My first Triathlon
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IM ABLE Foundation
= 1h 37m 4s
Age Group Rank
This race is special to me because it was my very first tri ever, back in 2010. It's also special because I know the RD and feel strongly about his cause and the great work he does helping and motivating impaired athletes be active. This race
(and other events
) raise funds for impaired athletes to have the equipment necessary to stay or become active, mainly in the form of adaptive bicycles but also mono-skis and racing wheelchairs. While it's been sad to see his physical abilities decrease over time because of his medical condition, it's been wonderful to see his foundation grow and grow and help athletes of all ages.
Got up, took care of the dogs, loaded up the car and headed to the race site. Ate a Pop-Tart on the way
(could only choke down one that early in the day
) and drank some iced tea, my typical pre-race food/drink.
Went to get body-marked and asked the youngster if she is a good artist. She wasn't sure what to say at first, but eventually she laughed and said she was. ;
) Took Rico
) and my stuff into transition and picked out a spot, then in very short order decided to relocate. I took the end spot farthest from the aisle rather than be in the middle
(no assigned spots, just generally assigned ranges
). There was decent-sized rock and surrounding dirt to navigate and I hoped that I wouldn't fall over it later.
Somehow I missed the HTC
(Hempfield Tri Club
) group picture but was able to chat with some of the gang in transition. Slathered up with plenty of Body Glide to prevent wetsuit or tri suit hickeys. Ate a pack of Stinger chews as it got closer to go time. Put on my wetsuit and hung out with 2 girls from the tri club until it was time for the national anthem and the walk to the lake.
They changed the order of when certain groups start this year. I race Athena, which is usually clumped in with the older women and they start us in a very late wave, such as 12 or 13. This year they put the Athenas with the beginners in wave 3. I think the Clydesdales were in wave 2 with another beginner group and the IM Able athletes.
I did a few arm circles, etc to get the blood moving to my arms while we were waiting on the beach for our turn to enter the water. Waded into the water
(maybe mid-thigh deep
) to let the water into my wetsuit and attempt to acclimate to it. It was chilly, to be sure, but didn't seem quite as cold as previous years. I'd say it may have been mid-60s?
01m 48s / 100 yards
Since there were a lot of beginners in my wave, I did something I never did before and put myself near the front for the start. OK, it was pretty much at the front. My strategy worked out well, I don't think I got stuck behind anyone like often happens, and I didn't perceive that I was holding anyone else up, either. I would NOT try this strategy if I were in regular AG classification.
Dead on sighting to the first buoy without incident.
The IM Able physically challenged racers went out in the wave before us, too. There was one fellow in an inflatable raft being pulled by another racer, and another fellow with a snorkel and fins. I tried to be cognizant of where they were as not to interfere with their races. Made it past these incredible guys without any issue.
Dead on sighting to the second buoy without incident. Going from the second to shore is where I went a bit wonky. At first I went a little wide right to avoid the IM Able snorkel racer. It was difficult to see him and I didn't want to hit him, so I gave wide berth. Apparently after passing him, my brain decided it liked going right. I'd correct to head for the marker on the beach, then next time I'd sight, I'd be slightly off to the right again. Rinse, repeat. Ah, well, eventually got where I needed to be, albeit after some extra yardage.
Swam until my arm hit sand, then stood, ripped off goggles and cap
(glanced at my watch to see how long just the swim part took, I think it said 7:58
) and ran up the beach and the grassy hill while fighting with my wetsuit zipper. Along the run to transition I was greeted by numerous friends who were here to cheer for me and others which is always fun.
What would you do differently?:
Not mess up my sighting on the last leg. Otherwise, I'm pretty happy with my swim. Masters has made a big difference for me. I'm still no speedster, but I'm faster than I used to be.
Arrived at my transition row and very mindfully watched for the rock. Got to my spot and saw spiders. I really, really dislike spiders, especially spiders on my belongings. They were on my mat, my towel, and my bag. I shooed one off my towel as I stepped out of my wetsuit. Very easy wetsuit removal! Sunglasses on, helmet on, race belt on, shoes on
) after a quick swipe with the now spiderless towel to remove most of the sand. Ran out with Rico
(watch out for the rock again!
) over the mat to the mount area. Got behind some newbies but stayed patient as they stopped in the middle of everything, then moved a little, then stopped...I finally got room to get around them and take off.
What would you do differently?:
Hmm, nothing, I don't think. I took a full minute off T1 from last year. Can't control the actions of newbies; we all have to start somewhere, so no blame there. Also can't control spiders, ick.
Carefully picked my way down the driveway watching for the occasional pothole, then started cranking when I got out to the main road. This is one of my favorite portions of the course, it is so pretty with the trees and the road is nice.
Passed some folks including a few handcycles and made sure to cheer everyone as I went by. Told the one handcyclist he's showing the hill who's boss. He replied, "maybe this one!"
(there are 2 nastier ones to come
) and we chuckled. At the top of the hill I encountered a sight-impaired racer in a handcycle and his guide
(which totally impresses the heck out of me, I can't even begin to imagine that challenge
) and I gave him
) some positive cheers and he replied in kind. Awesome stuff!
