Last weekend was the annual Bethel Tri. That's not the real name, but it's what we call it. Bethel is just a short 30 min up route 26 from our house. It's the town we frequent every weekend in the winter months to ski. In a way, it's a hometown race.
The weekend was super fun and pretty busy. On Friday afternoon, the Wilson clan (IronMatron Mary's family) piled into our party boat and moved into our little camp for the night. It was a blast for all of us. Mark and I have owned this place for almost 2 years now and we are so happy to share it with friends. We are watching our boys have a blast there this summer so we love sharing the Island life with our friends. Friday night we made lots of food, watched the kids reunite and then made smores by the campfire. Saturday morning Mary and I trekked to the mainland to do our pre-race bike/ run and then spent the rest of the day on the dock or the beach watching the kids play and teachign her daughter to waterski.
Once again, it was hard to leave.
But Saturday night we moved back into our home to prep for the race.
I was ready to race. I was mostly really happy to be back in my own land and racing with friends. (my last race was hours away and all by my lonesome.)
I also had oodles of family support again. My husband Mark was racing, his parents brought our kids, and my parents drove pretty far just to cheer us on again. They are all awesome!! Thanks to our Moms and Dads!!!
I went through my typical pre-race ritual. I choked down food, got overly chatty and annoying, set up transition and warmed up. As I feared, I ran out of time. I wasn't able to get a swim warm up in before they cleared the water. Darn. I really really need a swim warm up.
We lined up in our waves. The swim is in a little pond and the water was like bath water. They should have made it a no wetsuit swim. I alwasy think that though. But still...the water was too hot for me.
The swim is a clockwise course. The sun was shining. The first buoy was way off on the left. the waves were at least 4 min apart. THe water was all mine. Clear sailing. GO!
Off I went. I poured on the speed. But my arms felt floppy and ...like they needed a warm up! I always feel so much more tired when I don't warm up. I was gasping for air and trying to get into my zone.
Where is that buoy?
There was a kayak that had been lurking in front of it before we started. I headed to the kayak. I sighted and struggled. something felt wrong. just go!! I kept swimming hard. I started to get totally ticked off at the kayak! Why won't it MOVE so I can see the buoy??? I was so irritated. I had to say something. I sighed and yelled, "please move!" He yelled back, "RIGHT!!!!!!!!!" and he pointed.
I was so far off course, it wasn't even funny.
I was on the other side of the lake.
Later, my Dad told me he was standing on the deck watching and shaking his head. He kept saying, " Sherron, where is she going? Sherron?" Someone next to him said, "oh no, is that your daughter?"
I realized I usually have the wave in front of me to site off? I didn't realize this! That clean clear water messed with me!
Grrrrrrrrr. I lost my groove. I lost my concentration. I made a hard right swam like a sprinter trying to break the record in the 100. Myhead was down. I was not in the lead. There were dozens of white caps nearing that first buoy ahead of me.
I would have none of that. This is My race.
I decided at that point to refocus and get back in my spot. But I admit, I was rattled and worried. I lost a good portion of the lead I rely on.
The rest of the swim was uneventful. I swam hard and felt fine. I didn't feel spectacular and fast like some other races but I just focused on being solid.
Out of the water and up the hill. They don't have timing chips at this race (please, can you guys get them next year?) and this is an issue. The volunteers yelled, "what's your #?" I am sorry, and perhaps I am wrong here, but I am racing. I am trying to get my breathing in check after a hard swim, I am running to T1 trying to get my wetsuit off my arms, and for that matter, I barely remember my race#! I mumbled something but who knows if they heard me.
T1 was slow. I can't get my wetsuit off. The run to the bike was far. I had to put my garmin on b/c my bike computer is dead, blah blah. It just felt messy. But off I went and started hammering.
I felt really strong on the bike. Most of the course is a false flat. You can get a lot of speed up on that type of road.. I had fun. I passed oodles of men. I passed my husband and tried to slap him on the butt but I missed. He appreciated the attempt however. I only got passed by a few men, and eventually, I passed them back. I had people yell to me, "first woman!" I love that. I kept my head down and worked on keeping it that way.
The ride was about 14 miles. Just a fast and furious ride. It was fun.
T2 was fine...I'm sure it could have been faster but I moved through, donned the shoes, grabbed the rest and took off.
I felt very good to start the run. My stomach was fine. My legs were there. I ran sub 6:30 for a bit and then made the turn into the woods. The middle portion of the run is on a dirt road with lots of gravel and a fair amount of climbing. I caught a guy wearing all black and he turned and chatted wiht me. I attempted a smile but basically got the point across that I was working my tail off and any small talk would have to wait. We ran together for a while and then I pushed past him.
I wondered how I was doing. I didn't know where the miles were. I just knew I was running around the lake. As I rounded the corner I began to hear the crowds again and I knew I was close. I was still in the lead and had a feeling it was mine that day.
I ran down the road through what seemed a gauntlet of family and friends. Andy and the kids, AJ and his kids, Mark's parents, My parents, Christine and her kids, and then my boys...and we even slapped hands as I headed in.
It was fun. That's the stuff that makes these races so fun. Smiles and support before, during and after. I loved it.
I finished and caught my breath. My friend Mike was done and already snapping photos. (got him by 23 seconds. :) Heehee...had to say it MIke.) Another friend and one of our local pros, Mike Ciazzo was done and dressed. He blew the field away. It was a comeback race for him after a serious bike crash this summer so it was awesome to see him out there moving fast. (of note: Mike was 4th overall at Ironman Lake Placid last summer) Mary came flying in just a few minutes behind me! It was awesome. We mumbled a quick, "hey, let's 1-2 this thing." before we started and we did. Love it. One of my best HS friends, Lexi, was also there and she had a fabulous race! watch out for Lex in races to come. Mark, my husband, finished with a super strong run. And now, he's more determined than ever before to put some solid time in on the roads to have that bike feel Better at his next race. My dear friend Mary Lou was also shining on the course. she had a HOrrendous crash at Rev3 in June requiring ambulance transport and surgery a few days later. This was another comeback race and she did Great! there were lots of other friends out that day: Beryle, Jen, Tom, and Peter. JUst a fun day to be out racing.
Next Up: our Big 10K of the summer. Beach2Beacon in Cape Elizabeth. The race pulls in >6000 runners with elite runners from around the world taking the top spots. Joan Benoit-Samuelson created the race in our hometown. this will be it's 13th running. Another great day is guaranteed.