Yup, that’s me on top of a podium. Now, Alexis has given me a bit of pressure arguing that I could finish on top of one, and I did. To be more realistic, though, this was quite a small field, a VERY FLAT VERY FLAT VERY flat course, and I had an insanely fast run on my best surface, trail/gravel, so I was able to beat people who don’t know how to run on that stuff.
The Maritime International Triathlon was in its inaugural year. I didn’t get into Columbia, so with Rock Hall not an option because of the Harvard ‘03 reunion, I decided to enter this race. I really wanted to race this weekend, and I knew it would mean going alone, most likely, without Team Z, for my second triathlon and first Olympic distance race.
But I should know better: In this MD area, there is always Team Z around, and if not, Team Z supporters, from Set-up events to friends who end up racing! Meghan had won a free entry, and after 56 miles the day before, brought Kate down with her for the race. You go, ladies.
Pre-race report: Hit up graduation for my undergrads. So sad to see them go, also quite weird to be in so many family photos. Love those kids, so proud of them, and it’s such a bittersweet moment. We had one student nominated for an Emmy, other students going off to Africa, others taking amazing internships, one of my students got a fall internship at Bloomberg after I encouraged her to apply, and I’m just so pleased for all of them.
After this, I jumped in my car, ran home, realized it would likely rain, and took neighbor z’s amazing transition bag.
You basically cannot get this in the U.S., but it is huge but not huge, and has straps, and is amazing.
Got my stuff in the car and drove out to Easton. Crossed the Bay Bridge and realized, holy crap, my friends are going to SWIM THIS THING. Another reality check for the tri season: MY FRIENDS ARE CRAZY. 4.4 miles! ACROSS THIS BRIDGE. God bless.
Landed at a Day’s Inn, which was smoking/non-smoking, had no wireless, and well….
Went to race pickup at the cutest little tri-shop
Met up with Meghan and Kate, and we agreed to touch base about dinner. Kate found the cutest place on Yelp in downtown Easton, an adorable town, and another teammate Kris happened to be on a ladies bike tour around town. All the pasta was homemade, the chef came out to greet us, and we were happily carb loaded.
I told Meghan that I was going to repack my transition bag for the 90th time, and she rightly made fun of my Drama Queening.
Hit the hey, but not after trying out my goggles for the first time in the shower.
RACE DAY: SUNDAY
I don’t know what it is about triathlon, but I always feel like I’m rushing to get to the event site. It’s hard to cram in breakfast, get all your stuff together, move out of where you are staying, and get to body marking and set up transition.
I tried to eat early, but I still found myself gulping down a banana and cliff bar later than I wanted. Crossed my fingers all was out of the Days’ Inn.
I was REALLY happy to have a transition bag with straps because there was a lot of biking from body marking to transition area. Thanks Neighbor Z!!
I didn’t want to lay everything out because of rain, so instead neatly organized things inside the bag. I’m sure that contributed to my transition time. NOT.
Here are some GREAT pre-swim shots:
Meghan was hilarious: she had just met a friend-of friend and got her to take pictures! Thanks Meghan!
SWIM: The oddest start I think, as race directors admitted. We jumped off a dock and into the water for an in-water start? - the waves were small and the caps were not bright, so sighting was a lot harder. The water was brackish and salty, not something I was used to. Sighting was definitely, definitely a challenge, so instead of concentrating on orange buoys, I focused on the yellow. I could feel myself getting passed by people, but I tried very hard to swim my own, calm Z2 pace, stretching out, breathing, relaxing, just enjoying swimming in the open water. This was of course my first open water 1500 swim, and I came in just under what I would for a mile in the pool, which isn’t half bad. The results said MOP for the swim, but to truly be good at this, I’d have to cut off like 10 minutes.
T1: Wetsuit off, helmet on, shoes on. First time I raced without putting on a new jersey. Time down to 2:55 (a minute). Grabbing things out of the bag may have taken time, and I am not running to T1 but jogging and stopping to do a silly photo shoot.
BIKE: OH NO. My fall Thursday killed my bike computer save one thing: the time. Luckily I had that to know when to take nutrition. Against Ed’s advice within about 5 mins on the bike I had rinsed out my mouth and ATE ON THE BIKE IN RACE CONDITIONS FOR MY SECOND TIME EVER EATING ON THE BIKE. I owe the guys who have tents before Set-up $1 for a Gu.
I had no idea my speed, and really could not keep the bike in the big gear without feeling like I was losing a lot of the cadence. So I really really focused on keeping a high cadence because at this point I can now know what a 90 cadence is. There were a few hills. This is NOT pancake flat, though pretty flat. But really, I just couldn’t stay in the big gear. I saw almost no women on the ride, save one, and she passed me and I was determined to keep her within site since I saw her age said 32 on her leg. I was taking gatorade or water every 10-15 minutes.
T2: Shoes on, oops almost left the helmet on. And ran out the wrong way.
Run: Shook it off pretty quickly, I think. First mile wasn’t wonderful, but got into my groove quickly. Took a gu at Mile 1. Felt pretty strong by mile 2, and then once we were on the gravel I got pumped, as gravel is my thing, I can run on trails and gravel and all of that no problem. Unfortunately, set-up seems to love doing loops, which is great for the head. I began passing people and felt quite strong, and began seeing the first women on the way in from the first lap. Second lap took a gu heading into mile 3.5 or so to get water to wash it down from the aid station (took a small splash at every station). Feeling really really good on the run. Felt like 10 mile minutes, but in really they were much faster. Kept my eye on women and tried to pass all the ones I saw. Ran in for the finish, and was surprised to see my time.
Overall thoughts: This may end up being my best race all season. The conditions were nearly perfect. I cannot imagine a course where I will average 18 mph on the bike - that’s just crazypants for where I am on my bike. And the run was kind of ridiculous. Kate looked us up on Athlinks which is a site that has all your big races from forever (mine goes back to 2001, mom and pops aren’t on there, but if they were by active.com or something they are). I realized that I ran a pretty fast 5 mi as a sophomore in college, and busted the hell out of the 10k compared to my SOPHOMRE COLLEGE 5 mi. Where the hell did that come from.
So I probably PRed my race for the season. I was pretty tapered coming off the Kinetic sprint and having not done more than a 44 mile ride more than a month ago. So not a lot of time on the bike before this, and no super long runs save my 100 minute epic trail run in Ohiopyle.
I am motivated to train and have some new goals. But I think racing is really fun, and wish it were possible to do all the time instead of actually train. Triathlon is meeting my expectations of challenge and opportunity.
I was curious to see if I had podiumed since the field was small. I had, and I was pumped because no matter where you go 30-35 is a competitive age group. I looked at the Columbia results and realized that my time would not have come close there. But still, there is so much room to grow for me, especially on the bike.
BEST PART EVER: SEEING MY TEAMMATES KICK ASS. WE ALL PODIUMED. Megan said she had never won anything before! Kate had a strong, mentally tough day. It was a GREAT DAY for TEAM Z.