I used to think I really liked Saturday races but after this weekend I am now a lover for Sunday races only. Since I had to work on Friday, it was a rush to get to Wilmington Friday night. We had to go to packet pick-up, a mandatory pre-race meeting and rack our bikes all in about 2 hours. Added to this, trying to find some food for the night, getting our bags packed for all the transitions since it was a point to point race and trying to learn a bit about the logistics and the race course was a lot to cram in such a short period of time. While it was a bit hectic and had few hiccups, we ended up being able to have a nice dinner with friends and get to bed early.
We got to sleep in later than usual for this race since the half didn’t start until 8:30 and we had one of our friends able to chauffeur us to T1 for body marking and setting up our bikes and to the swim start right before our waves went off. Duran ended up having chip issues and was not able to go off with his wave so I was the first off in the swim. He was able to start in a later group. Last point about the start – it was 36 degrees out when we jumped in the water. Brrrrr!
This was my first ever ocean swim in a triathlon and pretty much in general. Sharks scare the crap out of me so I tend to avoid the ocean as much as possible. Yes, I am racing IM Cozumel in the ocean and yes I am fully prepared to be eaten by a shark. The Beach to Battleship swim is also known to be very fast with the current but this year the current was barely there and after speaking with most people and seeing the times – it seemed to be a pretty fair swim. My goals for this swim was to not swallow half the channel and to feel a burn during it. There was a little chop and not swallowing the salt water was challenging and brought back many memories of boogie boarding in the ocean when I was little and getting water up my nose. But, I felt decent and didn’t feel like I was getting left behind from the group too much. The course has only one buoy the entire time so I know I didn’t swim the most efficient line and my feet were frozen about half way in but I was happy to see my time of 35 minutes as I was getting out of the water.
I knew I was in trouble as soon as I got out of the water and couldn’t feel my feet. The race had warm water for us to wipe off the salt and I tried to warm up a little before making the trek to transition. We had to run about 1/4 of mile on concrete to get to T1 and at this point I was almost in tears because of how cold my feet were. It felt like needles stabbing me the entire time. Once in transition – I couldn’t do anything. I had trouble getting my arm warmers on and gloves then I couldn’t get my nutrition in my pockets. I had to ask a volunteer to help me do everything. I pretty much thought the win would be out of the picture after taking 6 minutes in T1. Lastly, I put on a jacket and off I went with frozen feet and the least aero outfit ever.
It is flat in Wilmington, which should mean a fast bike. Not today. My first ten miles were terrible. I knew having frozen feet would limit me a little bit but my jacket was not helping at all. At about mile 6 or 7, I stopped at a group of people asked who wanted a free jacket and handed it off to them because I knew I couldn’t lose free speed and my core wasn’t cold just my feet. I would say we had some sort of head wind for almost the first 30 + miles. I knew I wasn’t going as fast as I wanted but kept telling myself that I would have a tail wind home and could hopefully gain some time. I don’t have much to say about the bike – it’s on mostly highway, not great roads and there is a lot of congestion since there is a full Ironman and relay’s going on. There were about three bottlenecks where you had no choice but to slow down for a bit in order to fit in the course and not get hit by a car.
As I was heading in to T2 – I was ready to run but a bit nervous for my feet that were still frozen.
I got off my bike and ran over to where our T2 bags were hanging. One thing I didn’t like about this race with T2 was you didn’t know where your bag was when coming in to T2 since you had to hand it in on Friday night and they move the racks for the race. As I was running over the guy on the horn said my number, I yelled my number multiple times and then everyone was yelling 1982 but there was no bag coming for me. I looked for myself everywhere but still couldn’t find it. After more time than I would have liked passed, someone gave me my bag and I was able to put my New Balance 1400’s on and sprint out of the convention center to get started on my run.
I knew coming out I was not in first because of what the volunteers were telling me but I still thought I could run some of them down. I started the run and immediately saw some of our friends yelling for me which was great but the only thing I managed to yell at them was, “Where was Duran?!” I got my answer relatively quickly when I was coming back from the quick out and back and saw him flying past me. A relief fell over me knowing he was out there and that he looked great! I told myself I would take a risk and run hard in the beginning since I knew this course was flat and secretly wanted to make it tough for Duran to catch me which would mean I was keeping a fairly good pace.
I think it was around Mile 4 when I finally heard him behind me and just as quickly he was ahead of me. He was flying and the best part was I was feeling great. I had passed a few relay girls and wasn’t sure how many girls racing the half were still ahead so I just kept moving. I went into this race trying to break 1:30 and was not only racing the other girls but I was racing my watch to try to get that 1:29:59! I came upon a girl with a 33 on her leg and thought that she may be the 1st female but thought that her wave must have started after mine so I would have to put at least 5 minutes into her in order to win. I stayed consistent until I hit the 10 mile mark and then started to push much more than I had earlier in the race. It was going to be close for the win and to break 1:30. I gave it all I could in the last stretch but fell short by 30 seconds of the 1:30 and had no idea if I had put in enough time for the win.
I ended up coming in at 4:52 overall which I was pretty happy with considering I took a super long time in T1 and T2 and did not have a great bike. If the temperature had not been in the 30’s I think I could have raced a much faster race but everyone had the same conditions.
Later on, I realized all of the females mostly started in the same wave and I didn’t have to put in any time into the girl I saw. Note to self: check this stuff before the race. After finishing, I found Duran and asked him about his race. He had a huge PR run and raced great! Then we waited around to see the results if I got the win. The results are still a little funky and no all correct on the website just so you know.
I was really happy to finally win overall female for this race after coming in 2nd for the past couple races I had raced. It was also my first ever overall win in a triathlon!
Now the focus is on one race – Ironman Cozumel.