CT Women's Triathlon Race Report!

You might remembered that I questioned even doing this race. I had registered over a month ago, knowing that last year the race sold out. When I hit the button to send my money to the Hartford Marathon Foundation and register myself as an Athena for race day, I made a promise to myself that I would swim more, and bike more. I was already doing plenty of running. Unfortunately my motivation to swim faded and soon I was skipping every monday scheduled swim. In fact, I only got 2 pool swims in between my last triathlon (Wilbraham YMCA) and this race. Major fail. I also didn't get out much to ride. Busy weekends made me skip my saturday long rides, and weekdays I always had something else to do after work.

Needless to say, I was skeptical about my performance if I participated in the race. Then I thought about how I had paid $95 for the race, and that it was sold out. I talked myself into it on friday, not too last minute, right?

Saturday afternoon, my mom headed with me to packet pick up in Farmington, CT. My mom has just caught the workout bug, in fact she is now training to walk the Disney Half Marathon!! Bringing my mom to packet pickup was a great idea, because not only did I get a fabulous tech tee & bag included with my race fee, but my mom splurged on an amazing bike jersey and car magnet for me, thanks mom!

After packet pick up, I took my mom to Fleet Feet to get fitted for running/walking shoes. She is going to try a run(slooow jog)/walk method & is following Jeff Galloway's plan that is specific for the Disney Half. She was surprised to learn she should have been wearing a sneaker a whole size bigger because of how her foot expands in standing. She loves her New Balance shoes she finally settled on!

Home to lay things out, then go out for a few hours to a wild pig roast party. I sadly had to skip the ice luge, flip cup, and kegs of BBC to be in top shape for the morning. We ended the night early and made it home around 9:30.

Race Day
After getting myself ready, eating my usual breakfast, applying my Tri-Tats (pretty cool) & getting my gear together, I managed to pry Kevin out of bed with promises of Dunkin Donuts, and a nap after the race. We got to the race site, which was at beautiful Winding Trails in Farmington, CT.
Tri Tats!
finished product!
We got there at what I thought was a good time, however almost every single spot on my rack was taken. I ended up far back in a different kind of rack than I'm used to, which was holding my bike poorly, and let it keep toppling over. I quickly started putting my things out and chatted with a few girls near me that were first timers. I was in the last wave, which was Athenas and first timers. As I was laying out my things, a man starting shouting, transition will close in 10 minutes. 10 minutes??!! I still had to pee & get a wetsuit on! I finished laying out my stuff, sprayed myself with Pam (first time trying that trick), and started to wiggle into my wetsuit. I met up with Kevin and we headed to the beach.

The Swim

They did a thoughtful September 11 ceremony before the race start, complete with a bag piper, and soon the swim was starting. It looked forever long, and I was starting to get butterflies. The longest race swim I have ever done is 1/4 mile, and this year only 300 yards, so I was in panic mode. I tried to breathe, remind myself that swimming is my strongest sport, and that I would just go nice and easy to be ready for the rest of the race.
look at that long swim! left to right, orange buoys on the right.
getting ready for my wave!
I started out on the inside, which I thought was a great place, but not many others had the same idea as me. This made my path somewhat clear for most of the race. The pond was a little clearish, so I was able to see feet in front of me, and move rather than get kicked in the face. I swam strong & effortlessly, and I couldn't believe how fast the distance was shrinking. My sighting was pretty much spot on, my form felt smooth, and my breathing easy. By far, the easiest time I have had on a swim in any triathlon. I'm sure I could have pushed a little harder & gone faster, but I wanted to be sure I had the energy for the whole 1/2 mile.

exiting the swim
1/2 mile swim = 19:21
140/492 finishers

The Bike

It was a long jog to transition, and I was able to get my swim cap & half my wetsuit off on the way. I threw on my sleeveless bike jersey (seriously a great wardrobe decision), my socks, bike shoes & helmet. I took a swig of Nuun & ate a honey stinger chew. Leaving transition, a volunteer yelled that my goggles were stuck on my bike pedal. I quickly threw them off to the side, good excuse for a new pair.

