“You can never regret anything you do in life. You kind of have to learn the lesson from whatever the experience is and take it with you on your journey forward.” – Aubrey O’Day.
I love hometown races, it’s like a mini vacation without the expenses. We drove home on Friday, picked up my packet at Jamesville Beach then hurried home for Puppy and Mom Cuddles (and Pizza – so hungry). The next AM, I waited for the temperature to warm up (it was in the 40s!) prior to doing my shakeout bike and run. Felt good spinning with Timmy in his race set up and the shakeout run. After some lunch, Doug and I headed to Bike check in and to get our OWS in. Bike check in was smooth, knowing that it was going to rain, Timmy got covered so I hopefully wouldn’t have any shifting issues. I felt it was really important to me to get an OWS as I hadn’t swam in open water yet. Originally swim practice was at 12, so we arrived at Jamesville Beach in order to swim and get home to rest up. Unfortunately, they pushed the swim back so the lifeguards could practice more for the race. After we groaned a little bit, we just used the time to relax and people watch. Finally 1PM rolled around and we learned they were going to let us swim part the course. I’m pretty sure this was news we all wanted to hear as the designated swim area would have been packed with lots of triathletes getting their shakeout swim in. First thought – thank GOD my wetsuit still fit haha. I haven’t gained much weight but it was a slight panic as I probably should have tried it on prior to the day before the race. Next thought was that the water was mid 60s – thank goodness again.. Once in, I felt pretty good, nice and relaxed and not really anxious. Silly male swimmers totally cut me off and I had to swim around them. I took it as a good sign for tomorrow. I was so excited to use the OWS function on my watch but totally forgot to start it. Fail. Oh well I made a note to not forget it for tomorrow 😉 After our swim, Doug and I headed back home where I just cuddled with Pippin for the rest of the night.
Race Morning: After crawling into bed at 8PM (I hadn’t been sleeping well all week) and waking up at 4AM, I realized that this was probably the best I had ever slept the night before a race. I rolled out of bed to have my pre-race breakfast of coffee, oatmeal, and a banana, got dressed and we were out the door and on our way by 4:50. I was surprisingly relaxed for the race despite being really unsure of where my fitness was. We were smooth sailing until we got 2 miles from the course. After 20 minutes of waiting in line, I jumped out of the car in front of the park to get to transition faster (also to not walk as far – you have to drive past transition to park). The weather forecast had been crazy all week for race day and fortunately it was supposed to be ok for race. I won’t lie, I was a little nervous for the rain after IMLP last year. Obviously though it started to pour as I was loading Timmy and getting my stuff ready in transition. I wasn’t thrilled but once set up (flipping bike/run shoes over, leaving garbage bag shifting, etc, etc) I hit the porta potty and found a tent where other triathletes were holed up to be out of the rain. Once settled I started to get cold as I was pretty damp – thankful I put the extra towels in Mom’s car, I called and asked if they would bring one. It kept me warm and I waited out the rain before I finished up in transition. Side note: the amount of cars/ people who waited to the last minute and barely got to transition on time was outrageous. I think I would have been sick if it had been us. Thankful we left so early!
Once I was done in transition I hit the line for the bathrooms one more time prior to the swim start. I was awfully anxious at this point because the swim waves started and here I am still in line. It was weird, even though I had plenty of time. After Mom and I made our way to the beach, where we saw Kim and we said our good byes. I got in the water to warm up a little bit. The water was perfect – it was up to 69 and after a few minutes of circles I got out and waited in line. In line I started to get really nervous/emotional. Thankfully Kim gets me and just gave me another hug. Side note: I did my first ever triathlon with Kim in Ithaca so it was special that I was able to race with her in her first 70.3 :). I also finally saw Rebecca, Dom and Regina which reminded me how cool it was that we all started together 🙂 Once our wave was in the water I started feeling a little less anxious and just reminded myself that I had done this before and just stick to the race plan.
