Recent Club News & Ramblings

October 13, 2011

Threepeat: Story of A (Soon-to-be!) Ironwoman

http://thethreepeat.blogspot.com/2011/10/usat-nationals-race-report-road-worth.html The training and transformation that comes with becoming an Ironman or an Ironwoman are filled with highs and lows as well as laughs and lessons. At age 22, I’ve already decided to dedicate as much of my life as I can to long course triathlon. I’ve come a far way, and I am determined to continue to push myself and my limits so that I can compete against the very best.

The training and transformation that comes with becoming an Ironman or an Ironwoman are filled with highs and lows as well as laughs and lessons. At age 22, I’ve already decided to dedicate as much of my life as I can to long course triathlon. I’ve come a far way, and I am determined to continue to push myself and my limits so that I can compete against the very best.

MONDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2011

USAT Nationals Race Report: The Road Worth Taking

It’s hard to believe that it’s already Sunday night and the big weekend has already passed! My eyes shot open at 3:50 AM yesterday, ten minutes before my alarm was set to go off. Time flew and before I knew it, I was pulling into Grand Dunes. My Coastal Carolina University Tri team-mate Justin arrived at about the same time so we walked down to transition area together. We looked at each other with grins on our faces and remarked at the atmosphere- hundreds of tall, lean athletes were going about their race-morning business, walking their very expensive (many nearing the $8K mark,) bikes to their places. Sponsor and USAT tents stood shoulder-to-shoulder, overlooking the line of people waiting to be body-marked. Everyone was proud to be there.

After having a bold 347 written on both my arms and a 22 on my calf, I made my way over to the Trek tent to check in with my family at Grand Strand Bicycles. They were already busy getting last-minute technicalities out of the way for some of the racers. I had Tim check something on my bike, got a big hug from Mary, and went to set up my transition.

Bike racked, helmet upside down on the bars, sunglasses in the helmet, shoes clipped into the pedals, towel laid out with running shoes, gels, and my visor. All set for a swift, smooth day.

The swim was much like any other open-water event. The second the gun went off everyone in my wave began punching and clawing, trying to swim over one another. I moved to the outside of the pack right away, knowing that being a few feet out from the mainstream would cost me a little bit, but it’d save me aggravation and turbulence. I reached the exit ramp in the back of the lead pack after what I knew was not my best 1.2 mile swim, but I was unphased. There were a lot of extremely talented, highly-trained athletes that I was up against, and the race was no where near over!

The bike was INSANELY windy. The majority of the course was on Route 31, a three-lane, straight, mostly flat wind tunnel of a road. I left the entrance ramp at about 26 mph, feeling comfortable, ready, and fresh. Well, about a minute later I could not get my upgraded Trek Speed Concept to go much over 18 mph, even when I was tucked into the tightest aero position. Knuckles inches apart and head bowed, I pushed for several miles until I got to the turn-around. Headed back in the other direction, I shifted three gears and quickly reached 27mph. Twenty-eight miles later I repeated this ordeal, only the headwind was stronger.

Soon enough I hopped off my bike with my bare feet and trotted it back into transition. I traded my helmet for my visor, yanked on my Nike Free Runs, and jogged out to the run course, stuffing extra gels in my singlet pockets.

From the start, I could feel my calves tightening up. By the first mile marker, I had to come to a stop to stretch them out. My shin shin splints were flaring up violently, making every step painful. I had been looking forward to this run; 13.1 is my favorite distance. I was in no way under-trained for this race. A 56+ mile ride followed by a lengthy run is routine, and I had been nailing a fantastic pace the past few weeks. But there I was, on the side of the road, in disbelief. The sharp pain in my shins hadn’t been an issue for a long time, but had appeared incognito in the past day or two. I watched many of my Myrtle Beach Tri Club team mates run past me in both directions, scattered amongst the three distances being raced that day. We were all counting on one another all race long, calling out you got it! and keep it up! My face got hot and I could feel a knot in my throat. Time was ticking and I had to keep moving. There were girls in my age group not too far behind me. This race was still not over yet.

The next eight miles were a mix of jogging, limping, running, and stopping. At mile nine, I came to pass back near the beginning of the loop, where there were lines of people cheering. This was actually the hardest part. I was used to striding confidently past all of them, clocking a strong pace. Here, my painful jog felt like a walk of shame. I couldn’t look at Tim and Mary, but I heard them shout encouraging words to me and I was glad to hear them. I didn’t care so much about the huge blisters forming on my feet, (did I really skimp on the Body-Glide? Really?!) I just wanted to tap into my usual self. As I headed back for the fourth lap, I muttered to myself, “Let’s do this sh*t.” I picked up the pace and held it in between forced stops. Four miles later, the finish line was in sight. The last 100 yards were a reckless abandon on the red USAT carpet. Seconds later, it was over.

My second Half-Iron race was done in 5:33:30, five minutes slower than my last. I had been aiming for close to 5:00, but I gained probably about twenty minutes or so on the run course. I wished I could do it all over again.

 

They put a medal around my neck and I began to tear up. Mary met me for a hug. I felt like I had lost. It took me a moment to realize that only one girl my age had beat me.

And we’re going to Vittoria, Spain for ITU LONG COURSE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS 2012.

I hadn’t finished as planned, and my feet are killing me as I write this, but Halfmaxx is just another race behind me. Even when it’s tough, it’s the road worth taking.

Later that night at the awards ceremony, I received my plaque and was there to see Pete, Jerry, and Tim accept the plaque for our club. Myrtle Beach Triathlon Club, after being in formation just over a year, won the National Championship for Division IV. (Divisions are based on size of membership.) With 178 points, we had brought the Championship home.


One Response to Threepeat: Story of A (Soon-to-be!) Ironwoman

  1. avatar Michael says:

    Congratulations!

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