Friday, December 4, 2009

Long Overdue Race Report - Trifitness Triathlon

I'll start my transition back to blogging with a "quick" overview of my last race. It was on September 20th. It's now 2 minutes after midnight on December 4th. Yeah. I'm a little behind. The last triathlon was my best! I can't believe how well I did. The day before the triathlon I went to what's known as the Big E. The "Eastern States Exposition" is New England's biggest fair, and it just so happens to take place in my original hometown of West Springfield, MA. I had fried dough, ice cream, cotton candy... total junk food. I woke up race morning skeptical I'd do well and with the intent to finish the race as best I could. Somehow I managed to completely kick ass.

The swim felt like it took forever, but that's how I always feel. There was a crazy sand bar on the way out, halfway to the first buoy. Most of the swimmers got up and started running across it, myself included. By the time we were swimming back to the shore, I had had enough. I was looking for girls from my team and just trying to keep up.

The bike was mostly me in rage mode. I just kept going as fast as I could, determined to pass any female ahead of me. I swore a couple times at people riding to the left, and generally being in my way. I was not a fan of how many corners we had to round. There was a girl who looked to be in my age group that I kept "playing with" the entire bike. Passing her was tough, but once I did I didn't see her behind me. Then she'd come up from behind, seemingly out of nowhere and pass me. There was one stretch I thought I'd never catch up to her. The entire bike I was cursing her, quite literally. On the last bit of road before the end of the bike we were so close. She passed me in the end and I felt a bit defeated.

The run transition was my worst, I think. I can't even remember anymore. I do know that I looked down at my watch during the first mile to see a 7:20 pace. WTFBBQ?! I freaked out and tried my best to keep up the pace. Passed a few team members and then I saw the girl from the bike ahead of me. As I passed her I said "That was great on the bike!" "Oh yea! You too! You really kept me going!" she said. "Me too!" Aww, look at that, we were nice girls after all. Seriously, without her I wouldn't have been able to go as fast as I did. Soon after I passed her I got a running stitch from hell. I struggled to the second mile. (Honestly how DO you triathletes run half/full marathons after a bike without cramping?!?!) I pulled it together around 2.5 and tried as best as I could to keep a decent pace.

Nearing the end I saw my mom up ahead. I thought she came out to support me on my run. Later I found out her and my boyfriend were snagged to volunteer and direct people on the run. My mom warbled her affections and support at the top of her lungs. Soon I came upon my boyfriend who was taking pictures of me while shouting support and compliments. He's kind of amazing.

Crossed the finish line with a flourish, flashing the metal sign in my cheesy arms in the air pose that has become my standard finishing style. Milled around for a bit and ate a gigantic apple. Before the awards ceremony I checked the results board. My jaw dropped and I checked it again. I got second in my age group! I refused to believe it. My parents and boyfriend were congratulating me and I kept saying, "Well just wait til the awards!" I was convinced there was a mistake.

There hadn't been a mistake. I really got second in my age group. My "secret" goal all year was to finish in the top 10. My first race I was close, and the second race was a total disaster. I have never been so proud of myself, and admittedly I'm getting misty typing this. For once in my life I worked my ass off and I achieved a goal. Not only achieved it, but surpassed it. Yes, overall I wasn't anything remarkable, but for a beginner I'm pleased with doing well in my age group. I'm also happy to say that the girl ahead of me in the age group is from my team and is also covered in tattoos. A guy on the bike even mistook me for her.

Thanks to that girl on the bike, I even placed first in my age group for the bike! She ended up being in the age group below me and placed third, I think. I can't remember. So that's that. My last triathlon of 2009. Right now I'm dealing with hip issues and have been going to physical therapy. My runs have gone from an average of 5 miles to just trying to make it to 15 minutes. I hope to resolve the issue soon and get back to training. There's been a lot more that's happened these past few months, but I'll write about that another time. Hopefully before 2010 rolls around.

Setting up my transition area, pretending to be perky.

This sums up my actual pre-race mood.

Promising my mom I won't punch any girls on the swim. (Honestly I have no idea what's going on here)

Smiling because my boyfriend just told me I look beautiful.

Just looked at the results board with my boyfriend/favorite race volunteer.

Full of pride and reeking of Sound water and sweat.