(Oops!) I did it… Again!

Whew! Now that I’ve have a few days to recover, reflect, review my times and remove the numbers from by body (I think they used super-permanent markers) it’s time for a little race recap!

On Sunday, September 19th my husband (his first!) and I (my second!) competed in the Angels Race NC Sprint Triathlon (300m/20k/5k). We didn’t need an alarm because our small dog, Crickit, decided to start yowling around 4:45am. And that’s how the day started.

Thanks to Crickit, we were up with plenty of time to walk the dogs, stretch, eat breakfast – Clif Bars and Gatorade, check and double check the weather and take the always necessary pre-race bathroom time. It was a very nippy 55 degrees or so, so I made sure to bundle up and bring a long sleeved shirt for the bike ride. After some encouraging, my husband did the same (and I believe he’s now thankful that he did).

The twenty minute drive to the pool was rather uneventful and we got there with plenty of time to relax and leisurely set up our transition areas before the pool opened for warm-ups. I decided not to “warm”-up in the pool, mostly because it wouldn’t have been much of a warm-up. I couldn’t fathom the idea of having to get into the water twice, much less get out into the chilly air twice.

Even though I had plenty of time throughout the morning (which I LOVE), the call for racers #1-100 came sooner than expected. I was number 99, but refused to get in line until the first 50 or so swimmers had entered the pool because it was so cold and I wanted to keep my hat, jacket and pants on as long as possible. I finally stripped down to a shivering, goose bumpy mess and went and waited between 98 and 100.

The water was about as cold as I’d expected it would be – cold enough to make you swim faster and not quite cold enough to make your heart stop. The swim flew by and I actually got a pass a few people in the pool (Note to self: take 2 seconds off the submitted swim time next time). Then, it was out into the bitter air and T1.

T1 went a little slower than I would have liked, thanks to the combination of wet skin and a long sleeved shirt. At least I remembered to put on the shirt before my helmet! As I ran to the bike mount line, I was still tugging at the shirt trying, to get it in place. At the line, I clipped in pretty quickly and set off on the bike course. I was cold, but I didn’t really feel it. My toes were soon numb and the only reason I knew I was cold were the goose bumps on my legs, but I pushed on watching my speed on my cyclo-computer, trying to stay above 16 mi/hr.

The first bike lap went well, passing more people than I was passed by. Towards the end of lap one, I was almost taken out by a large black pickup who apparently was not happy that we’d decided to race in the vicinity of his neighborhood. Lap two was a little less eventful, but the real cyclists had started to take the course and I started to have bike envy as guys passed me effortlessly (and for my sake we’ll say they were on their first lap). The final stretch of the bike course was marked with cones creating and in and out lane to the transition area. This was a little nerve-wracking, but I made it in and dismounted before the line without issue.

T2, again, took more time than I’d anticipated, but it’s quite difficult to don a pair of Vibram Five Fingers when you can’t feel your toes. I decided to lose the long sleeve as the sun had finally broken through the clouds and it was starting to warm up. Then, I was off to the final leg of the race.

The run course was on a constant incline – up, down, up, down and up again. I’m confident there was nothing flat about it and my calves would agree. I trudged along at what seemed like a 12min/mi pace looking ahead for the turnaround point all while thinking that it was probably about time for the hubby to catch up to me. Sure enough, I soon heard the tip-tap of another pair of five fingers on the pavement behind me. Up until that point on the run I hadn’t been feeling very hot, but seeing Jason gave me the push I needed to jog my way to the finish line. I didn’t let anyone else pass me after that and kept telling myself “not to let the course beat me.” Before I knew it I could see the final turn to the finish (all downhill, thankfully). I picked up my pace and crossed the line with authority!

I was thrilled by the time I saw on the clock. By my calculations I came in around 1:20 whereas my first Sprint time from June was 1:28:32. Finally, the official results came in and I finished in 1:21:56 which I was VERY pleased with.

After the final triathlete crossed the finish, the age group results were posted and yours truly was at the top of the 20-24 list. This was a LEGIT first place with real competitors, eight of them (unlike in my first tri). I was honestly shocked and extremely excited as I’ve never won anything athletic before! So, we stuck around for awards so I could get my medal.

Now, my mathematical mind would not be satisfied without a quick comparison of my times:
36 North Swim: 6:37
Angels Race Swim: 5:13

36 North T1: 1:23
Angels Race T1: 2:07

36 North Bike: 46:04
Angels Race Bike: 42:29

36 North T2: 1:48
Angels Race T2: 1:55

36 North Run: 32:41
Angels Race Run: 30:15

36 North Total: 1:28:32
Angels Race Total: 1:21:56

All areas improved, except for the transitions, which I mostly blame on the cold. If I had to guess, I’d say I could be about 2 minutes faster if it were 10 degrees warmer. I guess we’ll just have to see next year…

This is my last Tri for this season, but I’m already looking ahead to a half-marathon and marathon in December and February, respectively. Stay tuned for my progress!


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