Remy woke up earlier than usual race morning, which was perfect, because that’s when we needed to get up anyway. It’s still quite a challenge dealing with all the extra gear and variables, but Gary was a trooper and helped out a ton. It also helped to have most items prepped the night before. So began my first race day post partum and as a Raleigh Running Outfitters team member.
Joining me on the starting line were rock starts Kerry Troester and Anne Basso. Kerry’s an ex-marathoner who’s been tearing up the triathlon circuit the past couple years. Anne celebrated her graduation from a grueling Ph.D. program by spending the past few months in Australia training and racing like a mad-woman, making her the odds on favorite for the win by a huge margin.
It was a cool morning and we started the race at about 40 degrees. Based on my recent, but minimal tempo work, I knew my run would be nowhere near what it used to be and picked a conservative start point. Then I felt good and wove my way up to a less crowded position along with Kerry as Anne blazed off into the distance with the fast guys. The lack of fitness caught up with me after the first of the two lap 5 mile opening run and I rolled into T1 “comfortably” in 3rd position. Because my primary goal in this outing was to have fun and not screw up any of my logistics, this was fantastic. I later discovered that I averaged around 6:40′s for this 5 miles, which wildly surpasses what my training paces would suggest is possible, but I’m a racehorse. Put me on a starting line and I deliver so long as I haven’t burned myself out with too much intensity in training.
Out on the bike, I felt surprisingly strong and passed a few people. Eventually, around 14 miles or so, I caught up to Kerry, much to my surprise. Awesome. I must be riding well! Not knowing what to expect, I hoped to average around 20 mph, but instead averaged 21.2mph on a fairly windy and cold day. Very exciting to see this so early on in the season! The weather report says we only had winds of around 8-9 mph, but it was more than that down near the lake, which is where we were on the bike a lot. Handling with the disc and Hed3 were tricky at times, but it was good practice.
While out on the bike, I had noticed a few people take a wrong turn where a police car was positioned. I didn’t know if the cop was pointing for people to turn or not, but an earlier mistake in the day ended up helping me out. Gary and I made a wrong turn when driving to the race and ended up taking the long way to the race site and drove in on the final portion of the bike course. This helped me to remember exactly where we were supposed to go despite the confusion. I finished the bike and didn’t think anything more of it.
I transitioned to the second run on jelly legs, which might have worried me if I hadn’t had a few surprisingly strong transition runs in training. I knew from experience that my legs would come around just fine and they did. I didn’t feel super springy or speedy, but I did keep my turnover nice and high managing 7 min pace. Not a speed I’d be happy with a few years ago, but super for me right now. I knew that after passing Kerry just before halfway on the bike course, holding her off on the second run was going to be a task that I might not be up to, but I didn’t worry about it too much because my race goals had nothing to do with overall placing.
As I cruised along, a few enthusiastic volunteers told me I was first female. Ummmm….WHAT? Where’s Anne? I thought that maybe she was so far ahead of me that they had forgotten about her, so I kept an eye out on the out and back course. I finally saw her as I finished up the first loop. Odd. Kerry was right behind her and told me that they had made a wrong turn on the bike course. Oh, crap! I know how frustrating that kind of thing is. I have been in those shoes.
But this day I stayed on course and earned a ginormous lead as a result. No sense in pushing the speed and effort envelope any further than necessary. Might as well enjoy it even if isn’t the kind of win I would truly appreciate. It doesn’t take a rocket genius to know that Anne should have won by a large margin and that it would have taken a steely effort on my part to hold off a charging Kerry, but you know what they say. A win’s a win, and I’m pleased I could deliver what is probably the first Raleigh Running Outfitters tri team win of the season. Plus, what a confidence builder for me still carrying a little post baby pooch and chest size to match!
In closing, I’d like to make a quick comment about the Finish Strong guys. Although several people ended up off course during the bike, they handled the issue like professionals and didn’t duck responsibility by blaming the athletes. I’m completely confident that they’ll fully investigate the issue and make changes for next year’s event to make it better.
Link to results.
Some photos Gary took.