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Patriot Triathlon - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Freetown, Massachusetts
United States
Sun Sport Events
Total Time = 7h 26m 16s
Overall Rank = 295/318
Age Group = Athena
Age Group Rank = 5/6
Pre-race routine:

Where to begin. I guess this all starts a few months ago, after the Hyannis Half Marathon in February. I had such a good time with the Mass Mafia and a good race, that Marianne (mav) said, "hey, you should do Patriot HIM with us. There are a bunch of us doing it as our first HIM. You can cover the swim and run and you have plenty of time to work on your bike fitness." I said, "sounds like a great idea!" So, I signed up. I upgraded my BT membership to silver and imported a training plan. I was doing really well with it too! Then life happened and I had a lot going on with my son Cole (and continues to go on). Then I got injured playing a softball game as a favor to another friend. There went another week of training. I thought all was lost at that point and had a mini melt down. I pulled it together and refocussed and trained as hard as I could. Then some more stuff happened with my son and I had a total meltdown! Again, I pulled my head out of my arse and changed my goals for this race. I no longer had a time goal, only to finish. I was even okay if I was DFL. Something I have NEVER said (and doubt I'll say again!). I now viewed this race more like telling the universe it could go screw itself! No matter what it threw at me over the past few months, I was still gonna do this and do it with a smile.

So, Friday comes and Beth (trirific10) and I drive up to MA and head to the race site. We meet up with Helen (aquagirl) and it was GREAT to finally meet her! Marianne (mav) is around too and we go and pick up our packets. We then head out to a fun filled dinner and have a great time with some more BTers, Lisa (RedSoxChick), Josh (BostonBeginner) and Rob (Rcberto). The Mass BT crew is a blast. Really good people!

After dinner, Beth, Helen and I head over to the hotel. Helen needs to eat (again!) so she heads out to grab some food. I decided I was beat and need to try to sleep. Yeah, that didn't go so well. I was awake every 30 minutes. Ugh.

4:30 comes quickly! We all get up and get ready and are out of the hotel around 5:15. We get to the race site by 6:00. Got my transition area set up and go to get body marked. I wait my turn, get there and go, crap, is my number 395 or 365. I go and double check and I'm 395. Geez, I'm a dork! I eventually get body marked and meet up with Rudy (Rudedog55). We chat for a bit and he tries to calm my nerves but I'm still a nervous wreck. I talk with Marianne (drool over her bike and new wheels), meet Sue (socks) and Cat (tritoy). Chat with Kathy (KathyG). Chat with my rack mates. Lots of chatting!

Around 6:45, I decide to start getting into my wetsuit since it takes so long! I struggle with it for a bit and then I'm all set, it just needs to be zipped up. Plenty of time to do that later, my wave doesn't go off until 7:30.

I walk down to the water and chat with Rudy, Josh, Helen and Kathy. After a bit, I ask Rudy to zip me up. He does and I'm not exactly sure what happened but something went wrong with the zipper. Well, I'm freaking out as it is and now my wetsuit zipper is messed up. All I can think about is, "my wave goes off in 15 minutes and I am stuck in my wetsuit. I won't be able to get it off!" Well, between Rudy, Helen and Josh, they figure it out and get it fixed. Phew! Nothing like a little extra stress!

Soon, it is time for our wave. Kathy, Rudy and I make our way into the starting area and we see Kathy (KOM). Yay, more BTers!! Say a quick hello and grab a hug and it's time to go!
Event warmup:

Ummm, does standing around in my wetsuit talking count??
  • 32m 26s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 32s / 100 yards

The swim had to be short. I am not that fast! But, nonetheless, it was a great swim for me. The water felt great. I found open water really fast and just swam my little heart out. I didn't push it and just focused on my stroke and sighting. I had little problems with either. I tried to find someone to draft off but could never really find anyone with the same pace that could swim straight! I had someone draft off me almost the entire time. Every few minutes, my feet would get slapped. The first time sort of startled me but after that, I was fine.

