Got the Nerve? - TriathlonSprint

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Mount Gretna, Pennsylvania
United States
55F / 13C
Total Time = 1h 48m 12s
Overall Rank = 271/438
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 2/7
Pre-race routine:

Did packet pickup the day before the race. Packed and organized all my stuff the night before and had it sitting by the door. Got up early to take care of the dogs and eat some breakfast. My stomach wasn't liking the idea of eating, so I finished my 1 waffle with peanut butter at the house and brought the other along to work on in the car.

Arrived at the race site, parked, pumped up the bike tires and headed in, my excitement growing. Decided the mantra of the day would be think positive. This race is near and dear to me for many reasons: Chris, the RD, used to work at the fitness center at my previous employer which is how I got to know him and it's great to support his cause. Also, this was the first race I did when beginning this fun, crazy thing called triathlon and this is the 5th year I've done the race. And to top it all off, there is a huge presence with the members of the tri club (HTC - Hempfield Tri Club) and friends and family which makes it even more fun.

Got body marked, chatted with some HTC-ers as well as the ladies from my Masters group, then went in to get set up transition. Chatted with my neighbors, both very friendly guys. Headed back out to talk to my friends some more and to do our team group picture. More socializing, then headed in to get my wetsuit on and do my final preparations. Yeah, being a local race it's hard NOT to find someone familiar to talk to!

Wetsuit on, I met up with A an D for announcements. Saw A eating a gel...dang it, I knew I forgot to do something! I worked my way back to my spot, ate a PowerBar gel, grabbed a shot of water and went back to wait with them again. National Anthem was being sung and I was taking in the beauty of the morning, the sun...wait, the sun! I forgot to get my sunglasses out! I waited until the anthem was over, then hoofed it back to my spot again to get them out, now like a salmon going upstream as everyone was headed the opposite way toward the lake. Once I got them ready, I hustled to get to the lake. This year they started the Athenas, my AG, in wave 2 with the youngsters rather than waaaay back in the later waves, so I needed to get front quickly. Finally got to where I needed to be, listened to a few more announcements about the different (for this year because of the heavy rains the day before) route away from the lake up to transition. The elite wave got in the water to warm up and we were staged on the beach.
Event warmup:

Arm swinging, light arm and trunk stretching. After the elites took off, we were allowed to wade into the water. I did my best to acclimate, knowing it was going to be very cold. Splashed my arms (sleeveless wetsuit) with water, splashed my face with water, put some on top of my head to be ready for the shock. Keeping my mantra in mind, I didn't let myself get caught up in the moans and groans of those around me reacting to the cold water. My Garmin recorded the air temp as 55, so the cold air made the cold water seem not so bad, I'm thinking. I think the water temp was probably only high 50s. The countdown began and we're off!
  • 11m 25s
  • 500 yards
  • 02m 17s / 100 yards

3-2-1 - GO! OK, why does it seem like no one is going? Go, people! Ugh! I stood there for what seemed like an eternity until people started moving. Even after they started moving, it seemed like slow motion. I didn't have much choice but to wait with no where to go. I walked slowly behind them until I couldn't walk anymore, then I did a slow, Tarzan type stroke because there was no where to go and no room to swim regularly, all the while looking around desperately for somewhere to go. Argh!

After what truly seemed like at least half a minute, I found a little gap and forced myself into it. Saw someone backstroking already out of the periphery of my right eye. Did a quick double-take to make sure they were OK and not having a problem (they were fine) and took off, seeing some open water ahead and to my left. Dodged around some people, managed NOT to get kicked by a pair of breaststrokers and found the opening I was looking for, finally!

Although it was cold, I didn't dwell on it. I tried to settle in to a good rhythm with good technique but watching out for people and sighting prohibited me doing that as well as I'd like. Rounded the first buoy with no interference and found more clear water, yes! Now I was mostly able to swim like I wanted to be swimming. Eventually cleared the 2nd buoy with, again, little to no interference and headed down the homestretch, picking up the pace. Swam until my fingers hit sand, stood up, took off my goggles and cap and made my way up the beach, up the steps, and up the grass. Saw I came out of the water before A which surprised me. Fought with my wetsuit zipper but finally found and freed it, pulled my suit down to my waist and ran up the hill. Just as I spotted some of the HTC gang cheering, I stepped wrong and made my ankle unhappy, an ongoing injury. Ouch, crud! Smile through the pain, they're taking pictures! I walked a little after grimmacing for the camera and A passed me right before the timing mat.
What would you do differently?:

Start in front and be a little more confident in my abilities, considering the group I was with. Relax a little more and keep good stroke technique in the forefront of my mind. Swim faster (again, I think this falls into the be more confident in my abilities category)

