Monday, August 19, 2013

Irongirl Sprint Tri 2013 recap: Don't forget your strength

Quick & Dirty
  • my second time doing this race with my first tri buddy; 2007 & 2013
  • we plan on a rematch 2016 [our 40th's]
  • lost a minute each on swim [crowded] & run [wrong music choice]
  • smashed the bike, even in the scary rain [16 mph versus 14 mph]
  • improved transition times
  • overall placement & time HUGE WIN [finished top 30%; usually finish in the bottom 30%]

Slow & Painful & lessons learned

NUTRITION: my first race away from the comforts of home, & ack! my coffee!
So this was my first race away from home - as payment for my hubby's guilt over his post-race-nap-streak over the previous 6 years. In case you haven't been paying attention, he takes a nap after every single one of my races. Whether he's spectating or at home watching the kids, apparently my efforts render him sleepy. So after the last race he had said, "I owe you one." And not a few weeks later my friend suggested the race and I got to say to him, "Actually, sweetheart..." 
So that's how we got a weekend away ;)
Well the upside to this, was, of course, shopping, girl time, and sitting outside on a Saturday afternoon drinking unlimited iced teas and engaging in the often unobtainable holy grail of motherhood: uninterrupted conversation.

The downside was that I was not in control of my race morning nutrition. I didn't have my raisin bread. No worry. Sub a luna bar, no prob.

BUT...but...I frantically call down to the front desk at our hotel when I realize there are only decaf packets of coffee in the auto-drip machine they have in our room and he assures me that they will bring some by...and...and...they never do!!! 

No prob. I'll just drink this decaf and have my caffeinated Gu's and they will take over and it will all be ok. 

Nope. Two hours before race time, just as the first elite racers are finishing up, we still have yet to hit our swim wave time and I'm just about to puke. And not in a pre-race-jitters kind of way.

You see, there were these lovely Presbyterians there who were offering FREE COFFEE to everyone and I thought they were indeed in a higher order of being. So I partook.

However, I had already had my large cup of decaf. And two large cups of coffee, regardless of the caffeine content, was still going to eat away at my stomach without some eggs and grits to go along with it. 


THE SWIM: .6 mile lake swim; weedy, reedy & warm

So...I'm mad at myself.

[What else is new.]

This race was the first triathlon for me this year! It was always a part of my half-ironman race plan: to hit some single-sport endurance races, then hit this sprint race as I round out my training and prepare the mother of all three sports combined on September 8th.

So far, so good. I'm feeling like my mental training, as well as my physical training, in this stepwise single-focus manner, has actually worked. So far...

The one thing I will say, is that it highlighted an issue: I've neglected my swimming!

Um, I rely on my swimming. I count on my swimming. My swimming is there for me, no matter what I do to it.

I can do sprints. I can do the backstroke. I can lift weights. 

My swim time. Will never. change. 

So why try? Why train? Why get the cap on, hit the cesspool and put in my time? 

Well, TwynMawrMom, now you know why. 

I have not swum since the 5k on July 14th. 
[unless you count scuba and six-year-old birthday parties]

Bad girl. Bad, bad, BAD girl!! 

And I remembered the last time I swam in IronGirl Columbia, I got kicked in the head.

So I was not feeling like jockeying up to position, and elbow-ing out my fellow ladies for a chance to PR my measly little .6 mile swim. I'll stay to the side, take my time making a wide angle around the buoys, and drive this bitch home when everyone else gets tired.

Well, this strategy did not work. I should have jockeyed. I should have elbowed [a little] [I literally heard ladies apologizing to each other, such a nice folk, these tri ladies with no fear of zombie men appearing out of the depths], and I should have started out in my spot so that I could have cleared my way a bit and swam at my pace.

Instead, I spent the first .4 miles behind a lot of breast-strokers and newbies who wanted to stay close to the buoys for their own safety and I could not, for the life of me, clear a path for myself.

And I was getting a little bit winded!! And frustrated. I wound around the little island, sighted the finish, and got aggressive. I could have played this differently. This is not just a triathlon for me; this is now what they refer to as a sprint, and more importantly what *I* refer to as a sprint, so I should have been able to sprint. it.

So, to beat myself up, and get myself on my way, I BOOKED it to my bike. Can't wait to see that awful pic. I must've passed ten ladies just out of the lake. LOL. Who are you? Rinny? Give me a break.

My friend also felt this title of the post; because, as a ten-time-marathon-veteran, she neglected her run training and suffered thusly. Silly girls.


THE BIKE: 16 miles; hilly, rainy & wet

They changed the bike course; it is not just a little bit changed from 6 years ago but mostly changed. There is still the last big climb but now there are also many smaller little climbs. I would hazard to say it is all up and down. It's not unlike Bucks County. It has some doozies. And it was raining. 

I told my friend it would keep me from 'taking the hills'. But it didn't. I still hit a max 32 mph on some; and it was good. And I wept on one of the downs it was so good. And I was thinking of my family troubles and it was therapeutic. I was free. 

But then there were the up's and I passed a few people. And I was feeling my training and it was good. And I was happy girl. And I was going to make under an hour and I did. I got back to the rack and was one of the first in my group to re-rack and it felt fan-freakin-tastic.

And women are super polite as they pass you, and as you pass them. And we all yelled "Go." And if you are training for this course, prepare for a hilly spin class. 

THE RUN: 3.4 miles; around the lake with one nice climb & lots of high fives

Peeking through the trees here, you can see up ahead the ladies running across the last bit of the race course
This is a typical 'around the lake' run. The transition is pretty short and you get started right away. The path is typically narrow but the swim waves are so spread out you will not be that crowded. Right around the mile 2 marker is the 'big up' and back down. If you train on hills you can't call it hilly; but if you are on the treadmill most of the time you will want to prepare for it. A lot of women were walking the uphills. It is hard to face after all the bike hills for your first triathlon.

I don't know how this race is so great for beginners, but also so challenging!! I guess because it is truly so well organized. I can't find a better organization than TriColumbia. Wished I still lived closer to the area.
This is the little walking area surrounding several restaurants next to the Sheraton
In fact, we stayed at the Sheraton Columbia, the 'race' hotel, and they had a shuttle bus system to/from the race 2.2 miles away and that worked out great. We got a late checkout (1 pm instead of 12 pm), and were able to come home on the bus, shower and change, and then drive up to get our bikes. We then headed straight back to where the Sheraton is located because that is also where the mall is located, and ate lunch before heading our separate ways.  

And then Lana del ray came on my radio on my drive home and I almost fell asleep.

Seriously, she can suck it.

So have you done races away from home? 
Have you met a friend for a race weekend away?? 
Do you neglect your strength? 
Do you hate Lana del ray too? 
Proud, two-time-IronGirls


  1. Congrats on a great tri! Way to nail the bike too! I do a lot of local races but I also travel for them because it means a night (or more) away which sometimes is what I need more than the race LOL. You are going to rock 70.3 :)

  2. Very nice! I dont do races anymore, but when I did I tended to always travel for them. I liked to make a big deal out of it and check out somewhere I've never been as part of the experience. :)


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