I am waking up this morning sore and stiff, but in the best way. My body is saying-“you went all out and now we must rest.” Yesterday was the IronGirl 2007 Columbia Triathlon.
May I first say, before the official race report, that it was awesome to see so many people out cheering whom I knew and said my name. There is nothing like hearing Go Sarah and seeing a friend! Sandy, Joe, Pat,Shane, Maggie, Paul, Angela, Rebecca, Ron, Jane, Emma, Cait, and Tom, and of course, Jose all gave me a reason to push a little harder and smile! Also, knowing that Wendy, Jane, Joanne, Victoria, Patti, Liz, and Denise were all out racing gave me such great joy. What a privilege to know such strong women.
I was a little nervous as the drizzle hit our car as we drove to the park on Sunday. But I had prayed for overcast skies, so I suppose I was getting my prayer answered. We arrived and I was Body Marked, SO COOL. I now felt like a real triathlete (my first race didn’t have marking). I ventured alone into the transition area and found “Big Blue” (my bike) where I’d left her with her protective baggy on the saddle. I started to set up my space which was about the size of a shoe box. I put out all the gear, the shoes, the socks, race belt, sunglasses, helmet, extra towel and felt very good about my space.
My group, dark green caps 25-29 A-L did not start the swim until 8:04, so I had an agonizing hour of watching each previous group jump off the dock and enter the water. It gave me a chance to cheer for the girls as they each started their first leg. Finally the time came, we were summoned to the line and I went right to the front, just to avoid being kicked as much as possible. I jumped into the yummy green water and waded out near the start. It was the longest five minutes ever. I worried about my too big chip which I had waterproof taped to my ankle. Finally, 3-2-1 start. Head in and pulling away, right away someone kicked my chip and there went the tape, so my chip, though velcroed, had a long flappy thing hanging off my ankle. Needless to say, my kicking in the water wasn’t exactly fierce. I continued to pull away and stayed with the first few ladies until the first turn, when they took off. We started to pass orange, yellow, and red caps and I only had one almost kick in the face from a young lady swimming elementary backstroke. I kept sighting and was starting to wonder when this swim was going to end. The practice swim was so fast, but this swim went on for-EVER. There was a short time when I felt like I was the only one in the lake. The first four green caps were way ahead and then it was me, this soon passed as I caught up to the last orange buoy. Then I dodged lots of colors of caps to reach the beach. Finally, I felt sand underneath my hands and started to stand up. Then I almost fell down (darn vestibular system, right Maggie?!) but though embarrassed, recovered to reach the path. I looked at my time and was really shocked, 19:32 was not what I had hoped for, but what can you do when you are officially upright and on dry land?
I trudged up the mud and through 15 lanes of bikes before reaching my spot where I found Big Blue. I dressed and geared up as quickly as possible, but it was truly slow at 3:39 before I trudged up the hill, saw Jose (yea) and clipped in to start the bike.
Ah, the bike. The part I most dread. Luckily, PS had done a great job of working on my chain and I was peddling very easy in the big ring until I got to Carroll Mill. I listened to Jose’s advice about getting into the middle without jumping and it worked! I was able to switch down in preparation for Mt. Albert. Screaming cheers to the ladies as I ascended, I was able to get all the way to the black mailbox without jumping to granny!!!! This was such an ego boost. Plus, I was playing tag with another gal on a blue cannondale synapse, we were buddies for about 9 miles. I jammed through that neighborhood feeling very excited and pleased with myself. I knew that going down the hill from GCS, I would find two lovely sisters, their lovely significant others, and two adorable blonde nieces cheering quite loudly. I gave a wave and hammered up Folly Quarter all the way to the middle school where I made the nice turn and headed home. I picked up a lot of speed, though interrupted slightly by a very rude Land Cruiser (who honks at cyclists during a bike race?), and waved again at the family before trudging up the GCS hill in the BIG RING!!!!!! Heading home was very nice and I tried as much as possible to cheer for all the ladies around me, who knew I would pass people? The final turn into the park was very emotional as I completed the course three minutes faster than ever before and I knew the best was yet to come.
The second transition was as quick as I could unclipping and lace locking, sometimes I wish we just had one pair of shoes! Under 2 min was good enough considering the distance all the way from row 15 to the final portion of the race, the RUN!
I was very excited at first and started to pass quite a few ladies feeling really confident. I tried again to hoot and holler for everyone around us, it was amazing to see all of the ladies trudging up and down those ridiculous Centennial hills. I hit the 1 mile point and checked my watch 7:15!!! Holy Cow, I knew I would quickly fade as I was passed by two gals in my age group going so fast I could barely speak, they were gone in a flash. I pressed on through the “pretty section” with the straightaway through the green trees just past the bridge. This is normally a serene spot, but I let out a holler for the ladies anyway. I knew it was coming, the hill. I made the turn left and concentrated on moving my arms to get up and around the hill on the extra loop. I heard the music and found M&P at the water stop! Yea! Cheering. Gatorade, yum. It helped me fly down the hill and around the fields, and then back up the hill to more Gatorade and Cheering. Seeing Maggie made me kick harder down the last hill and go back into the park. I saw Victoria in her muscular greatness and Wendy in her pink skirt and knew we were having a great day! We hit the 3 mile mark and it was time to turn it up .4 to go with only one last hill. Some random man said “nice kick Sarah, finish hard”. Ok, I am able to follow directions under pressure, so off I went and blasted up the hill. The last bit was all about speed, so pushing those arms forward I sprinted towards the line, knowing that I could get under 1:55. And so I crossed the line in 1:54:09!!
And it was OVER! 9 months of training and complaining and it was finished! I met my time goal very nicely and felt so good about my bike that I have not yet put it in the basement as I had planned. All my hearty thanks go to all the coaches and friends and family and training partners who have helped along the way. Guiding, Teaching, Leading, and Coercing me into this triathlon thing. For I could not have crossed the line at all without you.
For the record:
Swim: 19:32 T1: 3:29 Bike 1:03:10 (16.6 mph) T2 1:42 Run 26:18 (7:45) TOTAL: 1:54:09
AG place: 31st swim, 52nd bike, 18th run 29/255 AG 131/1556 OA
A Blessed Day.
It sounds like you may have a career in triathlon. I’m amazed at your speed and new-found confidence. I’d say we should ride together but I’m in the super-slow group…we need to go out to dinner sometime and talk about teaching. btw, I got an email from Matt Diamond and Grayson Jones in the same day. Weird?
You’re amazing and I’m so impressed with you.
You are so awesome!!