Ashland Sprint = Race Stories

I was still feeling the impact of Quassy (2 weeks prior) in my muscles, but most importantly, my Quassy experience was still in my mind and heart.

The prep: Transition is 4 miles from my house. We have an 8:30 start. I have plenty of time in the morning.  I don’t have to leave until 7:00. La,la,la¯ – lackadaisical. I’m again happy I have my new handy-dandy checklist. Very useful when I’m stopping to smell the flowers everywhere. I arrived with everything I needed/wanted for the race.

Pre-race:  Transition was very bubbly and friendly. The 40+ ladies were all supporting each other with set-up tips and compliments on tri kits. Kristin & I walked down to the water at 8:00 (I remembered my inhaler!  During the walk down, I kept saying, “this is such a longer walk through the woods than I remember from last year.” It really was a long, root & boulder filled trail with some pretty steep sections. I felt happy that I remembered my crappy old sneakers. Kristin stayed dry for as long as possible. I hopped in for a nice long warm-up. The water was great – 68 or so.

The swim: I was feeling good from my warm-up, so I confidently put myself in the front part of the wave.  And then immediately cracked up at myself – my goggles were still up on my cap. I rock! I pulled them down and had my own little eye soak for the swim. No worries.  I’m all about keeping it real. The waves were only spaced 3 minutes apart, so I found myself swimming through a lot of white caps pretty quickly. I’m getting better at moving around people without stopping the swimming part. I came out of the water with only caps from the wave in front of mine. I was the 5th female out. Who would’ve thunk?

The trail run to T1: They should make this section of the race into a stage and give prizes. I’m not sure how long it is – guessing 1/3 of a mile? Used earplugs – less dizzy, but still a little off balance getting my feet into sneakers.

T1: I wasn’t dizzy when I got to my bike, so getting my bottom half out of the wet suit was much easier. Right sock went on easily – left one, not so much. Need more baby powder.

 AshBikeThe ride: Don’t know if it was the run up to transition, but quads actually felt heavy – this is different. Spun up the first hill and they felt clear pretty quickly. It was windy. I had a moment of doubt – “should I have switched out my wheels? Do I wish I had non-aero?”  But moved passed it quickly. I was on home turf for a good deal of the ride – so I knew every pothole and how to avoid them. The wind was Quassy-like. The course was shorter, but sections of the hills were very Quassy like (sans the 5mph hill) I had a great ride. This seems to be a trend.  *Note to self – don’t mess with things on your bike the night before a race. I moved my straw on my aero bottle – this made hydrating a get out of the saddle event– pain in the arse.

T2: I mis-judged the dismount location – that was awkward. But was in and out decently. Forgot to start the Garmin in the awkwardness – but found satellites quickly.

AshRunThe run: Here we go…The uphill start isn’t very entertaining, but it feels like a good place to start to figure out my hip flexor situation. I pretty much abandoned the Garmin and decided to run by flexor feel. I was happy to be feeling so strong to this point. Everything felt good. I didn’t want to push to the point where I was nursing an injury, again.  I wanted to be right on the edge of what I had to give and being protective of my recent injury and the state of recovery that I was still in. What a difference between this and last year. Last year was so hard and so painful. This year the run was hard, but a good strong and not suffering feeling.  I was immensely grateful for my health and the strength I’ve built.  I was past the first mile of the out and back, and still hadn’t seen any other females. By the time I made the halfway turn around, I knew that there were just 5 in front of me. I’ve never finished in the top 5 overall before. This became my new game – let’s go see. I passed 2 women on the hill to mile 2 – I was in the top 5 overall.  (Inside smile.) Kristin and I gave each other high 5s as we passed. I felt happy – she looked strong and was smiling. I was really pleased by how my legs felt – even up the last hill. The run home was all downhill. I just took the brakes off and cruised home – trusting that I was reading my flexor and was fast-ish and listening well.

The finish: Jason was right at the finish. I got a big hug. He said, “wow – there weren’t very many women done yet. I think one of them was on a mixed relay. I’m pretty sure you’re in the top 3.” Another big hug.AshTri

Oh, and I sure did bring my medal to work with my on Monday. I do love it. I just keep smiling and thinking 47. I’m 47 and look at this. The joys of being a late bloomer.

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