Sorry for the delay in posting the winner of my FRS Giveaway. Congrats to Paige, who wins an FRS trial pack with a retail value of $30! Paige, drop me an e-mail when you get a chance.
Moving on to my exciting weekend! On Sunday I raced the Infinitive Sprint Triathlon in Ashburn, VA. This small, low-key triathlon is one of my favorites. The 400m swim is in a 50 meter pool so there’s less of the ping-pong off the wall effect, the bike is a double loop with a couple of killer hills, and the run is an out and back on rolling trails which I’ve found to be a sufferfest on the two previous occasions I’ve raced here. In addition, I always know a lot of people at this race so it’s great to be able to cheer for them and have them cheer for me on the bike and run.
I’ve come in 2nd female in this event the last two years. This year, I had my eye on 1st. It helped that my friend and rival, Leanne, who beat me the previous two times (but only by 9 seconds last year!) wasn’t racing, but of course there’s always the potential for other competition I don’t know about.
The night before the race my husband and I went out for dinner. My latest thing is fish the night before a race. I had salmon before St. Michael’s Half Marathon and sea bass before Ironman 70.3Â Raleigh, and since both of those races were PRs, I figured I’d stick with this pre-race meal plan. So we went to our local fish place where I had red snapper, which reminded me of our trip to Key West many moons ago when I discovered that fish and ate it almost every day!
When we got home, my husband took the babysitter home while I went to put my bike in my car. Which was when I discovered that my rear tire, which was inflated when I left, was completely flat. When my husband got home I had him look at the tire and, when he took out the inner tube, we found that the valve was separating from the rubber and the tube itself was in very bad shape. I was so lucky to get through Raleigh without incident!
So he replaced the dead tube with a nice new one which made me feel much better. Nothing like a little drama the night before a race to get your heart going!
I arrived at transition ridiculously early and so got the primo bike spot at the end of the rack. It’s the little things that make me happy. I had so much time I posted a couple of facebook status updates, chatted to friends, and went to the bathroom 63 times. And then it was GO time.
I had an interesting swim this year. Started out feeling strong but before I’d gone even 100m I was getting tapped from behind. Stopped to let two guys pass, then got right behind the 2nd guy to take the draft. That only lasted 50 meters before I had to pass the guy in front, and then again 50 meters after that I passed the guy in front of him. It seems that a lot of swimmers blast out those first 100m and then die… I didn’t want to have to stop again so I cranked hard in the last 200m. It wasn’t the best swim but my time was decent: 8:02, putting me in 8th place.
There’s a fairly long run from the swim to the bike, as racers are required to run the length of transition, but I moved as fast as I could and had the fastest T1: 1:41. So the bike course is a bit hilly. And of course you do it twice so, after the first loop, you know what’s coming. Oh, and just as I got on the bike, it started to rain. Not the best conditions, but I went all out as hard as I could. My hamstrings and adductors were seriously on fire on the hills of the second loop, but I think the Half Ironman training was paying off as riding 12 miles felt like small change compared to 56. I ended up with a bike time of 33:55, 21.4mph average, which was the fastest female bike split and bettered my time from last year by almost a minute. Just because I always like a little dismount drama, I braked too hard coming to the mount line and so when I jumped off my bike, we both almost went flying. I managed a last-minute save, much to the amusement of everyone watching.
I darted in and out of transition in 54 seconds: fastest female T2 time. (I pride myself on being fast in the 4th sport of triathlon!) In the past, the run has been hot, hilly, and felt way more than 3.1 miles. I was determined to hammer this run like I never have before. I was glad it was raining and not sunny, and when I looked at my pace and saw I was running in the 6:40s, I was happy because I really didn’t feel like I was overreaching. Just before the halfway point I saw the one girl that I knew (from someone yelling at me in transition) was in front of me. I had hoped she was a relay runner (and I think it turned out she was) but she didn’t have an “R” under her number so I didn’t think she was. However, she was #51 which means she was the first swimmer in the water and so had started before me, so I didn’t think I really had to worry. Still, I noticed she wasn’t moving all that fast and figured I would make it my goal pass her. It actually took me longer to do that than I thought. I was past 2 miles and had been running behind the same guy for a few minutes when we passed her. Having cleared #51, I decided it was time to pick it up and see how fast I could go for the last mile. I decided to enlist the help of the guy I was running alongside. I told him I was trying to win and asked him if he’d help me. He said he wasn’t having a good run, I suggested he make it a better run by helping me out…oh and I’d be his friend forever. Seriously. The things I say when I’m desperate. Nevertheless, he obliged and dropped the pace to a 6:30. It was great. I just had to let him drag me home. Which he did. Turns out his name is Michael Johnson and he came in 3rd male. Thanks Mike. It was painful but not beyond my ability and I’m glad I was able to push hard right at the end. Run: 21:06, 6:49 pace. Last year I ran 7:05 pace.
My overall time was 1:05:35, almost 2 minutes faster than my time last year! I was 1st female AND 3rd overall! And I won the women’s division by almost 6 minutes, which I still can’t believe. I feel that, the finish time aside, the best aspect of the race was my ability to keep my head in the game, push through the pain, and maintain the intensity that a sprint demands! I won a sweet Boston shirt (the race was a fundraiser for the OneBoston fund), a $30 gift card to Transition Triathlon (great triathlon shop in Leesburg) and a nice plaque that I’ve put next to my two 2nd place awards!
After the race I talked with my husband about the possibility of going to Wisconsin in August and racing USA Triathlon Age Group Nationals. This has been on my mind since I raced well in Raleigh, and with another good race under my belt, I feel this is my best opportunity to try to make the US Team! So it looks like we may be taking a road trip to Milwaukee and both racing the sprint this time. Can’t wait for that! In the meantime, I have a duathlon in Maryland in two weeks that I need to focus on…