This race holds sentimental value because it represents the creation of this blog - It was the very first race report. It also viciously kicked my ass, which stung for a few days, but ultimately inspired me to invest in a better bike and become a better cyclist. I returned the following year to debut my improved cycling skills, but a longer, more challenging course which knocked me over and kicked my ass again.
My goal for this year was simple and safe – race smart and leave unscathed.
The original races distances, as reported online were 3.5 mile run-24 mile bike-5 mile run. At the last minute, it was changed to 3.5 mile run-24 mile bike-3.5 mile run. I was slightly disappointed. However, the actual distances were 3.8-mile run-26.5 mile bike-4 mile run. These distances are fine, I just wish these were the distances they used when determining our paces. I am glad I wore my Garmin for this race or else I would be gasping, "How could my paces be so slow?"
My goal for the first run: Restraint. No one believed that I could do this – I even doubted myself. I wrote the word Patience on my hand as a reminder.
The course starts on an uphill road and enters the trail system right before a half a mile. I started in the middle of a large pack, but was third when we emerged on the trail. My watch said 3:15, which meant I was running a 6:40 pace – MUCH better than the crazy 5:40ish pace I ran last year. The course was the same as last year but with a slight modification towards the end, which seemed hillier.
Distance = 3.8, Time = 26:51, Pace = 6:58
Last year’s pace was 6:37 – but although I was slower, I was also less oxygen deprived and able to use my brain. Instead of spending 96 seconds fumbling through T1, I only took 48 seconds.
I was the first woman on the bike and it was everything I remembered – hilly and windy.
My goal was 20mph and I think I did that for the first loop. But I started to struggle during the second loop....let me rewind to the following day:
The day before the race, Brenna and I had a photo-shoot at the local track. I cannot leak the pictures but each girl represented a sport. I was the track runner.
Brenna was the tap dancer.
Everything was fine until I tripped over the little railing the outlines the track. This is precisely why I am NOT a track runner.
The fall was exceptionally balletic and almost undeniable, but it sent a lightning bolt of pain to my delicate and very high maintenance hamstring muscle. I had no time to get a massage, I had to rely on stretching and epson salt.
I was relieved that it felt better the morning of the race but during the second loop of the bike, my hamstring started to cramp. I was able to stand up on the peddles and stretch it, but it made me realize that I was ready to be done with this bike ride. Immediately.
I started to curse the wind, curse the hills and curse the fact the course was 2.5 miles longer than promised.
Eventually two women passed me, reminding me that I needed to focus on my race - and I finally returned to the transition area.
Distance = 26.5, Time = 1:21:52, Speed = 19.4
Frantic to get as far away from my bike has possible, I spun around in circles in T2 desperately looking for a way out. The transition area was about the size of a small classroom and yet I had to ask for directions.
The second run repeated the first but was a little longer because you had to run back to the start line. Four women passed me on the bike and I was able to see two of them on the road ahead of me. By the time we entered the trail, they were seconds ahead of me. Well, you made it, I told myself. Now it’s just a trail run. This is what you do. So I passed them and never looked back.
The only other girls I could see on the course were doing the off-road race so I did not feel compelled to push myself past discomfort. I really enjoyed the second run.
Distance = 4.02, Time = 30:48, Pace = 7:39.
I think there was less competition this year than previous years so I managed to finish third overall:
This race is a cyclist’s race – you really need to bike around 21mph to win it. I am not sure how you do that with such hills and wind.
But I think considering my longest bike ride was 28 miles and I only did one brick workout, I did pretty good. I am not as fit or fast as last year, but I avoided all my mistakes.
And, although it is a bit sore, I did not get my ass kicked.