Race recap time…
My very first multisport event ever was the Iron Girl Duathlon in 2009. It was an amazing experience for me and I cried before the race started and I cried when I crossed the finish line that day. I was so hapy for what I had accomplished and I was so pround of this new lifestyle. I can’t remember if I explained this on the blog yet or not, so if I did, please forgive me.
In 2007, I decided I needed to lose some weight because I was unhealthy and tired. With 2 small children at home, this was never going to work. I started walking and after hitting a plateau, a coworker suggested I start running. I did start and as it turned out – I didn’t hate it! I ran my first 5k in 2008 (I ran 2 that year) and then in 2009 I signed up for the Iron Girl.
When you register, they ask if you have a journey you would like to share, so I typed how I had recently lost a total of 65 lbs and started running and training for this event. Little did I know when I typed that that the announcer reads those stories while the athletes are in the start corral. I was in line, already a little choked up because I had just seen my brother who had come to take some pictures of me and the announcer starts telling my story. All of the ladies clapped and he congratulated me for getting to the start line of my new healthy life. I was crying – happy tears of course and I knew at that moment that this is the life I wanted to make for me. I had a great race that day, and I have enjoyed the race every year since then. There was even one year that my sister-in-law went along and raced too – that was really fun to have company in the transition area before the race (I almost never have that!)
Anyway, there is a little history about why I like this race so much – oh and..it is the very first race I ever got a medal from and we all know – I LOVE RACE BLING!!
So this year Ryan and the girls were planning to come and watch after they slept in a little and had some breakfast (this is the one race a year that is a family affair – yea!!). I knew that Claire made me a sign and once I made the turn for the 2nd half of the bike, I knew I needed to watch for this:
So onto my race day:
I got up at 5 and quietly made my way out of the hotel room. When I first walked out of the hotel, I thought: it’s not even so cold, then I got on my bike to ride over to the race and guess what – when you are moving , it’s way colder – burr! Oh well, I made it over to the venue and found my rack in transition. I immediately started talking to the one girl near me that was set up already and visited for a while. Her name is Jenn and as it turns out, she won the whole race last year!! I confessed that I was not worthy of her presence, she laughed and said yes I was. It was fun to talk to her. The only time I saw her was on the bike course when she went flying by me – her wave started after mine. As it turns out, she won again this year – congrats to her! There is a lot of waiting around after they close transition, but I visited with a few different people until it was my turn to start running.
My wave started and my race began. It’s a 2 mile run around the lake. I just ran. I knew I had time goals and I knew I wanted my bike to be fast, but I knew that I could run fast enough and still bike well. I had my hands in the mittens of my bike shirt for well over a mile, but then I warmed up and felt great! I felt really good about my run and was ready to really get this race going, so onto my bike I go…
22 miles seems like a nice distance before you get started, then you hit a few of the hills along the way and you wonder what you were thinking. This course really is nice if you like hills. It is 2 loops of the same, so you get to see all of your friendly hills 2 times. There are 2 places that you have to make a hard turn right at the bottom of a hill, so you lose all of your momentum – bummer, and one smaller stretch of road that is soooo very bumpy and had railroad tracks that almost kills my butt every year. Thankfully it’s not a huge stretch! On the second lap, I found my family (yea!). I really like when they come to cheer. Ryan snapped a few photos (another perk of having supporters).
My bike split ended and I was warmed up, shed one layer and made my next lap around the lake. My legs didn’t feel too bad and I knew that I just wanted to beat my time from last year, so I tried not to take it easy. I was about 1/2 way around the lake when I thought I was breathing really heavy, so I tried to take some deep breaths and relax a little. I didn’t feel like I was running too fast and I didn’t feel like I was running on empty, so I just focused on running and the person ahead of me – playing the “I can catch her” game. I passed a few people in that last little while.
I emerged from the wooded trail area to see my family along the run course and could see the finish. I picked it up. I still felt strong and really wanted that race pr for myself. I kept pushing and rounded the corner for the finish chute. The announcer said “Here’s Penny Verdeck – 5 time Iron Girl finisher!!” I raised my hands up over my head, but I didn’t have any energy to run faster – which was excellent, I knew I left it all out there! I crossed the finish line perfectly happy and content with my effort. I could see the clock and immediately started to try to do the math to see if I made my goal. I was pretty sure I did, but didn’t want to get my hopes up until I saw my official time.
We hung out at the finish area a little while and snapped a few photos before Ryan and the girls went back to the hotel for a little swimming.
We made our way to the results wall before they left because Ryan was curious for me too if I had done better. Claire and I waited our turn at the wall and I found my name….I took over 5 minutes off my time from last year!!!! My run splits were AMAZING!!! and my bike time wasn’t so bad either (not the goal I wanted, but with my run splits, it didn’t matter).
I have never run 2 consecutive miles in the 7s before in my life. I have run them, but only with recovery time between them. I couldn’t be happier. Apparently all of the miles I have been running is paying off for me.
I am really happy – shocked almost, but really happy! The 21 is my place in the age group and the 63 is overall!! Yes overall!! There were 716 finishers – that puts me in about the top 8%!!! OH MY GOODNESS!! I have always been happy to be in the top 3rd before! I cannot even express how happy that makes me. I am proud of myself. I know that every race is different and every field of racers is different, but for me to take that much time off and have that perfect race on this day is all that I wanted and I enjoyed it fully.
Thank you to everyone for your support and congratulations after the race – it really means a lot!!