Let's start from the beginning. On Saturday morning, I headed down to UK's Commonwealth Stadium to pick up my packet. Pick-up was very easy, plus they were giving away Powerbars, Power gels, and new Powerbar Ironman drinks. Free samples are always nice! I picked up lunch from Moe's (vegeterian burrito) and headed home to rest for the rest of the afternoon. Our good friends Justin, Charis and their daughter Ruby came into town on Saturday, so we had dinner with them at Ramsey's on Saturday night. It was so good to see them! I had a grilled chicken salad, and a pretty big piece of black bottom banana pie...the salad was "eh" but the pie was to die for!
After making sure I had all of my gear ready and packed, I went to bed around 9:15, with my alarm set for 4:30am. Morning came soon and before I knew it I was up eating Cheerios and drinking coffee. I wanted to get to the transition area around 6:00ish, so I left the house at 5:40 and headed into Lexington. I felt pretty weird on race morning though - I think it is because I wasn't really excited! I didn't have any adrenaline pumping or anything, it was more of just a "let's get this over with" feeling, which I didn't like! I figured that once I got to the race my spirits would improve.
Chad wasn't able to go the race as he had obligations at our church, but I did drive the truck. It was nice to not have to deal with a bike rack! I just put my bike in the bed and off I went. Once I got to the race site I easily found a good parking spot - plenty of parking is a big plus of having a race that starts and ends in a stadium parking lot! I got body marked, got my timing chip and then found my spot in transition. The racks were a little crowded, but nothing too bad. Oh and I may have forgotten to mention that it was only 49 degrees at this point! I was a little concerned about freezing my butt off on the bike! After getting set up in transition and making a few port-a-pottie stops, I stripped down to my tri shorts and top to try to get used to the cool weather. It actually wasn't too bad! There was no wind, so that helped.
After a brief pre-race meeting, all of the triathletes (there was also a duathlon going on) headed down to the Lancaster Aquatic Center (UK's pool) which was .25 miles away. I wondered how I would fare after the swim - running soaking wet and barefoot in 50 degree weather for .25 miles! Once we got to the pool (which is an incredible facility with a 50 meter pool) all of the athletes gathered up in the balcony. Groups of about 30 or so people were brought down to the pool deck, by number. Athletes then went into the pool every 10 seconds or so. I was #335 out of 450 or so, I was definitely towards the back. The race started at 7:15am, but I didn't get into the pool until after 8:30! This was great because the sun was out and warming up the temps by the time I got out. The swim was a 50 meter pool, and there were 8 lanes. We were to swim up and down each lane for a total of 100 meters per lane, 800 meters total. By the time my group got in the pool it was kind of crowded, but not too bad. We actually got down to the deck a little later than we were supposed to, so most of the group in front of us were already well on their way through the pool which helped.
I usually panic at some point during the swim, whether in a pool or open water, but it is usually due to going out too hard and not being able to catch my breath. I stayed nice and steady and relaxed during this swim and never got panicky feeling. The wide lanes really helped, plus I had a lot of clear water behind me and in front of me for the most part. I ended up passing 6 people, which is always a nice feeling. I was hoping to finish the swim around 20:00, and I climbed out of the pool at 19:45.
The run back to transition included a flight of stairs, but other than that it was pretty much a straight shot back through campus to Commonwealth Stadium. It was a gorgeous day already - bright sun, no clouds and no wind, so the cool temps actually felt good! Since the racks were set by race number and the swim was done by race number (rather than age group), all of the racks leading up to my rack were empty (for the most part). This made finding the rack super easy! In transition I threw on a long sleeve wicking shirt, my helmet, sunglasses and shoes and off I went.
I did not do very well on the bike. I haven't been riding nearly as much as I should have (should ride at least 3 times per week, I've been averaging 1!) and I wasn't really prepared for a fast 18 mile ride. The course was beautiful and mostly flat, which was very nice. The police were out in full force, blocking intersections for us which was fantastic. Also a UK sorority was volunteering for the race and they were spread out among the whole bike course shouting genuine words of encouragement - it was really nice! The best thing about the bike is that I hardly saw any huge clumps of bikers or drafting. I think this is because the swim was spaced well (by projected finish time, not age group), which spaced the bikers well, which spaced the runners well. Organization is key!
I finished the bike in 1:09:02 and was happy to start the run. It was a four mile out and back run around the perimeter of Commonwealth Stadium and over into the UK arboretum. I felt great on the run and was able to maintain a decent 8:33 pace. As always during the run, I usually get my legs under me around mile 2. Since this was a 4 mile race, it was nice to pick up speed after the turn around as I headed back to the finish. I passed two ladies in my age group in the last mile and then had a short sprinting dual with another lady at the very end. I turned the final corner and put the wheels on, confident that I could pass her. She picked up the speed too and we were neck and neck but I think I beat her by a few steps. It was pretty fun! The crowd was cheering and the announcer was like "who's it gonna be!" - she wasn't in my age group, but this is a race after all so it was nice to finish strong!
- Swim: 19:45 (11th in AG)
- T1: 4:16 (included .25 mile run from pool to transition)
- Bike: 1:09:02 (13th in AG)
- T2: 1:55
- Run: 34:11 (8:33 pace, 5th in AG)
- Overall time: 2:08:46
I am a little happy and a little sad that my triathlon season is over. I hope to do one more race in Kentucky next April before we move to Louisiana in the summer. There are lots of great road races and triathlons in Louisiana, so a new racing "scene" is definitely something to look forward to!
Next up, the Jessamine County Race for Cancer 2k this weekend where I will hopefully defend last year's 3rd place overall finish!