Wausau Woodson Triathlon

It feels like I’ve been chasing an age group award in short course triathlon for quite some time. I haven’t been on any specific plan to accomplish it, but I knew it was possible. Earlier this Summer I came close with 6th at Capitol View Triathlon and 4th at Triterium Triathlon, which technically should have been 3rd, but I won’t revisit that mix up right now. Instead I want to celebrate my first age group award at Wausau Woodson YMCA Triathlon!

Wausau Woodson Triathlon is a course that I did in 2011, I was in a younger age group at that point, 29! It’s hard to believe I’ve been doing triathlons that long. It’s kind of crazy that it took me five years to place considering how often I read “I did my first triathlon today and won an age group award!” by other triathlon bloggers. Oh my god, it was driving me crazy reading that over and over while I’ve been trying so hard to get there!

A brief recap of the race…

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The swim is in a very small man-made lake. The water was warm enough to go without a wetsuit, and I knew it was a beach start swim. Knowing this I practiced running into a lake and swimming as fast as possible the week prior. I’m glad I did! I got in front of my wave, and when they yelled “Go!” I flung myself into the water and swam fast. No breathing or heart rate issues! I got out in 7:07, my fastest 400 yard swim split this year, and possibly to date!

T1 was 1:30, didn’t bother with bike gloves or socks for a short course.

The bike course was 17 miles. I didn’t remember it being this hilly five years ago, I was not mentally prepared for the hills the course had! It was also a bit windier than I expected. I was passing people, but also getting passed by girls that I assumed were in my age group. They don’t mark your age on your calf at this race, it was hard to know! Somewhere around mile eight I gave up a little mentally. My moment of “quit” lasted briefly, I got my head on right and did what I could to get my average mph up! Off the bike with 17.5 mph average.

T2 was 1:40, had to finagle with socks for the run!

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This is the start of the run

The run is flat and offers no shade from the sun. It was getting hot! I did my best not to let the heat bother me and ran as strong as I could. First split was 8:44, not where I wanted to be. Second split was 9:14, crap, slowing down wasn’t what I wanted to do either! Third was 8:43, total 5k time 27:07. It was tough to run strong and stay mentally strong while not knowing how old anyone was out there. The other tricky part was that the waves were at random, not by age. I wasn’t confident that I had a chance at an age group award during the run.

After I finished I went to the bus where the preliminary results were posted and I was second. I knew not to get too excited about that because there was a couple waves behind mine. I tried to eat the complimentary lunch, but I was so anxious waiting for the final results. We re-checked several times and my placing didn’t budge. It wasn’t until they started to announce the age group winners that it became real.

She announced the 30-34 third place winner and my heart was pounding. I was shooting for third to begin with. When she announced my name as second my heart pounded harder, but I was so relieved! And so HAPPY!! Finally!!

I was 11th overall female out of 63, and 2nd in my age group out of 6. Yes, it’s a small race, but it doesn’t make this any less meaningful to me. It makes me want to continue to keep working on improving myself, and maybe go back again in five years to get first!

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The award was a bottle of Root beer and some moisture wicking socks.

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Triterium Sprint Triathlon

I raced(?)/participated in my fourth triathlon this month on Saturday morning. With it being just one week after a 70.3 that I did race and PR at, and then take a full week off of workouts, I had no goals going into it. Just show up, enjoy the triathlon fun!

The triathlon was Triterium Triathlon in Verona, WI. I did the Olympic distance in 2013, and I remember it being very difficult two years ago. Two years ago I was a much weaker cyclist, and it poured crazy, bad rain. On Saturday it was a perfect 70 degree day with little wind, little humidity, and I like seeing the sun!

It felt weird to not overthink packing my gear and setting up transition. That’s what happens when this triathlon thing becomes routine I guess. My transition was set up promptly, and I spent the rest of my pre-race morning chatting with my triathlon buddies.

Thankfully the swim was an in-water start. I placed myself next to the buoy line and behind one girl. The gun went off and I took off like I normally do, except I didn’t feel like I was ahead of the white swim caps. There were quite a few people passing me. It felt off, I probably shouldn’t have worn a wetsuit!

T1 was the usual, fight with the wetsuit, and go! The bike course is tough. John asked me to compare it to Capitol View Triathlon, but it’s apples to oranges. The thing that makes Capitol View Triathlon’s bike course tough is that you can’t take your downhills at full speed, because there’s a sharp turn at the bottom of that hill, and then go straight up another hill. That’s really hard! At Triterium you get non-stop hills, but you get to ride those downhills. Within the first ten minutes of my ride I realized that my legs were still fatigued from the 70.3 last weekend, so I took it easy. No sense in fighting fatigue.

