If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I’ve been training for the Iron Girl Triathlon all spring and summer. I did my first tri and my first Iron Girl 9 years ago and was hooked on tri races. I participated in a few a year for the next 5 years. I then decided to take a hiatus from tri races and focus on running longer distance racing. This past winter, I got the bug and decided I was ready to “Tri” again.
I roped a couple of MRTT friends into joining me for a warm up tri back in June and they were hooked.
We spent most of the summer biking, swimming and running. All of us really enjoyed training together and made it much more fun to work out during this very hot summer. I actually started to look forward to our bike/run brick days.
Fast forward-Race weekend is finally here! I tend to get so nervous before races and this time was no different. I especially stress about the swim. I’ve been working so hard on my swimming this summer however all of my swimming takes place in a pool. This race has an open water swim. And it’s been 5 years since I’ve swam in a lake!
My friend Holly and I headed to the race packet pick up. The expo was surprisingly small for a race of over 2000 women. We had some fun with the photo booths and loved the nice pink swag bag.
We headed over to Centennial Park in Columbia, Maryland to rack our bikes and get a sense of the swim course and transition area. Yup the swim still freaks me out a little (or a lot).
Race morning is here! Alarms go off at 4:45 as we need to be at the race venue by 5:30 (why do they need to start these things so darn early?!) It is still pretty dark out but the transition is lit up very well. We easily find our bike racking area and set up our transition gear. Lots of volunteers were present to do body marking. Who else loves having their age written on their calf?
My friend, Holly, is seriously cool as a cucumber. I’ve never seen her nervous. She has lots of experience with open water swims and that is certainly her strength. She knew how nervous the lake made me and she tried to give me a pep talk and a plan of attack. We had about an hour to stand around and watch the other waves go off. This should have calmed my nerves but it really just made me more nervous.
Finally time for the swim! Holly was off like a pro and I quickly lost sight of her. I really was disappointed in my swim performance. I have been swimming a lot this summer but for some reason my plan just went out the window as soon as I hit the water. I started doing lots of breast stroke which is super slow. I tried to talk myself out of my silly fears of the lake but I really had a hard time finding my rhythm. Ok swim done and ready to tackle the bike.
I must have been a little discombobulated because I ended up with only 1 bike glove on and it was backwards. What? The bike course is ridiculously hilly but so beautiful out in the country. It always feels like there are so many more up hills than down hills doesn’t it?
I felt pretty good on the bike. Tired legs but felt as though I gave it my all that day. T2 went pretty well. Time to run! I knew the run was hilly and I really felt it after that bike ride. It was getting pretty hot by this time and I was glad to see bags of ice for us to grab along the run.
My run felt harder than it had during my last few training bricks but I knew the end was near. Coming around the lake and hearing everyone cheering, gave me a little boost. I was glad to see that finish line! This race was a lot harder than I remembered 5 years ago but just as rewarding to cross the finish.
My overall finish time was pretty close to my time 5 years ago but I know that I can do better on that swim and definitely on the bike. Something to work on for next year because I certainly have the tri bug again. Feels good to be an Iron Girl!
I know this was a little long! Thanks for reading 🙂