I've done a LOT of road races over the years. I have loved (almost) every single one of them. I have loved the energy, the sense of accomplishment, the lovely routes, etc.
But I have never, ever had this kind of photo taken of me during the race:
|I look like I am DANCING!|
I know, it is a ridiculous expression. But that is how I felt the entire time! So excited that the swim went well! So excited that the bike went well! Sooooo excited to be on the run portion! It just was that awesome.
The race was the IronGirl Sprint Triathlon, in Grimsby. IronGirl has been around for a decade now, but this is the first race they have held in Canada. That is very likely to change in my opinion, because the event seemed to be successful and well-organized.
I decided that I wanted to go to the venue the day before to pick up my race kit, and scope things out. One of my beginner-triathlon friends, Allison, came along, as we both wanted to scope out the course and get a feel for the race area. We arrived and picked up our race kits, checked out the expo. I bought a couple of pairs of tri-shorts, which I fully intended on wearing for the race the next day. Yes, I always try new things for races, and yes, I know that you aren't supposed to do that. I think it might be "my thing". Brand new, never worn shoes for a marathon?--why not?! New fuel belt for a marathon?--you bet! First time refraining from running with socks on in a race?--is there any other way??
After checking everything out, we headed down to the swim-start (this swim would be a point-to-point) and decided to practice the swim. We wiggled into our wetsuits, and
We headed back to the car and drove the run-route. We then decided it would be wise to also check out the bike-course, but after driving for what felt like forever, we abandoned that mission with the thought that it might just be better not to know how far we had to go! (save that for race day when we had no choice but to finish!) Besides, we were getting hungry, so we headed to grab a bite to eat.
Later that night, I started to lay out my race day necessities. My dad helped me load my bike into the car, and I made myself a "double-check" list, as I would have to leave quite early in the morning. I also hoped my wetsuit would be dry by morning!
Before I knew it, my alarm was sounding and it was time to get up. It was race day! I was too tired to be excited. But with a quick trip to Starbucks in my future, I knew that I would have energy soon :)
I picked up Trish, our official race-photographer/cheering section very early, and I am so glad she could come along with our group to the race. She took the photo above, and all of the photos I have of the race. It was nice to have a fellow-triathlete there that was not nervous, to keep all of our heads on straight, and of course, take photos!
We made our way to the race site, and it was nice to know where we were going. We racked our bikes, got marked up, and before long, we were wiggling into those wet suits.
|Our group, posing with our bonnets|
We planned to get into the water at the swim finish area, and use the swim to the start as our warm up. That was one of the best ideas of the day! I felt so ready to go by the time we got down to the starting area, and because we had a water-start, I didn't even get out of the water, I just floated around until it was my wave's turn to go to the starting line. When they called wave one, I started to feel my nerves kick in. My wetsuit felt like it was ten times too tight, and I had to start breathing deeply. As soon as the gun went off for the purple caps to leave, I relaxed quite a bit. It seemed like they made it a long ways away in just 3 short minutes. This wasn't going to be so bad afterall, I thought!
There was a quick "three-two-one--gooo!" for my wave, and off we swam. There was very little chaos. No one bumping into me, initially! Yay! I just swam, and breathed, and it was all very civil. As we continued someone swam right over my back, but it wasn't really that startling, as I was in a groove. All of a sudden, I started to see purple caps (wave one) and I realized that I was catching up to some of the slower swimmers from the first wave. I was almost there!
I actually thought, "this is just lovely" during the swim, which I never thought was possible during a race!
I hopped out of the water (see above photo for elation) and bolted up the steeeeeeeep hill to transition. The path was a bit narrow, so I was trying not to bump into anyone. My wetsuit came off very easily (the hill was steep, but very short, so I had lots of water still in the suit so it came off like a dream). I threw on my helmet (after almost forgetting to take off my swim cap--talk about a rookie) and my shoes, and grabbed my bike.
The bike course was a flat out-and-back. It felt like the first 5km took forever, but the next 15 went by very fast. It was awesome to see the lead women on their way back. I tried to count how many people were ahead of me, but I started to lose count in the 50s. :(
I did manage to pass some people along the bike course, and I was so amazed by all of the women that had "16" or "17" on their legs (age). I never would have been brave enough to do a triathlon at that age! Now that I am (old) I am willing to do anything crazy (?!)
I saw a few of my fellow newbie tri-friends along the route, and I tried to cheer like crazy
By the time I was back at the bike dismount line, I was feeling so ready for the run! I wanted to be back in my element (and, honestly, I wanted to get out there to find/pass the women that passed me on the bike ride)!
I made sure my shoes were positioned properly on my feet, and bolted (or at least I felt like I bolted) out of transition. I forgot my hat, but I wasn't really worried I would get a burn on my face during the 5km ahead.
|Heading out for the run|
The run course was a great loop. It went by very fast, and it had road and trail portions. There were a few water stations, and I had a couple of sips of water, really because my mouth was getting dry.
As I headed to the finishing stretch, I was so pumped up by all of the spectators (and personal fans...thanks Tricia!)! I ran hard to the finish, where I was super-pumped to see the clock...1:18:40!! My "A" goal had been to finish under 1:20, and in the top 20 of my age group. What I didn't even realize, was the fact that the "clock" time was 3 minutes slower than my real time due to the swim wave starts!! I actually did 1:15:40! Even more exciting!!
I rounded out the race in 26/505 total finishers, and 6/68 in my age group. Although it wasn't a "podium" finish like the other two races I did this summer, I am most proud of how strong I felt during the whole thing (how's that for cheesy?)
I think it's safe to say that triathlons are here to stay in my life, whether I stick to the short fun races, or (gulp) attempt anything bigger, I am not really sure! This summer has definitely been a great way to have fun at races and to train with other people. So. much. fun.
I have done a couple of runs since Sunday's race, and my body feels great (which is a good thing, as my super long run of 24 miles this week needs fresh legs)!
p.s. The tri-shorts that I wore for the first time worked out great! They didn't budge a bit during the bike or run, and I do not regret trying them out!!!