*Feel free to skip around, it's a long one (aren't they all?)! :)
I got up at 4am, got dressed, got my bagel with peanut butter and honey ready, and headed out for my 45 minute drive to Boulder. This is what I found when I got into the car. I love my husband! :)
I got my transition area set up, visited the port-a-potties a couple of times, and basically hung out until transition closed at 6:30. I debated whether or not to wear my wetsuit because a 1/4M swim is so short and I knew the water was in the low 70s. I have never raced this season without my wetsuit, so I was leaning towards wearing it until I saw that no one else around me was wearing theirs. I seriously was freaked out about what to do. Finally, I said screw it, and walked out of transition without my wetsuit. I got maybe 20feet out of the area when I turned right back around and went back to my spot. I finally figured that if I was that stressed about whether or not to wear it, then I SHOULD wear it. I had 5 minutes to get it on before transition closed. Once I had it on I immediately knew I made the right decision. I felt so much calmer and relaxed. Having my wetsuit just comforts me somehow.
I headed down to the swim beach and proceeded to wait and wait and wait. My wave was the 2nd to the last wave, and I didn't start until 7:20. So, basically I had 50 minutes to wait around. Usually I'm totally nervous before the race start, but I was just so calm. I looked at the buoys in the water and almost laughed at how short the swim course seemed. I mean, the 1/4M swim looked like nothing! It was awesome and I was so excited to swim. Oh, and there actually were a lot of women with wetsuits, so I wasn't the only one! :)
Get this, the count down for the swim start ended with the announcer screaming "AFLAC" like the duck in those horrible commercials. It was so cheesy and we all started laughing about it. We were off and it took awhile before it was deep enough to actually swim. I was finally able to swim and just decided to swim as fast as I could. It was tough because there were a lot of women struggling and they would just stop in front of me (I have been there so many times, so I totally know how they were feeling). It made it difficult to swim because I didn't want to swim over them, but I finally found my groove and just kept swimming! I made it to the first turn buoy, then the second, and before I knew it I was at the finish! It was amazing how short that swim felt...I LOVED it! I got out of the water with a huge smile on my face, pulled my wetsuit down, got a great towel from the volunteers to dry off with, and ran the LONG way to transition.
1/4M swim time: 8:30 (includes the long run) Rank: 93/619
* I looked at my watch after coming out of the water and it said about 7min, which isn't incredibly fast, but it was a great time for me! Yay!
This was pretty uneventful. I got my wetsuit off, shoes on, helmet on, glasses on, and I literally had to run like 20 feet to the bike exit! It was great!
I got on my bike and just started riding. Although I was doing this tri for fun, I still wanted to push myself and see what I could do. Because I have ridden this course before I knew what to expect. I knew the first few miles or so are the worst, but after that it's just a great, fun course. As I got up to speed, I started focusing on all of the calves ahead of me. I was looking for women in my age group, 30-34, and I found them. I felt so good on my bike and I just kept passing women the entire time. It was a really weird feeling actually, and I almost felt guilty about it. I don't really know why except maybe that this race is really a "beginner" tri for the most part and I almost felt out of place. I only got passed once, on a downhill turn that I didn't feel comfortable going fast on, but once we went up again, I passed her back and never saw her again. After awhile I stopped seeing women between 30-34 and was wondering where they all were. I kept thinking that they had super speedy swims and super fast bikes and were ahead of me. So, I kept pushing myself, trying to catch the women in my AG. Finally, I was back at the reservoir. I got to the dismount line and headed into transition.
17.2M Time: 49:01 Avg. Pace: 21.2mph Rank: 10/619
Woohoo! I am so thrilled with this time and my avg. pace!
* As a side note, I did the Boulder Sprint Tri last year and my time on the same course was 52:24, so I beat my time by almost 3 1/2 minutes! :)
Again, this was pretty uneventful. I got into transition and there weren't any other bikes around me. It was crazy! I racked my bike, got my running stuff on, took a swig of NUUN, and headed out.
I left transition and my legs felt awesome! I knew at that point that I was going to be able to push it on the run and I was so happy about that. After my run experience at my Half Ironman, this was just a great feeling to have. I got on the course and just started to run. I told myself that it was only a 5k and I could do it! I felt great and just kept pushing forward. At one point, the leader of the race passed me in the opposite direction and she was flying! I kept looking at all of the calves on the women ahead of me and I never saw anyone in the 30-34 age range. I just kept thinking how strange it was and wondering where they all were. Because the run course is an out and back, you get to see everyone that's ahead of you. I saw some women that looked like they could be in my AG, but really it's impossible to tell how old someone is. As I was nearing the turn around, I saw Kathleen coming the opposite direction and yelled some words of encouragement. I was so happy to see her and she looked great! I finally got to the turn around and I swear I had a huge smile on my face. I was having such a great run and just having so much fun. I stopped for a brief second to grab a Gatorade and gulp it down, and then headed towards the finish. I saw a women in front of me with a 3_ on her calf and I couldn't tell if it was 34 or 39, so I decided to pick it up a little bit and find out. As I got closer I realized it was a 39, but I just kept going. I could hear the announcer at the finish calling out women's names and I got so excited! Finally, I was at the finish chute and I ran it in, put my arms in the air, and sprinted across the mat!
3.1M time: 23:11 avg. pace: 7:29/M Rank: 7/619
* Last years time at the Boulder Sprint was 25:29.
Overall Time: 1:23:01
Overall Rank: 9/619 (Note: 5 of the women that finished ahead of me were in the 35-39 AG...That is a FAST group and I'll be joining their ranks next year! Yikes!)
30-34 AG Place: 1/120 I GOT FIRST PLACE!!!!! Yay!!!
After I finished I waited by the finish area because I knew Kathleen would be finishing soon! She came in and I cheered her on! We hung out for a little while talking about the race, then Julie, another blogger, finished. Here is a picture of all of us:
I was so glad to finally meet Julie! She is so nice! We all hung out for awhile, then headed to the food tent where they literally had a full spread of yummy, yummy food. Salad, yogurt and granola, bagels, pancakes, fresh fruit, muffins, etc... It was awesome! We loaded up our plates, then found a place to sit. I knew my husband and boys wouldn't be there for awhile, so I got to hang out and just relax. It was nice.
Then, we noticed that there were a bunch of women gathered around a table. They had posted some results, so I went over to check them out. Imagine my surprise when I saw my name at the top of the list on the first page! :) Then, I looked at the AG of the women that placed ahead of me and realized I was the first one in my AG. I was totally taken aback by that so I actually asked another girl if that meant I got first in my AG. She said yes and congrats, then I headed back to the table with a huge smile on my face! I could not believe that I won my AG! I was beyond ecstatic! Just then, my husband and boys showed up and I told him the news! He was so happy for me! Then, of course, we had to take lots of stupid pictures by the Aflac duck...don't ask me why!
My boys loved the duck! They thought it was hilarious!
Then, they had the awards ceremony. Kathleen and Julie were so cute and they waited around with me and my family! I was so excited to see what I won!
Here is what I won:
I am not a jewelry person, but I will probably wear this on occasion. It's very simple and very pretty. Plus, I love the message behind the saying, "Race with Grace."
Isn't that awesome!?!
Before heading back to Denver, we ended up playing in the water with the boys at the reservoir. It was wonderful! I love this picture b/c my youngest looks so happy. :)
So, my tri season is officially over. :( It is a bittersweet feeling. I love racing and am kind of sad that I am not doing another tri until next year. But, this tri was an awesome way to end the season! Plus, now I get to really focus on my marathon training. It will be different, but good! :)