What a day. What a weekend. For those bottom line first, get to the point kind of people, here’s the scoop. I ran, but not too hard. Then I tried to pass as many people as possible on the bike and, for the most part, it worked. Then I ran again, but not as long this time and finished just as my right hamstring threatened to go into lock down. Run course may be a touch short, but just the right distance for me apparently. The whole thing took me a touch over 2 hours and 2 minutes. This put me in 3rd in my age group and 4th female overall, a best case scenario result!
Now for those who want a little more detail, the course was a lot tougher than it appeared. Many sharp turns and short, steep pitches to go up and down both on the run and bike. The part of the run course going over the foot bridges had to be at least 20 percent grade at a couple points. Ouch. So glad I did hill repeats in my buildup, although my rep hill is only about 10%. Better than nothing. Plus, doing a loop of the bike course Friday was the right move too.
My first run was meant to keep some key people in sight while trying not to work TOO hard. We had all 44 and under women in the same wave, and I generally know who I should be running with if I’m running well. Names on the backs of the team kit were helpful here. Looking back over the results, I rolled into T1 6th in my age group and 15th female, but with several ladies in striking distance.
Time to test the bike legs. I had a thought that my bike split at Tri Nats might not be equaled because it’s just not the same thing riding a hard almost 40k after a reasonably quick 10k run instead of a lazy river swim. No matter, though. I expect to ride past a lot of people and ride as if I will. So I do. No women pass me, but that’s because the two women who ride faster are already well ahead. Few men pass until the second loop, which was thankfully a lot less crowded than I expected. Very, very little drafting was seen, but that’s likely due to the prolific rain that decided to come down even harder while we rode. I dismount the bike having moved up quite a ways in the field, but I don’t know how many are up ahead beyond the obvious Gail K and Sue H. No women are in sight in front of me.
Onto run #2, my running legs feel better than expected. I also get some props from the announcer as I head out, which is incredibly cool. I smile and wave because that’s the fun thing to do. The rain, naturally, has abated by now. On the twisty infield portion of the run, I don’t see anyone close behind, so that’s a relief. However, I know there are fast runners back there, so I keep my feet rolling as quickly as they’ll go and take the course one nasty hill at a time hoping to maintain my position. Fortunately, I do, with a 7th fastest run in my age group (16th out of the women).
The formula to my success? Run pretty well, ride even better. I’m pleased that my run came around well enough in time for this race. From some race photos, I see some things I can do over the winter to tweak the form and hip stability, which gives me some real hope for some solid run speed next year.
Favorite moments of the day:
- The tough conditions. Rain and a technical course. Oh yeah…I like it TOUGH!
- Remy’s enthusiastic pulling on the makeshift leash Gary made with his belt and joyful splashing around in the puddles and rain.
- Names on most everyone’s butt. A great mental diversion while pushing myself physically.
- Crossing the finish line to hear Tim Y call out my name as being 39 years young. Well, well. Finally old enough to be “young.” Ha!
- Dawhead from Slowtwitch approaching me after the race to tell me that I’m a lot faster than he thought I was. OK, I paraphrase, but that was the gist.
- Standing on the podium with duathlon rockstars Sue H and Gail K. They had a race of their own going on waaaay up front. Can I tell you how competitive the 35-39 womens’ field was? I mean, geez.
- My Adidas running flats courtesy of Jim from Raleigh Running Outfitters. Finally a pair of shoes that feels built for my stride, plus an eye-popping blue and high viz orange color scheme.
- Hearing my name out on the course. Being local has its perks!