Race Report: Memphis in May Oly Triathlon
We raced the Saturday MTB race, and then went back to Justin’s grandparent’s house to relax and rest up for the big race the next day. I had a tough time sleeping, though. First, I couldn’t keep my mind quiet. Second, I got a call dealing with a house alarm for my bosses, who were out of town. I was not watching their house, so I had to get in touch with the person who was, at . He went out to the house, verified everything was fine, but then had to call me back after an hour because he needed the number to the alarm company…ugh. Not great preparation for a big race. I felt bad for Justin – he probably would have slept fine except for all of my restlessness and phone calls. I don’t think either of us slept well, at all.
We got up super early to get to the race site in plenty of time. I really prefer to get there early and wait around, rather than take the risk of being late. It was amazing what a transition area with ~1700 triathletes and all of their gear looks like. I hardly looked around, though, because I only wanted to focus on me and what I needed to do. I wasn’t interested in getting intimidated by all of the really fit people that I’m sure were around me. I did see Chris McCormack, though, and since he’s a bit out of my category, it was interesting to see how he sets up his transition area. I saw the local professional triathlete from OKC, Amanda Stevens, and exchanged a few supportive words with her. With the TT start, we were able to watch the pros go off – pretty interesting. After they were all off, I kissed Justin and told him to race well, so that I could go get in line for my start (my number was in the 217, while his was in the 600’s). I sat on the curb in the middle of a huge melee of people in wetsuits. I tried to ignore everyone else and just focused on what I wanted to do with my race.
When my time came, I dove off the ramp and took off, trying to be smooth and even. Justin’s sighting trick that he mentioned to me the day before worked really well (he’s pretty nice about sharing all his fun, little tricks that work well!), and I passed a lot of people on the swim. I exited the water and tried to run quickly through transition. T1 went well, although my chip caught on my wetsuit for a second. I started out on the bike course and really just got in a groove where I was completely focused on hitting my HR targets. I had no issues and enjoyed passing people J. I was conservative about getting out of my shoes with plenty of time before the dismount line (there was a small hill, and I didn’t want to be rushing to get out of the shoes as my bike sped up going downhill). I was in and out of T2 well, and early into the run, was feeling like the run was going to be really hard. But, I kept to my plan of keeping below 165 bpm for 1-1.5 miles and sure enough, I started feeling much better and stronger on the run since I didn’t go out too hard. I saw Amanda Stevens fly by me on her way to the finish and was astounded that she would use some precious energy to tell me, “Go girl!” It made me feel good, and I said something encouraging to her, too. Water was available on the course every mile, and I took the opportunity to dump as much of it as I could on my head and drink a swallow. I reached the turnaround and began to see the amateur women who seemed to me to be catching me on the run. With the TT start, you had to do math when you saw someone’s number (e.g., my number was 217…someone whose number was 234 would have started 51 seconds after me because we all started 3 seconds apart) to see how much time you “owed” them or how much they “owed” you. I think I just tried to put the panic out of my head that they might all be catching me and tried to run as well as I could. I finally made it to the berm that led to the finish line, and it was so nice to cross it! I looked at the time on my watch: and could not quite believe it. I saw that the timing people were putting up results quickly, so after I cooled off for a minute in the lake, I verified that my HR monitor wasn’t messing with my mind.
How could I have taken almost 20 minutes off of my PR in a race? The swim and bike were on the short side and supposedly, the run was a bit long... The course was incredibly fast, though, and I'm sure it would have been a PR had all of the distances been measured perfectly, so I guess the training – physical and mental – pay off! I think I put together the best race I’ve ever had so far. I waited at the finish line for Justin to finally come through – he’d had a decent race, but was not as happy with his run. I kept tabs on the results, since other women who started behind me could have posted a faster time, but it continued to show me as the 3rd overall woman, behind two pros (the first woman pro was Amanda Stevens! Go