One or both of us has done the Wilmington YMCA sprint triathlon almost every year since we moved to North Carolina. It’s a popular late season race which draws a good crowd and is usually pretty competitive. Marty raced last year while I sat it out and spectated with Logan, so we switched this year. We stayed with our friends at their beach shack and in the end it was decided that I would just go over by myself as the 7:00 am start would mean a very early morning for Marty & Logan. Particularly since we got there late and Logan was up way, way past his normal bedtime.
I didn’t forget my transition bag this time.The lines for check-in were long. I wasn’t rushed, but I also didn’t have any extra dilly-dally time. I got my transition set up and jogged the mile down to the swim start for a warmup. I ran into Ali finally, and we got in for a swim warmup before lining up and off we went.
I felt good on the swim (no wetsuit, much to my chagrin). It seemed like I was holding a strong pace although I did have some trouble sighting with my goggles getting extremely fogged up. The swim is point to point and the buoys are just guides – you can pick whatever line you want to get to the exit. I could see a pack a little ahead of me almost the entire time but was never able to bridge up. I climbed up the ladder and tried to run quick to T1 – the run is long and painful on the feet but in years past I’ve been able to make up a good chunk of time here and I believe I did again this year.I caught up to two girls in T1 and we started the bike together. The one girl put a little distance on me and stayed ahead the entire time. I was glad she was there as I didn’t feel particularly great on the bike but she kept me focused on keeping her in sight. It seemed we kept passing all these young girls in Speedo’s – so much for my good swim, I thought at the time. I’m not usually this far back! Towards the end of the bike we passed what ended up being the last Speedo girl as we all came in together and the crowd cheered us as the first females. My bike ended up pretty good – there was a strong wind out there but I averaged 23mph which is awesome for me. And as always, I forget that in a sprint, you never actually feel good. If you feel good, you’re probably doing it wrong.
|Marty surprised me and made it out for most of the race!|
I found out later that all the Speedo girls were part of Queens University which is one of three colleges in the country that has an NCAA triathlon team as an emerging sport. These girls are the real deal and have a bit of scholarship money to compete in triathlons with a great coach and facilities. This is so awesome that they get this opportunity! Hopefully, we’ll see more colleges take advantage of this although we all know how expensive this sport is and obviously is probably cost prohibitive by many universities.Anyways, I exited T2 in 3rd (I always take extra time to put on socks, yeah, whatevs. I don’t like dealing with blisters the next week). I passed 2nd fairly quick and 1st was about 10-15 yards up. I just wasn’t making up any ground and was mentally losing it a bit. Then I just tried to shut my brain off and run (although I admittedly wasn’t running very fast, at least she wasn’t gaining any ground on me). On the far back stretch it seemed like I was making up a teeny tiny bit and I gave myself a pep talk about not being a wuss and don’t let your season end with you not at least trying. I committed to finding another gear at the 2 mile mark and passed her just after the last water station. That last mile was tough! I really had to work to keep it together and stay strong. I crossed the finish line 14 seconds ahead of second, who turned out to be 18 (half my age! Ooof.)
|Leaving T2 in 3rd|
|Wow, that hurt!|
When talking to Ali on the cooldown I commented, “you know, I don’t think I was actually great at anything, but overall it worked out” to which she responded, “yeah, that’s kind of the point of this sport.” Duh, hahaha. It's funny because I know I often look at results and think, oh who had the fastest run split, or whatever split, of which I had none, but I DID have the fastest triathlon split :)