. I was not used to having sneakers on so I started taking off my suit before my sneakers. I got all out of my routine and took way more time than needed. Next time I’ll skip the sneakers and maybe go for crocs or barefoot. I had two women in front of me to catch. I made my way out of the camp road and was in my 3rd highest gear as I approached the intersection for the main road. There were five volunteers and one was stopping me because of a truck while the other volunteer was stopping the truck. I was so frustrated, the athletes never get stopped. I should have switched to an easier gear when I was slowing down but spaced it and had to go from nearly a stop in the gear I was in. That used some energy I wasn’t planning for.
Once out on the road there was a longer hill and my legs were heavy but figured once I got over it they’d settle in. Not the case, they felt that way the whole time. I usually run between 200 and 220 for power depending on the course. My average was 186. I just couldn’t shake it. The course was an out and back and so many of the women going out were cheering me on and I was doing the same. I’ve never ever experienced that!
Retuned and switched to run very fast. I was very different being the only one in TA with all eyes on me.
I went to grab my race belt and it got hung up on the bike rack. I always try to get it on before leaving TA as some races require that. Next time I’m grabbing and going then putting it on once I am running.
The course wound through the camp on gravel it was fun vs. being on the road. My legs still didn’t feel light and fast but I just tried to push through it. I popped out on the road and up a gradual hill to mile 1 hit the split at 6:44 and wasn’t super happy with that. Kept going and passed the 1st water station. The volunteer was so excited she cheered me on took a few photo, that’s another first. The run course merged back with the bike course and back to camp. I saw where mile two was on the drive in. Looked at watched and knew I wasn’t going to negative split it –faster then my first mile-. I hit mile 2 in 6:45 that’s pretty consistent! I felt good about that but my goal is to be closer to 6 mins. As I turned in camp I had about ¾ of mile left. I tried to pick it up and saw Steve running towards me. He told me what was left of the course and that I had about 2 mins until the finish line. He’s great!! I rounded one of the last corners and the arrow pointed to the right. There was a hard right and then another right corner, I was confused I kept going and finally saw the next arrow around the bushes. After the next corner I saw Vince and mile 3 6:39 He was clapping and said "Give them good show!" I popped out of the woods and into the grass, the crowd was going wild!! It felt so cool. I won the whole race. To know it before crossing the finish line is unusual.
In triathlon the start is separated by waves so you don’t know where you are until you finish and look at results. Well this race was smaller so we all started together and I knew where I was the whole time. I finished in 1:01:59 again. Looking back I could have finished in under an hour- due to the sneaker mix up in T1 and legs not feeling great, maybe next year!
As I looked for Gina and Steve so many spectators said great job to me. It was amazing how good it felt. You never get that because no one knows how you finish until the results are posted. I hugged Gina, Steve and Christine and Vince met up and shook my hand. I said it was a great course and told him about the last turn. He hoped others wouldn’t get confused.
I went out for my cool down run in the opposite direction to cheer on the rest of the women. The next runner was Kerry and she was confused too. So I moved the 2nd arrow into sight and continued my run. I turned around and headed back to the finish to cheer on everyone else.
Steve met me and suggested I do a 15 min spin because my legs weren't great. Next weekend is my 1st Olympic and tomorrow Steve and I are previewing the bike and run course. I told him I wanted to cheer on the other women. He said it's better to spin first. Vince overheard us and he said you’ll have enough time. Still didn't want to ride but I knew what was best for me.
I felt funny going back out on course I didn’t want it to seem like I was showing off. I cheered for anyone I saw and then took a side road. I came back and startled the volunteers who were picking up the cones because all the cyclists were on the run. He thought I was still racing.
I made it back to the finish line to cheer on more racers. They made an announcement for everyone to go to the finish. The next triathlete to finish was 76 and raced the whole thing. It was so inspiring and she was running too! I stuck my hand out for her to slap and started the line of hands for her.
Once all athletes were in it was time to eat! Chicken, steak tips, roasted veggies, rice, salad, multiple types of bread and tea lemonade and water. It was delicious!!
After that, the camp director said a few words and told us that $25,000 was raised! Enough for 18 girls to go to camp, wow!!
Then they acknowledged the camp alumni and started awards with oldest age group first. That was nice. Then they asked if Meghan Skidmore was still around. I thought they were going to say something about my accomplishments but I was the fastest runner so I received a gift certificate for a free pair of Sketchers! That's another first; receiving an award for the fastest split.
They did some more recognition and then finished with overall winner. This was totally backwards then all other award ceremonies. I liked it. It gave a change for age groupers to shine first. I was surprised they didn’t bring up 2nd and 3rd place for pictures. I won a Huckins Tri knit hat!
It was fun day and a great race!