Otherwise happy, a swim PR for this race!
Transition 1
  • 03m 19s

Out of my wetsuit quickly and easily thanks to TriSlide inside and out. Quickly wiped my feet off and rolled my socks on. If it wouldn't have been quite so cold I would've gone sockless. Sunglasses, helmet, race number, shoes. Got bike and went. I was at the end farthest from bike in/out, so it was a long clomp through the grass in my bike shoes.
What would you do differently?:

Perhaps moved with more speed.
  • 59m 7s
  • 16 miles
  • 16.24 mile/hr

Here is where I would find the biggest advantage to being in the 2nd wave - less people to pass! The elites were long gone so I really only had folks in my wave or possibly the faster swimmers in the 3rd wave to deal with. I did end up passing about 10-ish people throughout, I think and of course being passed, too.

Things started out very smoothly with little bike traffic. This is a beautiful race course that winds through state game lands in some places and countryside in others. After getting through the first section of climbing I crossed over the turnpike and prepared for the very fast, somewhat windy downhill, one of my favorite sections because although I'm not built much for climbing, I can descend like a beast! I got on it right away. Ahead, already partway down the hill I see a father escorting/riding next to his ~11, 12 year old daughter. Hmm. I'm VERY quickly catching them even though I've backed off some. Chris (RD) emphasized the importance of the yellow line rule, letting all racers know they would be disquaified for crossing the line if caught and had a crew of motos on course to help enforce it. So when I saw them riding side by side, taking up most of the lane and the father not holding a straight line, I knew I could have some trouble. I started yelling, "On your left!! On your left!!" at the top of my lungs but going ~35 miles and hour the wind was surely just whisking my voice away. He didn't move. I got closer and closer. He continued to weave and not move right. I continued to yell at the very top of my lungs, "ON YOUR LEFT! ON YOUR LEFT!!" He never did move over. I managed to squeeze past him, tires flirting with the yellow line closest to me. I sort of get feeling the need to be out there to look after your kid, but on the other hand, he wasn't doing it in a safe manner. IMO if she is old enough to do the race she is old enough to do it solo. Personal opinion, don't crucify me if you don't agree. It's not a kid's race, it's an adult race that allows able youngsters.

Anyway, getting past them I continued to push through this fast section of rollers. Made the turn onto Creek Rd and was mindful of all the fresh cut grass on the roadway. Made the next turn and was pushing against the wind, but my positive mindset didn't let that get me down. Instead I started my positive thinking toward my nemesis, Lawn hill. Made the turn onto Lawn and kept the inner conversation with myself going. I tried to keep my breathing as even as possible and just keep turning over the pedals, not looking ahead of me more than enough to navigate safely. Finally made it to the top, made sure no one was close enough to hear and said under my breath, "Eff you, Lawn hill!"

I grabbed a quick drink before beginning the descent. At first there were no other riders around me, but I soon caught another rider ahead of me (the whole descending like a dump truck effect). I chose not to pass him on the curves because the road was a little sketchy and narrow and there wasn't much distance before the next hard turn and we were still descending quickly. Instead, we both got passed by 2 riders that apparently didn't have the same reservations I did. No problem, I ended up passing him after we got to the bottom and turned on the next road.

At the next intersection, I swear I saw some racers turn incorrectly to the right rather than to the left, IDK. I turned left like we are supposed to. Wound up, down, trying to keep a decent pace (but should've pushed a bit harder). It was in this section that I began getting passed by the faster men from later waves with more regulariry. Finally began the last major climb, tried to ignore the guys who were passing me, telling myself not to try to keep up with them but just keep going at my pace. When I crested the hill I was so happy, knowing the last climb was out of the way and also knowing that the other fun descent was coming up next. But first, a pleasant surprise! The tri club spectator section was up here taking pictures and cheering! One of the other tri club men had just passed me so we both got lots of yells and cheers. I smiled like a fool. We carefully went around the large dip in the road and made the turn onto Butler for the speedy, twisty descent. I was happy to be able to stay with the little group of men ahead of me. Again, one of the few times a little extra weight is a good thing!

Of course when things flattened out they took off. I saw a woman in my sights but opted not to reel her in. Why? I don't know, I'm still asking myself the same question. We turned in the lane to head back to transition and I really think in general I need to push harder in this section rather than back it off.

