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Last Triathlon of the Season... Check!

Posted Sep 16 2010 5:03am
Sunday was my last triathlon of the season. I knew going into it that it may not go so great, since it was 2 weeks out from Ironman, and in that 2 weeks, I had been moving, starting classes, working and just starting to do light training again. Add that to the fact that it was a sprint, and I haven't gone short and fast in ages, and it was definitely pretty uncertain how the race would pan out. But, I've done this race for the past 2 years, and I wanted to keep it on my schedule because I like having yearly comparisons of the same course to look at. Plus, the Skylands Tri is literally 5 minutes from my house on roads I know and in a park I grew up in, and it's one of the first races that my dad ever did, back in his tri days. So, it's sort of an obligation, and I love it. Also, it's one of the only races I know of where the winner of each age group and the top 3 actually get cash prizes. When you spend $85 to race, it's nice to be able to potentially win $100 at the end! (And for someone who just had to put down a security deposit, pay rent, buy house stuff, buy books, and deal with IM, that's a very good thing.)

I woke up Sunday to cloudy skies and rain. It was in the low 60s, which is chilly for a race you're doing in a bikini. I hadn't really gotten my stuff together the night before, but the race started at 9, so we didn't have to leave til 8. What a welcome change from the norm! I got to sleep til 7 and still shower, eat and pack.

It was hard getting my stuff in transition- first I needed to find a bike pump, then I realized my towel was going to get soaked, then I was wondering why on earth I was racing at all. I told myself to suck it up though, and pulled on my already wet wetsuit. Not pleasant. The race started a little late, and they had 5 min between swim waves, which is sort of weird to me. The women were the third wave, and a couple of them took off like a thing that swims really fast... a fish, maybe?... either way, they were long gone. I was doing reasonably well, though my arms were killing me. I had done a weight set a few days before and I was seriously feeling the aftereffects. I didn't realize just how much I still needed to recover until then. Still, made it out of the water in 14 min, almost a minute off last year's time. Last year though, I was 4th out of the water, this time I was closer to tenth. There were some FAST swimmers out there!

Got through transition a little slow just because of the rain and everything being soaked. I opted against putting on a jersey, since I knew it would be soaked in seconds. Instead, I decided to brave the cold in just the bikini. Brrrrr!

From Cat Marlson, thank you thank you for taking awesome pictures!

The course was as it always is, but very very wet. We haven't had rain in quite some time, so it was pretty slick from all the accumulated oil. The hill that always kills everyone was particularly brutal, and the super fast downhill was more nerve-wracking than usual, despite the fact that I managed to stay in aero the entire descent. I passed a lot of men and women, so I was feeling better about how I was doing, though I knew that there were a few women ahead of me still.

Finished the bike about a minute faster than last year, which is actually pretty big, given the terrible weather. Came into transition, threw on the shoes and headed out. There was a woman right next to me and at first we were in a passing war, but after exchanging a few pleasant comments, we realized we weren't in the same age group and she asked if I wanted to work together. Yes. So, for the 5k, we each took turns in the lead, we passed a ton of guys and a couple of women, and generally had a good time. When we hit the final part- running up a long driveway and then back down it into the finishing chute, I sped up, and she didn't. Dad was yelling at me to watch my back, and I was pretty much giving it all I had to get to that finish line.
Again, thanks to Cat Marlson for posting some awesome race pics!

Crossed the line as the 5th woman overall (the first two were the 6th and 9th in the entire race. Whoa.) and had a 21:20 5k, a solid minute and a half better than last year. My final time was 1:26:05, almsot 3 minutes faster than last year, despite the longer transitions and other issues due to the rain. I won my AG, and was feeling pretty satisfied. Beating my time from last year by a pretty decent amount given the circumstances surrounding it felt pretty great, and definitely reminded me that I love a good short course race!

More from the grad school files later, but at the moment I have to head out to get tested for TB before I can start observing at schools next week. Then, 7 hours of class. And a couple of homework. And today is my easy day!

This weekend, heading to Baltimore for Charm City CX. Should be a blast!
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