I'm going to skip the suspense in this race recap and go straight to the results...I WON THE RACE!!!
Saturday morning I headed to Cassville, MO, for a sprint triathlon that benefited their local YMCA system. The race was small and extremely friendly. It was hosted at the town aquatic center which included a 4 lane pool for the 400yd swim. The pool also included two water slides that looked like a ton of fun...alas, we could not talk the guards into turning the slides on:( Northwest Arkansas had a good showing at the race with Pauline, Kayle, Mandy, Maja, Mark, Cord, Randy, John, Brody, and myself all racing.
The swim took place in waves with approx. 8 per wave for the first 3 waves and then smaller waves for the final 2. The waves were seeded with slower swimmers first and faster swimmers in the later waves. The race got started about 30 minutes late. I was in wave 4 of 5 for the swim so I had about another 45 minutes after the first wave started before I was actually in the pool and swimming. I was the last female to swim and got started fairly even with the men in my wave. About halfway through the guy leading our wave starting to tucker out some and I took that chance to pick things up. I ended up with around 6:33 for my 400 time. The start and finish was in the diving well of the pool and I lost a few seconds trying to get out of the pool...need to work on that upper body strength for deep water pool exits I guess!
One thing I disliked about the race was that the route from the pool to transition was through grass. I tried to ignore the grass on my feet as I put on my bike shoes. My swim wave ended up all hitting the bike start at about the same time. Darn socks...cost me a few seconds, but oh I don't think I could do it without them! We headed out for the two loop bike course and hit a nice hill right out of the start. I didn't have on a watch or my Garmin so I wasn't sure of my pace on the bike at any point. I made sure to eat a couple of my energy chews and drink plenty of water on the bike. From near the start of the bike I had a need for a potty stop. The route was along country roads with very little traffic but I just didn't want to stop and lose any time. The start of the second loop was almost a catastrophe for my poor bike. I was in way too big of a gear for turning onto the hill and killed my bike shifting into something more manageable. I talked sweet to my bike and she forgave me for the horrible injustice I had inflicted on her. The course was well staffed with volunteers at every turn and my favorite volunteer was the one at a major turn at the base of a hill who would holler out "All Clear" for the riders. The ride was rolling hills and I think I was somewhere around 55 min for the 15 miles. (waiting to see official splits but this is my estimate.)
I made it back to transition and had another competitor offering me water and Gatorade in transition. It was so sweet and needed since it was now quite hot out. The run course was along a trail that connected the aquatic park to some other baseball fields and then another park. There were alternating sections of paved trail and gravel as well as some wooden bridge walkways. About half of the run course was in shade and it was great. I passed many of the NWA crew as they were making their way back into the finish. It was fun to see everyone and get to cheer for them. The turnaround had fabulous cold water and I stopped to guzzle two cups. Shortly thereafter I found a nice spot along the trail that had a bush I could hide behind and finally took care of the potty stop that I so desperately needed! Not fun, but sometimes a girl has to do what a girl has to do. My return trip was done to the tune of 100 bottles of beer on the wall. I used this as an incentive that I could take a walk break every 15 bottles. It also helped me to get into a pace and I probably should have started that on the way out too. About 1/2 mile from the finish, Randy came running up and offered to run with me into the finish. That made a huge difference and was just the extra push that I needed to finish.
A challenge with this race is that it took a while to get the results put together. With so many waves, the race organizers had to do a lot of manual calculating for determining times. They had a small selection of fruit and bagels for post-race food. The pool had a small locker room area with showers so the girls all took advantage of that to get cleaned up while they calculated results. Of course, we stopped on the way for Cannonballs into the pool! It was awesome to just hang out in the cold water for a few minutes.
The awards ceremony started with the overall winners. Imagine my shock to hear my name called as the Overall Female Winner! I started laughing and just looked at my friends in shock. After a few seconds I headed up to pick up my medal. The rest of the crew had a strong showing...you could say that Northwest Arkansas athletes DOMINATED this race. Maja, Kayle, and Mandy got 1st in their age groups, Mark got 3rd in his age group. I think John, Brody, and Randy also placed in their age groups too.
I snuck a peak at the times and think my total time was 1 hr 36 min and 45 sec. I beat my friend Maja by just a mere 15 seconds...lesson learned every walk break is seconds I'm giving to my competitors. I really need to stop taking walk breaks and toughen up mentally during the run. What is funny is that Maja had the song Under Pressure going through her head through out the race...honestly she is an awesome athlete so I'm really surprised that I was ahead of her. I chalk it up to the faster swim time...I think her swim would have been faster in my heat because I was about 20 sec faster on the swim but she is actually a faster swimmer than me. Overall, it was a fun tune-up race and fun time spent with friends.