Monday, August 15, 2011

I Got Banged... Bangs Lake

Got your attention, no? Good gosh, folks. This is about triathlons.

L to R: Ellen, Lisa, Me
I started the racing weekend off at the Fleet Feet Elvis is Alive 5k and that was a hoot! Great weather, awesome company, and fantastic outfits. I convinced Ellen to run with me, and recruited Lisa to join us! She was a total badass and paced us the whole time. Ellen said, "I'd love to beat 35 minutes!" Much to our surprise, we finished at 33:42. Thank you, Lisa. Just what I needed. That's a recent PR for me. Whoa.

Friday night I slept quite a bit, clocking about 9-10 hours. I hopped over to Running Away Multisport to pick up my packet. Packet pickup was super; RAM Racing has the best swag bags. The sprint race swag included: triathlon bag, towel, water bottle, hat, drawstring bag and an American Apparel zip up. (Again, I am still undecided: do I race for the achievement or for the swag?)

Coach Anne (right) and Me
I didn't get as much sleep Saturday night as I had planned, but I was mentally prepared and ready for a new course. The alarm went off at 3:50am, I was on the road by 4:15am, and at the race site just before 5:00am. I was very pleased with the transition area set up, and was fortunate to have decent space to set up my transition area. I love women only races; the attitude is much happier. (Take a hint, boys.) I was a few spots over from Coach Anne and kept running into familiar faces. (I love race morning!) I ran to the water to check the temperature and decided to ditch the wetsuit.* I caught the shuttle bus to the swim start. Funny enough, the water temperature was warmer than the outside air temperature. It was quite bizarre feeling cool after getting wet in a triathlon situation. (Although this race could have been a bit more pleasant with the wetsuit because of all the friggin seaweed. Ick Factor: 10)

My wave was first. Yahoo! The sun provided a nice blinding sensation and I couldn't find the buoys (of which there weren't enough). Every time I felt that I was back on course I really wasn't. The ridiculous seaweed at the end really threw me off and in turn got me very worked up. This was somewhat of a domino effect after that leading up to the bike. My first transition was a total tea party. 4 minutes. This included a pretty decent run from the swim. But still, I was molasses.

The bike course was to be expected, rolling hills and open roads. I was happy because most athletes hadn't started their bike yet so it was just the other women and me.

T2 was a bit speedier and included a pre-run right calf stretch in hopes of achieving a strong run. Well, Plan A worked!

The run course was also hilly, what the heck? This is ILLINOIS. Last I checked Illinois is in the Midwest and should be flat. I went out there with the mentality of trying to be strong and push through, just like I did at the 5k a few days prior.** Not only did I ditch my wetsuit but I left my music behind too. I saw a lot of my friends out on the run course, and found some kind words from my friend Kara too. She said I looked strong and fast, and that was all the music I needed to hear. It was true; I had my fastest 5k during a triathlon in recent years. I finished strong, hydrated and relatively pain free to my friends Katherine and Coach Anne cheering me on.*** Another proud moment for our group of athletes is Coach Anne's victory as the winner of the inaugural She Bangs Sprint Triathlon.

All in all, it was a fantastic day and the weather mostly cooperated. The sun was a nice and warming, and the post-race food of pancakes and French toast were yummy. It's over 24 hours since finishing and I'm still living off the high (or is it the soreness?) giving me the excitement to carry me through my last and final triathlon of the season.

 I am also happy to share that this was my 15th outdoor triathlon. I'd say 15 is a good number to get Bang(s Lake)ed.

I'm No Ironman, But I Still Tri.

When I got home I realized I had brought a part of race back with me. Here's the conversation:

* Any race that doesn't require a wetsuit is a big win in my book.
** My goal in life is to one day vomit post-run, but I don't actually want to get to that point. Vomit is gross.
*** I probably should get faster so I can cheer them on, yes?

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