After an evening of nonstop laughter I was so ready for race morning to come at 4am. Michelle, Steve, Christopher and I traveled to the race site and got a primo parking spot. After racking our bikes and getting THE CLOSEST transition spots we hopped in the car and people-watched for an hour. What a total hoot. Triathletes are just funny. They are so different than runners who usually stretch and act calm. Triathletes like to walk around all nervous like, spend unimaginable amounts of time in the port-a-pottie, and strut around wearing too little clothing for 4:30am. They also like to ride their bikes around with no helmets to warm up, which can get them DQed. Doh!
Most of the PC crew did a warm up run together, and I probably shouldn’t have gone with them. I was in the second wave and as I got to the swim beach and pulled on my wetsuit I heard the gun for the first wave. I had 4 minutes to get my two caps and goggles on, get in the water, find the right spot to start, and get ready. Boom, I was off and feeling rushed. It was a typical swim for me with a moderate amount of body bumping, and some settling. I sighed pretty well and seemed to hit each buoy with consistency. As we turned the last buoy the next wave started to pass me. I had fun jumping on 4 different guys feet from this group, catching a 30 second draft and giving myself a reason to push push push.
As we exited the water I looked down and my watch said 26 something. My first thought…the swim is short. Ha! Give yourself some credit Sonja! The two minute run to transition was tough in the wetsuit, but a little fun too. Turns out the swim was a bit short, but the swim plus run to transition seemed to be closer to a normal mile swim time. 28:15 was my official swim time…so my first time seeing the 28’s in a race. There was still lots of room for improvement in my swim execution, but it’s getting stronger.
T1 was great. I enjoyed having the primo spot, and it was oddly reassuring to see Steve and Michelles bikes on either side of mine. I was sandwiched by two of my favorite triathletes. 43 seconds later I was on the bike.
So the bike was a total sight unseen course for me. I had heard rumors about the hills and that it was pretty but had never ridden the course. It took awhile to get going. Steve and I just had a pow-wow last week about my TT form and so I was still “messing around” with where to sit, how to sit, how to pedal, how to feel comfortable, and what gear to be in. It took some time. Troy and Chris were ALL OVER the course and they are seriously the loudest cheerers I have even encountered. They really do it up good. Anthony caught me several miles in, and the Tyler caught me a few miles after that. I know I can bike with Tyler so I put some “giddy” in the “up” and started to go hard. I kept Tyler in sight and used him to keep me focused and accountable. The hills were great and Troy said it was fun to be on the course and to watch me eat up all the ladies ahead of me. I just tried to consistently pass people and put in a hard effort. On the last stretch down Wilson Steve passed me and I really wanted to keep him in sight. It was great to ride behind my coach and to watch him in action.
As we came into T2 Steve was first, then Tyler, then me, but we were all within 30 seconds of each other. When I entered transition and racked my bike Steve was departing (and we were racked next to each other). That was cool. I had trouble getting on my second shoe, but even with that, a 38 second T2.
I rolled out of T2 and saw Tyler ahead. I worked my way up to him and told him to jump on my shoulder. He hopped on and we ran to mile 1 together. I looked at my watch and in my running stupor I couldn’t get the correct words out and threw down an F-bomb. Poor Tyler thought that I was upset with the first mile split (which was 6:57) and claims that I “took off”. But…this is not true. The f-bomb came b/c I was trying to get the right words out. I was perfectly happy with 7 minute pace. I did however see SEVERAL ladies in front of me, and the truth is when ya gotta go, ya gotta go. I had to go get those girls. So I took them one at a time and tried not to over think things. Whenever I would come up on a girl I would straighten up my form and put a little surge in. This way I would give of the impression that I was running much harder, and then they would feel like they couldn’t go with me. It worked over and over again. Troy and Chris were near the turn around and again…wild and crazy cheering ensued!
At the turn around I saw five ladies very close ahead and vowed to get them all. A mile later I had them, but I knew my good friend Amy was on my heels. By mile 5 she had eaten me up, much like I tried to eat up all the other ladies I passed. Ha! What goes around comes around! She had a terrific pace going so I just tried to lock into her effort and drive harder with her.
Here I am running my guts out and it was crazy to see Annie playing away! As we come around the last turns I see this lady ahead and she looks my age. She is clearly running slower, but I am running out of real estate. I watch Amy kick and eat her up, and even though I am kicking, the finish line is coming too quickly. We cross 6 seconds apart and I see she is in my age group. Doh. That was a tough one.
After a 5 minute section of feeling very near puking (I’ve never had that at the end of a race, but I think it was from the sprinting) Steve and I headed out for a cool down and to chear on others.
Practical Coaching had a GREAT day. Steve won his age group, Michelle was 2nd in hers, Beth 3rd, Barry 3rd, Anthony 4th, and I was also 3rd in mine. A great day, and a testament to what a great coach Steve is!
Results are here
3rd in F25-29