Four words: I ROCKED THE TRI! I had my best race ever and finished 18 minutes before my best time last year! Yay – a new PR (and a margarita)! Now, on to the race review:
The New Jersey State Triathlon was awesome. Mercer County Park is no-joke-legit – and a great place to have a race. I live in an urban jungle and while I see trees and grass and the sun, I have not seen a park like MCP in a very long time. There’s grass. Like, lots of it. And an awesome lake, an awesome playground for kids, tennis courts, a skating rink, a dog park, running and biking trails. I could go on but you get the point: MCP is nice.
Awesome thing #1 about the race: the location.
We arrived on Saturday, just in time to catch Uberman – “The world’s fasted triathlon”. 20 elite men and women race the fastest course ever – 200 yard swim, 4 mile bike and a 1 mile run. It’s over in, like, 17 minutes! It was cool to watch these athletes just totally grind it out. We stayed for the race briefing (not mandatory), checked out the swim course (I asked the race director if it was an Ironman-distance swim because it looked about 10 miles long!) and figured out where our bikes would go. I remember a time when I was annoyed that we had to rack our bikes the night before but now I really look forward to it (it makes race day so much easier). Unfortunately, we couldn’t rack our bike the night before. And while there were signs indicating the area where our bikes would rack, it was a free-for-all from there. Approximately 45 bikes per row of numbers had to find a way to fit while still trying to be in an ideal location. Fortunately for me and my crew, we showed up early and I got a great spot – but then there was the girl who showed up about 2 minutes before transition closed and asked people to move their bikes so she could fit on the first rack and not have to go to the end. It’s a good thing she didn’t ask me because I would have laughed in her face – too bad the girl next to me was a sucker!
5 am wake-up call on race day. We woke up to the sound of rain. We were all a little bummed because every race we have done this season has been in rain. Mentally, I think we were drained and couldn’t fathom another race in dagger conditions. But (thank you, God!) the rain stopped about 5 minutes before we left our sweet penthouse suite. The sky looked promising so our spirits improved.
We got to transition around 6 am and set up our gear. My transition looked great and I was ready to rock some awesome T times! Transition closed at 7:20am – and we had awhile before our start times, so we ate an awesome peanut-butter-on-wheat-bread-with-bananas breakfast and did some yoga.
Crew Start Times:
8:50am – BJ
9:10am – MP
9:20am – JJ
Swim: Wave 20: Women 25-29. First time in years that the race was a wetsuit legal race (thanks rain!). I rocked my wetsuit because I love the little extra buoyancy that it provides. The swim course was really well marked with buoys everywhere and plenty of kayakers. I felt pretty good in the water – but not my fastest swim. (I really need to join a Master’s swim team) Time: 33:08
T1: Thanks to a new little trick I’ve been testing with my wetsuit – it was easier than ever to get off. I also wore my race top under my wetsuit so I didn’t have to put on a shirt. I quickly dried my feet, socks on, bike shoes on, sunglasses on, helmet on. After my last race, when I had to fix my hair in transition because my helmet wouldn’t fit, I tested out a new hairstyle, too. It worked like a charm. Time: 2:06
Bike: I love my bike but it has been giving me some issues lately – it made a funny noise the whole time – and I just prayed that nothing bad would happen (like at The Columbia Triathlon). At one point, my chain did come off (ughhh) – but after TCT, BJ told me to back pedal if it ever happened again – and that’s exactly what I did. I back pedaled and the chain went back on. I didn’t have to get off the bike (thankfully) but it was still a 30-45 second ordeal. Fortunately, the bike course was flat and fast. I told myself that I needed to average 19-20 mph to “get a good time” – so I really powered through on the bike. I felt strong and the conditions were close to ideal – some strong wind at times but nothing detrimental. It was my fastest bike ever (at first BJ didn’t believe that my average mph was that fast!) Time: 1:11.29
T2: Let’s just say: I love my bungee laces! I took my bike shoes off and slipped on my running shoes. It was that simple! It took me a minute to get my visor on but once it was tight, I was off. Race belt in hand, I ran out of T2, feeling good! Time: 1:09 (62 second improvement)
Run: By the time I started running, it was a little before 11am and it was hot! Thankfully, the run was sometimes shaded because running on the black asphalt was painful. The course had 8 water stations (awesome!!) and cooling rags at 2 stations (even more awesome!!)! The course was nice and flat – 3.1 miles out and back, run by transition and another 3.1 miles out and back (picture a figure 8). I felt strong on the run. I mean, don’t get me wrong, my legs were tired but I was feeling good and passing people. Until mile 3… The run by transition runs by a water station with Heed (the worst drink in America) – and a volunteer accidently marketed Heed as water! It’s easy to confuse the two because Heed is clear like water BUT it does not taste like water. It tastes like the worst drink in America. I took a “water” and after one big gulp realized that I had just made a huge mistake! I have a very sensitive stomach. I can not take any type of gel or electrolyte drink or eat anything, I mean a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g, within 1.5-2 hours of running. I kept running, wishing, hoping and praying that I would be fine. Unfortunately, I wasn’t. I had to run and walk the last 2 miles due to a bad case of throwing up. It was not fun – and I was mad! My run was still a run PR – but I know that it could have been better. Moral of the story: NO Heed for me (angry post to come). Time: 51:50
Bike: 1:11.29 (improvement)
T2: 1:09 (improvement)
Run: 51:50 (improvement)
Age Group: 10/46
Awesome things about the race:
1) Location – MCP was awesome
2) Race Support – volunteers everywhere!
3) PLENTY of water stations (!!!) and cooling rags
4) Post-Race Event (food, including pasta and soft pretzels and drinks, including water, coke, beer)
Not-so-awesome things about the race:
1) HEED (worst thing in America – and I’m not the only athlete that hates it)
2) Transition area/bike racking free-for-all
Verdict: This was an awesome race and I can not wait to do it again next year. The volunteers were great and really helpful! I had an awesome race – my only wish is that the Heed episode would have been a bad dream instead of a reality.
Overall Score: 9