What a whirlwind.
Yesterday, I completed the Iron Girl Columbia Triathlon. And it was awesome. Let’s see how much I can remember.
This race was much bigger than my earlier triathlon. Like, 2000+ people bigger. It was also longer. So it was a big change. Thankfully, I have great friends, including all of my new friends on Team Fight, who helped get me to race morning.
Friday, I went to packet pickup and got all of my info. Saturday was the Team Fight lunch (an amazing event with lots of laughter and tears and reminders of Why We Fight). After the lunch, I headed to the park to rack my bike and check out the course. The transition area was HUGE.
I didn’t have the world’s best spot, but it wasn’t bad. I was off to one side, which was definitely a plus. I also checked out the swim start area and the finish area. The swim looked far. But I was ready. One key thing that I loved about this race is that the start and finish are near each other and all of the team tents (charity tents, triathlon clubs) were right there. So I could wander to the tent, grab a snack, and head back to watch friends finish.
Race morning came bright and early. And wet. It was drizzly much of the morning. Not pouring, and thankfully not storming, just wet. I setup my transition area, decided to not worry about the fact that my shoes were going to get wet, and headed over to the Team Fight tent for relaxing and the Dedication Circle.
And then it was time to go. The race was a water start, meaning that we walked down the boat ramp and treaded water until the horn. I don’t think you had to tread water, but I wanted to. It was probably less than 5 minutes of treading, and I knew being in the water was exactly what I needed.
I did NOT want to go through what I went through last race. No panic allowed! It helped that the water was a great temp – something like 78 degrees. It was warmer than the air!
So I got in and it felt pretty sweet. Thankfully, I had wonderful friends who forced me to get in and bob and be ready. As we treaded water and chatted, the race camera drone flew overhead. It was crazy! Talk about the stuff from alien movies. But it was so cool that they do that sort of video. I hope they make some of it available on the website.
The horn went off and I started swimming. .63 miles. I knew I could do it, but I had to stay out of my head. So I started swimming. 10 strokes, then sight. Worked really well and the buoys marking the course were amazing. I didn’t rush because I was worried about getting out of breath and getting my heart rate too high. So I just swam. I was really lucky that I found a spot in the water where I wasn’t getting clobbered by other swimmers. It felt pretty great. At one point, I remember thinking “You know, I’m just lollygagging along while other people are hardcore racing.” But I just wanted to get through the swim with no problems.
The water was dirty. I was prepared for that. I was also prepared for all the greenery floating about. I expected more algae, which wasn’t there. What I didn’t expect was the giant clouds of plants coming up from the ground about halfway through the course. Talk about the stuff from a horror movie It just seemed like it was creeping up at me. Gross.
Finally, last turn into the boat ramp and I was on dry land!
(My secret goal was under 30 minutes. GOT IT!)
In T1, I took my time. I ran to my bike, but then made sure to get my shoes on comfortably and my bike gloves. I put my watch on and headed up the slippery grass hill with my bike to the mount line.
The bike course was something I knew. I had ridden it a bunch, but I wasn’t sure how long it would take me without any stoplights. I also wasn’t sure how it was going to feel without any breaks, as we usually take a break mid-ride on our Sunday rides. It was tough. By this point, it was still drizzling, and the downhills scared me a bunch. There were also a lot of newbie riders who either didn’t know or didn’t care about the passing rules and I found myself behind a pack more than once.
At one point early on, I hit a pothole (couldn’t get around it due to an illegal passer) and half the stuff in my bento box flew out. Thankfully, that half was my gummies and my chapstick, not my inhaler. Not that I needed it during the race, but even with insurance, I didn’t want to have to pay for a new one. I worried a little bit about the lack of nutrition, but figured I would do what I could when I got to the run. Nothing else I could do now.
I definitely felt like I was fighting my way up the hills and I was passed pretty frequently, but I also found myself passing people (which felt awesome, since I was only in the 4th swim wave, and the first one was elites). I worried that I was overcranking my legs, but I had to do what I needed to so that I got up the hills. I need to work on bike skills on the offseason as crosstraining.
Finally, FINALLY, I was headed into the transition point.
(Secret goal – 1:20. BEAT IT!)
Wobbly into T2, back down the grassy hill with my bike. Changed shoes and took the time to fix my poor ponytail before heading back out.
Took me a while to find my groove on the run. I had my watch set to intervals, but my heart rate alert just kept going off, and I had to slow down. It was hilly, which I knew, and my legs were not pleased following the bike, but I just kept moving. I knew it wasn’t pretty, but my goal was to finish strong.
(Hoped to be under 45:00, but you win some, you lose some.)
Total: 2:34:15. 5/22 in my AG (Athena under 40), 1076/1553 finishers
Ultimately, I hoped to be in under 3:00, maybe closer to 2:45. So this was phenomenal. Laura wanted to see me finish and missed me because I was moving too quickly. That’s pretty awesome. It was so much fun to be in such an early wave because there were SO many people still lining the course and I then got to cheer on people to the finish rather than being one of the last ones in.
I’m tired and sore, but this was an awesome race. Now for a week of rest and planning next year’s season!
Thank you again for all of your support!