Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Timberman race report: Paying dividends

I came to the Timberman race to have fun, and that I definitely did. But it's also the first sprint that I've done since last year's timberman, so a great chance to see how I've progressed in my training.

I wore my wetsuit on the swim, cause I wanted to practice racing with it. I plan to wear it in both the cranberry this weekend and Pumpkinman in 3 weeks. Also, I knew this race would have wetsuit strippers, and I've never had my wetsuit stripped before. I took a place near the front of the pack. My entire wave was my age group, 82 athletes in all. I started out on some one's toes, but quickly passed her. The water was shallow. Seriously shallow:

Check out all those people walking. After the first 2 buoys, I couldn't see any other red caps ahead of me. I started realizing I could be in first place. Rounding the last buoy, another woman caught me. And she wasn't even wearing a wetsuit. I pushed hard, but I couldn't keep with her. Still I figured that had me in 2nd place. Here I am watching her cross the timing pad ahead of me.
Another woman in my age group (let's call her "the beast") passes me as I enter the wetsuit stripping area. The way this works, is you lay down on your back, and volunteers grab the suit at your waist and fling it off you. Here are some people getting stripped.

My volunteers grabbed my suit and pulled, but the suit stayed on, and instead I dragged along the ground. Luckily there was another volunteer to hold onto my hands, and on the second try, off came the wetsuit.

I passed the girl who passed me on the swim in transition. And the beast came out just ahead of me. She was clearly an athlete, clearly very fit and clearly very muscular. None of this bodes well for my bike. But on the first hill, I overtook her. Sweet. I held her off for about a mile before she overtook me again. But, I kept her in my sights. I then got passed by two BTT girls and a girl in a red tri suit. That meant I was in 5th behind the beast. Going down a big hill (and not using my brakes), I got passed by two other girls in my age group. I was not having that. I passed them both back on the next uphill, and I held them off for the next down hill. I ended up playing leapfrog with one of them for the rest of the course. We even caught up with the beast.

[heading out on the run, post beast, that's some serious neck tension]

I came out of transition just behind the two of them. I passed the beast on the run in the chute and passed the other girl in the first 100 paces after that. Sweet. Now I was in 4th. Just as I was thinking maybe I had a shot at the podium, another thought crossed my mind. What about the girls who are awesome runners? What if there are some of those behind me? Just then, one of them passes me. Ugh, ok. First mile 7:52. Not bad. I hit the turn around and starting making my way home. Second mile 6:19, ok that one I just don't believe, it must have been short. On the way home, I get passed by the girl who passed me on the swim. And then I'm turning to go back into the chute. There are a ton of BTTers there and I get lots of cheers, which apparently, I like:

I finished up in 1:21. That's 9 minutes faster than last year. 9 minutes! 2 on the swim, 4 on the bike and 3 on the run. EFF YEAH!

Also, I did keep good track of all the athletes that passed me and that I passed. When I crossed the finish line, I thought I was in 6th. Turns out that there was one lightning fast woman in my division, in fact, I think she won the whole thing. She was so fast that I never saw her. That put me 3rd on the swim, 10th on the bike and 12th on the run and 7th overall. Out of 82!

All of this has me super excited for next season. With this race, I could qualify for Nationals this year. I don't want to go this year, it's not part of my plan. I want to get faster on the bike and the run. It sucks having the swim be your best leg and then getting passed by people for the rest of the race. I want to qualify next year with a podium under my belt and be able to have a decent showing in Vermont at Nationals.


Emma August 25, 2010 at 5:58 AM  

Laura, that is absolutely awesome! Congratulations on a fantastic race. You have obviously been working very hard. Oh, and we miss you over here in Bris-vegas!

Jillian August 25, 2010 at 2:52 PM  

Nice photos!

Is it wrong that this made me giggle a little: "I've never had my wetsuit stripped before"

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