West Windsor, NJ
July 22nd, 2012
1500 meter swim, 25.5-mile bike, 10k run
Finish time: 2:42:26
Overall Women’s Finish: 60th
AG (25-29): 11th
“The task ahead of you is never greater than the strength within you.”
I had done the training, the 25-mile bike rides every day through the hills of Baltimore county. Running in the scorching heat or unbearable humidity miles upon miles, and those hours logged in the pool, swimming sprints, and long distances to prepare physically for this day. I had competed in triathlons of shorter distances to prepare myself for the Olympic. The bike and run did not worry me, it was the swim. Hoping I didn’t lose my breath heading into the disciplines that I could dominate and I usually do dominate. But when all was said and done, I finished and that was the most important factor.
This race was my first Olympic distance, so with the first race I always go into it just to finish, but I had hopes to finish high and well. I did both but now have something to work on for my next race. It was a beautiful Sunday morning. Cool temperatures, blue sky with occasional clouds, a great race day morning compared to the day before in Maryland where it was just raining. I guess a distance of two states really makes a difference.
Pink Swim Cap!!! finally a pretty/cute color. But anyways… wetsuit legal. The temperature was exactly 78 so I took advantage of this. It definitely helped keep my legs and body up. The swim was an in-water start, which after my second I prefer better than the run in. The course was out and back and marked with lots of buoys however it was in the middle of a water-skiing course so you saw many other buoys. The only problem I found was that I would zigzag across the course because I was so focused on my swim and keeping my pace consistent I wouldn’t look up often. that and I tried to draft, but I found myself going faster than the person I tried to draft. On the way back the sun was shining so it made spotting the yellow turn buoy a tad difficult. The finish was a run-up ramp and then up a hill to transition. I was hoping to do under 30 minutes and were it not for the zigzagging plus the run up to transition it probably would have been a lot faster.
In transition I was very fast, this was by far my fasted transition from swim to bike so I have no complaints
On the bike, there was a lot of congestion because there were two loops and 1500 people competing. my wave was number 5 so I was towards the beginning, so I got to deal with many other athletes who went after me getting in front and slowing me down on the second loop. Also, because people were constantly passing on the left it was sometimes hard to go around the slower bikers because there was only one lane open and the second was open to traffic. At one point the cars were right next to me, no cones in between so I was confused. There were a lot of turns, but I took them on well and pumped a bit out of the saddle to get back up to speed. But the bike course was very fast and flat. Loved it!
I was not happy with my bike to run transition. I am usually very fast on this leg of the transition, but somehow my chap stick got into my shoe so I had to deal with that. I also ran out of water on the bike so I made sure to drink some while prepping for the run.
The run course, however, was more trail-ish with some grassy, muddy areas followed by wooden bridges, winding asphalt and rolling hills. Not flat, not fast and not entirely pavement. It was not as enjoyable as there were many turnarounds. To make matters worse, my butt cramped up on the first mile of the run, very weird. so going up and down and all around didn’t make things better. I was much slower this time around on my run averaging 8-8:30-minute mile.
Olympic distance races are hard. I wasn’t in pain when I finished, but I had a massive headache and knew I needed to drink lots of water and replenish my electrolytes. But note to self for next one, bring another water bottle on the bike. I think that hurt me the most but at least I had enough gels and such because I didn’t cramp up like many other athletes in this race.
The field of competitors was insane. almost as crowded as South Beach, they said 1500 athletes were taking on the Olympic distance race (I think it was more like 1000, but the bib numbers went higher). The size of the field didn’t bother me until the bike but the attitude of some of these athletes was impressive. Most races I compete, everyone is cheering on everyone else they are nice and don’t cause problems, well that was not this race. I came across MANY rude individuals, was it because I was in jersey? I don’t know, but it wasn’t the completely friendly atmosphere I was used to. Volunteers were fantastic, so nice, cheering you on, giving you positive vibes and such, but the athletes, different situation.
The parking situation was great, very well organized. The post race food was bad, they had some gear for sale available and two local sporting good stores present along with Knapp’s cyclery who brought some specialized bikes with them. Overall it was a very well run race, the course was pretty good and the conditions were perfect.
Perks:well-organized race, medal, post race food, parking, swim was niceEhhh… Not a Fan: Bike course too congested, no aid station on bike course, expo/check in nothing special, post race food bad.