Columbia Tri Recap

I am beyond excited to get this recap up on the blog. After a week of stress, self-doubt and being extremely nervous, my first olympic triathlon is in the books. Could not have asked for a better way to kick off the tri season here in Maryland. Great support and loved that I had the opportunity to race alongside my RipIt Team and Athletes Serving Athletes. Oh and not to mention Jonathan, was here to watch me race.

Let’s start with the expo. Saturday after our run we headed to the Nava Center in Columbia to pick up my packet with my timing chip, bib, swim cap and race shirt. I also got my yellow wrist band which was the only way I was able to get in and out of transition.

 Then it was off to Centennial Park to rack my bike in the transition area. This was the first race where they used the T-Blocks which I loved so much more than the typical bike racks.

We walked around and I showed Jon the Start and Finish area. It was very similar to the IronGirl that I did last year.

See you in the morning!!!

Everything was out and ready to go…so many things to remember and pack.
Swim:  blueseventy wetsuit, goggles (2 pair), swim cap
Bike: helmet, bike shoes, bottle of Tailwind, bottle of water, 2XU socks, 2 Huma gels, 1 pack of ProBar energy chews, and sunglasses just in case
Run: Newton GravityV, race belt, bib, Huma gel, ASA headsweat visor, water with Nuun and CarbPro for the beginning of the run

Other items included: ASA tattoos, body glide (lots of it cause chaffing is just awful), extra change of clothes, extra water, Garmin watch, extra gel for before the swim and a banana

Breakfast was oatmeal, half a sweet potato and a scoop of almond butter. I also made sure to take in plenty of water.

After I got everything packed we headed to the park. It was go time!!!

Poor Jon had to listen to me sigh and have a bit of panic not just on race morning but all week. I don’t know why I was so nervous. I think most of it was my fear for tackling something I had never done before. BUT the show must go on.

My coach sent this out the night before and it was a HUGE help in getting me to just relax. I’m definitely hanging on to this one.

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I got everything set up in transition which included getting my bike tires pumped up, laying out my bike and run goodies and getting my body marked. I saw Nick (NP Baltimore Co-Leader) and Nick Paul (also a regular NP go-er). I also saw Steph and the ASA crew getting the bikes ready.

Transition closed at 6:45am so around that time I headed over the ASA tent to wait until my corral entered the water.

ASA had 3 athletes competing: Terrence, Matthew and Lauren.

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I was the next to last corral and didn’t get into the water until 7:30ish so had some time to get myself together…eat my gel, go to the bathroom, etc. This also meant taking some deep breaths and just relaxing (and photos too)

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More RIPIT Team ladies!!

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Coach Suzy was in the elite group and of course she crushed it!!!

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No turning back now….Let’s do this!!!

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Swim: Okay so the swim didn’t start off so great. I panicked when I got in the water and felt like I couldn’t catch my breathe. For a brief moment I thought I wouldn’t be able to do this. I took some deep breaths, got into a rhythm and just swam. Jonathan gave me some good advice with just swimming bouy to buoy and not thinking about the distance. This was a HUGE help. Because we entered the water two at a time we were pretty spaced out. I felt kind of sick with swallowing some nasty lake water but kept trudging along. I got a cramp in my right calf probably 3/4 of the way through. I started kicking my leg really hard to try and get it to go away and eventually it did (thank goodness). I also had to pee, but focusing on your breathing and swim stroke and trying to pee is not an easy task. Finally before I got out of the water I was able to go and felt SOOO much better. When I saw the finish of the swim I was BEYOND exited. I did it! I swam .93 miles and didn’t DIE!!!!

Time: 33:30 (2:15/100m)

T1: 1:45

Bike: You all know the bike and I have our moments. We don’t always get along, but knew that today we were going to be BFF and get through these hills. I actually wasn’t nervous about the bike. I knew that I had to ride smart and just remember when to switch to the little ring in order to save my legs for the run. I alternated Tailwind and water  every 10 minutes. I ate the energy chews when I crushed a big hill and let me tell you these hills were NO JOKE. I tried to make up the time on the downhill as much as I could, but there was a good amount of headwind. It was great to see Coach Suzy at mile 5 (her mile 20).  There was so much encouragement from the RIPIT team on the course and loved seeing everyone out there crushing it. I even got to see two of the ASA teams. I took a Huma gel at mile 20 to get me the rest of the way and hoping that it would kick in for the run. I looked down at the girl ahead of me and saw she was 30 and in my age group. I passed her towards the end of the bike and knew that she may be the only girl  ahead of me. At this point, I knew the tough part (mentally) was over and now it was time to  power through this run.

Can we talk about this crooked helmet? I blame the headwind.

Time: 1:29:18 (16.8mph)

T2: 1:09

Off on the RUN…..6.2 miles to go.

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Run: I can’t tell you how excited I was to get off that bike, get through T2, and hit the pavement. I knew the course was hilly, but that the toughest part of the race was over. I could hear Jon yelling which gave me an extra boost. Surprisingly the legs felt good coming off the bike. I carried my water bottle filled with Nuun and CarboPro to stay hydrated until I hit the first water stop at mile 2 which was gatorade hill. Mid Maryland Tri Club always brings so much energy which is I loved seeing. The girl in may age group that was on my heels and then passed me early on. I tried to stay with her, but knowing how hard the course was I knew that if I pushed too hard in the beginning it would hurt me later on. So I stuck with my pace and pushed as much as I could…which with the hills was slightly under an 8 minute pace. My toes were cold and numb which didn’t help the speed, but that went away eventually. Anyone who did or knows this course knows that the HILLS were NO JOKE. They hurt and almost needed to walk parts of it, but dug deep to get me to the finish. Once I came around the last turn I picked up the pace and crossed the finish of my first Olympic Triathlon.

Time: 49:00

Official Results:

After crossing the finish line, and getting my medal I felt so relieved. Jon was there to greet me for some sweaty hugs.  I immediately went to the food tent to get a banana and water. I had no idea on my splits or how I finished overall until Jon showed them to me. I then realized I had finished 2nd in my age group which made me pretty happy.

Finisher!!!

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I got a key chain for 2nd place female in the 30-34 age group.

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Congrats to my friend Steph who raced today. She’s also on the journey to Lake Placid 70.3 and I’m so glad we get to do this together.

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I can’t thank this guy enough for his support through this entire Ironman training cycle and for adjusting his own Ironman training (which meant skipping a swim) to spend the morning watching me race. Excited to have him a part of this 70.3 journey.

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After getting my award, cleaning up my transition area we headed to the car and back to the city to get some real food.

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We went to Atwater’s and grabbed some eggs, pancakes and coffee.

I basically was super lazy the rest of the day which meant ordering pizza from Homeslyce for dinner which was amazing. I got spinach, artichoke and mushroom on a gluten-free crust. Does anyone else love pizza (with or without the beer) post race?

Because every race is a learning experience, my friend Steph asked me to give her 3 takeaways…so here they are:

  1. Be confident and believe in myself…less self doubt
  2. That there is no need to panic in open water and that focus on breathing right from the start is KEY
  3. Continue to work on fine tuning nutrition/hydration for training and race day which means keeping a more detailed food diary

Shout out to my BFF Steph and her husband Matt for putting together THIS amazing prerace video that you should check out.

This now give me a benchmark for my next olympic distance race which is Diamond in the Rough Triathlon on July 8. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more improvements and maybe another podium finish!!

What’s next? Enjoying this recovery week and keeping focus as I head into week 12. Only 3 months to go!!

XX
Emily


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