I raced in the Trek Women's Series Tri this weekend in Columbus. It was the first year that they came to Columbus and although I'm not good at sprint distance races, I thought I'd give it a go. I've heard great things about the series and they certainly didn't disappoint. They really have this thing put together - I was impressed!
But first, let's back up a bit. I'm in hell week 3 now. Last week was brutal. Tons of doubts about my abilities and my fitness. Thursday, Tom had a speech in Bellefontaine Ohio so I tagged along and he built us a hilly 100 miler. I cried in the parking lot before we left. It was that kind of week. I know my training is going well, but the doubts were building and I picked the parking lot of a Tim Hortons to let them all out. 100 miles on the bike isn't anything new to me. I've done it few times. Surely this wouldn't be any different, but I was worried. We started out the two loop ride at 11:30 and it was already in the 90's. That's not bad on the bike, except for when you are climbing and the hills are so steep that you are going like 6mph. Tom wanted to find us hills and boy did he ever. The first 45 miles were definitely the hardest miles I've ever ridden in my entire life. They were slow, they were hot. They did horrible things to my confidence. Tom kept saying that they were harder than anything he was used to and that they were much harder than Louisville. If I could climb these, I'd be fine. And he was right... I know that they were steeper and longer. The first 45 miles we averaged 15mph. We got back to the car, regrouped and headed out for the next 55. It rained. Then it got really windy. Then the sun came back out and the humidity picked up. Talk about perfect training ride. We had a little of everything. We ended up finishing with great spirits and my confidence boosted a little. I survived that - I'm bound to survive IMKY's hills. We were supposed to run long on Friday, but it was the hottest day of the year and I felt the hills from Thursday. We ran 8 miles at 8pm and called it a night.
Saturday we went to the race expo for the Trek race. This is where I realized that they were going to do things right. The expo was great. I got a super cute shirt for $5, Tom got some odds and ends, we walked around the booths. It was awesome. That night we went to my mom and dad's and stayed there since they lived closer to the race site.
Sunday morning we made our way to Buckeye Lake. It's only about an hour from us, but I had never been there so it was fun to be racing somewhere new. The parking for the race was a mile away which was kind of dumb and they charged for parking which was really dumb, but what can you do? I made my way to transition, got things organized and set up, passed out some Marathon Bars to other racers and kind of took it all in.
The Trek Women's Series is such an empowering event. It's all women - every ability. They have an elite division, they have something called Swim Sisters (who will swim with foam noodles next to you to help you through the water), they do cheers and high fives, they ask us all to answer the question "will you help another woman if you see her struggling today", etc. It's one of those feel good events. It's cool to see women of every shape, size, age, ethnicity, ability, etc out there celebrating the courage that they all had to sign up for the race, train and now compete. Okay, enough of the mushy gushy stuff.
The swim was at Buckeye Lake. All I know about Buckeye Lake is that whenever the water is tested in Ohio, Buckeye Lake is always the first to be shut down due to e-coli or some other disease. It didn't disappoint. The water was warm (no wetsuits) and DIRTY! It was disgusting. I was in the 4th of 5 waves. We were the "sexy" wave. Every wave had a descriptive word and Sally Edwards worked everyone up before the swim went off. I was happy to have Rebecca with me at the start of the race. Made me smile. The swim was somewhat slow. I kept getting trapped behind people who I just couldn't pass. I didn't want to be the bitch that swam over them so I just remained patient. I probably wouldn't have swam that much faster, but it was noticeable. :) By the time I got to T1, a lot of people were out on the course. There were 3 waves of about 50 people each in front of me, as well as all of the people that are faster than me. I knew I was ready to fly on the bike though. Until I hit the hills. They were dumb too... not really steep or long, but I kept finding myself going like 13mph up them. And the course was technical. In only 12 miles, we twisted and turned a lot, climbed way more than I thought. But it went fast. I knew I had passed a lot of people. I felt like I was in my element. 12 miles goes fast, although I didn't hit the 35 minute bike like I had hoped. I later found out that I was the 4th fastest bike out of 249 people. Even with my 19.8mph. Guess the course was a little harder than we all thought! The sky was getting dark and I was hoping that I could beat the rain. One of my goals for the run was to go sub 8's. I know I have it in me, but I haven't been able to put it together. Tom got a picture of me heading out of T2 and you can see the sky darkening. I felt good. I hit mile one at 8:00 exactly. What? I know I'm faster than that. The wind had picked up and it started sprinkling around mile 1.5. I was comfortable in the run though and picked up the pace. I hit mile two at 16:04. Huh? But I was running faster. Oh well. I just ran. Two girls in my AG passed me within the final .5 mile which totally bummed me out, but I crossed the finish line, in the pouring rain and gusty winds in 1:18:03. My goal was a 1:18. And best part - I ran 7:48's so either the mile markers were off or I hauled ass the last 1.1 miles! My poor family was standing in the rain, waiting for me. We found some shelter, gathered my gear and left as soon as we could. By the time we got home, it was beautifully sunny. Go figure!
Swim 750 meters - 14:08
T1 - 1:59 (This was really slow for me... I must have been having a party in there!)
Bike 12 miles - 36:26 19.8 mph 4th fastest overall!
T2 - 1:16
Run 3.1 miles - 24:12 (7:48's)
Overall Time - 1:18:03
4th in AG (we were all within 1 minute of each other!)
11th of 249 OA
I was happy with things. I was kind of bummed that I got passed in the run and realize that I'm definitely the slowest swimmer (the three girls that placed above me in my age group all swam at least 2 minutes faster than me). But, what can you do?
And since I didn't get my long run in last week, we decided to bust out an 18 miler yesterday. We averaged 9:32's which at this point, makes me super happy. I'm feeling more confident with the Ironman being a month away. We're heading to Louisville this weekend to swim the course and bike the whole course. I think that will be the icing on the confidence cake. It's hard to believe that I start tapering in 2 weeks.
Oh, one last thing (if you've read this far, thanks!). Do you have compression socks or calf sleeves? What's your preference? I have compression socks and I like them a lot. I really want pink ones (because, well, I'm a girly girl at heart). I found a pair that I'd like to try (Vitalsox), but I'm debating between a full sock or maybe a Zensah Leg Sleeve (is there a difference between leg sleeves and compression RX sleeves?) Thoughts? Anyone?