Sunday, June 28, 2009

Race Report

the start
Rest of race photos on Flickr

Let me know if it's annoying to have to go to Flickr to see the race photos - it seemed a lot faster than reposting them here one by one.

What's not to love about a hometown triathlon? The start is five minutes from my house. I know the course and all the local volunteers. It wasn't hard to find teammates for a relay (I'm not in shape these days for a full tri myself.)

Kate, whom I know from spinning class, did the bike portion, and Lynn, whom I know from beach and pool, did the swim. Lynn was a bit late and hadn't returned phone calls the night before, so we had a moment or two of anxiety. But she came in plenty of time - the only consequence of late check-in was that they were out of t-shirts! (A very hideous chartreuse, but I want one anyway!)

It was a gorgeous morning - sunny and cool. After 20 straight days of rain and some great sadness in our community we needed a day like that to lift the spirits. Matt, the rec director, had everything very well in hand - check-in volunteers, port-o-potties, and a table full of post-race food and bling of every kind. Most important, he had PLENTY of support out on the lake - all the town lifeguards and the Lakeville Water Rescue Co.

It looked like everyone got off to a smooth start, but it was also clear that there were a few people going VERY slowly. The first swimmers were back by 15 minutes or so, but the last one took 45 minutes and seemed quite shook up when he arrived. (He did finish the event, though - well done!) Lynn took over 25 minutes, which was quite surprising as she's a very experienced and confident open water swimmer - she swam across the Hudson River a few summers ago. But she had gotten kicked in the chest at the start and never caught her breath.

No worries - Kate took off on the bike and we had an hour to hang out and gossip (and visit the port-o a couple extra times.) An on-site ambulance suddenlky took off from the parking lot - one of the bikers had been hit in the one part of the course that was truly dangerous - the stretch in front of the shopping plaza. Indeed, a driver had pulled out of the post office and collided with a biker. Happily we soon learned that he was banged up but not too seriously

For myself, my only concern was that it was starting to really heat up. I loaded on the sunscreen, filled my water bottle belt, and ate a z-bar while I hung out with old friends and new acquaintances.

Kate reappeared after just about an hour (faster than scheduled). I was almost but not quite the last runner out, and I knew that most of those starting after me would have no trouble catching up. I hoped I wouldn't be last but wasn't very optimistic about it.

The run is a strange one: the first 1.5 miles or so is almost all uphill, some of it quite steep. Then there's an equally long stretch of steep downhill. By the time I'd done that much, my quads were trembling. A little flattish stretch to the water stop (at which the kids working it said we were only 1 and a half-mile in - NO WAY!) and then some hard uphill again to the end. I was passed by a 61 year old woman, a 10-year old girl (go Paris - she's amazing) and at the very end, one more guy was catching up to me. He started to chat from about 20 feet behind me, and I asked him if he was from the area. Silly me: he's someone I'm fairly well acquainted with - I just hadn't looked back. We ran in the last few minutes together. Good thing too because vanity kept me from stopping to walk. And his chivalry let me finish 2 seconds ahead of him. (He's a strong runner and biker, but was slowed down by being an inexperienced swimmer.)

I always wonder if I could have pushed harde r- I never "race" so much as just keep my usual pace. No idea if all my "high intensity interval training" has increased my speed. The hills were so steep, and I walked so much, that my pace was only about 13:30 overall. I'm sure my pretty substantial weight gain was a contributing factor to my slowness.

No matter: it was a ton of fun, we won the Women's Team prize (wine! YEAH!) and will most definitely do it again next year.

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