I did try to thank all volunteers and police at all intersections. We couldn't do this without them!
What would you do differently?:

Push harder. Lose some weight to make hill climbing less arduous.
Transition 2
  • 01m 35s

Dismounted without incident, ran to my spot to get rid of Rico and ready for the run. Grabbed a quick cup of water on the way out of transition.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing, except maybe move just a bit faster.
  • 32m 46s
  • 3.1 miles
  • 10m 34s  min/mile

Started the run to discover that my lower legs and feet were numb with the cold. I'd dealt with this exact same situation/sensation in a race I did 2 years ago, so I knew what was wrong. I ran for a little, then walked, ran, walked. Tried shaking out my legs. Ran. Walked. Not moving very fast overall. It's a weird feeling, like there are stones in your shoe, or your socks are all bunched up, plus the lack of sensation.

Got to see LT tearing it up, her nearing the finish as I was starting. I cheered her on and realized after she had passed that she was the first woman, yeah!! She did go on to be the overall female winner. She rocks! Passed some more HTC runners returning as I was going out, more mutual words of support.

I saw some of the HTC gang and tried valiantly to run while I was in sight of them and mostly succeeded. Run, walk. Got passed a lot, which is nothing new on the run anyway, but probably made worse by my insensate feet. Decided to renew my positive thoughts and try to keep moving in a running fashion and did until the turnaround where I walked untl I drank my cup of water.

Not long after the turnaround, I saw T, a woman who usually beats me but not by much, just a few minutes. What? I'm ahead of her?! I now had renewed purpose - stay ahead of T!! This became an obsession. Everyone who passed I looked at, worried that it was T. Each time someone passed me, I wanted to ask, "How far back is T?" as if they'd even know who I was talking about. As I passed friends going the other way, I'd want to ask the same question but again, knew they'd have no idea what I was talking about. Stay ahead of T, stay ahead of T, keep running, and running 'quickly', stay ahead of T was all I could think about. I was dying to know how far back she was. I wished for a rearview mirror. I didn't dare turn around. I kept expecting at any moment to be passed by her and I wasn't quite sure what I would do if I did. Fold? Try to keep with her? I didn't know and didn't want to find out. I knew she had the advantage, seeing me ahead of her with my oh so obvious tri kit on, so I just kept pushing. I did manage a goofball pose for the HTC photographers, so glad to have their support out there.

Finally we made it off the rail trail and back out onto the paved road, but I didn't back off. I fully expected to be passed by T at any time. I still took time to give some teenaged volunteers high fives and thanks. LT and some other friends were cheering me on, cool! Push, push, almost there. Even more than before I expected her to pass me now. Some dude did, then I listened for footfalls behind me. It seemed quiet. Was I really going to beat her? I crossed the finish line with no other racers around me, gasping for air. The volunteer took my chip off as I stood bent over with my hands on my knees.
What would you do differently?:

Run more/better initially despite the numb, feelingless feet. If I'd have had a faster pace from the get-go, I'd have really had a great run. As it was, with all the walking, I still got a run PR for this race which I think shows how fast I was going with the 'threat' of T behind me.
Post race
Warm down:

Caught my breath, met up with some of my friends and talked about the race, etc until I got too chilled. Got my stuff from transition, took it to the car and got changed into warm, dry clothes - what a great feeling! Aaaand, what a bad feeling = loading up my bike I spotted a half inch long cut in my rear tire! A few more miles and I doubt it would've held, eek! New tires are in Rico's future.

Hung out with LT, J, the other tri club members and the Masters ladies for awards. LT got first OA woman, I got 2nd Athena (smaller field than usual - only 7 of us) and lots of other friends from tri and Masters received awards, too. Snagged a t-shirt during the swag toss that was my size, how cool! D also snagged one that was also the correct size for her, perfect!

LT, J, D and I went out for lunch afterward.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Not biking enough due to injury and weather. Not running enough due to injury. Not having the confidence in myself that I can go faster.

Event comments:

Love this race, love the cause. IM ABLE raises money to help disabled athletes get the equipment they need to stay active, whether it be hand cycles or any other specialty equipment they need. Super fun day with beautiful weather and good times with friends.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2013-11-18 12:00 AM
00:11:25 | 500 yards | 02m 17s / 100yards
Age Group: 3/7
Overall: 211/438
Performance: Good
Course: Inverted triangle.
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 58F / 14C Current: Low
200M Perf. Below average Remainder: Good
Breathing: Average Drafting:
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 03:19
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike:
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
00:59:07 | 16 miles | 16.24 mile/hr
Age Group: 2/7
Overall: 238/438
Performance: Good
Wind: Some
Course: country roads through both Lebanon & Lancaster Counties
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills:
Race pace: Drinks: Just right
Time: 01:35
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal Average
00:32:46 | 03.1 miles | 10m 34s  min/mile
Age Group: 6/7
Overall: 376/438
Performance: Average
Course: FLAT Rails-to-Trails path
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5