Saturday night, I went to a Casino Night that was a fundraiser for the Kyle Kerr Foundation. It was awesome. I had never been to an event like that before. For once, my eating, drinking and gambling was going to a good cause 😉 It was a very well-run and inspiring event, but not the best pre-race event!
I woke up at 5am on Sunday for the nearly two hour drive up to the race. I struggled with what to eat. I should have planned ahead. I had some gluten-free oatmeal, but that was going to take time, and I just wanted to get out the door. I had a banana, a Lara bar, and some Clif Shot Bloks.
We got to Club Med and I pumped up my tires and checked in. In transition, I met a guy from a tri team I’m trying to join – he was pretty cool – and placed really well in the Olympic! As I was unpacking my bag, I realized I forgot my shoes! Luckily, I always have a pair of running shoes in my car. Luckily, Patrick made the trip back to the car for me so that I could finish setting up. I felt like I had such a small amount of stuff! Big switch going from 70.3 to Sprint distance, huh?
I put my Brooks and socks at transition, got changed into my tri outfit, and struggled into my wetsuit. I swam around a little bit, but I wished I could have ridden some. Transition closed about 45 minutes before the race started – the Olympic wave was a half hour before the sprint.
All of the sprint age group racers went in one wave. The athena, clydesdales, relays and first-timers were in the second wave.
I got into the water for the start and I secured my spot up front. The horn sounded and a pack quickly broke away. I caught up to them and hung on. My drafting was great until the buoy, then the pack dissolved a little. I had a good sight on the swim exit, so I just pushed towards it solo.
The wetsuit strippers were great! Seriously – my favorite part of wetsuit legal races.
Transition went really well. I felt like I must have been forgetting something because I didn’t really have anything to do other than put my helmet and sunglasses on, and toss my wetsuit, cap and goggles on the ground.
I hopped on my Fuji and started riding hard. It took FOREVER to get up to speed. My quads were sore. I had been mountain biking the day before, and adjusting my bike fit all week. Not exactly setting myself up for success, but I wasn’t too concerned about performance in this race. I probably averaged under 18mph for the first three miles, and over 20 for the last 7…
I passed a few people but I think they were all doing the Olympic. The wind picked up a little because a small rain shower rolled through – luckily I was off the bike by the time the rain hit. I was happy to be settled into a good pace and actually see numbers over 20. Coming back to transition, I saw the guy I had met that morning. I cheered for him, but I doubt he heard me.
The crowds at this race, though small, are incredibly enthusiastic. I’m fairly sure I had transition all to myself, and EVERYONE was watching me and cheering. I spent a little extra time putting socks on with my Brooks, because I really didn’t want blisters – I’d rather lose a few seconds.
I ran out of transition and picked my mantra: “Just keep moving fast.“ My legs were a bit fatigued – maybe from that Half Iron 2 weeks ago? – so I just told myself I could suffer through anything for under 30 minutes. With each glance at my watch, I converted my total distance into potential time remaining… and just kept telling myself X more minutes and it’d all be over! My pace was totally erratic. I settled down a bit when I realized I couldn’t see women ahead of me or behind me. My finishing position was fairly set, so slowing down or speeding up wouldn’t really matter too much.
It rained a bit during the run, and it was VERY welcome and refreshing!
As I ran towards the finish line, Patrick told me:
I WAS SECOND OVERALL FOR THE WOMEN!!!
The woman that beat me? Heather Gollnick. Yes, that one. The 5x Ironman winner AND the Triathlon director at Club Med. She beat me by TEN minutes. In a sprint. Holy cow!
At the awards ceremony, she gave me her first place plaque, and gave my second place one to the third place woman. It was basically the highlight of my morning!
With that, my 2011 tri season is OVER! There is a non-chip-timed just-for-fun reverse sprint-ish tri on Thanksgiving that I might do… but I’ll decide on that one the day of the race I think.
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