Monday, September 5, 2011

A Bittersweet Ending - Skinnyman Race Report!

My tri season is officially over. And while it seemed to be heading downhill faster than a speeding bullet post Iron Girl, it ended on a really positive note with the Skaneateles Skinny Man triathlon. I went into the race well rested and not planning on racing too hard. I just wanted to have fun so I could end the year on a tri high. It worked! I was so much more relaxed than I was for Iron Girl. I can’t wait for next year and I’m already getting re-energized to plan out my training for the off season.

So Saturday morning Laura and I woke up bright and early (4 am!) and headed off to Skaneateles for the Skinnyman triathlon. A really nice volunteer we had talked to the night before said we should be there by 4:45 to get a good parking spot and a prime bike spot. Well needless to say we were the first ones there and they wouldn’t let us into transition right away. We waited around for a couple of minutes before we saw a few other people walk into transition, so we followed them in and got GREAT bike spots, right on the end of two different rows. Then we got checked in, body marked and went to spend some time relaxing in the car. 

After a few minutes my nerves got the best of me and I couldn’t sit still any longer, so we went to set up our transition areas and stretch. The time leading up to the race went pretty quickly after that. Luckily our new friend the volunteer had let us in on a little secret—the hotel across the street from the transition area has a back door that they leave open. It leads right to a very, very clean bathroom that never had more than two people waiting in line. Score one for the Sherwood! It may have been my first ever race experience where I didn’t have to use a porta-potty (or wait in line to pee in the woods. Yes. You should ask me about that some day.). Hallelujah!

So if clean bathrooms are a part of the equation, then point to Skinnyman. Getting the race started on time? Not so much. They started funneling everyone into the water at about 7:25, and the first wave was supposed to go off at 7:30. I think it was closer to 7:45 before they got us started. So my wave didn't go off until about 7:55. And the water was cold! Cold and really, really choppy. No white caps, but close. I was nervous, but the prospect of a current to help propel me forward on the way in was nice. So yea, the swim was tough, but nothing terrible. I just kept reminding myself that this was fun and to just keep swimming. did a great job on the swim. It was a well organized race overall, but the swim was above and beyond anything I’ve ever done. There were tons of buoys, so you never really lost sight of where you were heading next. They also had plenty of kayaks and even divers under the surface to make sure nothing went wrong. It made you feel very safe. I was much more aggressive on this swim than in the Iron Girl. I didn’t let anyone take advantage of me and I used my legs a lot more (which really helped keep people off of me!). Before I knew it I was back on solid ground, thanks to the super helpful volunteers who were there to give you hand so you didn’t slip coming up the stairs out of the water. Time: 14:53

The swim to bike transition was my fastest ever: 1:30! The fact that the transition area was smaller and the distances were shorter definitely helped, but I was definitely quicker in drying off and getting my shoes on. Race

Heading out for the bike I had a hard time getting clipped in, but it didn’t really matter since there was a long no passing zone from transition until we made the turn onto 41A. I was stuck behind a woman who was pretty slow and it was hard to stay behind her once I got clipped in. I flew past her as soon as we made the turn and started pushing to build up some speed. I felt really, really winded. Not swimming for the last two weeks before the race had really done a number on my fitness. And that bike course is steep! There were definitely a few places (like right smack in the middle of some of the steepest hills) where I all but gave up. Smallest gear, MPH at about 7 or 8 and cadence at practically nothing, but it never lasted long. There was a guy I kept trading back and forth with, which kept me from completely giving up. That and seeing my computer register 39 MPH on a downhill. That was pretty cool. Soon enough we were making the last turn back on the West Lake Road and heading for home. Time: 45:10. A full 4 minutes faster than I ever did the course on our Saturday morning rides! The only problem was that I almost forgot to slip my feet out of my shoes before I got the dismount line. Luckily I managed to do it pretty quickly and even heard someone call out how cool it was that I was barefoot! I guess that’s what I get for not practicing transition at all since the Iron Girl. Whoops!

I knew going into this race that I really wanted to run strong. I practically sprinted out of transition, before remembering that the first mile was uphill and I should probably save something for it. My first mile was a little slower than I would have liked (8:28), but I made up for it on the second (7:30). There were some weird things going through my head on the run. Things like running hard enough to puke at the finish line (thank G-d that didn’t happen, I HATE throwing up!). I passed a few coworkers and even my 8th grade English teacher on the run. She told me to go ahead when I passed her for the third time and that she was proud of me. So cute! As we came down the last hill about a quarter mile from the finish I started to pick up speed. I had found another gear and all the sudden felt really great. I noticed a guy up in front of me and decided I was going to out kick him to the finish. Kevin, you’d be proud! He heard me coming and started pushing, but I was able catch him. We were locked in a dead heat coming up to the finish but I pulled ahead of him just before we crossed the line. I was sprinting so fast I was afraid I was going to fall flat on my face. It felt like my feet were barely touching the ground. The spectators loved it and the photographer from Brightroom was laughing as he clicked away. I can’t wait to see those pictures! My run time was 24:50. I was a little disappointed but super excited to find out I had finished in under an hour and a half! 1:27:13 to be exact.

I wound placing 3rd in my age group! I was super happy with that, especially since I had really fallen off the training wagon for the two weeks leading up to the race. I even got a glass. It was pretty cool to see Lisa and her relay crew take first of all the relay teams. Way to go girls! Then I headed back up to the finish line to watch Laura finish her first tri! Despite the mountain bike and never having done the open water swim she did it and surprise! She’s still talking to me and we’re still friends. Our parents were making me think that might not be the case. She just might not listen to me so quickly the next time I come up with some crazy idea for us to do.

Ok. Holy wow that got long. I'm gonna have to finish adding pictures tomorrow. I’ve got a 5k this weekend, but them I’ve got to sit down and figure out my off-season training. I want to go to age-group nationals next year. Anyone know how you get into that? 

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