I took off on the bike. The course was fairly flat with a couple hills up, and a few sweet downhills too. I started behind an Athena and was focused on keeping up with her, but I lost her after the first turn. Not to worry, I was passing people left & right. This race was a BIG race and compared to the little triathlons I did this year it was nice to pass some people instead of getting passed all the time.
elevation of the bike course
Around mile 7-8, a woman in the 50 year old age group and I kept passing each other. We chatted a little bit, and eventually I overtook her on a straight away and downhill. The last mile, an Athena came up and passed me, I pushed it to keep up with & we rode neck & neck into transition. I felt strong the entire bike leg and was seeing speeds on my Garmin that I have never seen on a ride. I averaged 16.5mph & hit a top speed of 28.8mph. I am pretty convinced I had my best ride ever.

T1 = 1:52
12 mile bike = 43:46
206/492 finishers

The Run
Heading to transition was a little crowded as people were heading out for the run, which was the same as the bike entrance. Some people were not hustling their bikes to the racks, which slowed me down. Finally I slipped off my shoes and got my running shoes on, race belt on, more Nuun down my throat & grabbed my Garmin off the bike. My stupid Garmin hates sweat however, and was being a Pain in the Ass, and refused to reset for the run. In fact, I didn't get it started until almost a 1/4 mile into the run, which was a steep uphill, up a rocky path.

Did I somehow forget that this was a trail run? I completely missed that memo, in fact the only time I have ever run on a trail, was the time Shelley & I got lost in Forest Park on our long run (HERE). The trail run was through a nice wooded trail, with mud, sticks, tree roots, and rocks to avoid. This slowed my pace significantly at time, and others sped it up. My pace was all over the place, but I  stopped for one slight break for a little gatorade at the water stop, and only 1 or 2 other places for a quick walk break.
run paces
I got passed by several people on the run, but I did manage to pass others too. I even passed one Athena, which I was pumped about. My Garmin's late start, led me to be uncertain about my current distance, so I had no idea how much gas I had to keep in the tank before going all out. I was a little conservative near the end. Then, a little boy yelled, over this hill then you'll see the finish line. Since my Garmin said maybe 2.6 miles,  didn't believe him, but there it was. I took off, going as hard as I could, making sure to pass one last person on my way to the finishing chute.

I smoked her, she's not even close to me!

T2 = 2:03
3.1 mile run = 34:45
332/492 finishers

I saw Kevin just as I was finishing ( missed him at every transition in the race), and he met me at the end of the chute. I gave up my timer chip, and got some water a handmade "finisher" magnet with cute little fish, sneakers & a bicycle on it. We promptly headed over to the beer tent for the 10 penny ale, which was fabulous. I wasn't hungry at all, but I grabbed a caesar salad wrap for Kevin and a banana for me. They had a few booths set up with different companies, and Kevin bought me a couple nice things (more on them later). We decided to head to transition, get my gear into the car, then go back to the finishing area for more beer & hopefully the results. Bad news? Beer was kicked, and results were only available that night online.

finisher "medal"
after the finish!
Final Results
17/59 Athena

After waiting in traffic to exit the park, we headed home for some Bertuccis brick oven pizza and water. I felt sick the rest of the day after a 2 hour nap, but thankfully am much better now. 
The good of the race?
Well organized
LOTS of signage
small swim waves
flat bike course
AWESOME dri-fit shirt swag

The bad of the race?
My horrible bike rack which didn't hold my bike well
LOTS of first timers who didn't follow bike rules on the road
a rocky, muddy trail run (bad because of the flooding we've had lately)
Beer finished early

This race re-lit my triathlon fire! I felt strong and competitive throughout the whole race. I couldn't wait to get back to training and thinking about all the races of next year. I'm so excited to do this race next year, and convince some friends next time to do it with me. Anyone else in?


Lisa said...

Sounds like a great experience overall and you had a great race. I'm glad you did it and liked it and want to do it again next year!!

Wells L said...

Wow - great race!!! Did you see that hard core rock hard calf, ham, and quad in the first photo? I was like "wait is that Stephanie's?" UM YES!!! Wow girl - all that hard work is really paying off!!

Love the photos - looks like a great time. So glad you went ahead and did it!!!!

Elle said...

Great recap and pics. You did so well!

I won a Hartford Marathon Tee once... my only ever connection to Conn.

Anonymous said...

Way to go, Stephanie! I am always in awe of you triathletes!