Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cranberry Sprint Race Report: Going fast.

After a whole season of races that take more than two and a half hours, it was really nice to have a race that I finished in just over an hour. That's not to say that I wasn't sore after this race or I didn't take a mondo nap. It's just nice to go fast and be done.

[Bikes racked, goggles checked, ready to race. ]

I had planned on it being a wetsuit legal race, but when I got there, the water temperature was 79 degrees. At that temperature, wetsuits are allowed, but you're not eligible for prizes. The swim was supposed to be a half mile. I had estimated that without a wetsuit, I'd probably finish in about 14 minutes.

Another change: I had decided to try out a different top this time around. Both my head coach and one of our assistant coaches race in the "running singlet" rather than the tri top, so I thought I'd give it a go (the tri top zipper sometimes chafes).
I started the swim on towards the front and on the left with all the other women in 30-34 and 35-39. When the horn sounded I started swimming hard. Quickly, I was out ahead of the mele. I could see about 6-7 girls ahead of me all swimming together, but I was mostly alone. Without my wetsuit the top swished around a bit in the water. Not a big deal, but my heart rate strap also came dislodged and started inching its way down my waste. Just at the final buoy, I saw another woman from my wave come up on my right. I held onto her as best I could, but she got out of the water about 5 seconds ahead of me. Paul was waiting for me on shore and told me I was less than a minute behind the leaders and in 8th or so place. My watch said 7:30. That swim was short! Afterwards the officials said it was closer to 0.3 miles.

[trying to get the heart rate strap back in place]

[I had pretty decent rack positioning, near the bike out, though a bit off to the side]

I beat the woman who overtook me in the swim out of transition by about 40 seconds, and successfully mounted my bike. The bike route was two loops of 5.5 miles, and it went pretty fast. On the first lap, I was passing people, but never sure if I was passing people in my age group. I saw a few 25-29, at least one 35-39, and I was pretty sure one 30-34. I did get passed by the elite woman toward the end of the first lap. On the second lap, all bets were off. I was passing people a lot, but I stopped even trying to keep track of age groups. I didn't get passed by any other women.

[heading out on the run]

Paul was waiting for me at T2. I asked him how many girls were ahead of me. He said he thought I was in 5th place (out of 30-34 and 35-39). Off I went. Got about 300 yards outside of transition and decided I really didn't need to be running in my visor. It was cloudy and misty out, no need to shield my face. So as we rounded the corner of the parking lot, I tossed it onto the fence post.

I got passed by a few men but mostly just focused on picking people off. At the one mile mark, I saw a guy pull over and star to walk. As I made the pass, I reminded him, "Only 2 more miles, dude." He said thanks and started running again.

I got to the hill and saw a female runner up ahead of me. I forced myself to up my cadence and direct my eyes down at the pavement. Whew, made it to the turn (the halfway point in the hill), and I've gained some ground on this woman. Eyes down, cadence up, and we've cleared the top of the hill and come into the water stop. Just after the water stop, I caught up to her. I asked, "Are you 37?" She said, "yes, and you?" I told her 32. She said, "oh, well done then." I said, "you, too." She said she would have wished me luck even if I had been in her age group. Isn't that nice.

My next mark was a 50 year old man, but I just couldn't seem to pass him. I followed him all the way back to the park. Just as we were about to turn in, I finally catch him. The volunteer rightly tells us, it's about two tenths of a mile to the finish (I hate it when they throw out completely inaccurate numbers). And I try to squeeze out every last drop.

[my favorite shot from the race: the finish line, just after I had crossed it]

Paul tells me he thinks I was 4th in my age group. But I ask if that included 35-39 year olds, and he wasn't sure. We wait for Andrea and Rachel to finish up and snap this shot:

The results come in: 3rd place in age group. We find a dry spot in the tent for the awards, just as it starts to rain.
[Third place and looking pretty short on that podium]

It's not quite the win I'd planned, but I feel like I really went hard, and I'm very satisfied with the outcome.


Shannon August 29, 2011 at 3:17 PM  

Congrats on a speedy performance!! Glad you guys got your race in :)

Dave September 1, 2011 at 8:04 AM  

Yay! A podium finish! Congrats!

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