“The Most simple things can bring the most happiness.” – Izabella Scorupco
So about a week ago, I decided on a whim to travel back to Ithaca to visit and do one of my all-time favorite races, the Cayuga Lake Triathlon. This races means more to me than just being in my second home, but its where I was welcomed into the triathlon community and started my love of triathlon. In 2012, I wore bike shorts over my spandex shorts because I was worried about my lady parts hurting too much, then forgot to take them off and ran in them HA. Can you imagine if I could look back and tell myself then – embrace the chaffing and there will be a company that makes SUPER comfortable shorts. It’s where I used side stroke and breast stroke to get through the swim. Lastly, it’s where I still felt like a runner after my third stress fracture where I ran the fastest female 5k split. I finished 3rd in my AG in 1:31.30 not knowing anything about anything in regards to triathlon.
Following that race, in 2013, I did my first Olympic, signed up for my first full, and THEN did my first half. Side note: the Olympic distance is my least favorite – there’s just not enough time on the bike and run compared to the swim to make up for my swimming. Hence why I race the longer stuff – give me the extra .2 miles in the swim, 30 extra miles on the bike and 7 more miles on the run.
Back to THIS race though – I decided to do the Olympic, keeping in mind it has been 4 years since my first Olympic distance. I rolled into town Friday night, cried immediately driving through downtown, met up with two girlfriends (Liz and Alex) and we headed straight to Ithaca beer. I wanted this weekend to be pressure-free and above all have fun, especially as I hadn’t been back in Ithaca since I moved 10 months prior. After giggles, good food, and a few beers, we headed back to my Liz’s, where we then chatted until WAY past my bedtime. No regrets, none, it was so lovely.
Saturday came way too fast and I headed out for my ride and chatted with Alex. An hour ride was never enough before I moved and it sure wasn’t enough for today. It was over way too soon and I headed for my run, trying to keep it in ZR but was WAY to happy to be running in Ithaca. After the workouts, I met another friend for lunch, headed back to clean up and made my way to packet pickup, where I saw my coworkers and more friends. Eventually I grabbed a burrito – Viva I have missed you, and headed back to get off my feet, relax, which was perfect until bed.
Race AM: Woke up LATER than when I normally do for my early shift at work, so what a BONUS. Ate my normal pre-race bfast and headed to Taughannock State Park where the race was located, with a HUGE smile on my face. I am very fortunate that my mom came down, and upon seeing her we both burst into tears, because that’s what we do. I set up my transition and we sat by the lake chatting until the race start.
Swim: 29:24, 1740 yds, 1:41/100
I was in the last wave for the Olympic, no real race nerves, I had goals, but I was rolling with what my body wanted to give me that day. I knew it would hurt, but that’s what we look for when it comes to racing and to be happy with a race it’s most likely going to hurt. I lined up in the front, trying to be aggressive, and waited for the horn. Once the horn blew, I felt I was in good position and I tried to find some feet. Not too far in we hit some rough waves. Instantly, my chest tightened as I couldn’t get air and I couldn’t convince myself to exhale. I was at the second buoy and thought about turning around, saying how stupid it was, but more importantly, I didn’t want to have a full blown panic attack. After a few breast strokes, I got near the buoy line, only to have to take a few more breast strokes, and really force myself to exhale. I was able to get back into a rhythm and caught some people on the line. I decided I needed to swim faster than they were, so I moved around and found some feet that were moving pretty well. Eventually I got into my normal rhythm and passed the green buoy (sprint turn) pretty fast. We made our turn buoy pretty fast and I decided I was going to try my best to get back to shore and put a hard acceleration in. Turns out I should have just stayed on those feet, she somehow got ahead of me and I was pretty much in no man’s land back to shore. I tried to stay positive, but was also thinking about how TIRED I felt, knowing I had a hard day ahead of me. I did end up catching the ladies 3 buoys to the shore, which I was kind of annoyed with myself about but so it goes. Got to shore and just wanted to get on my bike.
T1: I was pretty happy to go bike, had a great transition until I got to bike mount and my chain was off. There were a few curse words (some slight panic) and of course I felt like I had been there forever. It turned out to be a minute, but let’s be real, it was FOREVER.
Bike: 1:10.54, 20.4 mph
Bike starts straight out uphill after about 400m from transition. Immediately my legs felt dead, but I rolled best I could. It was pretty uneventful bike. I love riding down by the lake – There were SO many spectators out cheering and waving that all I could do was smile and wave back. THEN, no lie, a tractor pulled out in front of me up the road. At first I was like no biggie, I shouldn’t catch him, but that was a mistake. I was CATCHING him, I tried to get his attention, waved a few times and then finally had to PASS the TRACTOR. Seriously, I just laughed and figured it was better than any Amish or Mennonites – they make me so nervous with the horses. Quick left turn and up the hill I went – passing one of my athlete’s, TR while trying to figure out who it was with their ironman tattoo. Once up the hill, it was to get back to T2 as fast as possible, but sure enough not before a truck stopped in front of the sprint turn around as three intermediate athletes were trying to pass. Fortunately for me, I got by without any issues and cruised back to transition.
T2: completely uneventful, was efficient and running.
Run: 48:04 (7:45 pace)
The plan was to be strong the first loop, then race the second loop. First mile was rough, just tried to ride out the achy legs. Second mile was good, I felt like I was in a good rhythm and was looking forward to it, mile three is when my legs started getting achy again and it stayed that way to the finish line. I just couldn’t really move – seemed to be the theme of the day, head wanted to go harder and body was all NOPE. So I watched as the third place woman ran by and I had nothing to try to cover the attack but a ‘good job’ to her and just focused on getting back to the finish. I did take a moment to really be in AWE of the water falls, the community, and the cheers (even if I didn’t acknowledge you – I’m sorry, I was hurting). I finished near my time goal, but a little short with a 2:32.26. I was 1st AG, 5thFemale. 3rd was 30 seconds ahead, and 4th was 3 seconds, which is always a bummer, but I gave it what my body had on that day.
Post-Race was filled with lots of laughs, catching up, Ithaca Beer, Purity Ice Cream, NO post-race workout and lots of hugs. Not to mention tears, lots of tears. My heart is so full, I’m so honored to have been in such a wonderful, welcoming community for almost 6 years. I miss it so much but as the wind carried me to Ithaca, it carried me back home too and I have another wonderful weekend to remember. I’ll be back and I’ll try to make sure it’s not 10 months again.
As always, a big thanks to the companies who help make training comfortable, and possible – Coeur sports for the AMAZINGLY comfortable kits, BT Nutrition, Drink Maple, and Honey stinger for keeping me fueled and hydrated pre, during and post. Fast Splits for such a SWEET ride. A huge shout out to the Ithaca community for the support, cheers and hugs, and as always, my family and friends: who keep me sane and provides their continued love and support.
Up Next: Pumpkinman 70.3 in Sept.