Steadily made my way through the 'fun' part of the course, eventually getting to my least favorite part of the course, Lawn hill. That blankety-blank just seems to go on and on. Here's where the advantage to being in an earlier wave came into play - less folks on the hill to worry about. It was a little weird having so few people around but nice. I think I could've pushed a little harder going up here.
Made it safely down the other side of Lawn hill and out onto a flatter section. Here's where I started getting passed with more regularity by the speedy younger males of later waves.
We headed back into the rolling/hilly part of the course which is again, very pretty. It was pretty until I saw a smooshed turtle. That made me very sad. It was through these hills that a few more people passed me, but I also still picked off a person or two as well.
Climbing the last big hill of the race, just as I crested I got passed by a cluster of men, I think there were 4 of them in a little pack. I quickly caught my breath, then kept on groovin', trying to use them as motivation to not catch my breath too long.
*Interruption of the story for an important point* All last week I was thinking about the final descent off the last big hill. I normally love this section as it's fast and just curvy enough to be fun, but all week I was thinking about something bad happening here, like blowing a tire, sliding out, whatever.
OK, back to the tale! The pack of guys reached the stop sign just before me and there was a single male rider between us. We all turned the corner and began the fast descent. The pack was just ahead of me and they passed the single guy. Single guy apparently chose now to drink, why I have NO idea, I want both my hands on the bike in this section, and when he tried to put his bottle back in the cage, he missed and it went spinning onto the road. I noticed the fallen bottle and I gently moved left to avoid it. We are easily going 25-30+ mph here and the road is gently winding, so I don't want to make any sudden movements. Just as I think I'm going to successfully clear the still skittering bottle, it erratically jumps in the direction of my front wheel. All sorts of really bad scenarios are going through my head as I gently try to move more left but also am bracing for the hit. I missed it, still spinning, by less than 6 inches, whew!
I passed they bottle dropper and was right behind the pack of guys. I stayed with them through the descent and even on the flatter section heading back toward the lake. I briefly considered trying to pass them, but decided to just hang back.
What would you do differently?:
Eh, overall I'm happy but I maybe could've pushed a bit harder here and there.
Average dismount, ran back to my spot. Watch out for the rock! Oh look, more spiders. ~shudder~ Racked Rico, took off my helmet and bike shoes, slipped into my well-lubed PIs, grabbed my hat and PowerBar gel and took off on the run. More cheers from my friends, yay!
What would you do differently?:
Nothing, it was a typical T2.
09m 09s min/mile
Aaaaaand here's where being in an early wave really sucked if you were me. I'm running my guts out and people are passing me like I'm walking. A LOT of people. Sigh. Frustrating, but tried to not let it frustrate me too much. It is what it is, I can only run so fast. At least I got to see a bunch of HTCers...
Just after a mile and change, I got a sizeable and not ignorable rock in my shoe. I put up with it until I reached the turnaround, then leaned on the sign to take my shoe off, dump the rock, reshoe and get going. I grabbed a cup of water prior to rock removal.
OK, let's get going and try to keep it going. I had a few sets of goals this race and I saw I was on track to make one
(get sub 1:45
) and decided to try to make another goal since things were going well
). I ran and ran, still being passed, of course, but also picking off the odd straggler here and there. I was intent on staying with a lady in a pink shirt ahead of me, and I did. In the final .25 miles, I passed her and stayed ahead of her. When I finally crossed the mat I had a brand new 10 minute PR!
What would you do differently?:
Eh, I guess nothing. Rocks are an unavoidable peril when racing sockless on a gravel trail.
Grabbed a water and eventually some watermelon and 2 orange slices. Got distracted talking to many of my friends, but got to see my buddy Hope from masters finish, then went to put my stuff in the car and put dry, clean clothes on. Came back to meet up with my friends again and watch awards. LT rocked the race, taking first female OA. Hope won her AG, and also won a $150 gift cert for Saucony shoes for being the oldest participant!
Funny LT story - as they were starting awards, Chris announced they had 4 special awards this year. First is a $300 gift certificate for Maui Jim sunglasses. LT said, just to those around us, "Ooohh, pick me, pick me!" No sooner did she say that then Chris announced that the top male and female each get the $300 gift certificate! We laughed so hard and she turned bright red, being the humble, not braggy person that she is. The other 2 special prizes were the shoe GCs that the oldest male
) and female
I think just about everyone from HTC podiumed, including the incredibly fast relay team they put together. I won Athena against some very tough competition, a girl who usually beats me. I guess this coach thing is paying off!
What limited your ability to perform faster:
Being an Athena. Being not-so-great at running.
Chris does a great job making this a familly friendly event - balloon animal creators, face-painting, food, drinks, fun competitions aside from the event. As long as I'm doing triathlons I will continue to do this race.
Last updated: 2014-12-30 12:00 AM
00:08:59 | 500 yards | 01m 48s / 100yards
500 yd. swim in Mt. Gretna Lake Triangle
0F / 0C
Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
00:55:41 | 16 miles | 17.24 mile/hr
16 mi. bike ride on country roads through both Lebanon & Lancaster Counties. Quite beautiful, really. A few hills, mostly rollers.
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Shoe and helmet removal
00:28:22 | 03.1 miles | 09m 09s min/mile
COURSE WAS SHORT - 2.9 instead of 3.1 5K run on a nearby flat Rails-to-Trails path, out and back
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]
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