T2 was quick, just socks, shoes, running belt, and GO!! The run course was immediately confusing. There was three-way traffic. What the heck. It was so weird, and I wondered where this three-way traffic was leading. I was running comfortably strong, passing several people. I tried to be encouraging as I passed, but I just don’t have a cheerful voice when I’m running. It probably comes off the wrong way. I’m probably overthinking that.

When I got to the end of the road there was a turn around, or a turn to the left. I did the turn around, which was the right choice. If you guessed left, you cheated yourself and only ran approximately 2 miles. I know this because I have a friend that accidentally went left. Why wasn’t there a volunteer here giving directions to disoriented runners? It’s completely frustrating looking at the results and seeing people with 20 minute run times, but slower swim and bike times. There’s a chance they are super gifted at running, but it’s more likely they didn’t do the full 3.1 miles.

I did my full 3.1 miles, and finished feeling pretty good about my results. The timing receipt read that I was 5th in my age group! A huge goal of mine is to win an age group award, so I was pleased to see how close I came while still recovering from a 70.3.

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Speaking of my goal of age group placing, I only have one sprint distance race left this year to compete for that, in my current age group. I’ll enter a new age group in 2016! I peeked at the next age group division results to see how I would have done in that division…Outlook not so good. I’m going to really have to work a lot harder next year to get there. Let’s not worry about that right now though, let’s celebrate this finish!

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Capitol View Sprint Triathlon

Capitol View Triathlon.. where do I start? There are a few different ways I want to recap this race because it’s a special one to me. It was my first ever triathlon back in 2011 after coming back from severe runner’s knee. I was a complete noob, I hardly got on my bike before the race, and assured John “No big deal, it’s going to be soooo easy!”  It wasn’t easy, I got some humble pie, and then began my addiction of triathlon. Looking back, from then until now, I’m in awe of how far I’ve come. (2011 race recap here)

For this year, I had only signed up for the race a week beforehand. What in the world was I thinking? Did I really think I would not do this race? Of course I would. So it wasn’t penciled in on my training plan for my A-race next weekend, Toughman WI 70.3. With taper on the brain, my intentions were to take Capitol View easy, practice transitions, and just enjoy being surrounded by triathletes.

When I arrived at the race site on Sunday morning I was pleased to see glass calm lake Mendota, waiting for triathletes to make waves! In my wave I tried to get as close to the front as possible, and when the “gun” went off, I took off like a wild woman. With how smooth the lake was, I pulled away from my wave with ease. Around the first buoy I turned and saw a blur of purple swim caps behind me. Right next to me was a girl doing the breast stroke at the same speed as my freestyle swim. What the heck? I was having a hell of a time trying to pass her, but on the next buoy turn I lost her, I think. Who knows. All I know is that I was 2nd of my AG out of the water and that makes me giddy!

My T1 went better than last weekend in Lake Mills, got it done in less than 2 minutes. Tearing the wetsuit off quickly is tough!

On the bike I was happy there was no wind to fight, but I did have the challenge of a hilly course. With knowing I have a 70.3 this coming Saturday I didn’t push it very hard on the bike. Just used it as “easy” speed-work, if there’s such a thing? A gentle reminder to my legs that they can be speedy. It was only 10 miles too. When I got back to T2 I saw that my bike was the third on the rack. “Oh, maybe I’m doing pretty good?” I thought to myself.

That thought kept me moving as quickly as I possibly could, but it was a slow one! It had rained the night before, the run course is on trails, and in some spots the mud was slick like ice. Besides the slippery mud spots, the run course offers some challenging hills too. I was a little mad at my legs considering I’ve been training on that course for the last few weeks!

I’m happy with my finishing numbers with all things considered

Swim 400 yards –  7:27
T1  –  1:49
Bike 10 miles  –  38:10, 15.7 mph
T2  –  1:28
Run 3.1 miles  –  31:13, 10:04 min/mile (urgh)
Total  –  1:20:10
AG  –  6/20

I’m glad I signed up for the race last minute, it’s become a can’t-miss event for me. I can’t say enough good things about the race and its organizers!

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My friend Becca & I excited for the day!

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John placed 3rd in his age group!

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A sprint triathlon that gives an awesome medal! I love medals!

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Happy finisher!