Sunday, July 24, 2016

July Racing

Know the course, know the transition area.

Sunfish Triathlon – Meridian, Mississippi. 

I haven’t raced Sunfish since we lived in Hattiesburg, and since we are now only 90 minutes away I was excited that I would be able to come back to this event. I’ve been on the track once a week for a month or so and was looking forward to seeing if there was any improvement in my run. The short answer is: “Not On This Day”.

The swim for Sunfish is supposed to be “Line up as you sign up”, at least that is how it’s been in the past. I know for certain that this isn’t true, because I talked with my friend Barbara just before the race and she was way up in the front and told me she had signed up that week. I was back quite a way, and had to swim around a lot of people. Fortunately, I didn’t have too much of an issue with this. I did, however have an issue getting out of the water… there was a pretty good step up from the water to the grass (pretty good if you’re a short girl, like me). They had put a piece of black rubber, plastic… not exactly sure what it was, and when I tried to climb out of the water I slipped on it and face planted. Nice. While I didn’t feel any issues from the fall during the race, later in the week I wondered why in the world my right shoulder was hurting so much, then realized it was from the fall. I instinctively put out my arm and the shoulder (which I have some problems) got stretched pretty good, when I reached out to catch my fall.

I don’t remember this bike course being so hard! And my bike was creaking and squeaking the entire ride. I sounded like a family of mice had invaded my bottom bracket. The road was really rough too, and it was super humid. (What a crybaby!) My hands felt like they were slipping off the bull horns on corners. Came in from the bike and turned down the wrong isle. What is wrong with me today? I looked at the row from the swim exit, but didn’t pay attention to where the row was from Bike In. Another fumble.

Off onto the run and I immediately knew that this wasn’t going to be my day. I pretty much felt like crap. I came up on a fellow Cobb Mobber on the dam, and he wasn’t looking too good. He said he felt bad, too. When I saw him stop for the second time, I told him I thought he should turn back. I think it was the heat. I pretty much resigned myself to plodding along, and although I hate to admit it, pretty much gave up on the run. Even walked a couple times. Ended up finishing 9th overall female, and won Grandmasters. It sounds silly to be disappointed in a finish like this, but when you know that you can do so much better than it is somewhat of a letdown.

Cobb Mobb!
Clay Emge (1st Overall at IM Boulder), Les Carr, Sean Kwiatek, and Me

Now for the good things about the race! First - I had 3 Cobb Mobb teammates there! We all racked our bikes together, and it was great to have people I knew to hang around with after the race!! Second – the shirts for the race were really nice, North Face dri fit! And we got a visor, and a Tervis tumbler. Nice job Sunfish!! Third – the post-race food and drink were fantastic! I didn’t eat anything but there they did a really good job! And Fourth – the awards were awesome!!
Would I go back? Absolutely! Nice job Sunfish!!

My friend Casey Lee, 4th Overall Female!

Barbara Kerby from the Coast, 2nd Overall Female!
If I can't be fast, at least I have very fast friends!!

Capital of Dreams – Montgomery, Alabama.

This was another Team Magic event. They do a pretty good job.

The swim for this race was something different and fun! We boarded the Harriot II riverboat and it took us upstream for the swim start. We got to swim downstream with a current, however on race day there wasn’t much of one. The swim for the sprint was only 400, and there was an Olympic distance race being held that day too. I wish the race was like the YMCA Tri in Wilmington, where you have a 1500 meter swim, and then a sprint distance bike, and run. We jumped off the boat in order like lemmings, it was pretty funny. It was a really long run up from the swim finish to the transition area and along the way I dropped my swim cap. Now Team Magic gives you a set of stickers for your helmet, bike, bag, and swim cap… and like the dutiful rule follower that I am put them on my cap. Well….. I got a 2:00 penalty for “Abandonment of Equipment”. REALLY? I do have to say this is a crappy (I wanted to use a different word for what I thought about this) penalty. I’ve been at this for a long, long time and have NEVER seen this. So, a word of advice to anyone doing one of these races. Leave the cap numbers off. I saw lots of people on the boat with no numbers on their caps. Apparently it’s not an issue to not have it on there in the first place.

The transition area for Cap Dreams is under cover in the old Train Station. It is a long transition, and the surface is painful and rocky, like chip seal. They had some indoor outdoor carpet but it only went about half way to the mount line. Being under cover was awesome! Shade!!

Transition was under here!

The bike course for this race is FAST! So fun to have a flat race! I was holding 22-23 mph, I felt like I was flying! AND THEN….. not knowing the course, I followed two athletes ahead of me and took a wrong turn just before the end of the race. We went up a steep hill, before we figured out we were going the wrong direction. I looked up the time added to my bike split for the off course section and it added 2:12 to my time. Grrrrr. Without this mishap I would have had the 16th fastest bike with men and women included! Yah!

The run is pretty much uphill for half the race and then downhill for the rest. Much better than the alternate! We climbed up to the Capital building, looped around it and back down, finishing through a tunnel and over to a really nice lawn.

Results showed that I was the 5th overall female, and won Grandmasters. But then when they were calling out awards they said I was 2nd Grandmasters female – this is when I discovered the penalty. If I hadn’t gone off course on the bike I would have been 4th. Rats! My friend Jen beat me again. Man, that girl is fast! Someone thought she was my daughter.

Do we look alike?
So on this day I’m going to go with “Performance over Placing”. I know I had a good race, swam well, rode really well, and ran pretty well. When I told someone about all the mishaps of the day, they commented "Well, it's all for fun anyway." (i.e. it doesn't matter). Yes that is true, to an extent. But when I go out to race I'm going out to test myself, not just on how fast I can go, but getting everything right. That means smooth transitions, following the rules, knowing the course, in general being the best triathlon ambassador that I can be. So these mistakes of going the wrong way on the course or in transition are not "okay" with me. Maybe I do take this sport a little too seriously. But my husband is being awesome and letting me do this without having to work, so come race day, even though I am just an age grouper, it is my job and I want to do it right. I'm 55 years old and racing against girls that could be my children (or almost grandchildren for that matter), I want to see how I can stack up against them.

Good finish line food and drink, Mugshots burgers – I didn’t have any food though I did have a beer. (there is a Smashburger on the way home and I was dying for a SmashChicken sandwich). Tervis Tumbler and a pick off the table for awards (I grabbed another pair of those Stuffit things that go in your shoes.) The shirt was ok, drifit but nothing super impressive for the logo. Looks a lot like the one from Buster Britton Tri. Would I do this race again? Yes, and I think I would do the Olympic distance next year, so I could enjoy the longer swim and bike course.

While we were picking up our race packets I saw this in downtown Montgomery. Very cool bike friendly city!! A bike stand, tools, and a bike pump for public use! Awesome!

Next up is RIVER CITIES! Going back to Shreveport for one of my favorite races! Get to see friends!