Monday, May 11, 2015

St. Anthony's Triathlon

Race Day Temp: 80º
                 Humidity: 98%
                 Light to moderate winds
                 Water temp: 84º

Start time: 7:03 am
Arrival: 5:40 am

It was still dark when we pulled into the VIP parking lot, yes I personally paid for VIP parking! Finding parking in a city was one less thing I wanted to worry about and it was so worth it. Plus Gina didn't have lo lug around my pack for the whole race.

I was so nervous but in a good way. I set up transition and walked past the race announcer and he looked up my number and saw I was from NH. He called me out and mentioned it must be tough coming from the north and racing here I smiled and agreed and chatted with him for a minute or two.

Because the race is so big bikes cannot leave transition the morning of the race so I did my standard  running warm up to get my legs ready. I returned 15 mins later and was nearly soaked in sweat.
Steve and I chatted about all parts of the race. Here I think he is telling me some waves will be small and some will be big. Just kidding I have no idea what he is saying.

The swim was a point to point so I had to be sure to build in time to walk to the start and Steve and I talked more strategy. At this point I zone in on just the swimming and forget about biking and running. He tried showing me a huge tree for sighting because the water was so choppy but we were too close to shore to see it. The swim was parallel to the beach for a while then it turned out to sea. 

Steve and I way out in the point finding the BIG palm tree to sight on

The male pros started followed by the female pros then the elite females and males together. That was different usually males and females are separate. As we walked out to the start buoys I thought to myself what am I doing in this wave. Then that passed and I felt special and proud that I challenged myself to register as an elite. Even if I finished last in the category I was going to be ok with that. 

We treaded water for about a minute then the count down began I shifted my body to horizontal as Steve and I practiced in the pool. It takes a few seconds to go from treading water vertically to being in the horizontal swim position so might as well get there before the gun goes off. 

BANG!! I swam as hard as I could for the first 100 yds or so to get position and the more I sighted the more swimmers drifted away from me. I tried my best to draft and deal with the choppy water.  Before I reached the first buoy the wave of swimmers had big gaps in it. After I turned to sea the waves got bigger and I swallowed so much water I had to break into breast stroke a few times. It was not my best swim. Last summer my average swim was around 27:00 and I have improved a lot over the winter. I clocked a 35:00 so I had a lot of catching up to do. 

As I got closer to the shore I began to visualize the bike course. We drove it and rode it so I had all the pieces together in my head, yup all 24 miles and 27 intersections/corners. I started drifting past the exit due to the current something I forgot about in the ocean I had to re-sight and locate the stairs.

I climbed the stairs a bit dizzy from the waves and being horizontal for awhile and ran into transition. 

I knew exactly where my bike was in the sea of about 2,000. As I exited T1 the announcer mentioned Stacy Sweetser of Sweetwater Swim Studio and myself right behind her both of us from NH. She started 13 minutes behind me and passed me in the swim. Shes an excellent swimmer glad I took a swim session with her! 

The first 1/4 to 1/2 mile of the bike course was a brick road but I was prepared for it, it was actually fun and I felt like I was racing like the pros on cobblestone! 

I passed her before we got to pavement and she said go get em' Meg! Once on the course I was able to visualize each turn and prep for it. I looked down at my computer to check in with wattage and cadence but I forgot to put it on my bike so I had to go with feel. At first it threw me but after a few seconds I let it go and forgot about it. I tried to bridge gaps and stay with those that passed me for as long as possible. I drank a ton in the first 10 miles and negotiated the corners at speed while pedaling. I took my gel a little earlier then planned but it worked out well. As I was coming back into the venue I start spinning a little higher and lower the power just a smidge so my legs are fresher for the run. I had picked out a spot during the preview but I was getting close to passing another girl so I went for it before the mark and it was a confidence booster so it was a good move.

Back to the cobblestone and into transition I picked my spot out and switched over to run. I should have taken a few seconds to wipe my feet because I paid for it later. As I run in with my bike I try to have quick turnover and light feet to prep for the run.

Running out is always so exciting for me, the course is lined with spectators cheering everyone on it's very easy to get caught up with that and run faster then I should but it feels so good. I knew the run course so I tried to push through each mile as fast as I could. At mile three my 100% waterproof super sticky bandaid starting peeling off. I ignored it and kept going. The cool water at the aid stations helped and I dumped as many cups of water on myself as I could.

Between mile four and five it got hard and painful. The temp was high and the dirt I didn't wipe from my feet started rubbing in the insole of my shoe, I don't wear socks so after while it was getting raw. I changed my stride a little and it helped but it didn't go away. I just kept pushing it out of my head and knew I was getting closer to the finish. Once I hit mile five I did the best I could to complete that mile faster than the last. Coming down the last straight away I focused on my form and pretended those in front of me were pulling me closer to them. That always helps!

I rounded the last corner into the parking lot to the finish chute and gave it my all. I finished just behind Stacy we congratulated each other as she waited for her husband.

My feet hurt and my legs were noodles but I did it, I raced with the Elites! I finished in two hours and thirty four minutes placing me 8th of 13 in the Elite women and 33 of 48 Elite men!

I found Steve and Gina and they gave me the biggest hugs, they were so proud of me.

When it's hot I usually jump back in the water but the temp was 83º so I found a shower to lower my body temp.

It was a great intro to my season.

As for meeting the criteria for my pro card, I wasn't fast enough. I needed to finish with in 8% of the fastest pro female. Her time was 2:00:30 I was 34 minutes behind her, a 2:12 would have met that criteria. Even a few of the pro women didn't finish in that time.

It was an incredible experience and as I get into my season that gap will close. It might take a few seasons to get that close but I was happy with how I did and where I placed!

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