Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Season Finale - LifeTime Tri Maple Grove

Courtesy of Andy Wyss Design

            The Lifetime Tri Minnesota Series consisted of Trinona in June, Minneapolis in July, and wrapped up with Maple Grove in August.  Maple Grove also marked my final race of the season (my 7th triathlon this summer!).  Nationals were just two weeks prior, and in the meantime, I’ve missed a lot of runs, a ride, and some swims due to the craziness of life.  Volleyball practices also started this past week (I’m the head coach at Three Lakes), adding another level of hectic to our lives.  Due to all of this, I felt underprepared and not very well focused for the race.  Nonetheless, I hoped for the best.
Courtesy of Andy Wyss Design
            There was only a slight wind on race morning, and the air was crazy thick with humidity and fog.  Fortunately there was solid cloud coverage, or else we may have melted.  Race morning didn’t go as smoothly as I hoped and I ended up cramped for warm up time, getting in only a 5-minute jog – I didn’t even do a swim warm up!  I wasn’t going to let things get to me though.  It was a time trial swim start, so partners were sent off every 3 seconds for the start.  I have now had enough of an experience with both time trial and mass starts, that I would definitely say I prefer the mass start.  Nationals were a perfect setup, with the huge age group waves spaced out about 10 minutes from each other.  This gave us space between waves, and I was able to do the most drafting I’ve ever done with a triathlon swim, which also resulted in my fastest swim ever. 
Shortly I after I got started, one of my goggles was leaking, and I paused to empty and adjust it, as I’d rather lose a few seconds than deal with that the whole time.  You could only see one buoy ahead of you due to the thick fog, and after a turn buoy you couldn’t see anything at all!  You had to follow those in front of you until you could finally see the next one for yourself.  There was a lot of swimming into and around people from the waves ahead of mine, which was very frustrating.  I came out of the water just 3 seconds off from my Minneapolis time (a minute slower than Nationals, but as I said, I wasn’t really able to draft at Maple Grove).  I was happy with the time. 
Courtesy of Andy Wyss Design
            The bike route was great – gorgeous and fast for the most part.  We went by a lot of fields, and the in-town sections were blocked off well.  The fog was so thick that you could only see about ¼ mile in front of you at times, but it sure made for some beautiful surroundings!  The air was so thick that my helmet dripped from all the condensation that gathered.  I came in from the bike just as wet as I had gone out, and I needed to wipe off my feet in T2 in order to get my shoes on!  I came in on the bike in 1:05:46 (22.6mph), only behind my time at Nationals by 7 seconds.  Again, I was quite please with it. 
Cleaned house!
            The run was a 2-loop course, using some park trails and then residential streets around the park.  After you got off the bike, you encountered the first long, uphill climb (that would be repeated on the second loop).  It was a decent route, but the hills certainly didn’t feel great.  A younger girl caught up to me on the first loop and I used her to pace me, as I was really struggling to hit a decent pace.  We stuck together and I paced her for a while then on the second loop as I finally began to find my running legs.  My run split was slightly faster than both Nationals and Minneapolis, but it was still just past the dreaded 44-minute mark.  I ended up winning my age group, being the 2nd Age Grouper Overall, and the 7th Overall Female (including elites).  I also took 2nd in the LifeTime Tri MN Series – by only one point!  Overall, I was really pleased with how the day ended up, and it was a great race to end the season with. 
            A huge THANK YOU to friends who came out and supported me at this race: Katherine, Dean, Maria, and Meredith!  Thanks to my husband, who has traveled all over with me this summer, taking pictures, video, or whatever, and helping me get out the door for some outdoor training throughout the season.  None of this would have been possible without you!  Thanks to my family and friends who cheer me on from afar, and thank you to my sponsors: Draft Cyclery and Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (chocolate milk) – some of the best sponsors and supporters a girl could ask for!

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