Saturday, November 21, 2015

Lewisburg Sprint Tri & Keystone State Olympic Tri

Wow.  Time has really gotten away from me again.  These races were back in August.  I'm certain the details will not be the best at this point, but I'll do my best.
Lewisburg Sprint Tri 
So the Lewisburg Sprint Tri was held Saturday, August 8th.  This is a 300 yard pool swim, 15 mile bike ride, and 3.25 mile run.  I competed in it last year as my first ever triathlon, and this year it would only be my second. I managed to improve my overall time from last year's 1:35:38 to an overall time of 1:28:57.  Not bad, right?! Here are my individual sport times for last year and this year:
2014- swim 10:24 (7/9) bike 57:06 (3/9) run 27 (3/9) Total time- 1:35:38 (3/9)
2015- swim 8:22 (8/12) bike 52:50 (3/12) run 26:47 (2/12) Total time- 1:28:57 (3/12)

I feel like I worked really hard and earned that improvement.  I also have to give a HUGE shout out to my Team Taper friends.  These people are so amazingly kind and encouraging and helpful.  Being still so very new to the sport, I feel lucky to have them in my life.

Keystone State Triathlon
I decided early on in the year that I wanted to try out the next distance in triathlon, the olympic.  I searched for one toward the end of the season that wasn't too far away.  This one fit the bill.  Held at Gifford Pinchot State Park in Lewisberry, PA on Sunday, August 30th, it offered super sprint tri, sprint tri, sprint du, and olympic races, as well as relay options.  The olympic would include a 0.9 mile lake swim, 27 mile (3- nine mile loops) bike, and a 6.2 mile run (two 5k lollipops).  I learned last year that I have anxiety in open water.  It's not a fear I'm conscious of, meaning I get in the water feeling completely fine.  But as I swim I notice I can't breathe, and no matter how I try to catch my breath, it snowballs until I find myself treading water or floating on my back gasping for air.

It. Is. Awful.

While training I had one (yes, only one) successful OWS where I did not panic.  The two swims I had immediately prior to Keystone were horrendous.  I had serious doubts about getting into the lake on race day.  I voiced my fears to a lot of friends and got a lot of opinions back.  The one that resonated with me came from my friend Stephanie.  She said, "I think you can do it.  What if you drop to the sprint and have no problems?  I think you'll be more disappointed that you didn't try than if you do try and fail."  She had a point.

So on race day, I arrived just hoping for the best.  There is a song from Building 429 called Impossible. Here are its lyrics: 
you can rise above the typical and be anything but usual 
we know we know we know there is no such thing as impossible
and nothing is unreachable when we trust the god of miracles
we know we know we know there is no such thing as impossible

we were never given the spirit of fear
only the power of love
we'll keep on running and not grow weak his strength is more than enough
we know we know we know there is no such thing as impossible

I found myself swimming and breathing with NO FEAR for the entire 0.9 mile swim all the while with this song repeating in my head.  I couldn't believe it.  I still can't believe it.  I exited the water and made my way to transition with a dumb grin on my face because I had done it.  Sure, I still had 33.2 miles to cover, but as far as I was concerned, the hardest part was over.  Swim time- 33:33 T1- 2:40

The bike is a nine mile loop that you have to do three times.  There is a great downhill (that thanks to my friend, Dennis, I got to practice on), but there is also a pretty awful uphill.  It was on my second time up that hill that my chain popped off.  Not only did it pop off, but it got jammed next to the frame.  I had to get off my bike, flip it over, and really work to get it loose.  I had sweat rolling in my eyes and grease all over the dang place.  But eventually I got it right and in the end I don't think I lost that much time.  I caught up to my friend Barb near the end of the last loop.  It was nice to get some encouraging words from her.  Bike time- 1:39:09 T2- 1:47

The run is on a trail by the lake through the woods.  Its a lollipop that you have to do twice.  I hated the beginning section because it was these big stones that are okay to walk on, but no fun for running.  Fortunately, it was a very short section.  Otherwise, it was a nice run.  I was certainly tired and I did walk up some small hills but only allowed it during climbs.  I got to the finish feeling amazing.
Run time- 53:47

Total time- 3:10:57

I placed 36/74 overall, 9/20 women, 1/3 in my AG.  This race was my first olympic, my first open water race, so I have nothing to compare it to.  So that being said, I wasn't that impressed.  The volunteers at registration were good.  But there was no aid on the bike course at all.  There were volunteers who were supportive and encouraging, but how about a bit of water?  There wasn't an aid station near transition either.  In fact, there was only one aid station in the entire race and it was positioned in the run.  This one, lonely aid station was out of water by the time I got on my second loop.  This race was in August.  Its hot in August.  And I've been moving for three hours now.  When I got back to the finish I learned there were no finisher medals, so that was kinda a bummer.  Since this was a first for me it was a big deal.  Fortunately, I placed so I still got one.  What was much, much worse was that there was no water at the finish.  


No water at a race?!  In August, no less!!  How could this be?!?!  They had to realize they were running low.  Why didn't someone run out for some more?!  A stranger saw my desperation and generously gave me his bottle.  It was a great day for me and a nice venue, but seriously, something like no water for the athletes will turn people away from ever coming back.  After all, I did pay $100 to participate in this race.  Water should be supplied.  But I digress.....  

Once again I am grateful to my friends in Team Taper.  Without their support, I don't know that I would have had the courage to try.  And because of their awesome encouragement, I registered for a half Ironman.  I'll be racing Timberman 70.3 in August 2016.  I'm freaking out a little, but I know I can do it with a little help from my friends.

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