Friday, June 13, 2014

Esprit De She Naperville Triathlon Recap

A good tri day. A bad hair day. Didn't find my pony until post race.
Last weekend I completed my fourth triathlon. It was my first foot race since graduating PT. (The swim and the biking were just a long warm up for the run.) Today I ran 6 miles, my longest post injury run. Two big wins in a week.

 Early early morning selfie with the portas
I forget that getting ready for a triathlon is like packing for a trip. Swim stuff, bike stuff, running stuff, and post race stuff. I bought a wetsuit this year, and it was my security blanket. Not only does it keep me warm, it gives me a little buoyancy, and it acts as a protective layer from lake/beach goop. Sweet. All your stuff has to be set up in the transition area before the race actually starts. At some triathlons you can get your gear together the night before. For Naperville, we set up before the race. This year the tri was sold out, and the racks were much more crowded than last year. There was a woman who had come early, had a flat, gotten her flat fixed and had about 10 minutes to lay out her gear and rack her bike. It was her first tri. She was frantic. The racks were so packed she was having trouble finding space. I swished my stuff over and racked her bike. She gave me a hug and a blessing. That's a nice way to start a race.

All the stuff

Transition closes and the race starts. The elites start first. (The winner finished in 1:04:59. A-mazing) The cancer survivors go next and then waves by age. The older I get the sooner I start. This year the swim felt much more crowded. I don't like kicking people or being kicked. There was also the emotional struggle in the swim. Can I make it? Do I really know how to swim? Don't panic. I love that when going out and back in the Naperville beach there is the opportunity to walk before going back into the water. It allowed me to emotionally regroup. I felt confident for the last leg. (17:01 min swim)

Okay, I know I'm not supposed to set time goals for a comeback event for which I'm terribly under-trained, but I did. My goal was to finish the whole race in under two hours. My time overall time was 2:00:44. I will tell you where that 44 seconds went. During Transition 1 from swim to bike, I changed out of my wetsuit and into my Nuu Muu dress, and I went to the bathroom. While in the porta I totally Ross Gellered. My wet tri pants were stuck. Good gracious. I spent almost 4 minutes longer in T1 than I did last year. Ridiculous. Even I couldn't help but laugh. (T1-9:19 min)

My max distance on my bike this year has been about 5 miles. I have done 5 mi bike x 3 mi run x 5 mi bike bricks, but I was pretty nervous about the bike section. There are two laps for the Naperville tri, and when I started the bike section I reminded myself that it was a great opportunity to warm up my hip, leg and foot. I also noticed as the miles progressed that I was behind "Elly." I decided to pace Elly for the bike section. As I got tired or the wind picked up, I kept my eye on where she was and pushed a bit harder. As we came around the second lap, I passed Elly. I turned to her and told her that she couldn't slow down because she was my pacer. She said she knew I was close behind her because she kept hearing people say "Cute dress!" At that point, Elly and I rode side-by-side for the rest of the bike section. We talked about our kids of similar ages, our husbands, the swim, and our love of trails. I am so thankful for Elly. So thankful. She made the time go quickly, and the bike go swiftly. (58:37 min bike - 13.61 mi/hour)

Transition 2 went much better. (4:48 min) My feet didn't feel like bricks. I think having toe clips on my bike really helped. My legs were warmed up for my run, and I ran. I ran happy. The course was  mostly shady (PTL) and went quickly. I am stunned and pleasantly pleased finding out my pace. I don't wear a watch on race day. I will take a 9 in front of my pace any day, even a 9:59. (31:01 min - 9:59 pace)

All done! Now to walk it to the car...
Here's what I love about the Esprit De She Naperville Triathlon. It's an all women's event, and women of all shapes, sizes, ages and phases participate. I often play the compare game with other women. When I was picking up my packet and listening to the course description I looked around. I saw such a spectrum of women. And overall, during the race women were encouraging other women. Yes, the competitors were annoyed with lollygags getting in their way, but there was a tremendous feeling of encouragement. I love that. Love that. Esprit De She has fabulous swag and throws a great party (for packet pick up and post race). The flower station where you pick and pot a plant is wonderful. I sampled and strolled. I enjoyed myself. I tri-ed, and I'll tri again.

The sweet swag - ornate, living and usable.