This last weekend, I raced the Lake Geode Triathlon, which is an Olympic distance event. Friday afternoon we drove 3.5 hours to Burlington, Iowa for packet pick-up. We arrived at about 6:30 pm to “The Drake,” which is right across the street from the Mississippi River on the Illinois/Iowa Border.
After packet pick-up, we headed to Geode State Park to set up our tent and settle in for the night. It was a perfect night for camping and relaxing by the campfire.
Saturday morning, we woke up at 5 am to perfect weather…60 degrees and overcast. We ate some breakfast, loaded our gear into the car and headed down to the beach where the transition area was. I got my body marked, picked up my timing chip, took some time to set up my transition area and took a photo with friends before walking down to the water to start the race.
After the athlete meeting, we headed down to the beach, where I waited for wave #3 to start the swim portion of the event. The water temperature was about 82 degrees Fahrenheit, so it was definitely not wetsuit legal (although there were a few people who chose to wear theirs and were not eligible for awards). This was not a beach start…instead, we started in the water. As the alarm sounded for our swim wave to start, I managed to get myself behind a few swimmers who were slower than I was. After being frustrated about their lack of ability to swim a straight line (allowing me to pass with little contact), I grabbed on and pulled them under so I could swim over the top. During this maneuver, I managed to get kicked in the left tricep pretty hard…hard enough to leave a bruise on my arm…small price to pay to find some open water. After passing the slower swimmers, I got into a rhythm and had Dori (from Finding Nemo) in my head, “Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.” As I felt my swim form start to falter, I would mentally refocus, get my form under control and allow Dori to continue to invade my brain. I finished my 1.5 km swim in 32:08…this was not my best, but without my wetsuit and some drag on my tri top (which has gotten a bit larger since I have lost some weight), I was relatively happy with this swim time.
I spent 2:10 in T1…trying to get my spare tube into my tri top was my biggest obstacle, so my T1 time wasn’t were I had hoped it would be, but I know what I can do differently next time.
Now it is time for the bike…I had a BLAST on the bike. My goal was to push hard and see what I had left for the run. I managed to do just that. Remember the “highway” reference to my race number??? While out on the bike, I started singing “Life is a Highway….I wanna ride it all night long.” It is amazing where the mind wanders… I dropped my chain on a hill climb at about mile 22 (only 2.8 miles from the bike finish), but quickly fixed it and moved forward. I finished the 40 km bike in 1:24:45 with an average of 17.6 mph on the bike…That was a LOT of fun!!! I was super happy with this, but knew I had a hilly run to follow and this would be the true test…let the fun begin!!
I was much quicker in T2…1:13…I still have some work to do to cut some time, but it is a much faster time than the last race this season.
Now for the run…I knew this would be a hilly run course, but I had no idea that the only flat part would be crossing the dam. We don’t have many hills like these in central Iowa…I kept singing “Life is a Highway” through the first part of the run, and then my mind went negative…”Highway to Hell.” I didn’t allow this negative train of thought to stick around for very long and quickly moved back into a positive mental state…”Another one Bites the Dust” started to play in my mind as I passed people. Many people were struggling on this run course (661 feet of climbing while covering 6.2 miles), so I passed many athletes. I kept a smile on my face and told everyone I encountered that they were doing awesome!! This kept me in a positive mental state and kept me moving forward AND…it paid off!! I finished the 10 km run in 53:28 with an average pace of 8:38. I was super happy with that and so was Coach Julie…”Solid all the way around! Especially that run!!”
I ended up finishing in a time of 2:53:40…this was a PR by 11:46 and on a MUCH more challenging course!! I was so excited!! The icing on the cake…I won 2nd in my age group 🙂 I couldn’t have asked for a better race…SO MUCH FUN!!