If I had to sum up my thoughts going into this race in one word, it’d be “uncertain”. I had not raced, aside from a few running races, since… um… a year before this race!
My parents were in town, which was AWESOME. My mom hadn’t been to one of my races since Quassy last year, and my dad hasn’t seen me race since… college? My fault for moving to DC, FL, and AZ, not theirs!
Anyway, I was having a great weekend with my parents, but I wasn’t super-excited to race. I wanted to put on a good show for them and I wasn’t sure what would happen!
We picked up my packet the day before, and someone tried to give my dad their valet ticket at the host hotel. Ha!
Race day came, and nerves were calm.
I set up transition, hung out for a bit in the car, and got ready to race.
Before I knew it – my wave was off!
My goal was to keep my HR ~162 for the first 5k. I wanted to more or less ignore pace, because it’s a false flat type course for the first bit, then a real downhill and uphill. I was successful, though my nose started bleeding around the 2 mile mark. WTF? Oh well. I kept myself in control and raced my race – NOT the speedy athletes around me!
This course is great because you run by the start about halfway though, so I saw the family, and Chrissy, her husband and her dog, so much while running!
First 5k: 25:13
Transition was fairly smooth for not having practiced… on to the bike!
My bike goal was HR in 155-170 range. The course is pretty hilly, and it’s a 2x out and back. There’s a pretty long climb to start, then a few rollers to the turn around. I started out next to someone whose magnet was hitting their sensor on EVERY rotation of her wheel! Why she didn’t stop, I’ll never know. We leapfrogged a few times, and the noise was making me crazy! I floored it to get away from her.
I was doing well, and tried to avoid checking out my speed. I really thought I’d be slower than last year with my lack of cycling for the first 6 months of the year…
I got back down to transition faster than expected. Chrissy saw me and yelled “turn left!” for the u-turn. She’s a fan of the obvious type cheers (“keep running”, “go that way”) and it made me laugh!
I kept leapfrogging this girl who, I swear, slowed down every time she passed me. I put a target on her.
I was super focused and going great until I was on my way to the final turnaround. My nose started bleeding again. It was everywhere! Seriously – what is wrong with me? I’m fairly susceptible to them, but this is the first time it’s happened during an event. I didn’t have anything to stop it. I was wiping it away with my hands. I was wishing I had sleeves or a tissue… I had a PowerBar Gel wrapper in my tri top pocket and that was it! Why is this happening? Then I remembered I was still racing. Focus. I remembered seeing the SAG vehicle just before the final big downhill and told myself if I worked my butt off until I got there, I could stop and grab a paper towel, napkin, tissue, sock, bike rag… something!
(note the awkward aero bar grip due to blood and PowerBar gel creating a gross, sticky situation)
The SAG vehicle was gone, so I didn’t stop, but at least the bleeding had slowed. I recovered a little on the big hill back to transition, and got ready for run #2.
Bike time: 01:09:39 (18.7mph)
On the run out of transition, I ran by the aid station manned by the Tri Girls. I quickly scanned for something absorbant, but didn’t see any. I asked, but no one had anything. Oh well, onward! My parents and Chrissy were just a few yards down the road. Someone reached out for a high five, and I held up my hands saying “No high-5’s! There’s blood all over my hands!” and my mother captured this beautiful photo… (yes, my left index finger is dark red)
Luckily, no more nosebleeds in the final 5k! I just tried to run hard. I reminded myself on the gradual downhill, and the bigger downhill, that this was all of the free speed I was getting for the rest of the race. I’m very proud of my pacing, because I passed quite a few people, and NO ONE passed me. Not one. Awesome! I was 266th overall off the bike and finished 211th. Boom! I even passed the girl I targeted on the bike in the first mile.
That last hill – a 100ft climb over ¼ mile – was tough, but the finish was ahead. I pressed on. It hurt.
Final 5k: 25:37 (only 7 sec/mile slower than the first!!)
I said hi to the parents, bye and thank you to Chrissy, her husband, and her dog, and went to get my official results.
I was 4 full minutes faster than last year! 3 minutes off run times, 1 off the bike!
02:02:30 – Good enough for 6/9 in my AG – and a slot at Worlds!
VERY happy with the results, for sure. I think I’m feeling like I can race again 🙂