Saturday, September 01, 2007


Iron Girl August 19, 2007

The build up for this event was quite something. Emails counting down for weeks and pre race activties starting 3 days out. I was mentally exhausted, and ready to race, when I finally toed the line.
I woke up at 4am Sunday morning after several dreams of sleeping late and missing the race. I was out the door by 4:45 am and, although it was a pain to rack my bike the day before, it was nice not having to deal with it now.

It started to drizzle on the way there and I just hoped it won’t start lightening. But, the weather remained overcast and rainy, which are conditions I enjoy. A couple miles out from Centennial Park, at about 5:25 am, I was surprised it was already backed up with cars. But, things moved pretty smoothly and not too much later I was directed to a spot.
I grabbed all my gear and headed to transition. Quite a site to see almost 2000 bikes lined up. After being body marked I set up my area. You always feel like you are forgetting to do something, but finally I left satisfied.
I really wanted to get into the water to warm up. I walked the quarter mile or so, to the start. I didn’t see anyone in the water and asked an official if we would have a chance to get in prior to the start. Looking frustrated she told me no and that I can warm up by walking back and forth! This was not acceptable and apparently I was not the only one who felt this way. Off in a corner of the lake, were a few ladies testing the waters. I felt a little like I was a kid trying to get away with something, but I had to! So, I got in about 5-10 min of a warmup.

I was the third wave to start after two older groups. We were called to get in and jumped off a wooden dock into the waters. I swam around trying to find a good starting position and settled on the far side, near the bouy. I was trying to limit the amount of people near me. We had to tread water for about 3 min before we were sent on our way.

THE SWIM: was crowded, despite my attempt to stay out of the congestion, I found myself surrounded. IG is known to attract newbies. I’m not sure if this is the reason I was kicked and punched more then I recall at other tris. Once in the face and once in the abdomen! Took my breath away and messed me up a bit. The turns at the bouys, for some reason, always turn into stopping grounds for people. Lots of physical contact going on at each turn since people would come to a halt or switch to breast stroke. When I finally seemed to find a spot I could call my own, I started picking up stragglers from the other waves that had left before me. God bless these older ladies doing side and breast stroke the whole way! The water itself was great and temp felt wonderful.I am not a fantastic swimmer, and had a couple things slow me down along the way, but I finally exited the 1k swim in 21:30. This was the 61st fastest time for my age group.

THE TRANSITION: kind of sat in a bowl. So, it was up a grassy, damp slope, pushing the bike, before being allowed to mount (T1) and a decent, after dismounting, coming back off the bike (T2) and into the run. I almost busted my butt trying to control my bike running down the slope. I’m sure someone fell.T1 took me 2:48 and T2 took me 1:22. I really need to work on these.

THE BIKE: was a lot of fun. I was determined to use the knowledge I had of the course to my advantage. I knew the hills we would encounter and was ready. I worked the downhills netting a max speed of 40 mph. I felt good and didn’t let the fear of wiping out slow me on the downhills. There were also some serious climbs that slowed me to 8 mph. There were a lot of ladies out there, encouraging each other, which was nice. I mostly passed people, but was also passed by a few. I finished the 17.5 mile ride in 58:19, giving me an 18mph average. I am happy with that. And it was good enough to give me the 21st fastest bike time in my group. At this point I was in 17th place overall for my age group.
THE RUN: was slower then I would have liked. I really pushed the bike and could feel that exertion trying to run. The drizzle and overcast skies, my ideal running environment, felt good though. The course took us on mostly paved trails though the canopy of Centennial Park. The majority of the course was rolling with short climbs and descents. I started to feel better a few minutes into the run and clipped along pretty well, I believe. I’m not sure where I began my decline, but I think it had something to do with a couple ladies flying past me and a hill they named Gatorade Hill. A hill that has been honored with a name, is usually not a good sign! We got to run down it before struggling back up. I think here, on this hill, I mentally let the the discouraging voices have their way with me. The run was a total of 3.3m and I finished it in 27:15, which is an 8:01 avg. It was the 28th fastest time in my group. Being a runner, I had hoped to do better here. But I am still learning how to balance the disciplines and evenly distribute my effort during a triathlon. It’s not that easy to figure out. I also should have had a gel or goo or something along the way. I didn’t think I would need one, but looking back, it would have been smart to do so during the bike. Crossing the finish line was festive. Your name was called over the loud speaker. I received a metal and a nice visor! I also enjoyed a free massage and quick results.

POST RACE: My only disappointment in the event was how the post race festivities compared to a previous one that I did in Florida last year. I expected the same, which was a banquet type atmosphere, food and goodies, but got the usually bananas and bagels. Nevertheless, how the race is organized is what is most important and that was very well done. My personal finish results were:1:51:11 finish time82nd overall / out of 167115th age group/ out of 361