I have done this race several times before, and it’s always a lot of fun. This year my twelve-year-old son was racing with my husband and I, so I was nervous but very excited for him. He swims competitively and has recently gotten into cross country as well, so he was feeling pretty confident. The morning of the race the weather was great, no rain and 66 degrees! We stayed in a nice house very near the race site, so we were able to ride over to transition on our bikes. After getting our stuff all set up in transition, we grabbed a seat on the trolley to the swim start which is a couple miles away. The water temperature was 74 degrees, so wetsuit legal (yeah!!). Since I was racing masters open I was in the first wave, so I had to get in right away to warm up once we got our wetsuits on. I only saw one other woman at the start, mostly open men, so I knew I would probably be racing alone. That’s the one thing I don’t like about the open category. A lot of very competitive women prefer to race age group, which makes it less fun for those that do race open. Oh well, I would just have to race the clock and try to stay focused on pushing myself as hard as I could.
The swim went well, no major issues, and my time ended up about 25 secs faster than last year. I still think I can do better, and the top two women were 1-2 minutes faster. On a positive note, my son, who started five minutes after me, did not catch me on the swim, so I was happy!
I have never been very fast at transitions, and once again my time was pretty slow compared to others, with the fastest women at a minute or less. One of these days I will take my husband’s advice and practice my transitions. 🙂
As expected, most of the open men dusted me on the swim, so I started out on the bike by myself. I passed one guy early on, but after that I didn’t really see anyone else on the course. The bike course is basically flat, so pretty fun to see how fast you can go. My time was about 15-30 secs slower than the top women’s times, but about 30 secs faster than last year. So not bad, especially since I didn’t have anyone to push me on the course.
Better than T1 but could still be 15-20 secs faster!
I felt pretty good on the run, and again was by myself for most of it. So I just focused on keeping a fast cadence and a steady pace, especially on the second mile where it is so easy to slow down. I did get to cheer on a few of the open men, Marty Gaal and Dan Young, that were finishing the out and back section as I headed down that way. It was nice to finally see somebody! The run course is also completely flat. After a small out and back section you run a loop that takes you down the main beach road, past a bunch of bars and restaurants in downtown Wrightsville Beach, over two different bridges, and a tree lined sidewalk that leads to the back entrance of the race site and finish line. I was happy with my run time, even though it was about 25 secs slower than last year.
So my overall time was 1:17:16, which I found out later put me in 3rd place overall for the women. The first and second place women started about 20-25 minutes after me and finished a little over a minute faster overall. I knew there were some fast women racing age group, so I did my best to push myself hard. I had fun anyway! And my son ended up placing third in the 15 and under age group with a time of 1:28:05 in his first adult triathlon. Very proud of him!