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Girls Best Friend Olympic Distance: Race Report

Girls Best Friend is an all female 3 Disciplines Racing event located in Vicksburg, MI.  Since this is 2:30 hours from home,  I got a room in Kalamazoo.  Mark booked me a room with his points at a Marriott - much nicer than the rooms I have stayed in at other races this season!  I worked packet pick-up on Friday afternoon.  I always love talking to the other athletes.  It was a little slow, but was able to help a few athletes that would be doing their first tri :-)  I love this sport!

After a great night of sleep, I got out the door at 6:30. I barely caught the sunrise.  If you know me (or have been reading my blog), you know that the sunrise on race morning is important to me.

Before the race I set my goals.  I wanted to make sure I was racing myself and nobody else.  After reflecting on Nationals, I knew that I wanted to race my race.  I knew I wanted to PR, so I set my 3 goals accordingly.  My previous PR was 2:55:57, so rockstar goal = 2:50, super happy = PR, better do = 3:00.  To be fair, I should have knocked 10 minutes off of each of these goals as the swim at Lumberman (where I had my last PR) was 1500m and this one was only 1000m.  With my goals set, I was ready to rock.

Swim - 1000 m - 19:34 -  4/33 overall - I felt good in the water.  The pace of this swim was 1.92 miles/hour which is almost exactly the same as my pace for Lumberman.  I could see that I was the fifth swimmer which was very motivating.  One of the swimmers in front of my must have been racing the Aquabike.  The lake had a ton of weeds, but was very warm!

Bike 40 km - 1:09:09 - 21.5 mph 2/33 overall - This bike course was fairly flat, so I was able to work the big gear the whole 40k.  I passed one cyclist right out of the park, but then did not see another cyclist until the turn around, when I realized I was in 3rd place!!  Talk about motivating.  I could see the 2nd place rider in front of me, so I turned it up a bit for the second lap.  I did finally take her, but was passed once as well.  I came in from the bike in 3rd place... while I was really hoping to break into the overall top 3 (finally), I was looking at my watch thinking something was wrong.  There was no way I was going into the run at 1:30 into the race!!  My watch must be broken.  My pace at Lumberman was 18.7 (course had a few killer hills), so this is where I made up a ton of time over my PR!!

Run - 6 miles - 51:39 - 8:37 min/mi - 11/33 overall - I have been training a lot for the run since I have both a half and a full marathon planned for this fall.  This training has led to some pretty ugly blisters on my big toes.  This was a trail run, which always makes me feel my blisters even more.  Other than the blisters, I felt strong on the run.  I knew I was still in 3rd place, which was VERY motivating.  Also, I was aware that my muscles were feeling good and my breathing was under control.  I was passed with 2 miles left.  It was hard to watch overall awards slip out of reach, but I looked at my watch and knew I was killing my goals (or it was broken, which was still a possibility in my mind.)  My pace at Lumberman was 9:21, guess that training is paying off :-)

My transitions still aren't great...  T1 = 2:11 and T2 = 1:19.  30 seconds faster than Lumberman total.

Results = 2:23:50 - 1st Age Group (35-39), 4/33 overall  This is a PR!!  Previous Olympic Distance PR was at Lumberman (2:55:57)  Even if I subtract 10 minutes for the reduced swim distance, I KILLED my previous PR and my goals.  I had so much fun at this event :-)

Reflection: 2 hours and 23 minutes is a lot of time to think.  During the bike and run, this is what I thought about: 5 years ago I could not run a 5k without walking.  I "ran" a 12 min mile.  2 years ago I started doing triathlons.  I competed in the Athena division and placed at a couple of events.  Last year, I was sidelined for most of the season from a motorcycle accident, but did manage to take first at Michigan Championships in the Athena division.

This year...  I called it at the beginning of the year.  I said 2014 would be my year :-) I have lost almost 40 lbs (no more Athena for me.)  I have podiumed in my age group in all but two races.  I qualified for olympic nationals.  I PR'd my 5k at a 23:05.  As I watched overall podium slip away at mile 4 of the run, this is what I thought of.  I have come so far.  AND, I have many years to break into overall awards.  This race was about remembering why I love this sport, this race I raced MY RACE.

No matter where you are in your journey - I want everyone to know, YOU GOT THIS.  If I can make these types of improvements, anyone can!  It has taken a lot of hard work in these 5 years.  I have read everything that I can find about running and training.  I have had some significant setbacks, but you get up and do your best.   Find what you love and "just do it."  I feel so fortunate that I have found triathlon :-)  I really do love this sport!!


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