We arrived in Okoboji to a decorated yard on Friday evening. My parents, sister and aunt had decorated my parent’s yard to celebrate my National qualification…
Saturday morning, we woke up at 4:30 am, ate breakfast, loaded the bikes and headed to Arnold’s Park Amusement Park, where the transition area was located. We arrived at 5:30 am to the typical Okoboji Triathlon experience…
- No one is patrolling the transition area, so anyone can enter the transition area at any time throughout race morning.
- You have free pick of whatever spot you want to stage your transition area.
- The bikes have PLENTY of room to be spread out and arranged however the athlete deems appropriate (the Hy Vee Triathlon could have fit 1000 bikes in the same amount of space as 200 here).
- Body marking is optional and self administered.
- The water temperature is NOT announced and is on the border of being wetsuit ILLEGAL, but no one seems to care.
- As athletes wait for their race to start, they get a history lesson about the “oldest wooden roller coaster west of the Mississippi” that resides at the Arnolds Park Amusement Park.
- Even though the race says it starts at 7 am, that is just a rough estimate.
After getting my transition area all set up, I wandered over to watch the start of the marathon (6 am start time). I am always in awe of the marathon runners who sign up for this event. Since the race is held in the middle of July in Iowa, it usually has some unbearable weather, but we got REALLY lucky with the weather this year!!
After watching the marathon runners start their day, I went back to my transition area and checked everything over…looks good!! Time to head to the water for the swim start…should I wear my wetsuit or not???? I think I’ll wear it and take advantage of the hydrodynamics it provides me…
I was in wave 3, so I started 6 minutes behind wave #1 and 3 minutes behind wave #2. As the announcement was made for our wave to start swimming, I seemed to have positioned myself just right as I had very little contact with other swimmers and didn’t have many slower swimmers (in my wave) in front of me. I felt nice and relaxed throughout the entire swim and was grateful to NOT see any eyes in a scuba mask looking up at me this year… 🙂
I finished the 0.6 mile swim in 16:23. I was super happy with this…1:33 per hundred yards. The transition area was quite a ways away from the swim exit. I felt that my transition was super efficient, but my time shows otherwise due to the distance covered…3:18.
I was quickly on the bike and circling West Lake Okoboji. At about mile 7 on the bike, I saw a spectator cheering us on and she said to me, “Girl, you look like you’re having fun!!” From that point on, I had a new theme song playing in my head…”Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper…
At about this point, I felt the slight headwind, but continued to push hard around the lake…and I did so without dropping my chain…YAY!! First time while racing this year!! With only about one mile to go on the bike, my dad, sister, two nieces and my dad’s friend/neighbor were standing on the side of the road cheering me on. It was so much fun to see them!! I rolled back into transition after covering the 18 miles in a time of 56:54. I was very happy with this smokin’ fast (for me), average speed of 19.0 mph!! My transition was smooth and efficient…1:21.
Off to the run I go…I know this run like the back of my hand since it basically goes through my parent’s back yard. I run most of this route nearly every time I am home for a visit. 🙂 I saw the same spectator, who said, “She’s still smiling!! Go get ’em girl!! Have fun!!” I smiled, ran on and immediately listened to “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” in my own head again…I guess I may have to create my own soundtrack of music that plays through my head while I race afterall…although I don’t actually listen to music while I train or race, it could be funny to hear how all of these songs flow from one to the next…At about mile 2.5, there were two women who were cheering on spectators and hoola hooping continuously…they are definitely going to have abs of steel after that workout!! I only walked through 3 water stops (long enough to down a quick glass of water), otherwise I ran at a pretty consistent and speedy pace for having just pushed so hard on the bike. I covered the 4.5 mile distance in 37:13 for an average pace of 8:16.
I crossed the finish line in 1:55:07, with my California niece in my arms, setting yet another PR!! My previous PR for this odd distance event was 1:58:07…PR by 3 minutes…this is a good chunk of time to cut when covering only 23.1 miles total. So far I have raced three triathlons this summer and set a PR on all three…I have two more triathlons this summer…will the trend continue?!?!?!? I guess we’ll have to wait and see 🙂