Ok, well, the Battle for the Bluff is really the Olympic distance and I particiapted in the Sprint distance, but that is the name of the race.
Sunday was a picture perfect day for a triathlon. And the race really does take place on one of the most beautiful courses I’ve seen. One day, I’ll remember that I should walk or drive the course just to take some pictures so that others can see what I see while I’m racing.
Here is the view from transition before the race.
I was hoping some of the race photos would have appeared in my inbox by now, but they haven’t, so you’ll just get a word review for now.
When we checked in at the hotel on Saturday, the very nice front desk lady (who happens to run ultra marathons) explained that they were having breakfast out early for the racers. That was a nice suprise – this is the first time I’ve had that happen at a hotel that wasn’t the “race hotel”. I had some oatmeal and a half cup of coffee before I took off on my little mile bike ride to the race.
During packet pick-up, they explained that only clear plastic bags were being allowed into transition. It’s a great safety call, but at a triathlon, you bring a lof of stuff and I wasn’t sure how I was going to get all of my stuff there without my backpack. I finally got it all to fit in one plastic bag and I stuffed that into a sinch backpack and clipped my shoes on the outside of that. It wasn’t comfortable to wear, but it worked. When I arrived at the race, I just took the plastic bag out and put the sinch sack inside of it. It worked, but hopefully I can come up with a better plan next time.
When I got into transition, I found my sticker marking my space and started setting up my area. The areas are in numerical order, instead of wave like usual, so I was lucky enough to meet a different variety of people. I am signed up for all 3 in the series and if I read correctly, they are racking all series memebers together, so I should get to see all of those people again next month. One girl I met (Janae) actually lives very close to me. There were a few really nice people – I wish I could be better about remembering names!
The Olympic distance started before the sprint, so I had a bunch of time to hang out. I listened to the race director – who was also participating this year give his talk again. Last year he really made an impact on me and this year, he inspired me. It’s difficult to oversee a great event and particpate in it too. The “chat” is followed by a bagpiper who leads the procession to the swim start. When we arrive at the swim start, we have the national anthem before the Olympic start. I watched the Elite’s start and then I made my way back to transition to get ready to race.
As the time ticked away, I visited some more – shocking right?? Igot my stuff ready and headed over for the start of the sprint waves. I found a person to start swimming with (2 people start every 3 seconds) and waited for our turn. The swim was out, turn, go across and turn back in. It looked short from shore. I was thankful that it didn’t seem to be too difficult to sight. As long as you could see shore, you were going the right way. My swim was better than last year – although, I think a less weedy lake helped with that too. By the time I hit the turn, my googles were fogged up. I hate fogged up googles! I just tried to stay calm. I could see people swimming around me, so I knew I was going the right direction. I’m thankful for bright swim caps! I could just focus out the very side of my googles. The bouys were bright orange, so I could just make them out. At the final turn, the sun was so bright and that combined with the fogginess = no visibilty at all. I actually touched the bottom of the lake with my hand before I could even see the exit inflatable! But, I’m out of the water and headed to my bike. 9:27
My transition was slower than I would have liked, but while I was getting my wetsuit off, a lady I met 2 years ago at this race yells:”Penny, is that you??” “Yes!” “It’s Amy!! Hurry, catch up!” “I’m coming” I say “I’ll catch up!” and on with the helmet and off Igo. I almost went down the wrong row, but made it out and onto my bike. 2:30
I finally caught up to Amy by about the 2nd mile. We chatted a minute to catch up and she instisted that I go ahead because she hadn’t trained and she didn’t want to hold me back. I agreed and away I went. I made the couple of turns and got to the straight section of rolling hills. Soon enough I was at the turn around and headed back to town. I saw Amy again and she cheered me on. To be perfectly honest, I think I looked down at my tire about 50 times to make sure it was still inflated. I could tell it was good because this ride felt nothing like that last one. I made the turns again and headed back to transition. I felt great about my bike time. As it turns out, my average was 17 mph – I’ll take that! 38:50
I racked my bike, grabbed my Island Boost and headed out on the run. My second transition was faster – no wetsuit to remove! 1:47
My run felt comfortably hard – just what I need it to feel like. I was going along thinking I would never make it to the 1 mile marker – goodness, where is it?? Then finally I saw it. Ok, 2 to go. It’s amazing how much of a mental game this is. All I needed was to find mile 1 and I knew I could make the rest. I arrived at the turn around and they were giving Cliff shots, I didn’t need one – Thank you Island Boost! I think it’s funny that they give you a shot of stuff that takes 15 minutes to start working when it’s only 1.5 miles to the end of the race. I know I’ve said that before, but it’s silly! The good thing about that little station is that it broke up the 2nd mile and before I knew it, I only had 1 mile to go. I actually picked up my pace a little and tried to keep it there. When we made the turn off the trail that lead to the finish line, I picked it up a little more. I felt good, but I didn’t have a lot left. As I crossed the finish line the announcer said “and Penny Verdeck – looking strong Penny” I said thank you and I’m sure I had a big smile on my face, so I think my finish line picture should be pretty good.
My run time was 27:10 for the 5k. It’s a good time for the end of the race. I’m very happy with it.
My total time was 1:19:41 which is my best time on this course – 3rd times a charm! I placed 10th in my age group!
Thank you all for listening to my race recaps. As you can probably tell – I really do love racing and I love to be able to share it with everyone in my little corner of the internet.
I found some of my new friends after the race congratulated then and accepted their congrats and “good jobs”. I visited with Amy some more before heading back to my bike. I wanted to stay around and hang out, or watch the awards, but I needed to get back to the hotel for a super quick shower before the drive home.
It was a long drive home (I snoozed a little). I love this race. It’s a bummer that it is such a long drive, but I really don’t mind it. In my opinion, no drive is too far for a great race!