This was the third time I've raced this race. It's a great local race, one where the race management just consistently puts on an excellent event. The post race food is awesome and for me it's like a huge reunion. I felt like I knew 100 people that were racing and spent so much of the morning and afternoon catching up with friends.
Also, this race is in my husbands home town, which means we get to spend the night at his parents house the night before. They take great care of us, and Roger always comes out and takes photos, which is just awesome!
The transition is an "open transition" so it's first come first served. Which means I was of course standing about 10 deep back in the line at 4:50am to get into transition first. I'm not Type A....what are you thinking? I got a great spot, same exact spot that I got 2 years ago, yup, still Type A back then too. I set up my stuff. I really try to keep everything as simple as possible (shocker?).
PIC came in a little later and she racked right next to me which is always so fun. She was starting 4 minutes back, which meant she might pass me in the water, dang it. We discussed that if she caught me in the water we may get to "play" on the bike, legally of course! I didn't want her to pass me in the water, nobody wants PIC to pass her in the water, but it's not like they/me have a choice!
I walked down to the water, chatting with all sorts of friends along the way. It was a good thing I started in one of the later waves because it took me a solid 15 minutes to get my TYR Hurricane wetsuit on. Its tight and I love it. We discovered a hole in PICs wetsuit after she loaned it out, that was no bueno. We had a little chat about "loaning" things, a chat that CV has had with us several times, yet we still keep making mistakes on that front. Insert: Team PIC banging head on wall over and over.
I felt pretty good in the water, especially after I peed in my wetsuit. Now nobody will ever loan me a wetsuit. If your swimming is anything like mine you usually can't really tell how things are going to go with those first strokes. I had watched a few waves go off when I was putting on my suit and after confirming with Troy I decided to line up way left. It was a more direct line to the first buoy and seemed more sparsely populated.
This week has been a tough week for me in the pool. Chuck is having me train straight through this race. As he says
"we need to build a pan that can handle the bigger fish-frying"
This week I have had good days in the pool, bad days in the pool, double days in the pool, and an open water swim that was blissful. I've been thinking about the swim a lot this week. Mostly wondering why I am Ms.LackOfConsistency when it comes to the water. Some days I'm on from the get go and 1:33 pace in the meter pool is cake. Other days 1:40 pace has me panting at the wall, and a few days ago, 10 100s into a 20x100 set I went from crap to fantastic and held onto fanstaic the rest of the swim.
I guess it's better than Ms.ConsistentlySlow...I've been there.
They count us down and I GO. I GO really quite hard (for me). It think the fact that I forgot the scooper for my First Endurance PreRace and thus had to guess at what a teaspoon is was partly to blame. I was on triathlete-legal caffinated overload. Half way to the first buoy I look around, find some awesome feet and hold onto them the entire swim. The PreRace had me pretty focused and I swam my ASS off, the whole time screaming in my head "Chase the bubbles, chase the bubbles". I never even touched her feet I was swimming so hard trying to stay on them.
I swam a 25:58 which includes a 1/4 mile run up to transition. It was my fastest swim at this race by a few minutes. It was hands down the best swim I have ever had in a triathlon in my life. Michelle's bike was still there when I got to transition. Part of me was shocked, and the other part of me looked longingly back down the line of people running into T1 to see if I could see her. I assumed she was close.
Onto the bike. I think I have been jaded by the sprint I raced last weekend. I had this new sense of pain and I was off to find it again. I found it alright, yup, I found it on the climb up to Horsetooth reservoir. I forgot to put on my heart rate strap that morning so I was free, unencumbered, unaccountable for the sheer absurdity that my heart was beating at. I loved not being tied to that little bugger.
On the way back into town there are a series of rollers. My legs were squarely underneath me in this section and I could feel the watts in my quads. They were fired up and wanted more. There was a group of boys that went by me and I enjoyed the "pass the group of boys", "watch the boys all pass me", "get my legal distance behind them", "repass the boys". That little game had me hard charging all the way back to transition. My new bike QR Blackjack was CRAZY today. She loves going fast and the better shape I get in, the more she is going to shine. She has a crazy streak in her, so I just hold on and pedal!
I get into T2, set Blackjack on the rack, and I sit down.
Left Shoulder: "Sonja, why are you sitting down"
Right Shoulder: "Because I'm tired"
Left Shoulder: "Sonja, you've never sat down in a triathlon"
Right Shoulder: "I'm just going to put my shoes on and then I will get up and run"
Left Shoulder: "I think that's a good idea"
Out I ran and the only thought that went through my head for the first mile was "Sonja, you biked way too hard, your legs are trash". We hit the one mile mark and even though I knew exactly where it was I couldn't believe I had 5.2 more to go.
They were painful, all 6.2 of those miles. I enjoy that this race is an out an back run because you can get a sense of where you are. I was passed by a woman who was 27 and she was haulin'. I was really glad she wasn't in my age group. I dished out about 20 low 5s on the course. Lots of friends out there racing.
Troy and Annie and my parents in laws were near the turn around and Troy told me I was winning my age group. That's always the goal for me.
My mantra for the day was "Never Settle" and I didn't. My legs cussed at me the whole way but I managed to push them to keep running hard and not slow down. Good legs!
The last 1.2 miles were awesome. There were so many people cheering and whooping it up. I was having a blast and smiling up a storm. I just felt like I had a good day and I was happy with the effort my body put out. The kids ran and cheered when I went by and Troy gave me a big Whoop Whoop!
Annie held out a feather for me as I ran into the finish line. She never ceases to amaze me with how much she loves being out at the races. It's so much fun for her to hang with all her buddies that she has met through the years. I know that she is creating memories that she will have for life, and I love all the different and unique people that she has the pleasure of interacting with. It's so good for the kiddos.
So, all in all, it turned out pretty darn good. I ended up with second overall in the race and got handed an envelope with a little bit of cash in it. Can't turn that one down and it was a huge surprise to me. Congratulations are in order to my podium mates Megan Riepma on her win and Wendy Mader as well.
Congratulations to everyone that raced this weekend. Huge props to all of you. I couldn't do it without my awesome sponsors who bail me out of all sorts of crazy things I get myself into like my own personal bondsman. Love all of you! A special thanks to Roger, my father in law, who took all the photos on this post. He so totally rocks!