Although the Lake Waconia Triathlon was on my calendar this year, I completely spaced it and signed up the last possible day. I even debated signing up at all, but knew open water swimming and transition practice alone would be worth it. So, Nick and I were up and at ’em early (4:30a) for another typical race morning: Pack last minute gear, eat breakfast (double shot espresso with coconut milk and gluten-free PB+honey toast), load the bikes, braid my hair and hit the road. Pre-race jitters started as soon as we were in the car.
We arrived plenty early for the 8:30a race so we could get a transition spot near bike and run out. We went through the usual set-up (unpack gear, attach race numbers, body markings, etc.) and found friends and former P2 teammates Sarah + Chris (they race with Pearl Izumi). Race warm-up was a quick bike to work out any gear kinks and a one-mile run, both done on the race course. Pre-race food was a mushed banana from my bag.
Swim // 0.5 miles, 18:47, 2:08/100
I was anxious about the swim all morning. Butterflies, jitters and holy-do-the-buoys-look-farther-than-a-half-mile-total. A time trial start, we lined up by number (I was 265), and in a matter of minutes, I was running into the water. It started out ok, but maybe 100 yards in, goggles completely fogged, it went downhill. My pre-race anxiety flared its ugly head, and I could not calm myself down. Not even my mantras be present or just keep swimming worked. So, I sidestroked. Almost the entire swim. Whaaaa?!! Every 100 yards or so I’d attempt freestyle again, but after 10 strokes, panic mode would set in, so it was back to the trusty sidestroke. Ugh. Self doubt even creeped in… if I was borderline freak out on this should-be-simple half-mile swim, how the heck am I gonna swim 2.4 miles at Ironman Canada?! Nonetheless, I made it out of the water (I stood up far too far from shore), super irritated at myself, but done and more than ready to bike.
T1 // 2:18
Like at Liberty 70.3, I could not get my (borrowed) wetsuit off. Darn thing once again caught on my ankle timing chip, so I had to sit down to wrestle with it. So frustrating. Once it was finally off, shoes and helmet were on, and I was biking. (I was racked near all the elites, which is why there are zero bikes in transition.)
Bike // 20 miles, 59:24, 20.1 mph average
After my less than stellar sidestroke, I had some work to do on the bike. My heart rate was 161 bpm right off the bat thanks to cemetery hill (and subsequent rollers) about a half-mile in. It finally calmed down to around 150 around mile five, where it hovered the rest of the bike. Unlike Liberty, the bike was fun today, and I enjoyed every mile in the saddle. There were plenty of rollers (about 650 feet of climbing), but nothing serious enough to require the small chain ring. I passed a lot of people (and men in their 40s), so that was fun.
T2 // 1:22
Bike racked, helmet off, shoes swapped, and visor and bib number on.
Run // 4 miles, 29:03, 7:15 pace
The more I do it, the more I love running off the bike. I almost always have a stronger + faster run; and, today was probably the best so far. I felt good from my first stride, even on cemetery hill a half-mile in (I was a bit worried, too, because my stomach had been wonky much of the morning leading up to the race… I should know better than to have a pre-race dinner of pulled pork… it never sits well). And, the momentum continued on the rollers through downtown Waconia. A four-mile out-and-back, I saw Nick just after the first hill (he was crushing it! Sixteenth overall!) and then saw friends Chris and Jen, who both had rock star races! Sarah was just ahead of me in T2, and I caught her around mile one (she looked awesome and is going to rock Nationals later this month!), where my Garmin beeped 7:38. Happy about it, I told myself to settle in, get comfortable with the uncomfortable and see just how hard I could push myself the last three miles. Ahh, and such a good hurt! My splits: 7:15, 7:16 and 6:38… where did that come from?!!
Run nutrition: A few swigs of water.
Official results // 1:51:07, 4th AG, 25th female
I didn’t have any expectations for this race, other than to finish and have fun. Subpar swim aside, I’m pleased with it, especially given it’s one of the most competitive triathlons in Minnesota.
And, once again, most comfortable and cutest kit out there thanks to SOAS Racing! Loving the team kits this year! They’re making their way to Minnesota, too… saw a pink peacock and green gingham on the course :)
- Just keep swimming. Waves never hurt anyone. You will not drown.
- Smile. Because it makes the hurt a bit more bearable.
- Don’t be afraid to hurt. Pain is temporary, and it’s fun to test your limits.
- Thank the volunteers. Because they’re awesome and don’t have to be there.
We hung around until the end, watching awards, chatting with friends and chowing on some post-race food (watermelon is the BEST after a race!). Glad we did, too, because Chris won the Gear West gear bag filled with $625 worth of tri gear!
All in all, a fantastic day for everyone… congrats! So, so proud of Nick, too… he gets stronger and stronger, and I cannot wait to see how he does at Ironman Canada!