8.06.2013

2013 PT Solutions Women's Sprint Triathlon - Acworth: Race Report

After I had registered for Augusta 70.3 I figured I needed to get one sprint and one olympic race in before the big half ironman. On June 1, I went through with my first sprint tri and while I learned a lot... it was a bit of a disaster! I quickly scratched the idea of an olympic tri and decided I needed a race that I would enjoy, build some confidence, and convince me that somehow Augusta was going to be a successful adventure. A few weeks ago I decided the PT Solutions Acworth Women's Sprint Tri would be a great 2nd tri. I had read many different blogs about other women who had said it was a fun, positive, and amazing experience so I signed up and was going for it.


The day before the race we had a 48+ mi bike ride {which was the furthest on record} and needless to say my legs were tired going into race day. Adam and I went on a 2 mi walk Saturday evening to loosen up my legs some which, in the end, helped lots. We headed back to the house and it was time to get my stuff packed for race day.

                            

Lying in bed that night I told Adam my four goals for the race:

1. No panicking on the swim
2. Ride as hard as I could
3. Don't walk on the run
4. Finish in the middle of my age group

That morning we met up with our friends Dan & Elise and it was so great to see some familiar faces! They are both signed up for Rev3 Anderson {Half Ironman} in October so I convinced Elise this would be a great first triathlon for her! Yes, we are crazy and sign up for HIM's before even doing a sprint tri, but I guess as they say YOLO.


Since I had picked up my race packet earlier in the week, I had decided to get to transition during the last 15 minutes before it closed. While it allowed me a little extra sleep...it meant I was trying to squeeze my bike into the last available slot on the bike rack. I was barely able to claim my area but some how wiggled it all in. 


After setting up my transition area, I got in the water and it was a nice bath water temperature. It was so much more clear than Blalock Lake so I saw this as a positive sign!

The race waves were set up to go oldest to youngest so our group of green cap, women under 30 weren't set to take off until 7:49 - 19 minutes after the first wave had taken off. As you can tell Elise (# 341) was all set to race as hard as she could and there I was nervous and trying to figure out my strategy for the swim. I normally would have started way further back but some how Elise convinced me to start much closer up with her. The logic was if I started in the back I would potentially get mentally discouraged because I'd be trying to play "catch up" the entire race since there wasn't a wave behind us.


All the other women had taken off and it was finally our turn. I had watched the previous waves of women take off and I had watched some of the women basically walk until the first buoy and why I didn't do the same, I have no idea! I proceeded to get right smack in the middle of the pack and I practically went into fight or flight mode. People were WAY TOO CLOSE to me! Legs, arms, toes, and other body parts were in MY personal bubble. Since I was more concerned about not drowning,  I magically wasn't concerned about anything else. I realized that three strokes and breathing wasn't going to happen; two strokes per breath in a race is my magic number. Finally after about the half way point I was finally "solo" {also a bit off course} but I could finally swim peacefully without others. It also made me nervous because I was worried I'd be last again but I couldn't let negative thoughts get into my head. I just had to keep pushing along and remind myself, this was only 400 YARDS. I had swam 6x this during my weekly workouts.


After about 8:30 seconds I was out of the water! Clearly I was cheering because I hadn't drown and I wasn't last this time!! There were actually a handful of people behind me. Easily a win in my book!



I really need to work on my awful slouching posture but we'll save that for another day...



I had all of my stuff sent up in transition, except I forgot to unstrap my cleats that morning. While it probably consumed 5 seconds, I've quickly learned that transition is the easiest place to pick up some easy time. I strolled out of transition in 1:18 seconds, headed to the mount line and then I realized something! MY CHAIN WASN'T CATCHING!! That's right, the girl who is a bike mechanic idiot knew something wasn't right but had no idea how in the world to fix it! I don't even pump my tires and have relied on the system, "if I ask nicely and smile hopefully someone will always be there to help me". My coaches and Adam are probably yelling and thinking this is probably a good time that I learn to be self-sufficient but I was once again saved! Within about 30 seconds one of the volunteers realized I was having bike troubles and signaled for "the bike man". He came over with his gloves right around the same time Adam had arrived and "bike man" figured out that my derailer was caught and my chain had dropped. Just what I needed. In no time he had it fixed and I was all set to go. All in all it probably cost me about 2 minutes, but it's a good thing there was someone there to help or else I would have been out of luck. I would have probably spent the next 20 minutes trying fix the bike.


The bike course was only 13 miles and the goal was for me to push this as hard as I could. This was obviously relative post 50 miles the day before, but once I got out on the road I felt great. There was a bit of a headwind on the bike but it was a nice course where I managed to pass quite a few people. My secret goal was to just pass one person in my AG.


While that didn't happen, it was a successful ride and I got off without crashing and feeling good. My lady parts were rather tired of being in the saddle after that many miles in one weekend! The good news was that we were finally onto the "best" part, the run. No swimming anxiety, no biking anxiety, just me and my legs :)

                             

During this race I wasn't wearing my Garmin but based on the time on my Timex watch, I could tell I was averaging in right around 10:05/mile on this very hilly course. I was initially pushing it but I noticed my body quickly slipped into my running comfort zone pace (my marathon pace). I had a smile on my face and was chatting with the people around me, which also quickly showed I wasn't pushing it hard enough for a 5K. As Coach Darren has said, I need to learn to focus to truly be able to execute my race plan. 

                              

With less than five minutes in the race, I noticed a girl who had passed me mid-run and I could have sworn her leg said "27" so I wasn't too concerned. As we approached the last quarter of a mile, I realized her leg actually said 22 and she was indeed in my age group. The type-A, "Carolyn" competitive side of me kicked in and I was determined to get passed this girl. We entered into the final turn and and I kicked it into high gear.
                            

I was in an all out sprint and I heard people in the crowd yelling "run faster or else she's going to catch you"... so I did.
                            

And just like that I managed to finish my 2nd triathlon sprint in 1:33:07 with lots of lessons learned to better prepare me for Augusta! All of my goals from the night before had been achieved and I was a happy camper! For the first time in a very long time I had really enjoyed myself during a race!


Thank you to everyone who has continuously supported me along the way and congrats to my friend Elise who managed to finish 1st in our age group and totally kicked butt!!


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