As usual, I loved my Iron Girl experience. This was my first IG triathlon but I have had the opportunity to race the Iron Girl 10K in clearwater for the past 3 years.
Race day morning started at 4:50am. Kate and I both slept great after falling asleep to our 2nd showing of the Wedding Crashers on TBS. First things first, time for coffee. After we made coffee, a cup for each of us, I took out the coffee beans so that I could heat some water for our oatmeal. Who needs a microwave when you have a coffee maker! We ate our oatmeal out of paper coffee cups the first day we were at the hotel and after a trip to Publix we had nice red and green plastic bowls to go with our plastic spoons.
After we each had a packet of apple and cinnamon low sugar oatmeal, a few raisins and a little banana we were ready to get dressed in our racing gear. I sipped on my aminos and water starting after breakfast until the race start. I checked the weather before we left so we could have an idea of where the wind was coming from. After riding the course on fri, Kate and I looked forward to a long stretch of road with a slight incline and we wanted to see where the wind was coming from so we could power it out on the bike.
We parked across from transition and it was great to just arrive with our great zoot bags and NO bike. Oh the luxury of checking-in your bike the day before a race. Kate and I both set-up our transition area which took all of a few minutes. Again, another luxury of racing a sprint race. I compulsively checked my brake pads and wheels as usual and after several pics we were ready to head to the swim start.
We had a 10-min walk to the swim start and we got to walk down the lovely steep climb that we would be running up after the swim. Kate and I both took in a gel at 15-minutes before our waves. The race started at 7 a.m. and I only saw a few familiar faces. Some excited ladies from the nutrition clinic said hi to us and also our great new friend who raced at the young age of 67. Kate went off at 7:15 and my wave followed at 7:20am.
We started chest high in the water and when our 20-29 year old wave went off I quickly got to the front of the group with the other fast swimmers. Because i was following the fast girls i noticed that we were swimming a little off course and away from the shore. I decided that swimming on course is a better strategy than drafting. I was hoping for a 9-10 min swim and when I came in at 9:17 I was happy. It was a little tough getting out of the water in the sandy/muddy shore but I was anxious to climb the big hill. I was seriously running on my tippy toes to push myself up this steep hill. What a climb! Luckily it was steep and short. I was trying to squeeze by a bunch of walkers and I don't blame those ladies for taking their time. I knew what the bike course was like and having tight calves to start the bike was a big ouch for all the climbing on the 18-mile bike course.
I started the bike course going downhill since the transition area was on the top of a hill and I continued flying down the road for around 3 miles. I saw a bunch of ladies walking their bikes up a hill and I just felt so bad for the many more hills to come. However, I knew when these ladies finished the bike and then the run, they would all be Iron Girls. The best thing about a challening course is feeling so accomplished when you finish. I was passed by one girl on the bike and when I took a look at her calf and noticed she was 22 I felt good about my age group placement. I wasn't sure how far ahead or behind I was from the other 25-29 girls but after googling some of the participants and seeing previous racing times I knew I had some competition. I was thinking of Kate blowing up the bike course so I tried to do the same. For me, a 56.03 bike time for 18 miles was just fine. I had a few slow moments when I was passing girls and trying to weave my way through girls going 35-40mph down hill but I was sure to give positive remarks to people as we were making our way to the end of the bike. The course was super hilly so this was a tough race for me. I can't really train for hills in flat jacksonville but I did the best i could and made sure I was smart about changing my gears to keep a steady cadence.
After climbing the transition hill to get off bike I knew the run was going to be a challenge. Judy had told Kate and I that the run course was 1.5 miles up and 1.5 miles down. I saw the fast girls finishing the run as I made my way to mile 1 and i could see them flying down the hill. I wasn't sure what was worse, the ups or downs, but the course seems challenging for all 3 miles. I was huffing and puffing. I took a cup of water at the first and second aid stations but barely got a sip. It was more for cooling. I had my unflavored heed and aminos in a bottle on the bike so I felt hydrated. I was only passed by one girl on the run and to my surprise, she was 16!! She flew by me and I knew she was a HS runner. Oh well. I saw kate when I was running the opposite direction and that was a great surprise. I couldn't wait to get to the finish.I ran 21.46 for 3 miles and with the hills I was just fine with that time. Kate was at the finish line and I sprinted my way to the line to reach my goal time of 1:30.20.
Kate and I took some more pics, talked about the race, cheered for some deserving Iron Girl finishers and first timers and texted our fans. Kate updated Craig and I told Karel and my mom and dad that I thought I was going to puke.
Lastly, Kate and I couldn't believe that we went 9th and 10th for the overall rankings. getting beat is no fun, depending on how you look at it. I always want to enjoy myself and I try my hardest during the race but to be beat by Kate I couldn't have been more happy for her!
This was a great race and I'm ready for another one! This morning I had a great 6.7 mile run on the treadmill for interval tuesday. Not as much fun without my swimfit buddies but I did get in 8 x 2 min (1:30 at 8.6 mph, 30 sec at 9 mph) with 1 min recovery at 8mph and then 5 x 50 sec at 9.5 mph. I was super sweaty after that one. I lifted weights for a little bit and jumped in the pool for a hard 2000 meter swim. 4 x 200 on 2:55 and then 4 x 125 on 1:50.