Once I realized that the Saint Mary’s Triathlon Festival was two hours away, I knew it was going to be a solo trip. The folks at Saint Mary’s College very generously offered up their dorm rooms to athletes at the incredible price of $25/night and all you had to do was bring something to sleep in/on and shower toiletries. I took my sleeping bag and pillow and my shower tote and shoes that I usually have in my gym bag and headed down on Saturday afternoon.
I checked into the dorm around 3 and then the packet pick up didn’t officially open until 5 so I spent some time walking around the campus and looking at the course maps. I would’ve left later but I like to eat dinner early and knew I’d want to go to sleep early, too. One thing I didn’t research, and I usually do a TON of research is things in the area. Saint Marys City is a historic city but it is also in the middle of nowhere. So when I was looking for a place to eat dinner, there wasn’t anything “downtown” because there wasn’t an actual town. I ended up driving to a Korean/Japanese place about 15 minutes away and then stopped at a grocery store on the way back to get something for breakfast the next morning. Unfortunately, I had to make a middle of the night run to a gas station because I woke up and needed tampons.
I didn’t sleep great. It was warm and I was hot and the dorms were noisy and I left my ear plugs at home when I know better. I got up around 6, ate my breakfast and got dressed and went down to the start. I’d chosen to park my car and bike by the transition area and it was a five minute walk from the dorm. I got there and realized my car keys were still on the desk in the dorm so I had to walk back and get the keys and then back to my car. Transition closed at 7:45 and it was a little before 7:30 by the time I was finished setting up my space. The water temperature was 70 degrees so I wiggled into my wetsuit and headed down to the swim.
They warned us that there were sharp oyster shells in the beach area and as I warmed up and came in I felt them as I stood up. I noted that the flags in the water marked where the mats were that covered the shells so I’d make sure to swim all the way up to them.
I was in the third wave. They did the Olympic and Sprint on the same day, they just started the Oly first. They had to shorten the swim to two laps of the Sprint course, which I wasn’t thrilled about but was fine.
I’m not a great open water swimmer. I’m not a fast swimmer to begin with and my sighting is all over the place. I don’t use my GPS watch often but I really like to for swimming so I can see how well (badly) I did.
I chose to leave a pair of cheap flip flops by the swim exit so I could run more easily on the pavement and I think it helped. I was careful to swim all the way back to the flags but when I stood up I found that the mats had shifted and I sliced my foot open on a shell. I felt the pain but not fully until after the race when I changed into flip flops and I thought it was just a bad blister in a strange spot – nope, turned out I’d cut my foot pretty much first thing.
The bike was two loops and there was a killer headwind along the longest side. It was mostly flat, except for one nice descent after the headwind stretch. The second lap I was more prepared for the headwind and tried to stay in aero as much as I could. I felt really good on the bike and did a good job of drinking the Tailwind in my bottles. I’ve seen some nicer/more convenient bottle options that I might look into that aren’t so awkward as reaching behind me to grab a bottle.
The run was an out and back with a two loop circuit at the end. A nice person had a sprinkler out there for us to run through and it was so appreciated. It was a hot day by then, the forecast said 80 degrees but by the time I finished it was 87. The mile out and mile back in were unshaded and I really had to force myself to keep plodding along. It’s so ridiculous that when it’s hot I want to walk in the sun instead of keeping going and finishing sooner. I tried to run the entire course, but I settled for walking through the aid stations because I wanted to make sure I got enough water to drink.
My TriDot prediction was 2:52 (lol, I am not that fast TriDot, what are you thinking?) and my actual time was 3:18. My previous Oly time was 3:25, though I was also pregnant and tired all the time. My swim time was slower than expected, my bike pace was slower than what TriDot thought I could do but was the fastest I’ve ever done in a race (17 mph) and my run beat my TriDot prediction, so it was really kind of all over the place.
I placed third in my division and might have qualified for the Age Group National Championships this August. Mostly I’m really pleased with how positive I stayed the whole race. I had a couple of struggles in the run because it’s slower paced and I have less to focus on but I really think I have made a lot of progress with my mental game in saying encouraging things to myself.
I have one last triathlon up here in Maryland before I go back home to Georgia and I have zero goals for it other than to enjoy it and hopefully finish! My next big focus will be the Ironman Augusta 70.3 this fall, plus a sprinkling of other things thrown in for fun. Sa