Thursday, June 12, 2008

Race Recap: Over the Mountain

Better late than never, here is the race recap from my race a week ago. It was in Kings Mountain, NC, a place dear to my heart as my paternal grandparents are buried there. We spent a night there on our epic cross country journey from California, but I had yet to go back.

We left Chapel Hill around 4, caravaning behind Tri Prof and his family. We had an easy trip out there, about 2.5-3 hours. The whole town of Kings Mountain was behind this race, which was awesome. The community center hosted a surprisingly good spaghetti dinner, complete with a local jazz band. We drove to the race course and scouted the transition areas and watched a beautiful sunset. Tri Prof has two adorable girls, 4 and 7, who were the life of the party. We made our way back to a hotel, right across from the one we stayed at with my family, and laughed at how the town had been taken over by spandexed, gear-heads. The locals were very amused. Some prepping and we got to sleep, Trent and I on sleeping bags in the Tri Prof's hotel room.
Up early and to the race course. The water was about 75 degrees, so just barely wetsuit legal, but I am a fan of my wetsuit and hadn't worn it in ages, so was excited. The course was interesting, you started on one side of a lake, swam across it, got your bike, rode through several state and national parks, and even into South Carolina for a minute, and ended up in downtown Kings Mountain. From there you left your bike and ran around the town, mainly to the highschool and back. I hadn't raced a triathlon in a while and was raring to go and having a laid back time.
But apparently, when I wasn't paying attention to the camera, I was getting my race face on. Look at me sizing up the competition! The start was odd, we all waited on the beach until our wave was called, then we had five minutes to warm up and then it was a mid-water start. I was really hoping for a good swim, I have been training most consistently for that portion of the race.
Here is my wave, Women under 40 or something like that. It was a small race, only 500 participants total, so not too many women out there. I am the one messing with my watch on the left. It was actually one of my best starts in a race, I started in front which I usually avoid because I am not the strongest swimmer, but compared to this competition I felt strong and wanted to avoid being kicked in the head. It was a great decision and I had a really good swim. 1500m in about 3o minutes. Way less getting lost this time too!

Once you got out of the water you had to run up a very steep hill to get to the bike transition. Here I am trucking along. Tri Prof's wife is on the right, in the black shorts. Since the race was so small, you got to see family and friends the whole time, which was great. And Trent got to take tons of pictures, as you can see.

Off with the wetsuit, always tricky, and on to the bike. I learned long ago to just sit down and deal with it instead of trying to balance after swimming for half an hour. I was really nervous about the bike, as I had hardly ridden this year, but it was great to lower my expectations of having to push myself really hard. Off I go! Styling outfit, no? The bike was 27 miles, and gorgeous. Luckily it was still overcast and I had a lovely time. Except all the food (gu's and gels) I had stuck in my jersey pocket some how got lost within the first two minutes, leaving me starving by the end. Not being panicked about beating Tri Prof and realizing I hadn't trained much for the bike was a blessing in disguise. I didn't go out too hard, I maintained a nice pace, and actually could out climb a lot of people (and it was a hilly race!). I was pretty happy with the bike, in all. Beautiful scenery and really well supported.
The run I wasn't worried about. But it still was really hard. One of my best skills as a triathlete is the ability to eat while exercising, but losing the food on the bike made me start the run really hungry, which is a bad sign. I scarfed down a Gu right at the start, but it was too late to have a really good run. I was hurting. It was starting to get hot, my legs were exhausted from all the climbs on the bike. But luckily, my exhausted is still faster than other people's exhausted and I let my competitive nature drive me to pick off a few folks ahead of me. I had totally resigned myself to losing to Tri Prof, and had a nice meditation during the run on why that was a good thing and how the competition between us is so unhealthy.


So 6.2 miles and 50 minutes later I finished strong. I actually felt better at the end, and knowing I was almost done was great motivation. I really wanted to catch this guy, for some reason. And done!! I actually finished in 3:11, since my swim wave started 25 minutes after the clock started. I was SO happy to be done, feeling proud of myself and loving the feeling of personal achievement that comes with finishing any triathlon. Then Trent whispers something in my ear... I beat the Tri Prof!! Just by a few minutes, but still. I tried to play it off, and really it is no big deal, but deep deep down.. I was pretty stoked.

We grabbed lots of food, again the entire town of Kings Mountain was out supporting the race which was just amazing. I love races like this, small and challenging. We had to leave pretty soon after, to meet up with friends back in Chapel Hill, but we made a quick stop by my grandparents beautiful stones to say hello. I often think that my athletic grandfather would be very proud of me, and possibly think I was less crazy than other members of my family.

3 comments:

MissEm said...

Crazy person! You look so much like mom in that photo from the side. You have the same knack for staring at other people while having your photo taken apparently!

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