I was up before dawn today, so I am not sure if I should say “this morning.” The race was only an hour from my home so my training partner stayed over and we drove to the race together. With today being the first day of July, I was happy to be awake and outside with my dogs before sunrise. I was able to see one of my very favorite things. Fireflies. I live in what I call a rural suburban area – with many trees, few street lights and I am on just over an acre of land. My backyard is framed by many tall maple trees and an occasional oak. When the heat of summer arrives with July the fireflies are out in droves – I love to look into the deep part of my yard and watch the light show they provided. My friend said when she saw it today that it looks like twinkling lights strung in the trees. Because I wake so early, staying up late enough to see them is rare, so getting up early enough will have to do.
We made it to the race area by 6:00 and set up our gear in transition. My nerves were in full gear as I was feeling a bit off due to my recent food poisoning episode. After a week I had hoped it had passed. Several friends of mine were also racing today. Seeing them and talking while we waited for the race to start helped keep my mind off of the nerves. Two friends were racing the Olympic distance and three of us were racing the Sprint. The race sent off the Olympic distance athletes first, then the male Sprint then the women. So I was in the last wave – which started close to 8:30. I was concerned that my breakfast was long digested and I would be hungry. I had a gel about 45 minutes before the start and did okay. The swim looked longer than the swim I did in June, although both say a half mile and my Garmin 910 also said a half mile for both races. I was hoping to swim the course within 15 minutes. Not today, I was out of the water and in transition in 17:22. My training partner had a few run-ins on the swim and was just in front of me going into transition. After talking to my friends, including the masters swim coach at my gym, the consensus was it was a long challenging swim. The water was calm and the temperature was mild, we all wore wet suits, but it just was not a fast swim.
Where I was very happy was in my transition times. For T1 I was hoping to do it within 2:30 and I did it in 2:30 on the nose. My T2 from bike to run I had hoped to stay within 1:45 an I did it in 1:42. The bike course was 16 miles exactly with a few gentle hills and one stretch that was a steady climb for about a half mile. But that was for 8 miles – it was a double loop for the Sprint. So I hit the hills and incline twice. I had hoped to average 18 miles per hour before I had seen the course. I finished the 16 miles in 54:18 averaging 17.7 miles per hour. Not too far from my target.
Then the run. My lungs and my ankle dictate what will happen. The course had a few hills in the first half mile in the out and back course but was relatively flat the rest of the way. I kept a consistent pace but I knew I was not going to be able to average under 10 minute pace. Just past the one mile mark my training partner passed me. I had a lead on her on the bike, but I know she can run faster so I wasn’t surprised. Actually I was glad to see her because I knew she was not feeling the best after the swim. I ran the 5K in 32:39 averaging 10:31 minute miles. My final time was 1:48:30. I was hoping to come in under 1:45, and if I had been a bit faster on the swim I would have. But I am still happy with my time. I was fourth in my age group, my training partner took third, and there were at least 5 women in our age group. It was a small race but a good course.
Now I am rapping up the day and soon will be in bed. Another form of lightning is ending my day – as in thunder and lightning. The day began with a beautiful light show of lightning bugs and is now ending with the rumbles of thunder and lightning bolts. Both dynamic and unique. Just like racing, there are dynamics that will bring awe, happiness, and maybe a little disappointment. Regardless, it was a good day because I was able to compete in a triathlon – another one of my very favorite things.