My pre-race prep started with 6 lacrosse games between the 3 kids in 3 different towns in Rhode Island Saturday morning and then frantic packing and a mad dash 2 1/2 hour drive to get to Quassy Amusement Park in CT for registration and bike check-in. Nothing new here, this is how we operate. The kids got to preview their amusement and water park action for the next day; they have never been more excited about a triathlon ever. A later than ideal dinner and off to bed – something that turned into an all-nighter for me and a close to one for Todd between the kids sleeping in the same room, Tor Anders falling out of his bed, bathroom breaks, a broken cooling system that had us alternate between cold shivers and drenching sweats… good thing the night of the race is less important than the previous.
I have never been to a triathlon without a Port-a john line, so this simple fact eliminated race morning stress. Swim went off for the amateurs in 2-minute intervals. My old-women heat was in the next to last wave just ahead of the old men/relays. Water temp was reported at 61F but it must have been warmer; I didn’t have the IMAZ initial head shock. Nice and lake flat. Huge rectangular yellow buoys made sighting a breeze and I came out a little under 29 minutes – good swim for me while feeling fresh – I was thanking VASA and my buttery soft wetZoot. The kids were on the beach screaming ‘mom’!
Longish run up to transition and I was off for the first time (in a race) on my brand spanking new Kestrel Airfoil Pro SL SE – thank you Kestrel!!!! With my new bike shoes, new Keywin pedals, new FuelBelt kit and new calorie-focused me, it was time to check out what the fuss was all about. Conclusion: super challenging bike course and I loved it! It forced you to concentrate the entire time – miles after miles of sustained uphills; a 7 mile segment and a 10 mile segment, a particular steep one at 6 mph, no comfortable rollers here that momentum took care of unless you weighed 700 pounds; lots of bends and turns, some screaming fast descents that you could absolutely power down; a ton of gear changing – in fact I have never changed between my big and small chain rings that often. I saw zero packs, and I must have passed a couple of hundred racers; people for the most part stayed to the right – if you want a non drafting course you’ve got one! The police/volunteers at intersections were proactive at directing you prior to turns plus there were big arrow signs allowing you to corner at max safe speed. Fuel: 30oz PowerBar Endurance, refilled with CeraSport bottle at aid station, tasted good, drank half, 2 whole PowerBars, 1 PowerBar gel last 2 miles; one small bottle of water to wash down calories. Kids cheering loudly at the bike finish. I was happy to see my bike rack empty but that means nothing – faster runners are always somewhere. Bike time 2:38; I had expected slower – my Kestrel rocks!
Run: some more hill training would have been a good thing… Holy cow I didn’t know it was possible. The first 3 1/2 miles were fairly flat to down and I was running well (for me) and feeling remarkably good – the words run and feeling good never make it into the same sentence. And then started the mind boggling terrain, some of it on dirt roads which was great. It started getting hot but lots of shade. The K-Swiss hill reminded me of the quarter mile death hill at Providence 70.3 but it lasted a lifetime!! The ups and downs just kept coming. It was a thrill to watch the pro race unfold and to see super hero Matt Reed in action right there in front of me. The women’s race was tight and they were absolutely flying coming back! So cool to see the best women in the entire world battle it out. Natascha Badmann smiling as always – I would adopt her. I started fading around mile 9, started drinking coke at aid stations. With 2 miles to go I got my act together and managed to motivate the walking guy in front of me to go for it too. Nice down hill and a man who yelled it’s all down hills from here. Mile 12 met us with this monstrous uphill wall with no ending – some very bad profanities just came rolling out of my mouth – I didn’t plan on using foul language, it just came out. No kids in hearing range, no one to apologize to. Lars yelled for me to sprint it in, message loud and clear so I did – I was thinking he knew something I didn’t. Oh, so good to be done. Had the longest post race massage ever. I never noticed my brand new K-Swiss K-Ona flats and that’s a good thing! And no blisters; rare for me! Fuel: 2 FuelBelt 8oz bottles of PowerBar Endurance, 2 PowerBar gels, coke and water. Run time 1:40. Apparently 3,900 feet of climbing during the half marathon. That was hard!
Total time 4:53:09. 1st age group, 1st woman amateur. It was a good day. Time to go on stomach churning rides with the kids – double ouch.
Lessons learned: need more calories, transitions need work, I will wear this finisher shirt with pride, some pre-race stress doesn’t hurt, my kids are making me come back to this race next year and I am bringing the whole FuelBelt Race Team for the team competition. This is a race that you want to say that you have completed.
Big extra thanks to FuelBelt for their support always and to the best Sherpa and kid schlepper ever – my own Todd! 12 days until Patriot Half Iron – time to put on those geeky recovery socks.