“Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do. This is what it’s all about.”

~PattiSue Plumer

Cliff Notes Version: I GOT to race Tri Clear Lake Olympic distance triathlon IN REAL LIFE Saturday, May 29! 💙💛

  • the start of the race was delayed an hour due to the cold air temps (we were notified of this change on Friday, so we could sleep in an extra hour)
  • the air temp at the race start was about ~40*F with full sun and light winds
  • the swim was cut from 1500 m to 500 m for the Olympic distance race due to the 62F water temps
  • the swim start was a wave start
  • transition was spaced out normally (pre-Covid)
  • there was no water/aid station on the bike (as is pretty typical for shorter distance triathlons)
  • there were two self-serve aid stations on the run (volunteers were filling cups, but not handing them out)
  • volunteers took our timing chips off of us after we crossed the finish line and put medals around our necks
  • there were little insulated bags with deli sandwiches, chips, grapes, and a granola bar for each athlete
  • there were individually wrapped cookies to select from for each athlete
  • there was plenty of beverage options (water, different flavors of soda, and beer)
  • there was an award ceremony with people getting to stand on podiums again
  • there were lots of door prizes that were given away

Longer Version: I was SO freaking pumped because I GOT to cross a start line and a finish line of an IRL triathlon race on Saturday, May 29! We parked about 2 blocks from the transition area, which was super convenient. We walked to packet pick-up (by transition), got checked-in, picked up our timing chips, then walked back to the car to get all of the stickers on the bikes, helmets, etc. As we were walking to the transition area, there were plenty of people talking about the cold temps, but I didn’t let myself get sucked into that mind drama. I always responded with, “At least it isn’t raining, the sun is shining, and the winds are light.” I was just so pumped to get to race!

I’m glad I remember how to set up a transition area after 21 months away from Tri racing!

As we were setting up our transition area, they made the announcement that the water temp was 62*F and that all athletes would be swimming the 500 meter distance. I will admit I was a bit bummed by this as the longer we were in the water, the more time there was for the air temps to rise, but I immediately decided I was here to have fun and race with gratitude, so I let go of the things that were out of my control. After hugging friends I haven’t seen in person since before the pandemic, setting up my transition area, doing the neoprene shimmy in my Roka wetsuit, and taking in a gel, I was ready for a practice swim. Easing my way down the boat ramp (swim exit) and into the water was a bit shocking, but not nearly as shocking as putting my face in the water. Hello brain freeze! I did a few short out and backs before heading over to the start area for the National Anthem and the start of the race.

Getting to see friends, hug, high-five, and race was such a joy!

Swim: (11:36 for 500 m at 2:19/100 m average pace…6/11 F40-44, 27/66 F, 102/193 overall)

I lined up at the front of our swim wave as I knew that’s where I belonged. As we were sent out into the water, I almost forgot to start my Garmin, but remembered at the last second. I was SO PUMPED to be racing, that the first ~100 meters I was swimming while breathing right side only every stroke (which I NEVER do…I’m a bilateral swimmer/breather). This was a HUGE mistake that caused a panic attack in the water. As I was swimming, I figured out what was causing the panic attack (hello…I wasn’t exhaling enough CO2 while breathing every stroke) and immediately corrected my stroke. This made the panic attack go away and made the last ~400 meters MUCH better! I guess taking almost 2 years off from racing made me a bit rusty, but I didn’t even care because I was SO pumped to be racing a triathlon again! As I was swimming those last 400 meters to the swim exit, I did have thoughts that I wished we were doing the full 1500 meters as I was ready and confident. This is a good sign for the coming races.

Getting to race again and squeeze into the Roka wetsuit…oh how I’ve missed doing the neoprene shimmy!

T1: (2:59…4/11 F40-44, 28/66 F, 96/193 overall)

As I exited the swim, the boat ramp was VERY slick with algae growing on it, so I cautiously walked up out of the water. I got my wetsuit off just below my hips and removed my goggles + swim cap as I was running to my transition spot so that when I arrived to my bike, I could quickly get my legs out of my wetsuit. As I was putting on my socks + bike shoes, I debated putting on my long sleeved jersey, but quickly opted to forgo that and only wear my gloves. It was chilly, but NOTHING like Ironman Louisville 2018, so I was confident with this decision. I donned my helmet and Roka sunnies, grabbed Mojo, and off we went!

Bike: (1:17:30 for 24.8 miles at 19.2 mph average speed…2/11 F40-44, 11/66 F, 87/193 overall)

After crossing the mount line and getting on Mojo, we cruised our way out of town (with some turns here and turns there). This course was a relatively flat course, so I just put the hammer down and went. I didn’t look at my power output/speed/cadence at all during this ride. I was so grateful to be racing that I only focused on playing and having fun. As I played chase trying to catch different people in front of me, I kept asking myself if I could go just a little bit harder in that moment.

I did some yo-yoing with another athlete as he was faster on the descents, but I was stronger on the climbs (not that there were many of either these). We did talk a little bit as we yo-yoed with each other. It was fun to encourage other athletes and cheer them on in a race setting again! Racing from a place of gratitude and fun removed all of the pressure, which set me up for success as I cruised into T2.

T2: (1:25…1/11 F40-44, 7/66 F, 44/193 overall)

I quickly racked my bike, changed into my running shoes, grabbed my visor + race belt, and exited T2.

Run: (50:14 for 6.2 miles at 8:06/mile average pace…2/11 F40-44, 12/66 F, 74/193 overall)

As I exited T2, I knew my feet were hitting the pavement because I wasn’t falling over while running, but my feet were SO cold and numb that I couldn’t feel them. I decided not to focus on them, but instead be grateful that I couldn’t feel them…if I was getting blisters (which doesn’t often happen), I couldn’t feel them, so numb feet was a good thing right?! 🤣

This run was 1.5ish miles out and back twice. It was fun to see other athletes and cheer them on. During the run, I continued to race from a place of fun + gratitude. I kept asking myself if I could go just a little bit harder. Since it was still cool, it was perfect for running. At one point, I passed another athlete who asked me what pace I’m trying to keep. I quickly responded with, “I am trying to keep a pace that is fun and full of gratitude.” I honestly didn’t look at my pace or metrics once during my run. This method served me well!

Overall: (2:23:46…1/11 F40-44, 11/66 F, 77/193 overall)

I was SO PUMPED to get to cross a finish line at a triathlon that I was grinning from ear to ear! Oh…and the icing on the cake…I set a new bike split PR and run split PR for the Oly distance! #LFG

1st place AG with a bike split PR + run split PR for the Oly distance! #LFG ⚡️

Gear: Coeur Sports triathlon shorts, Coeur Sports triathlon tank with shelf bra, Roka X-1 Goggles, Roka Women’s Maverick X Wetsuit, Specialized Transition tri bike, Specialized S-works Evade helmet, Specialized Torch 2.0 Road Shoes, Coeur Sports visor, Newton Kismet running shoes, Roka SL-1X sunnies

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