Thursday, July 5, 2012

One Fast Year - Race of Grace Triathlon Race Report

I can't believe that we've been in Mississippi for an entire year.  This last year just flew by for me.  I did the Race of Grace Triathlon last weekend in Philadelphia, MS.  A year ago we moved to Hattiesburg and this was the first race that I could find after we got here.  I had to go back!  Last year I saw my friend Pam Schilling at the race, this year she said she wouldn't be going back - phew!!  I was 2nd last year and was hoping that maybe I could win it.

It's a long drive from Hattiesburg to Philadelphia and this year Bill couldn't take me because he had to work, so the girls and I all piled in Deanna's car and headed out at 3:15 am to the race. They were all gracious enough to leave that early for me since I am such a "Nerveen" and need to be there with plenty of time to spare.

It's been really warm and humid here in South Mississippi, not a big surprise, it is summer after all.  Last year the temperature was cooler, I remember wearing a jacket in the morning.  Race morning temperature on Saturday was about 77 and the water a blissful 88 degrees.  No problem.  I'm used to the heat.  My pre-race hydration ritual is a couple big bottles of Smart Water - it's the only time I buy it.  Supposedly and according to the label it has some Calcium, Magnesium and Potassium in it.  Probably not enough to do anything but it's part of my pre-race stuff so I continue.  It's important to me to be consistent in the days leading up to any race. 

Lesley Slaughter - 5th Overall Female
My legs had been cranky towards the end of the week though.  I helped my friend Lesley with her girls triathlon camp on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and wonder if running around like a banshee for three days made my legs extra tired.  Lesley mentioned that her legs just didn't have it for the bike either so it could be....
I am definitely finding that the older I get the more recovery I seem to need.  I guess age does have a subtle way of creeping up on you!

Lesley has been putting on a Girl's Triathlon Camp (ages 8-13) for the past 3 years and Deanna, Judy and I all agreed to go to Laurel and help coach the camp!  Her company is Titus2Sports - "Training us to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives..." Titus 2:12.   I think there are some future triathletes in the making!!

The water was warm... really warm.  Not expecting a really quick time this year even though I've really been consistent with my swimming for the past year.  Started off #6 in line - they had us submit our seed times when we registered.  Judy went off 1st!  I would hate that - when we warmed up together on before the race we definitely talked about which way the bike went out so she would know where to go!  I passed three other guys who were ahead of me.  Wonder what they entered for their predicted time????  My split for the .25 swim was 6:38, a little slower than last year - but swim courses are never comparable, "It Is What It Is."  Had the 2nd fastest women's swim, Judy of course had the fastest split!  That girl is a fish!

Judy Hudson - 1st Age Group
Had a fast transition (:30) although my speedsuit kind of got stuck on the timing chip.  The chips that they use here are HUGE!  They stick out from your ankle about 3/4".   I ALWAYS safety pin the end of the neoprene strap that they give you with your chip. I started pinning the strap years ago after I felt it almost come off in the swim when someone grabbed/brushed my ankle. 
Last year at Sunfish (July 14th this year) just before the race I was talking to Judy and Deanna who were standing in line waiting for the start.  They were chatting with Deanna's coach Chris, and I mentioned to them all about pinning the strap.  Chris made fun of me saying "why would you worry about something like that."   After the race Deanna told us the story of how in the swim her strap came OFF, she stopped went back and found it floating, started swimming with it in her hand.  Then the chip slipped off the  strap.  Hmmmm.... guess it's not such a bad idea after all.

Triathlon tip #873 - Consider safety pinning the end of your timing strap so you don't have to worry about losing it during the race.

When I started the bike I knew that this wasn't going to be a great ride.  My legs just didn't have it today.  The results proved what I was feeling was true.  I hung in there and did my best though, it's all you can do when you're not feeling it.  Stay focused, work the down hills and flats.  I saw a girl at the turn around with #60 something on her arm... uh oh.... she was gaining.  After the turn I tried to pick it up.  20.2 mph average on the bike - last year it was 20.4 (I find that the short cranks 155 make it a little harder to climb - still testing them).

Another quick transition.  About 6 or 7 men passed me on the bike so I came into transition around 10th or so and I heard the race director announce, "Look at this lady - great ride!"  That made me smile inside.  (:34 - which includes putting on socks for the run!!).

The run is an out and back.  Judy's husband, Sam caught me at about the 1.5 mile and ran beside me for just a bit.  It actually gave me some encouragement.  Sam is super fast and holds the record for the course (set last year).  For some reason this year they didn't get his entry and he went off dead last on the swim.  Remember I went off 6th - and he caught me on the run - yiy! he is super fast!! 

Saw girl #60 again on the run as I was headed back and tried to pick it up - she looked close.  Also saw my friends Deanna, Judy and Lesley too and they were all running strong!  I even tried to cheer for them, but I think I really just managed a wave.  I did see my friend Mac on the way in and gave a forced smile (he was the one at the last race who told me that speaking to me was a "kind of a bummer" because of the look on my face).  Don't these people understand the "Race Face"? Read this post from my friend Carol in North Carolina (she re-posted her coach's blog):  Triathlon Training Blog - The Face That Wins.

1st Overall Female
When I got home and downloaded the race data I was pretty happy to see the splits on the run.  (7:51, 7:41, 7:24)  According to the Garmin the race course was 3.12 - my average pace was 7:37! Waited after the race to see how I did - time trial start and all, you never know until the results are posted.  Found out that I won overall female even though my time was about 15 seconds slower than last year.  Slower swim, slower bike, faster transitions and faster run.  2nd fastest swim, 2nd fastest bike, and 3rd fastest run. Glad to see that I negative split the run, it used to be the other way around - go out too fast and die.

Deanna Lynn - 2nd Overall Female
Deanna had an awesome race and placed 2nd overall female and also had the fastest bike split for the women. Lesley came in 5th overall.  Judy won her age group and had the fastest swim for the women. (We are a competitive bunch aren't we?) Hattiesburg pretty much cleaned up with the awards - Judy's husband Sam Hudson won overall male, Deanna's coach Chris Boyd was 3rd overall male, Jason Marshall (Bill plays golf with Jason's Dad!) placed 2nd in his age group and Brad Smith was also 2nd in his age group.  Complete results here.

As I was handing out Aquaphor samples, I remembered what a great reception to Aquaphor I had at this race last year!  Lots of "I love this stuff" comments and even a couple doctors who said they recommended it all the time too.  Probably the best attitude and feedback to the product of any race.

One other really nice thing - as I was lining up for the swim a woman came up to me and told me that my blog was really inspirational for her.  I saw her again after the race and she said that this was her first triathlon ever!!  That she'd googled Race Of Grace Triathlon and a link to my post from last year came up.  I hope it helped her to "see" the race before hand from the perspective of another competitor.  I don't remember her name but hopefully she'll read this and see how much it meant to meet her!!  Congratulations on your first triathlon!!  Hope to see you at maybe Sunfish or Mighty Magnolia!!!