Swim: 37:27 – Once we were off I had to fight a little to find some room, tried to be relaxed and tried to get moving. After a few minutes I was ok. Definitely less anxious than last year but it still took 4 buoys to get comfortable. It seemed to be quick on the way out, before I knew it I was at the 8th buoy and closing in on the right turn. Once across I tried to just focus on the count down. This is where I lost a little focus and it started to feel so long to get back to shore (Plus I was getting a nice wetsuit hickey.. it still hurts). I tried to focus on my form and find good feet, though they were all over the place (or I was) and i kept getting to close. So I moved out to go around and we just played that game for a few buoys. Once I got to the 5th buoy I snapped back into race mode and wanted to see how many people I could catch, despite feeling so tired – I was praying for a PR in regards to effort and trusting Doug. I somehow managed to catch a lot of people about 10M in front of me before the last buoy and kept my momentum going, reminding myself to just get to the beach and the amazing wetsuit strippers! Once to the beach, I took a deep breath as I crossed the timing mat and then decided to look at my watch, saw the time – YES 5 min PR – and knew it was going to be a good day. The wetsuit strippers pulled off my wetsuit and I was off towards the long T1!
T1: 3:36 (.33 mi). Once the out of my wetsuit – I was running towards transition and smiled once I saw Doug and my mom. Once I got to transition, I ran to Timmy and tried to kept my composure getting ready to take off on the bike!
Bike: 2:54.34 – Not going to lie, I was ready to be on the bike. I was ready to see what I could do. The goal was to have a overall avg HR of 153. Now if you don’t know, the bike course basically goes uphill for the first 11 miles of the course. However, it is what it is. No one does a half or full ironman because it’s easy. What was better about this part of the course? Kim and I would go back and forth, so that was fun 🙂 Some guy was a jerk and was riding way out by the middle of the road as Kim was trying to go by, fortunately he got a card going up the hill on sweet road.
Ultimately, I focused on being aero/relaxed, eating and drinking for the first hour. Once we turned to head towards DeRuyter Lake I was able to get into a good rhythm. It was amazing to me how few women were out on the course, I felt like I was only passing men. Don’t get my wrong, that was awesome. A few of them would joke with me about getting ‘chicked’ but it was weird the numbers aren’t more even.
Once around the lake the course is all rolling completely focused on the task at hand. Unlike the swim, I was focused the entire time on the bike. I’m really proud of that. My favorite part of the bike course is when we turn in Truxton and head up north pass Greek Peak and Tinker Falls. For some reason being in the green forests and rolling hills just makes me really happy. This is also around the time I realized how fast I was cycling and trying to figure out when I would get back to T2. With about 20 miles to go, I knew that I’d have a decent PR as long as nothing terrible happened. Needless to say, nothing did! 🙂 I was even told I was a strong cyclist! I made it back to T2 with a 11 min bike PR!
Bike Nutrition: 1 bottle Strawberry Osmo Active, 1 bottle Mango Osmo Active, 1 bottle Mixed with Osmo Preload and Mango Active. 1 pack of Tropical Fruit Clif Bloks, I pack of Strawberry Clif Bloks, 1 Raspberry Huma Gel, 1 Pack of Honey Stinger Limeade Chews. 3 Caffeinated Salt Stick Capsules.
T2: 2:12 – T2 was pretty eventful. I got down a bottle an hour on the bike but wasn’t able to pee on the bike nor was I able to go while putting my shoes on. Needless to say.. I knew I’d have to pee the whole run (sorry if it was TMI).
Run: 1:41.47 – Leaving T2 I realized none other than Tom Garby was headed out to the run at the same time. Knowing he started a later wave, I knew he was having a good day (much better than last year ;)). However, I was running through my game plan in my head (sorry I wasn’t friendlier Tom!). I had my handheld and nutrition with me, so the goal was to be patient the first loop and then increase the HR on the second loop. First mile was right on.
This is where Doug told me I got off the bike 7th in my AG and that it was time to run people down. It was good to know where I was, but I reminded myself to be patient. I was so happy to be running, although knowing the swim and bike PRs I had I was a little nervous about where my legs were going to be for this. The run course is also pretty steep but I had a race plan that was similar to last year and I just kept chugging along.
