Friday, April 30, 2010

The wind is my friend... Or at least that's what I tell myself!

Competing at St. Anthony's Triathlon is an experience everyone should try. No other race like this! It's a challenging olymipic tri, even in perfect conditions. Swim has always been anthing but calm year after year. The bike portion is turn after turn after turn. The run is flat, but usually hot, hot, hot! Last year when I competed in St. Anthony's Triathlon for the first time, the swim was too rough, so they just did the bike and run. Swim challenged that I am, I had no problem not doing the swim. In the end, I did very well. 3rd Overall Amateur Elite Women. This year, I had no clue. If they had the swim, I knew I would have to fight for being in the top 10 elite females. Racing some of the best girls in the world, it would take a lot of effort and work.
Race morning, the energy and excitement was contagious. I was nervous myself and anxious, but ready to get the race started. I wanted to do well and not let my Team Snapple down. From transition to swim start, it was a good 15-20 minute walk. Lesson to be learned, bring disposible flip flops. Gun went off, I dolphin dived to get in the middle of the pack of great swimmers. Boy, how I love the swim portion of the race. It totally calms my anxiousness and nerves. I got focused and actually passed some swimmers. That made me so very happy! Water was choppy, but for me, the choppier the better. I don't really understand why that is, but I have fun with it and enjoy the swim.
Climed myself out of the water and into T1. As I was running out with my bike, I hear the announcer saying all kinds of wonderful things about me and wishing me luck. Wow, what a way to start the bike portion! Slipping my feet into my awesome Spiuk bike shoes, I realize that I pulled my strap out of my left shoe. Oh no! Well, I just have to have one foot firmly strapped in. As expected, there was turn after turn. Addition to that, there was much headwind. Well, this is good training for Kona, right?!?
Get into T2, I throw on my Spira racing flats and fly out of transition. This is my strongest leg, so I know I'll be able to make up any time lost on the swim. I pass several elite girls going out on the run course, but as soon as I turn, I felt like I was running in s-l-o-w motion. Darn wind! I see the amazing Miranda Carefrea flying by all those poor pro women struggeling like the rest of us. How inspiring is Miranda?!? Got to the awesome spectator lined finishline. If that doesn't make you speed up, I'm not sure what does! I finished better than I expected with the swim this year. 7th Amateur Elite Women Overall! How could I be disappointed? Great race! Would I do this race again, even though this doesn't favor my strengths? Oh yes! Hard course, but you are treated like a pro triathlete. Recommend to everyone!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Starting Tri Season with Much Fun!

Last weekend, I competed in a triathlon like no other. The tri was “The White Sands Triathlon,” in Panama City Beach, FL. I’ve always loved racing in Panama City Beach, with their beautiful white sand beaches and beautiful weather. This triathlon wasn’t in my original schedule, but the whole concept of the race really had me interested. White Sands Tri is a sprint distance triathlon, 600 meter ocean swim, 16 mile bike, and a 5k run. Sounds pretty normal, right? Well, the organizers of the race decided to make the race a bit more competitive. When registering, you had the option of putting $5 in the pot to start 6 minutes ahead of the guys. Now the guys who wanted to try to catch the girls, also had to put $5 in the pot to participate. Whoever came across the finishline first, male or female, won the cash. The pot was over $200 and I couldn’t wait to fight for that money! So, knowing that the swim was not my strongest, I had to really put effort into it. Taking in that saltwater and trying to avoid jellyfish, didn’t help my swim stroke. I got back to the beach and was happy that no men were in sight. Got onto my bike and started hammering it. The bike course was a 3 loop course, so you could see who was in front of you and who was behind. I was 1:30 back from the lead girl, which is no surprise, since I’m swim challenged. Still no sight of guys. Yahoo! With every lap, I was closing the gap on the lead girl, but by the 2nd lap of the bike, I see two Navy guys about 2 miles from me. Darn! They looked like they were riding strong too! The last lap of the bike, those two Navy guys caught me. I still had hope that they weren’t good runners, since that is my strength. I caught the lead girl in the last 2 miles of the bike, but my focus was on the 2 guys ahead of me. Practically flying out of T2, I ran after the Navy guys. Saw the guys at the turnaround point of the run. They still looked strong, but I wasn’t too far away and was still hoping for them to slow down. No luck! Yep, I got beat by 2 boys, but I did come in 3rd Overall and 1st Female. And even better, I actually got a small piece of the pot for coming in 3rd Overall, so that was icing on the cake for a wonderful time.
Would I do this race again? Heck, yeah! It was a lot of fun and a fantastic course.