Last week while doing a recovery run I thought, "Huh! Why don't I race again this weekend?" Problem was, we had a weekend FULL of photo boothing and I wasn't sure I could find someone to work for me and if I would feel up to racing after being up late and standing on my feet all Saturday night. Originally I wanted to do the half race, then talked myself into the Olympic distance, and finally decided on the sprint. And I'm so glad I did.
After a whopping 3 hours of sleep Saturday night I loaded my bike, stuff, and myself into my car and headed down to Deer Creek. I was TIRED and wondering why I had signed up for yet another race. I reminded myself, though, it would take me less than an hour and a half and it really wouldn't be that bad. I arrived at the race site good and early, checked in, set up my transition, put on the wetsuit, met up with Colleen, and headed down to the water. I was ready.
The sprint waves began to assemble and soon it was our turn to enter the water. The last time I raced at Deer Creek, the entire beach was flooded and the water was deep and murky. Not this time. The water was super shallow. When the gun went off I took off with the other ladies and attempted a dolphin dive when I thought the water was deep enough. It wasn't. I hit the bottom and somehow water got into my goggles. Dummy! I stood back up, rearranged my goggles, and ran a little more until it was deep enough to swim. Now, I consider myself a pretty average to a somewhat faster swimmer. But the swimmers I saw in this wave looked like swimmers, so I lined up kinda in the middle of the pack. That was a mistake. I should have been aggressive and gone out in the front. Instead people were being aggressive with me. I was being swam over, kicked, punched. I liked to swim close to the buoy line and when I reached the first turn buoy it was so crowded you couldn't even get around the buoy. It was time to switch it up. I decided to swim a little wider and swim harder. I didn't need to hold back and I was sick of people being in my way. After the second turn buoy (it was a rectangle swim), I was in clear water. I was even able to get on some feet on the backside until I was able to overtake her. I reached the last turn buoys and was heading home, but this part was ROUGH! The winds and current were strong and the chop was right in my face. In addition, the faster men from the Olympic waves had caught me and were jostling me around. I was ready to be out of the swim. And soon I was. I swam until I touched the bottom, ran hard out of the water, up the hill, and into transition.
Sunday was one of the coldest days we've had in a LONG time. I debated all morning if I would need something warmer than just tank and shorts for the bike. I had my arm warmers in transition, but opted not to use them. They would take WAY too long to put on. It was only 12 miles. It couldn't be that cold for 12 miles. Plus, I was going to go hard and would be warming up. I totally made the right call. Helmet, glasses, socks, shoes, and I'm out!
My goal was to keep the bike in a big gear, push hard, and fly. And I was doing that. I was passing people like I usually get passed. Kinda made me smile. :) I was cruising over 20mph for most of the ride until BAM! I was headed into the wind. I got to a smaller gear and kept pushing. I stayed aero and surprisingly found myself still in the 16-18mph range. I was still passing people and doing well. I reached the one "big" hill on the course and cranked right up it. It's always fun to pass people going up the hill. This is totally where my tiny stature works to my advantage. Finally I could see the dam and I knew I was close to being done. Suddenly I was passed by a girl and I totally did not like that. We turned the corner and started climbing again. I got out of my saddle and hammered passed her. As soon as I crested the hill I shifted and shifted and shifted. My lungs and legs were burning but I was not going to let her catch me. And she didn't. I ran my bike into transition. Kicked off my shoes, put on my running shoes and was out of transition in just around one minute.
When I had biked by the dam I saw a girl beginning her run and she looked quite fit so I determined she was in first place. I wondered what place I was? My legs and lungs were feeling good and I felt like I was running quite quickly. I passed a girl probably within the first quarter mile. One picked off. It's a left hand turn up onto the grassy dam and I'm still flying. I'm picking off people left and right and pass two more women. I hit mile 1 at 7:11. I decide I'm feeling good and the race is too short to slow down. I move on. As I'm off the grass and onto the pavement of the dam, the lead women are returning. They're two of them right together. I look ahead and see one more woman on the return and three more women on the way out. I'm going after them. I pick off one on the other side of the dam at the water stop. The turn around is just ahead and that's where I catch another one. The last woman to catch is moving, but is also obviously hurting as she was sort of "dragging" her right leg. I reach mile 2 at 7:12. At this point I decided to just go as fast as I could. I finally catch the last woman I could right before exiting the grass and hitting the pavement. I figured I was in fourth. I did that last 1.1 miles in 7:46, which is a 7:03 pace. It's nice to know I still have some fast twitch after all that Ironman training. :)
Final result...1:24:12. I won my age group and finished fourth overall female. This is the first time I've won my age group in a triathlon and definitely my highest overall accomplishment in a triathlon. And, I even walked away with a nice little plaque.
And the coolest thing happened to me while leaving the race. I was stopped by and asked if I was Meredith. I answered yes and the gentleman let me know he reads my blog. He had started reading it after I did the Beat Michigan, Beat Cancer 5K last November as it was his son's class (I believe) who put on the race. Thank you Bill and Greg for introducing yourselves to me. I hope to see you again at another race soon.