Towards the end, I had a blonde moment. When I was breathing, I thought I smelt (tasted) nasty exhaust fumes. Not really thinking (obviously), when my head was back in the water, I take a sniff to see if I really smelt fumes. Well, in the water steams up my nose and I feel like an idiot! I quickly realize that I am not the sharpest crayon in the box and blow out all the water. I had to chuckle at my stupidity! I guess I was in a zone and forgot what I was doing?? Who knows!

I had a few sighting issues after I passed the last buoy. My goggles had fogged up a little and I was having a hard time seeing the swim exit. So I zig-zagged my way to the exit.
What would you do differently?:

Not much. I pretty much stopped swimming a month ago. I just got tired of going to the pool. Had I been training consistently, I think my time would have been better. All things considered, this was a fantastic swim.
Transition 1
  • 03m 42s

I took my time. I was in no hurry. I got my wetsuit off, put on my bike jersey, socks, shoes, sunglasses, and helmet. Then grabbed my Uncrustables (thanks Marianne!) and stuffed them in my pockets. I unracked my bike and meandered out of transition. I have never been so slow in my life!
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. I was slow on purpose. I wanted to make sure I had everything and I did!
  • 3h 49m 51s
  • 58 miles
  • 15.14 mile/hr

Wow. This was tough for me. Going into the race, I knew that the bike was going to be my downfall. My longest training ride was 40 miles. With everything that I have had going on in my life, I just didn't have the time or energy to do the long rides. Then I injured my quads and lost another week or so of quality training. That being said, I knew as long as I could make it to mile 58, I would finish this race. I made it but I paid for it!

The first loop was great! I was averaging between 16-17 mph and for me, that is HUGE! I knew it would come back to bite me on the second lap but I felt really good. My only issue was the mud that was stuck near my front brake from the muddy transition. I thought at first I had a flat or my brakes were rubbing but then realized the rubbing was just mud. I got it out without having to stop and was relieved that it wasn't anything mechanical!

At mile 15, I was HUNGRY! Like stomach growling hungry. I ate one Uncrustable even though I wanted to wait until mile 20ish before I ate it. After, I washed it down with a little Gatorade/water mix and was good to go. I was just out for a little spin on my bike and enjoying the course. It was a little lonely though. When you are as BOP as me, there aren't a lot of people around to ride with! But, it was really peaceful! Around mile 24ish, I saw Beth and Rudy. That was great! It gave me a little morale booster and made me smile.

The second lap just plain sucked! I had finished my first bottle of Gatorade/water and started on the plain Gatorade. Well, my stomach didn't much like it. At all. I ate my second Uncrustable around mile 40 but it didn't sit real well. Nothing major, just felt yucky. My speed dropped off pretty bad too. I went from 16-17 down to 11-13. Yikes. I was tired. Mile 50 came and I wanted to kill Marianne! Darn her for talking me into this! My back hurt, my arms hurt, my arse hurt, my legs hurt. Mentally, I was a wreck. Like about to start to cry wreck. I had a little pep talk with myself and decided it was time to put on the big girl panties, drop the hammer and get this ride over with! I still had a blasted half marathon to run and my pitiful 12 mph wasn't going to get me to T2 any faster so let's go!!!!

As I was coming up the hill at the end of the second lap, I could see all the speedy people finishing their run! I got quite a kick out of that. I can only imagine what it must be like to do a HIM in under 5 hours. They were moving! Here they were finishing the race as I was just starting my run. Funny!
What would you do differently?:

There really wasn't much I could have done differently on race day. My lack of training was a problem and I knew it was going to be at the start of the day. I gave it all I had, I just didn't have much to give. My goal was sub 4 hours for the bike and I made it. Yay me!
Transition 2
  • 03m 20s

I reached the dismount line and gingerly got off my bike. It felt GREAT to get off!!! The volunteers asked if I was an Aquabiker and I said "I wish, but I still have a nice 13.1 walk to complete!"

