She swims, she rides, she runs . . . SheRox!
I was really excited to do this race for a few reasons:
1. It was all women, and I love the dynamic of an all-women race (and the Revolutionary Tri is co-ed race this year –BOO!)
2. I was doing the race with Beckie and Julie, two of my good friends (and sorority sisters) from college.
3. SheROX has a reputation for putting on a great race.
While SheROX does have a race in New Jersey, it is an ocean swim, and despite doing well in last year’s Mainiac, I still have fears about ocean swimming (especially given that NJ shore has more robust breakers than the spot in Maine where we swam last year).
So, New England it was!
The race was Sunday, but you had to pick up your race packet (chip, numbers, swim cap) on Saturday, so I left Saturday morning to make the three-and-a-half hour drive to Webster, Mass.
I met Beckie and Julie and three of Beckie’s friends from New Hampshire. We drove the bike and run courses and then had dinner in a local restaurant. We then drove about 15-minutes to the B&B in Connecticut (just a lovely little place) and checked in. We all retired early, but none of us slept. I was super nervous about the swim start. This was a BIG race - over 2,000 women, and my wave had over 80 women in it. I had visions of getting run over and pushed underwater at the swim start. I literally don't think I slept more than an hour or two - and not all at once - all night long. Ugh!
I was wide awake at 4:38 a.m. when the alarm went off. We quickly dressed and left for the race site. We were among the first to arrive and secured a good spot on the outermost bike rack. I had the nice volunteers pump up my tires, got body marked and set up my transition area.
Transition area at the race site. HUGE.
I was trying desperately to eat something, but could barely choke down a single Cliff bar. I knew that was not a great thing, but my stomach was rolling and food was making it worse.
Around 6:30 a.m. we went down to the water and I slipped in for a warm up swim. I have found these to be invaluable in calming my nerves. I was amazed to find the water was crystal clear. I could see the every rock and plant on the bottom perfectly – it was the most beautiful open water swim I’ve ever experienced.
Start and swim
At 7 p.m. on the nose, the first wave went off – the pros/elites. Man, they are amazing to watch! The first woman out finished the swim in under 8 minutes. Awesome.
I was in wave 4 (waves went off 3 minutes apart) so I hugged Beckie and headed to the water’s edge. The women in my wave were standing at the water’s edge in five, long rows – by far the biggest start I’ve ever taken part in. I got in the second row way to the right hoping to stay out of the way of the type-As, while at the same time avoid getting bottle necked behind the newbies and slower swimmers. I think it was a successful strategy.
The gun went off and so did I – no hesitation. I railed forward and dived in. This was by far my best open water swim to date. I felt completely at ease, I sighted really well, I immediately went into a strong crawl with bilateral breathing and kept it up for the whole swim.
The course was supposed to be a half mile, but I don’t think it was actually that long because my time was 14:02 (in the pool my best half mile time has been about 17 minutes). But anyway, I’ll take it!
I can't say it, but I can swim it! Longest place name in the U.S. Also known as "Lake Webster"
After the swim, it was a loooong way back to transition and my bike was on the farthest rack. I jogged back pulling my wetsuit, goggles and cap off as I went. By the time I got back, I just stepped out of the suit and yanked it off my legs.
Slipped on my bike shoes and helmet, slogged a bit of water and off I went. Not a bad T1, but could be a bit better. Time: 3:24
I quickly realized that I had not done a good job rinsing my feet. I had little pebbles in my bike shoes rubbing the tops of my toes – owie. I wiggled them to get the stones off with only moderate success.
The bike course was 12 miles, with one good, mile-long climb about 3.5 miles in. I’m glad I’ve been working on hills so much. I still slowed WAY down on the hill, but I got all the way up (parts were pretty steep) passing tons of women walking their bikes up it. Felt great.
The rest of the course was rolling hills to flat and I pushed really hard on the bike, working aggressively to keep my speed over 16 mph. I was relatively successful and finished the course in 51:15 (ave. speed 14.0). Had it not been for the hill, this would have been my best bike yet.
OK, here is where I made a very freshman mistake.
I dismounted, ran over to my row and . . . stuff? Stuff? WHERE IS MY EFFING STUFF?
I could not find my spot on the rack, and hence, my running shoes. I ran up and down the rack several times before FINALLY spotting my towel. URGH!
Hence, my T2 was 2:19. This was my lowest place/rank in the whole race. Just UGH!
Once I found my stuff, it was very straightforward – changed shoes, slugged water, ran out.
The run was tough. Really tough. I felt nauseous and lightheaded. My legs were wobbly. I was dehydrated, undernourished and hot. I felt like I was barely moving. I wanted to stop and walk SO BADLY.
However, I was determined to run it all, even if it was slow. The course was 2.9 miles and I was really hoping for a sub 30-minute time. I came in at 30:12. GRRRRR! I missed it by 12 freakin’ seconds. My pace was pretty average for me – 10:25 – but I’m just pissed at myself for not pushing just a BIT harder.
Plus, right at the end, Beckie caught up and passed me. I was happy to finish, and really happy to finish with her, but still totally irritated at myself for not being able (or willing? I often wonder how much of this stuff really is mental and if digging deeper and pushing harder is more about brain vs. brawn) to get moving faster. Anyway, it is what it is and I’m mostly over it. Mostly. But not totally.
Total time: 1:41:12
I was super happy to finish and it was fun to stand on the other side and cheer for the rest of our group as each woman crossed the line. I really liked this race overall and would definitely do it again next year.
Next up: the Revolutionary Tri in New Jersey on Sunday! Stay tuned . . .
Julie, me and Beckie pre-race