Monday, August 21, 2017

Race Report: Tri to Beat Cancer 2017

Yeah, I disappeared again! But I have a good excuse! In the last few weeks, I attended 70.3 training camp in Augusta (went great!!), moved my older daughter to her new home in Nashville (also went great!!), started the new school year with my younger daughter (again, went great!!), and traveled to SC to see the Great American Eclipse (too awesome for words). Training for Augusta has gone fairly well, except for last weekend when I made the mistake of trying to get my long workouts in after working all day - I learned quickly that I'm more suited to get up early and workout before I go to work!

Also, in another bit of news in case you don't follow my Facebook page:

I have registered for the 2018 Ironman 70.3 Raleigh in June!!

Since I'm trying to decide if I want to tackle a full Ironman in 2018, I wanted to attempt another 70.3 fairly early in the season. I have a bunch of factors to consider before I hit the "register" button, but at least trying out a non-river swim for a 70.3 will help me in my training!

Speaking of training - this past weekend was a great one for me with my Augusta 70.3 training (Augusta being a mere 5 weeks away!). I had signed up for the Tri to Beat Cancer sprint tri back when it was going to be my "A" race for 2017 (or my only one LOL). Because of the addition of the 70.3, it had to become part of a longer training weekend. I was supposed to do a 60 mile ride this weekend and I couldn't miss that mileage because the bike remains my weakest area and my training time is more limited this year.

Soooooo, the day before a race, BJ and I did a 43/3 brick (43 mile bike ride followed immediately by a 3 mile run).

Yeah, we look way too cute and way too strong to have just finished such a tough workout! We are super tough that way! :)

And now, we finally come to the race report!

I woke up at 4 AM to head out to Athens for the race by 5:30! I had packed up everything the night before, including my bike, so all I had to do was feed the cats, grab breakfast, and head out! The drive was going to take 45 minutes which really isn't too bad. I parked, unloaded my stuff in the pitch black (thankfully I remembered my headlamp), and headed to packet pickup. It was early and I was met with no lines. I got my timing chip, realized quickly that I had forgotten my safety pin but was thrilled that they had a ton of them near the chip. I got through body marking and into transition with ease.

I knew so many people who would be at this race, which is part of the reason I wanted to do it. BJ would be there, as well as a friend from run group (Stacey) and another friend from run group (Minja) who I didn't realize was there until I saw his strava data pop up later. Sylvia from my Ragnar Trail team was there though I didn't see her until the finish line. My friend Susan was there doing her very first triathlon, having just bought her bike 4 weeks earlier! Judith and George came to spectate, as did BJ's hubby Ed and their puppy Kona, along with the TriCoachGeorgia team who had a tent out on the course! It was like a fabulous Tri-Family Reunion which I desperately needed since I haven't seen many of them this summer while training. I love all of those folks so much!

Got my transition area set up which took a lot of thinking since I haven't done a tri since last June!

Mike the Bike is all racked! I'm wearing my new Coeur kit, repping Classic City Running before the race, of course!

BJ and I headed down to the swim start shortly before transition was closed. The sun was just rising and we each took a little warm up swim. The water felt great, maybe a little warm but the air temp was fine. The race director called us out of the water and told us to line up roughly in number order. We would have a time trial start - 2 people at a time every few seconds. This is not my favorite because I prefer to be in the water so I can just take off and swim. I don't like having to run in. 

The first swimmers were out of the water before I even got IN - and I was about the middle of the pack! LOL Everyone on the beach cheered them as they came out of the water which I thought was fabulous! I got to the front of the line and took off like a slug trying to move through the water until I could swim. But once I actually was able to swim, it went beautifully! My new goggles didn't fog up and they allowed me to see the buoys better than I have during ANY race. I didn't have to battle any other swimmers and I didn't have any anxiety. I just put my head down, so to speak, and swam my race. The only time I felt any sort of pressure was right at the finish when it seemed like I was either being overtaken more, or folks were cramming together more to get out of the water. But I just did my thing and kept swimming until my hand touched the bottom of the lake. Then I got out of the water and did something I had never done before - I actually ran ALL the way up to transition! And I mean ALL the way because it was a long way! LOL But seriously! I ran the whole way up the hill and it felt so easy! I was really pumped!