I walked my bike to my rack and racked it. I swapped my shoes, swapped shirts, grabbed my visor and race belt. As an afterthought, I grabbed a gel and downed it. I drank some water and was thinking about walking out of T2 when I hear someone call my name. I look up and see Lisa's (RedSoxChick) smiling face. She says, "what are you doing?" I said, "having a picnic!" It was a God send to see her. Really. After that horrible bike, I wanted to die. Seeing her and then all the other BTers, Beth (trirific10), Rudy (Rudedog55), and Helen (aquagirl), was like manna falling from heaven! I chatted with them for a few minutes and then hit the port a potty. I decided I better get running so off I went.
What would you do differently?:

Not a gosh darn thing!
  • 2h 56m 58s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 13m 31s  min/mile

I started walking right out of transition. I knew I didn't want to run right away. I happened to walk out of T2 with another lady. So of course we start chatting. Her name is Linda and has a daughter named Erica who runs like a gazelle. Well, I don't run like a gazelle but I can try! We walk for about a half mile and then we decide to run. Slowly. I feel GREAT. Yay me! She says, nope, go on without me. Okay. So off I go. My slow little run.

Soon here is the first aide station. Wow, that was quick! I walk through it and drink some water. Then start running again. I see another runner up ahead and I'm catching her!! I catch up and ask how she is doing. She was good but is ready to be done. We chat for a bit and then here comes Linda again. We all run together until the 2nd aide station. I walk through again (walking all aide stations) and grab more water. Linda and I start running and the other girl drops off. The two of us had a really nice conversation. It was so nice to have someone to run with and talk with! If I was alone on that course, I would have died, okay, not really, but you know what I mean!

Mile 3, I take a gel and more water. Still feeling good! Then comes mile 4. Yup, I'm done! My legs were heavy and my stomach started complaining. I ignored it and we kept on running our slow running pace. By mile 6, I needed a bathroom. NOW! Well, there weren't any port o potties on the course. So, off to find a bush for me. That was an experience I hope to never repeat again!

Linda had kept on going so I had to catch up. I did so pretty quickly and was feeling better. We were now taking more walk breaks but still running the majority of it. By mile 10, we both were done. But, we only had a 5k left. No problem, right???

Around mile 11, I see Beth running up on the other side of the road. What a great sight! She crosses over and runs with us and asks how we are feeling. Well, like crap! But, we only had two more miles!!

I had been keeping an eye on the time and really wanted to finish before 3:00. It was 2:45. We had 15 minutes to cover a mile. Let's go! So, we start running again. Then came that stupid hill. We walk up the hill and then start running again. Beth takes off and Linda and I head to the finish chute.

What I didn't realize is that there was still a decent run before we got to the finish line. Really??? Come on! I just want to be done! I had nothing left. So I thought. I round the corner and I hear a big cheer from none other than the BT crew. I heard Chris (smoke) and Helen specifically. That was enough for me to kick it up a notch. I finally see the finish line and make it through. Kathy (KOM) was there with my medal and water. It took me a minute to realize it was her but I was so thankful she was there.

That was such an emotional moment for me. Yes, I started to cry. I couldn't hold it in. It wasn't even the emotions from just the race, it was everything. It was Cole, it was my quads, it was all the hours of training, everyone that made this race possible for me, Marianne for even suggesting (pushing??) me to do it....everything all hit me at once. I did it. Something I never thought I could do.
What would you do differently?:

Wow, I'm not sure I could have done anything differently! I would have loved to go faster but I couldn't. I gave it all I had.
Post race
Warm down:

No warm down. At all. Just finished running and that was it! Hugged my friends, cried a bit and got my stuff out of transition. Off for some recovery food and drink!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

The biggest issue I had was my bike fitness. I just didn't have the time/opportunity to put in the long rides like I needed to. Lesson learned!

Another detail to note is that this was my fourth triathlon. Yup, fourth. I have done three sprints before this race. So, I think my lack of experience showed. But where I lack in experience, I make up for in my overwhelming amount of determination and stubbornness.

