By the Numbers
Sitting here on a Sunday evening refreshing the IM Chattanooga result page for a number of friends who are racing and it’s like I’m catching “the bug” all over again. I know there will be another IM in my future, but I’ve got a few things to figure out first (re: my last post). So, to kill the time I thought I’d post about my last race – the Lake Davidson Sprint, which is part of the Jimmie Johnson Wellness Challenge!
Jason and I raced this last year and had a great time, so I was back again and certainly was not disappointed! From the national anthem to the final finisher and the awards ceremony, this truly is a top notch event and should be on your short list for next season, if you are in the NC area.
Like I said, it was a great day that started with the national anthem sung by a member of the Ingersoll Rand team (the race takes place on their beautiful campus!) and she encouraged everyone to sing along. This is one of my favorite things and really helps bring home “the point” of this pre-sport ritual (Canadians are so much better at this than Americans!). It was the first fall-like morning of the year and as we finished singing it was time to shiver to the shoreline. I was a bit intimidated by the competition – several very speedy-looking girls with 25s-29s on the back of their calves. I was getting a little psyched out!
Even though I was feeling slightly intimidated, I positioned myself in the front of the pack and sunk down into the water (and the mud!) which was much warmer than the air. At the sound of the air horn we were off and I instantly knew I was right to be intimidated. I was feeling a bit off during the swim and ultimately decided to stop trying to lead and caught a draft of one of the other very talented young ladies (thank you!).
Other than just feeling “off” the swim was uneventful. I was thankful for the warm water, but glad to be out and onto the bike where I worked to get out of my head and into the race. Having done so many races last year and so few this year, I was feeling a bit rusty!
As we headed out on the bike, I really tried to put the hammer down and pass people where I could. It’s a rather rolling course and does have quite a few turns (my nemesis), but I actually felt that I did a decent job of holding speed through the turns. There were only 1-2 long hills that really got me breathless as well. I was feeling pretty confident, then one of the speedy-looking girls with a 27 on her calf passed me on a uphill. I passed her back on the next downhill, but she had me as soon as the slope picked back up. I tried to hang with her at first, then at least keep her in my sights, I did eventually lose her (well, she lost me!), but she gave me a good boost to get through the second half of the bike.
As we re-entered the IR campus, I knew they had made some slight course changes from last year, so I was a little anxious to see how the run would go!
I had positioned both my new Altra 3sums and my Luna Sandals in transition as I wasn’t sure which I would want. I opted for the Altras in T2, mostly due to the chill in the air, and was quickly out on the course. I got a lot of cheers for my VT suit (thanks fellow Hokies, you rock!) and briefly chatted with a very boisterous competitor about how I got it.
We ran up through the IR parking lots and up a short out-and-back. The volunteer at the bottom on the out-and-back seemed to think we’d be seeing her again… I was confused by this and certainly hoped not (thankfully, she was incorrect!). Then, we were on a paved lakeside path which was shaded and lovely. This is where I was passed by another girl in my age group. I thought I “might” be 3rd, but who knows. It didn’t really matter because I was having what felt like a great run! The course passed by the finish before doubling back and sending me across the line.
It was a great run, and I thank the weather for that. Sub-26 and essentially the same time I ran on Friday night in a stand-alone 5k.
The best parts of the day were still to come. First, the timing company had the awesome system of touch screens set up where you could punch in your bib, see, and print a receipt of your results… including speed/pace, placements, and awards! Too cool! I knew almost instantly that I “technically” had come in 3rd in my age group, but the two girls ahead of my placed overall… so I won, and was 5th overall. I was very pleased with that! My time was about a minute and a half slower than last year, but given recent events, I’m cool with that. Not to mention my speeds/paces were much improved from Stumpy Creek, which tells me that my body is getting back to normal.
Also, did I mention that Jimmie Johnson was at the event and raced (number 48, obvi!)? He was hanging out afterwards and after a little staking out the situation (aka stalking), I worked up the courage to ask him for a selfie and thank him for putting on such a great event. Too cool! My dad and father-in-law were totes jelly!
But the most awesome part of the day was the greeting of the final finisher. Which, well, I’ll just let you watch it… because THIS is what triathlon is all about…
Seriously, how can you top that? Well, you can’t really… but the prizes are also great ($50 to Dicks, UA hoodie, running hat, drawstring bag!) and Jimmie handed out the awards. Then, I headed home to help the fam install the doors on our shed… All in a day’s work!
I’ll finish up my tri season this Saturday with the NC State Championships at Burmill. Looking forward to pushing it even harder and finishing the season strong. Then I’ll be headed down to Wilmington to volunteer at Beach 2 Battleship to cheer on my AWESOME group of Fleet Feet trainees as they tackle their first 70.3. I’m so excited for them!!! Gah… and now I’ve got the bug again… I’m right back where I started 🙂