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Pinehurst Triathlon Race Report 2022

In 2021, Pinehurst Triathlon was my first race since August of 2019.  I had not done a good job of staying in shade through the pandemic and had allowed myself to get pretty far removed from triathlon.  I was not in a great place physically during this race in 2021!  Mentally, I was so happy to be racing again and was reunited with my passion.  Heading into race week this year, I knew I wanted to crush my time from last year.  This was a B race and the 3rd weekend straight of racing, but I knew that I should be able to beat me from a year ago!!  


I arrived at the race site on Friday afternoon and took the time to swim in the lake, do a safety check ride, and shake-out run before the athletes' meeting.  The last email to come out said the water was 58 degrees, so I was pleasantly surprised at how warm the water was (later stated it had warmed to 69 degrees).  I rode the run course, which reminded me of how hilly this run course is!  

After the athletes' meeting, I went to IHOP for my traditional pancake breakfast.  I ended up with waffles instead, yum!  Checked in to the Comfort Inn, showered, laid out my gear, and got myself to bed at a decent hour. 

My alarm was set for 4:45 allowing me time for coffee and breakfast, but I woke up at 4am, wide awake and excited to race!  I arrived at transition right as it opened at 6am.  Plenty of time to get set up and do my morning goal post.  

I was also pumped to be able to meet up with some of my fellow Team Zoot and Cape Fear Triathlon teammates and take some team pics!

Swim: 1500m/30:15  5th of 11 in F45-49

I never heard the official water temp, but it didn't matter because I planned to wear my wetsuit as long as it was legal.  With a reduced risk of COVID we were able to get back to wave starts this year.  I lined up in the 2nd row of people on the beach and got ready to run.  The bottom of the lake gets "mucky" pretty quickly, so I dove in a little sooner than I would normally.  It was crowded for a bit at the beginning and then got crowded again as we caught the slower swimmers in the wave before us, but with overcast skies and easy sighting, I was able to work my way through the crowds and am very happy with my swim time.  Anytime I can come in less than 2:00min/100yds in a no-current swim, I am a happy camper. 

Transition 1: 3:19  3rd of 11 in F45-49

This transition does include an uphill run to the transition area, which I mostly walked while working on getting my wetsuit off.  Even though it was a bit chilly, I went with no socks and no arm warmers, which helped speed me up a bit. 

Bike: 26.3 miles/1:25:07  3rd of 11 F45-49

This course is a great blend of FUN and HARD!  There is a lot of climbing for those of us that live near the coast where our own "hills" are the bridges (or the trainer).  The good news is that I needed some outside hill training to prep for IM 70.3 Virginia's Blue Ridge, which gave me focus during the ride.  The downhill portions are GREAT FUN!  They are mostly straight or winding in a way that you can get into aero and really cruise!  I am a bit of a chicken with that kind of downhill speed after my motorcycle accident, but I am proud to say that I did not brake on any of the downhills.  I maxed out at 35 mph, so FUN!  Don't worry, I also had moments of 10 mph to keep me honest - LOL.  

If you are reading this report because you are considering this race, I can report that the majority of the roads are smooth with low traffic volume.  The scenery is beautiful, too!  If you need/want a hill workout, this course is for you!!

Transition 1: 2:33  11th of 11 in F45-49

Yikes, 2 things I can think of may have caused my "slower than everyone else" transition time.  First, I could not find my spot and actually went down the wrong row, twice.  Second, since I didn't put on socks for the bike, I put them on during this transition.  I was 40 seconds slower than the 10th place transition time, so this is definitely a place to find some time for my next race and next year!

Run: 6.2 miles/1:01:39  8th of 11 F45-49

When I set out for the run, I had two conflicting thoughts...  1.  This is a hilly run and hills have been hurting your piriformis, Erin, listen to your body.  2.  Chris has not passed you yet, you can still get on the podium...

Chris is my Team Zoot Teammate and friend.  She is an awesome cyclist and runner, and I KNEW she would be on the podium for our age group.  (I was right, she took 2nd).  So I figured that if I was in front of her, I could still have hope to get on the podium, too.  

For the first half-mile, I ran/walked conservatively trying to bring my heart rate down.  There are a couple of hills in that first half mile and I was happy to learn that they did not cause any discomfort in my piriformis, so I would be able to run the hills!  After the half-mile, I settled into a pace I felt I could hold.  I ran probably 95% of this course, which was closer to 35% last year.  I have been working so hard on my run and I felt proud of that during this run.  I could see another fellow 45-49 age group Team Zooter, Alison in front of me for the entire run.  Once she got past me, I could not reel her in.  Seeing her kept me pushing. Chasing someone that is faster than me works well for me on the swim and bike, it is a technique I have used for years.  It keeps me motivated.  I have never had the ability to use this technique on the run until now, I was just too inconsistent.  Now that my run is more consistent, I am excited to be able to chase someone that is faster!!  Even when I never catch them, it helps me find my best!  Thank you Allison for keeping me pushing!!  

With exactly 1 mile left, I felt a HARD smack on my ass... it was Chris!!  "Damnit"  Yep, I yelled that out loud.  I am so proud of Chris for crushing this race just 2 weeks after IM 70.3 Galveston, but that was the exact moment I knew I would not make the podium.  I still smiled (and chased her and Alison) for the last mile.  I knew I was crushing my goals and myself from 2021... an all Team Zoot AG podium would have been fun, but I still had so much to be proud of!

Overall: 3:02:52  4th of 11 F45-49

In 2021 I carried 217 lbs around this course and it took me 3hours and 37minutes.  I was able to PR this course by 34 minutes!!  That is over 1 minute for each of the 30lbs I have lost in the past year.  Huge thank you to Coach Sami Winter with Fusion Endurance for keeping my training on track with my obsessive race schedule and keeping me from overtraining while I worked through the "angry" piriformis!  It was fun to have you on the racecourse with me and CONGRATULATIONS on your 2nd place finish!!

Next up: Beaver Dam Sprint which is the USAT North Carolina State Championship on April 23rd. 


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