Transition was exciting - I bought new shoes earlier this week. Real, live triathlon shoes with easy velcro and draining holes to let the water out! They are bright blue and they are simply fabulous! And they fit into my current SPD pedals so I didn't have to learn a new system! 

My new shoes, earlier in the week when I was testing out my new stuff for the race. Aren't they beautiful?!?!
It took a little longer to get through transition than I wanted but I have to admit I didn't practice. Not even once. I need to make sure I practice before Augusta! It needs to be automatic so I'm not having to think of each step. 

Again, I took my bike and RAN to the mount line. Feeling totally awesome, though my heart rate was pretty high. Nothing to stress about but I just have to be aware of it. It wasn't a big deal in a sprint but it could be a problem in a 70.3 or 140.6. 

This course was really pretty and not terribly hilly. There were a couple of rollers but nothing really hard, at least not compared to what I train on. I did push myself a little harder, because I wanted to see what I was capable of and what effect it would have on my legs for the run. The course was well-marked, lots of volunteers and police to take care of traffic, and I felt perfectly safe the entire time. I reached 39.3 mph on the big downhill, and to be honest, I don't remember being afraid (which I usually am on downhills!!). I averaged 16.2 mph over the 14 miles - that is something I've never done before. I think my previous fastest speed in a tri was 15.7 mph. 

Got to the dismount line and then ran my bike to my rack - it was tricky in my new shoes which are a little less grippy than the old ones. But I did it! Some jerk had racked their bike right on top of my stuff which really annoyed me and caused me to take longer in T2 than I wanted. Plus, I forgot to put Lock Laces in my shoes so I actually had to tie them! @@ 

Grabbed my water bottle and headed to the run course. I passed by the TriCoachGeorgia tent and heard the cheers of my friends and Coach Slayer telling me to throw the horns, which I did:

Backwards horns. I'm an embarrassment to the Reapers!
As I ran off to the rest of the course, I was determined to pass the tent on the way to the finish STRONG and with my horns facing the right way! LOL 

The course was hillier than I was expecting. I planned to do a 1 mile/1 minute interval, but in the 2nd mile there was a steep hill so I decided to walk so I could conserve my legs for the finish which I could tell was flat/downhill. I knew I could make up any of that walking time if my legs weren't blown out from pushing up the hill. And I did! 

I couldn't believe how strong I felt on that last mile. My average pace was 8:40 and I know I was going faster the closer I got to the TCGA tent and the finish!

Yeah, so I may have been a little pumped! LOL
I ran for that finish line with everything I had in me! Garmin tells me I was running 7:45/mile at the end! That doesn't surprise me! 

I crossed the finish line happy and feeling strong and confident. What more could anyone ask for?! A blue race shirt, you say?! YES!! It's as if they know me! I was so excited that I got cleaned up and put the race shirt on before I went home! 

So the verdict on this race? YES! Do it! It's absolutely fabulous! It's well-run and the crowd support is awesome, the volunteers are top notch, and the course is lovely! Just do it!!

To close, I wanted to share a picture that BJ's hubby got of Susan, me, and BJ after the race. Look at how happy and awesome we ALL look! And this is AFTER a triathlon! I'm not even sure that's allowed! Shouldn't we look tired or something?! :D

Right after the race, I drove back home to pick up my youngest so we could drive to my parents' house in SC for the eclipse, which is where I am writing this post from. I took a rest day today, but we are going back home in the morning and I am planning to get back to the grind - though it's a recovery week for me. The last one before Augusta!!! WOW! 

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