Kim and Kirsten, post-race, notice the empty transition area...
I LOVE this race and highly recommend it to anyone considering a half-iron triathlon distance! It's an outstanding, well-organized, family oriented, FUN race. The bike course is flat and fast, the run has challenging hills, and the swim is in beautiful Seneca Lake. This was my second time to participate in this race. They also have a mini-mussel which is the sprint distance, a micro-mussel which is some kind of comical tricycle race, and the Kid's Mussel which is awesome to watch!
My assigned spot in transition, when you register they ask you to give them motivational slogans and they put them on your sticker at your spot in transition. Mine says "I love this stuff! Ride it like you stole it! Never give up!" Of course I only had time to read that before the race started! I love the idea though. :)
The SWIM felt great, my goggles were a bit fogged so I felt like I had to work harder to stay on course but it was decent. I finished the 1.2 miles in 37:28, about 30 seconds faster then last year. Yay! Then it was out of the lake, a run down the path to transition while getting my arms out of the wetsuit and into biking shoes/socks, helmet, gloves and sunglasses. Did I forget anything? No! Out of T1 in 2:55, a huge improvement for me!
My spot in the transition area with everything set exactly the way I wanted it, you should see the mess it becomes as the race progresses. :)
My BIKE computer wasn't working immediately when I started at the mount line, nice. I stopped (can you believe it?) to try and fix the sensor on my front wheel which had gotten knocked out of place. Of course I couldn't fix it and I'm ultra dependent on watching my speed and time to know how hard to push and when to take in nutrition. Well, I couldn't fix it and didn't want to waste precious time so off I pedaled deciding to ride totally on feel, what choice did I have? Honestly, it was good for me even though I took a little while mentally to get over it while I was riding! I love the bike course, it's awesome, fast, you can really fly! We had a head wind for the first 14 miles so perceived effort was up but I kept pushing. Then it was a fabulous tail wind! I saw all kinds of people passing me while drafting (against the rules), a few people blocking (also against the rules and quite annoying when you want/need to pass them!!) and it was incredibly gratifying to watch the official motorcycle pull up beside people and take down their numbers to apply penalties. Yes! I loved that and it made me even more cautious to not accidentally break any rules myself. I finished the 56 miles in 3:07:36 with an 18.0 avg. speed.
Pre-race transition area with athletes setting gear for their races.
Into transition, my legs were tired when I walked/jogged my bike to my spot. Quick change of shoes and shedding of bike gear, grabbed my water bottle and I was off! T2 about 20 seconds slower than last year in 2:52. The RUN was so hot and hilly, I completely struggled through the course in full sun with little shade. (Yes, I still love this race!) Spectators were out in their yards with hoses spraying us and I ran through every one of them! I sponged cold ice water all over my face, neck, arms and poured water over my head. I took in several Gu gel packs and drank water. I would have loved some gatorade, the course had Heed, which I don't care for, such a snob! I also would have done well to take in salt tablets. About a mile from the finish I passed my friends cheering me in and felt so bad I almost cried! In fact, I did cry a little. I was so HAPPY to cross the finish in line in 2:18:38 for 13.1 miles, even though it was 14 minutes slower than my run last year! Uggh! So, I ended up with a total time of 6:09:29 which was only 7 minutes slower than my overall time last year. It could have been much worse if I hadn't improved in other parts but it could have been so much better if I could have run better. But it is what it is! I'm thankful to have completed the race and it was frankly the best I could run on that day. :)
The LOOT: We got arm warmers, gloves, a nice long-sleeved tech shirt (made from recycled material), and a finishing eco-friendly water bottle and finishing medal which is a chainring. (basically a recycled bike part) This race really goes all out to be environmentally conscious.
There's the "stuff" and Kim made the awesome keepsake clipboard as a surprise!
Place in the Race: I got 22nd out of 53 in my age group of 35-39 year olds. I came in 423 out of 794 overall. I do wish I had run better, running is supposed to my "thing," I remember when I used to pass everyone on the run in tri's, not that day! Life goes on, I'm learning to be thankful that I can have health and fitness to do these things that I love, and appreciate that God gives me the desire and ability to do it, regardless of finishing times. It's for his glory anyway that we're even on this earth. And so as the verse says in Col. 3:23 "And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not to men." So I will do it with all my heart and be thankful and happy that I can!
PICTURES: My great friend and training partner, Kim, went through this whole weekend as well, and also our friend Scott, who is married to another marathon training friend of mine. The three of us traveled together in Kim's awesome triathlon Dodge minivan with automatic doors on all sides and room for THREE bikes PLUS all of our STUFF! It's amazing, see pics below... We went to packet pick-up, painted the "Wall of Mussel," went to the pre-race meeting and then met Scott's family for dinner out and all stayed at Scott's family's lake cottage before heading out to the race the next morning. Kim and Scott both had great races and Scott completed his second ever tri and first half-iron distance.
The Van: Lots of stuff and 3 bikes, count 'em!
Athletes painting the mural and their names.
Closer view of the mural...
The three of us in front of the "Wall of Mussel."
Pre-Race shot of Kim and I.
You can add the years on to the wall every time you come back and race. Fun idea!