Thursday, August 4, 2016

Race Recap: Ross Tri Fit Challenge Relay (7/24/16)

My indoctrination into the world of triathlon came two summers ago, when I joined my friend Jen and her husband at Challenge New Albany.  I was enthralled by every single thing that I saw, and knew that triathlons would be in my future.  

Last summer I won my first race as an adult (given that I won many races as a swimmer in my youth), at the Buckeye OWS 1-mile race.  It was held at Antrim, which was a huge factor in my decision to swim in the race.  After running around the lake for a few years, I figured it was time to swim in it!

The two above events meshed a couple of weeks ago for my second-ever tri relay!  I knew that the Ross Tri Fit Challenge would be taking place at Antrim Lake, but I didn't want to do another triathlon before my big race in August.  However, that allure of Antrim couldn't escape me.  One night in June I was looking at the website and realized that there was a relay option. A lightbulb went off in my head.  My super-speedy running friend Amanda was always so interested in the world of triathlons, and I just knew she'd love to be on a relay team with me.  I just needed to find a cyclist, which wouldn't be too hard.  I wanted someone fast, though, as I knew we had a legitimate shot to win the relay (given my swimming abilities and Amanda's running speed).  My friend Tracey definitely fit the bill, as she's been cycling competitively since she was 12 and is one of my mentors in the worlds of cycling and triathlons.  Both of them agreed that it sounded like a blast, so we were registered for the Olympic distance and good to go!  I would be swimming 0.9 miles, Tracey would bike 21, and Amanda would run a 10K.

Our team: Power of SHE
We have had a hot July here in central Ohio, which isn't anything new.  But wow, the heat and the humidity seem worse this year than in the past!  The morning of the race didn't prove to be any different, and that was the hot topic among everyone who was participating.  They even talked of changing the 10K run to a 5K, but that didn't happen. The swim definitely wasn't wetsuit-legal, with a lake temperature of 84 degrees--that's HOT!

I woke up bright and early on Sunday morning and drove to Thomas Worthington High School to park my car, and then walk along the Olentangy Trail about a mile to Antrim Lake.  Amanda and Tracey parked at the stadium (where Tracey would end her ride, and Amanda would start and finish her run) and shuttled over to meet me at T1.  I felt very at-ease all morning, as I was "just" swimming a mile in the lake.  No pressure!  I saw several friends who were also racing (some in the relay, some doing a full tri), and in general just had fun chatting it up.  I love pre-race time, but it always goes by fast and before I knew it, we were ready to start.

Pre-race with some of my favorite mamas from MRTT!
LOVE this pre-race pic that the race photographer took of us!
Relays for the Olympic distance started in corral C.  There were two corrals in front of me in the first two corrals, and they let five people at a time start the race, with a group starting every 10-15 seconds or so.  It took a good 15 minutes before my corral was at the front and ready to go.  No anxiety today--I just ran in the water and started stroking!

Amanda took this one of me right before the race.  I think I look really silly LOL!
My coach said to build up the first loop, and really work the second one.  I had decided to set my watch to alert me at 400-meter intervals.  The race was 0.9 miles but I knew that it would be a bit long (they always are), so I figured every time the watch went off, I'd up my effort a notch.  This seemed to work pretty well, and I felt great the entire time.

The biggest problems in the race: the other swimmers.  After my first loop, the sprint triathletes started to filter into the lake.  So many swimmers, and so many differing abilities.  It was hard to get around people.  At the dock after one loop, one swimmer literally stopped dead in his tracks to wave and pose for a few pictures.... right in front of me.  Yeah, that was super-annoying.  I tried my best to just keep in my own sight lines and stay focused on what I was doing.  I was very happy to see the swim exit at the end of my second loop!

Super happy me exiting the water!
 The path up to the transition was pretty long--a good 0.2 miles maybe?!  I hate running barefoot, but I forced myself to jog up there and try not to get hurt.  Amanda was waiting just outside of transition cheering wildly!  

Courtesy of Amanda :)

I found Tracey pretty quickly and she took our relay chip off of my ankle and put it on her own.  She was off quickly, and I found Amanda.  We high-tailed it back to the high school, and then drove the stadium where we waited for Tracey to finish her leg.  By then it was getting super hot.  Amanda knew she was going to have a rough race, and we were both worried about Tracey, who had been sick with a stomach bug for a few days before the race. However, they both did fantastic at the race, and we were happy to get the finishers' medals placed around our necks!

Post-race medals selfie!
The results weren't posted until much later in the day.  We found out that while we were the fastest all-female team, one team of two men and one woman did beat us by about 7 minutes.  My split was a 27:30 on my watch, for 0.97 miles (27:44 on the race clock).  That's about a 1:36 pace.  I am starting to think that my 1:31 pace at the open water race in June was grossly incorrect... but I digress. In any respect, our first-place finish didn't happen, but we still had an awesome time and I am pretty sure will be back for revenge next year!

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