It felt so great to get back to actually racing this past weekend. The weather was less than optimal but the race itself was fantastic. Another great event put on by CGI Racing! Here’s the short version of my race day- great swim, improved bike, and rough run. Running 4 times in the past 4 months did not make for optimal training and even if I was in good running shape the temperature was almost 100 degrees by the time the run started. I don’t think 6 miles have ever felt that hard and it was my slowest 10k time to date. Read on for the detailed version…
The race took place mostly in Mercer County Park which is a huge and beautiful park outside of Trenton NJ. It was a quick hour drive from Philly and we witnessed a beautiful sunset from the road. By the time we arrived I had about 20 minutes until transition closed so I set up, then ate my bagel, took in some water and made my usual 3 bathroom breaks to pee before my corral lined up at the start.
It was a veryyy warm lake swim so definitely not a wetsuit legal day. I put on my cap and goggles and stood in the back to avoid wasting energy treading water before the start. It was a mass start swim with my age group and another age group (50 something men I believe) that started together. The first 200m was really crowded but soon after that I found my stride and just kept swimming and sighting and felt really good the whole time. I probably could’ve pushed it a little more and swam faster but the water would get more crowded at points I went since slower swimmers from previous corrals were left behind but overall I finished in the top 25% of my age group on the swim which I think is excellent.
Swim time: (1500m) 30:38
I took my usual leisurely time in transition (if you compare my times to the age group winner I was almost 3 minutes slower in transition #fail)… got together my bike stuff and headed off. I completely broke the rule of nothing new on race day- I wore special Ironman brand sunglasses. In hindsight enough the bike was shaded or away from the sun I probably didn’t NEED them but they do also block bugs and etc. from flying into your eyes.
This was also my first time clipping in for a race and second time clipping in EVER. It still scares but I do think it’s good I finally did it and I’m pretty proud of myself for a successful mount and dismount (they weren’t fast but I didn’t fall). I definitely did slow down A LOT around the sharp curves because I was afraid if I started to tip a little I wouldn’t be able to get my foot out in time but I’m sure I’ll become more comfortable with time so I’m still chalking it up to a win.
The bike ride was pretty flat, really no hills to speak of, so it wasn’t super exciting. I always try to keep myself entertained by counting the people in my age group that pass me- and there are usually a good amount, haha. Yes I’m a slow biker but I am improving! In case you were wondering- 7 people passed me but I caught back up to 2 of them and passed a 3rd person that must have been ahead of me the entire time, not too bad considering I was further ahead on the swim and biking is my biggest weakness.
Bike time (20 miles): 1:05:38
Excited for a successful bike ride I started my run out fast, too fast. Usually I’m really good at pacing myself but I failed here. My first mile was fast and my breathing was way out of whack and running felt much harder than it should’ve… I will note that by this time of day the temperature was roughly 93 degrees (and the real feel temp was closer to 100 because of humidity). Needless to say I opted not to push myself hard.
I didn’t catch my breath until after the second mile and I tried to settle into a 9:00min mile pace. Well that was so not happening in that heat… and not to mention I have run only 4 times in the past 4 months. My longest “training run” for this race was a 3 mile run. Dealing with my injured foot greatly affected putting ample time into run training but luckily my foot didn’t hurt during the run (it is however a little sore afterwards which I’m hoping will subside).
I said last week that my goal was to finish the run without being in pain which also meant no walking. I did walk through the water stops but that’s because they were awesome enough to have mostly ice cold water and 2 stops even had ice cold towels <—- every race should do this! Every water stop I would dump a cup of water on my head and try to drink 1 but as soon as I left the stop I was thirsty again.
I had found a 31 year old girl I was tracking during the first half of the run but she crapped out before mile 3 and started walking so then I started following a 27 year old girl ahead of me, we even chatted for a bit. Once we hit another water stop I lost her- she looked really strong on the run compared to most people that really looked like they were struggling.
I ran the last 2 mile solo but felt happy and accomplished as I approached the finish. The last water stop I told the kid volunteers to throw the water on me which they so enjoyed doing and was a much needed refresher for the last quarter mile.
I didn’t even notice Pat coming into the finish even though he told me where he would be standing, I was a little out of it. I tried to finish strong and hopefully took a decent finisher photo, haha. After the finish there was a tent set up with hoses pouring directly down on the athletes. Some people were smart enough to take of their shoes but I just went for it, it was so cooling and felt amazing. My overall pace was just under nine and half minutes which I guess was good considering the circumstances but it was a slow time for me.
Run time (10k): 58:40
Pat was standing on the other side of the tent smiling and cheering for me which made me as happy as the water tent. He did an awesome job snapping pics all day and even ran alongside the fence around mile 3 of the run to try to get me motivated. I think he could tell I was running slow and struggling. But he was the best Sherpa ever <3 Also going to shout out to my friend Gordon that assisted me in swapping out my pedals and putting up with me being a baby about it. Ha.
Next race on my list is less than 3 weeks away- the Pittsburgh Triathlon! The course will definitely be a tough bike and run (hello hills) but I’m hoping to continue to improve and that my foot will stay strong enough to do some running in the next 3 weeks- will keep you updated!
What’s the hottest temps you’ve ever run in? What do you do to deal with the heat?