Heading up the hill to the turnaround is the only time I saw Amy – who was having a great day – and cheered for her. The best part of a turn around on a hill – what goes up must come down. I also reminded myself that I only had to run up it once more – what a relief. For some reason this was really helpful. Seeing Katherine, Kim, Kim’s friend Alexis, Craig, Tom, Rebecca, Regina, Dom, Walter, Mike, Ofer, and Andy on the course was also exciting to me. It gives me strength to know that we’re all out there together, fighting for the common goal.
Heading back to finish the first loop was pretty uneventful. Gel at mile 4, sipped on the hand held at each mile, still having to pee, took sponges (Thank god), and poured water on my neck. Did this pattern the whole race. Saw Mom at the turn around and I knew I’d have to dig deep. Heading back up to the road from the grass field, I noticed my legs were a little heavy, but again, what goes up comes down and I recovered not the downhill. Doug was there again, telling me I looked good (unsure about that..) but that I looked better than everyone else out there. I kinda ignored it (sorry) and just kept doing what I was doing. It was time to do work. Headed back up to the turn around. Shuffling up the hill, just focused on getting to the top. The downhill was awesome, I stopped looking at my watch and just focused on 2 miles to go.. 1 mile to go .. downhill into the grass.. tried moving faster (no real luck).. could hear the finish line.. still had to pee.. get to the finish line.. almost cry at the finish line (unsure why I was so emotional – can’t wait to see those finish line pics.. not).. crossed finish line. Sigh of relief. Volunteers give me swag, water and shoved ice down my top (AMEN, thank you so much). I learned that I ran my way into 4th in my AG and had a overall time of 5:19.36 for a 14 min PR.
Run Nutrition: 2 Huma Gels (Mango and Strawberry – mi 4, mi 8), 10 oz of Osmo Nutriton Preload and Mango Active, 2 Caffeinated Salt Stick Capsules.
Post Race: Needed to find grass to pee. OMG. Wanted lemonade..? Unsure why I wanted more sugar but I did. Kind gentleman at the chiropractic college ask if I wanted to be adjusted.. as I was sitting in the grass.. I said – sure! Then my hands and toes started to be tingly (never had that before)… got adjusted. Sat with Mom. Storms started coming, ran to grab Timmy, went to car as we were warned to get shelter. The storm was really nothing and I felt bad for the people they made turn around and head back to the finish. I kept thinking about placid and how they didn’t pull anyone off the bike but the poor athletes here couldn’t finish their run. Oh well, I guess they were being smart! Sat in car, got stiff, decided to skip awards (they were canceled anyways). We watched people struggle to get out, cause chaos and be rude. Then we took the long way home.
Once home we cleaned up and headed to Oswego to one of my favorite food places, Rudy’s! The haddock sandwich, salt potatoes and mozzarella sticks were perfect post race! Bonus: It’s right on Lake Ontario!
Afterthoughts: I’m really proud of how this race went down, but also eager to work out the kinks. I need to make sure I’m really focused for the whole swim AND making sure that I’m swimming the way I swim in the pool and not fall into old habits. We think the tingling feeling came from being dehydrated. After getting home and drinking a huge lemonade, water and half a coke I was still 4 pounds lighter than the night before. So sweat test is headed my way. It’ll be interesting to see how my running is when I’m actually hydrated and with more running under my belt.
A big thanks to all those near and far who thought to send my well wishes and good luck. Thanks Coeur Sports for always making me feel so comfortable in there stylish kits and support. Thanks to the crew at Finger Lakes Running & Tri Co. Thanks to Osmo Nutrition for making products I like to drink. A big thanks to My Mother and Doug for all the support, dealing with my race week/day emotions, and for sitting with me when I need it. A big thanks to the Volunteers, Race Crew and Jamesville Park for having a safe race. Also, thank you to Sarah, now Gardner, for fixing me twice a month so I can wreck my body more!
Next race: Musselman on July 12th!