Last updated: 2009-02-25 12:00 AM
00:32:26 | 2112 yards | 01m 32s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/6
Overall: 285/318
Performance: Good
Start type: Plus:
Water temp: 68F / 20C Current:
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Average Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Time: 03:42
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: No
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
03:49:51 | 58 miles | 15.14 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/6
Overall: 303/318
Performance: Average
Course: Two loops, 29 miles each. Nice quiet, rolling hills.
Road:  Dry Cadence:
Turns: Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Average Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 03:20
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
02:56:58 | 13.1 miles | 13m 31s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/6
Overall: 298/318
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race? Yes
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2009-06-22 10:56 AM

User image

Subject: Patriot Triathlon
I want to give a quick shout out to a few other BTers who helped me along this journey that were not at the race.  Stacie (skrtrnr) and Cheri (Sledge) both gave me huge amounts of advice and encouragement.

Stacie, thank you so much for your wonderful words of wisdom and your listening ear.  You have no idea how much that helped me get through that horrible dark time.

Cheri, I did remember to smile (grimace??) throughout the day.  Thanks for the reminder!

Edited by ebshot 2009-06-22 11:03 AM

2009-06-22 11:05 AM
in reply to: #2233871

Subject: ...
This user's post has been ignored.
2009-06-22 11:40 AM
in reply to: #2233871

Shalimar, FL
Subject: RE: Patriot Triathlon

Oh geez, I just LOVED reading your RR!  I got teary-eyed at the end too.  What a super feeling, crossing that finish line!  And I love that you are so enthused about it -- you did a super job, a culmination of a lot of training and hard mental work, and you managed to overcome injury to make this happen.  YOU ROCK!!!

2009-06-22 12:16 PM
in reply to: #2233871

Hingham, Ma
Subject: RE: Patriot Triathlon

You did such an amazing job out there.  Way to just keep moving forward, no matter what phyical pain or negative self-talk was going on.  There's not a whole lot of people who have done what you did on Saturday, especially with all the other stuff going on in your life.  You should be very proud of yourself.  You can come up and be part of the Mass Mafia anytime.  How about Cranberry?

2009-06-22 12:16 PM
in reply to: #2233871

Ames, IA
Subject: RE: Patriot Triathlon
Awesome, awesome job, Erica!  What a huge accomplishment!
2009-06-22 12:40 PM
in reply to: #2233871

Cambridge, MA
Subject: RE: Patriot Triathlon
Wow, congrats!  Great job!  You put in a lot of physical hours training, maybe not as much as you would have liked, but being mentally prepared and determined is BIG!  And only after a few sprints, yow!

I loved reading your RR - "I had a little pep talk with myself and decided it was time to put on the big girl panties," ha!   - I am so going to think about that the next time I need to push my way through a tough spot on race day!

2009-06-22 12:51 PM
in reply to: #2233871

Brooklyn, NY
Subject: RE: Patriot Triathlon
Amazing Erica! What a phenomenal accomplishment for you during a challenging time. Thanks for sharing such a personal story in the RR, it feels like we were there with you.
2009-06-22 12:59 PM
in reply to: #2233871

Subject: RE: Patriot Triathlon

Great race report and congratulations on finishing the HIM!  Wow...I can't believe this was only your 4th triathlon.  Very impressive!

2009-06-22 1:33 PM
in reply to: #2233871

Extreme Veteran
Katy, Texas
Subject: RE: Patriot Triathlon

WOW!! Huge congratulation on your HIM finish! I loved how you were able to use a bit of humur to push yourself. A great read and very inspiring!!

2009-06-22 1:50 PM
in reply to: #2233871

Extreme Veteran
Warwick, Rhode Island
Subject: RE: Patriot Triathlon

YOU DID IT!!!! Awesome!

Such a great accomplishment and you should be so proud of your effort. Nice job!!!

2009-06-22 1:58 PM
in reply to: #2233871

The Land of Ice and Snow
Subject: RE: Patriot Triathlon
Glittery texts by


Simply awesome job out there are an amazing woman!!      

