Let the games begin!!! That’s kind of how I felt leading up to this race. I’ve had 3 weeks of tri training going into this race, and felt great about the consistency of workouts. Parris Island is always a fun test race just to see where my fitness is, and this year was no different. In fact, it was probably more of a test than any other year.
The drive to Parris Island the night before went smoothly. The conversation b/w Sarah, Jeff, and I was random and some subjects not meant to be repeated on paper. I really don’t think there is a filter b/w us, maybe sometimes there should be! I’m not 100% sure but I don’t think any of us had the prerace jitters we typically do. I’d pulled a muscle in my back a couple days prior, so that was my only concern and by Friday it was feeling better. I really just hoped to go out there and really get into the “hurt zone” and keep myself there the entire race. This was my main goal, no major time goals, just make it hurt.
The morning of was full of the typical nervous laughter. I have to say, I’m just not all that good at being serious sometimes. I don’t think I got my “game face” on until I was actually swimming! Speaking of swim, last year I had a horrible swim and just let other people get to me. This year I tried to remember what my old swim coach, Jim Keogh, used to tell me. He used to say that I just needed to used the swim as a warmup and get into my zone. Build, don’t hammer it, and just kind of ease your way into comfortable harder effort. I really went over those words multiple times in my head as a reminder, and it worked. I had one guy pass me by lap 2 or 3, and after that I just tried to stay as close to him as possible for the draft advantage. I lost him around 6 or 7 due to us passing a ton of people, but his pace helped keep me in check. By the time the last lap came, I was feeling strong but not spent which was exactly what I’d hoped for. I got out of the pool @ 9:20 (9:36 mat time), a minute off of last year.
Transitions are normally pretty quick for me, but a year off w/o practice showed. Atleast I got my socks on, one was just sideways and had rocks in it. The bike was where I planned on starting the hurt zone. I gradually pushed the first few minutes and built up to a good hard effort. The only thing I would look at was my cadence for guidance. I didn’t care how fast I was going b/c I knew I was pushing as hard as I could. I hear my timer go off for 15 minutes and I know I’m almost half way through, just push a little longer. The 2nd half went fairly quickly and as I approach transition I go to take my gel and my flask is gone. Oh well, good thing it’s a short race! I round one last corner and hear my 2nd timer go off, which means I’m coming in a little over 30 minutes for 10 miles (officially 30:56).
My 2nd transition went a little smoother. I saw some of the girls that started earlier and they were already done. I wanted to hurt them, I still had a run to do! The cheered for me as I headed out, and now was the true test. My running isn’t up to pre baby standards yet, so I just wanted to make it hurt and see what results I could get. About a ¼ of a mile into the run this girl that’s a Novice passes me, and I immediately fall in behind her and use her as to pace off of. Finally I hear the beep of my Garmin indicating the 1st mile is done. All I think of at this point is another ½ mile and I get to turn around. I make it to the turnaround and the girl I was pacing off starts to slow. I make a decision to pass her. I keep pushing and just tell myself this is a test. If I can prove to myself that I still have that drive and ability to push, then I will know its all worth it. I here the 2nd mile indicator go off, and am thankful for just one more mile. A few seconds later the Novice girl passes me. It takes all I have to hang on to her as we finish out our last mile. I see her slowly move away as we approach the finish. I sprinted to the finish and left it all out there. My run time was 22 minutes, I truly didn’t know if I could even break 24 so I was definitely satisfied with the time.
I managed to squeak out an 8th overall female finish and 1st place age group with a time of 1:04. I’m really happy with my effort, I couldn’t have done anything more than what I did out on that course. Now on Sunday at my next race it will be a little different since it’s a hilly course, but I plan to give it that same effort.
Thank you to Atlanta Bread Co., Gault Properties, Powerbar, Skyline NW, Zeal Optics, RS LED Group, and Trisports.com. Please click on their icons on the left hand side of the page and support the people that give back and help our triathlon community! It’s a work in progress, but thanks to my hubby for trying to work out schedules so I still have time to train.