Cazenovia is an easy venue for me to get to. Its about 40 minutes from my house which means I can ride the notoriously hilly bike course before the big day. Figuring out which gears to climb with helps settle some pre race nerves. So, the week before the race, I biked the long course with my buddies KR (super biker and runner) and JB (the ever optimistic Iron(Wo)man). We headed out and hit one big hill, turned onto a nice fast stretch of road and the clouds opened up with rain, thunder and lightening. Game over – we bagged the ride for another day. JB and I made out second attempt later that week on a glorious afternoon and this time hit both big uphills…the second one – a category 5 climb! And…I managed the descents without crashing. Success all around! Gears and confidence intact, we headed toward the lake for our second preview of the day – the swim.
We battled headwinds on the bike, but the winds at the lake were even stronger, which gave us some monster waves to swim through. The first 10 minutes, swimming with the current was no problem. But JB and I knew swimming back against the whitecaps would be rough and exhausting. We bobbled our way back through the waves and were relieved to be done for the day. I could only hope for a calm day on Sunday or I’d be hanging on each and every kayak and marker in my path.
No worries, though. Come Sunday, the weather was calm and slightly cool…perfect conditions for me on race day. Tim and I arrived in town sufficiently early for him to run with his friend while I set up my stuff, got my chip and got body marked.
Coach Matt set some goals for me, which is really good because I tend to have a “I’m just happy to be here” attitude. He told me to win my age group and to have fun doing it. Sigh… pressure. This race has a small field, especially in my age group, so placing was a sure thing. But first place? Not such a sure thing…I almost always get passed on the run. Still I wanted to see if I could pull it off; to see if Coach Matt knew more about the triathlete in me than I did; and to make my own goal of finishing in under 3 hours.
The Swim – Water was calm, chilly and there were about 30 people in my wave. There was plenty of room for us to spread out and not blast each other with flailing arms and legs. I started out in the second row and got sucked up into the fast swimmer vortex. My breathing was off and for the first time ever I started to have a mini panic attack. After pulling back a little, my rhythm returned and I swam strong and relaxed. Swim time 33:28 (.9 mile).
T1 – Transition is a loooong way from the water and I think the swim time includes my run from the swim out. Decent transition time considering the time spent picking grass off my feet before putting on my bike shoes. Helmet on, sunglasses on, run to the road and I’ moff. T1 time 1:29.
The Bike – I knew enough to hold back on the first loop so I could fly on the second, but I may have held back more than I needed to. The hill on Hoffman Road was painless, and I didn’t fall on the Ridge Road descent… but I forgot about that nasty, long climb on East Lake Road. Thank you to the Fleet Feet gang for chalking up the roads with encouragement!
The second loop includes the Chard Road monster hill. After climbing that bad boy I let out a whoop! Thank you Matt for those horrible work outs, and thank you me for doing them. What an awesome moment! I hate hills and that one did NOT get the best of me. Bike time: 1:20 (24 miles)
T2 – Sailed through easily and headed out on the run. T2 time: 1:13
The Run – I never previewed the run and heard this out and back course was uphill on the way out and down hill toward the finish. After holding back on the first 5k, maybe more than I should have, I picked it up on the second half and finished strong. I was worried about having the legs to run 10k after a tough bike ride and I should have had more confidence in my training. I finished under 3 hours and was happy about that…but I wondered if I could have been stronger… Run time 57:49
My overall time was 2:54. I’m happy with that as a first attempt at a hilly intermediate distance.
Take A ways
Consistent training pays off. Especially when coupled with proper nutrition and rest. Have faith.
Don’t let the demons beat you down. The negative voices are not real…they mess with your confidence and are not your friend.
Enjoy the feeling of accomplishing something difficult.
Go for it – always… and never give up.