Edited by aquagirl 2009-06-22 1:59 PM

2009-06-22 2:13 PM
in reply to: #2234457

Quebec, Canada
Subject: RE: Patriot Triathlon
Huge, huge congratulation Erica. Really impressive!

4th triathlon and you are already finishing a HIM!!! 

2009-06-22 2:23 PM
in reply to: #2233871

Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Subject: RE: Patriot Triathlon
Wow Erica!!!! You did so well! Thanks for sharing so openly all that you have been going through. You are a true inspiration!
2009-06-22 2:28 PM
in reply to: #2233871

New York, NY
Subject: RE: Patriot Triathlon
WOW!  great race report and great job!!!! and yay for pulling on big girl panties!!!! lmao!

and come play anytime - my house is big enough for your family to come along if you want a weekend up here!
2009-06-22 2:59 PM
in reply to: #2233871

Frisco, TX
Subject: RE: Patriot Triathlon

Great job Erica!  You are an inspiration!  I am truly impressed by your perseverance!

2009-06-22 3:05 PM
in reply to: #2233871

Guilford, CT
Subject: RE: Patriot Triathlon
Nice job!  I'm really happy for you!  That was a great race report!

2009-06-22 3:05 PM
in reply to: #2233871

Subject: RE: Patriot Triathlon

your my hero.  seriously.

all that you've gone through, all that you 'overcame' to finish that race.

thanks for being so open and genuine about your journey.

these are the moments that show us who we are deep, deep down inside.

and what i see between the lines is someone who is strong, determined and oh so very courageous.

there were moments when you could have quit, but you didnt.

there were moments when you could said screw it, but you didnt.

you just kept workin' it, stroke by stroke, pedal stroke by pedal stroke, step by step.

and THAT takes something, and that something is INSIDE OF YOU, deep, deep, down.

im honored to have been a part of your journey, thank you for allowing me access. its been truly an honor and privilege to see your life unfold....and to see you take on this challenge, and conquer it!

know that ill be here for you in the ways that i can be.

love you.

Edited by skrtrnr 2009-06-22 3:11 PM
2009-06-22 3:07 PM
in reply to: #2233871

Subject: RE: Patriot Triathlon


i second that!

thats one hell of a good reason to do AND finish an HIM!

Edited by skrtrnr 2009-06-22 3:08 PM
2009-06-22 3:12 PM
in reply to: #2233871

Subject: RE: Patriot Triathlon
WOW!!!!! Great RR!! You are amazing! The strength and determination that you displayed on Saturday is what this sport is all about. I was so happy to be there when you crossed the finish line! Cant wait for our next journey.

SO glad that you really dont hate me!!!!!!
2009-06-22 3:50 PM
in reply to: #2233871

Subject: RE: Patriot Triathlon

It was great race to have so many BTer around cheering everyone on.

Your attitude and dedication as well as humor is impressive!

4th race a HIM!
2009-06-22 4:51 PM
in reply to: #2233871

Williamston, Michigan
Subject: RE: Patriot Triathlon

Great Job Erica!! Conrats on yoru first HIM

2009-06-22 6:08 PM
in reply to: #2235042

Subject: RE: Patriot Triathlon

when my head was back in the water, I take a sniff to see if I really smelt fumes.

I laughed at this ^^^.

You had an AWESOME RACE!

And you wrote a wonderfully inspirational RR about it.

Way to go!

2009-06-22 7:35 PM
in reply to: #2233871

Subject: RE: Patriot Triathlon

Awesome race, any idea what was up with your stomach? Just not used to full gatorade?

2009-06-22 8:10 PM
in reply to: #2233871

Almost Canada, WA
Subject: RE: Patriot Triathlon
Erica, you truly are an inspiration!!!  Many, many congrats to you for all that you've overcome to get here and finish this!!!  You are amazing!!
2009-06-22 9:26 PM
in reply to: #2233871

East Side of the Bay
Subject: RE: Patriot Triathlon
A beautiful story from an inspiring woman.....Congrats Erica!
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