Over the weekend we traveled up to Boston for a family gathering and baptism for SJ's cousins. Fearing that the weekend would be a complete loss training-wise, I decided to find a race to jump into ensure that I would at least get some exercise. I thought I'd find a 5 or 10k, but it just so happened that the Boston Triathlon was on.
So along with our Sunday best, I packed my bike and race wheels into the back of the car and off we went. We spent Saturday visiting family and introducing Amy to her cousins who had come from Norway, Calgary and Toronto. Sunday morning (after Amy slept for through the night for the first time in 3 weeks), I got serious about the race.
The race was a modified sprint - 1/2 mile swim in the beach off of South Boston, 9 mile bike and 4.5 mile run. The salty bay water was perfectly flat, which made for an easy and uneventful swim. The only challenging part was the run in from the beach. That's one thing I haven't done in forever. Unfortunately, I had a slow start and missed getting on Jarrod Shoemaker's feet. It would have been good practice to try to stay with him. Instead, I ended up swimming alone and in the process swam the course a little too wide and tacked a bunch of extra seconds on to my swim time. But the purpose of the swim was served: I got to practice racing in my new Roka wetsuit.
The bike consisted of two pancake flat loops with two neutral sections for turning around. On the first lap, the course was empty the pros started first, but the second lap was full of people who started in later waves and were just starting their first lap. I knew this was going to be the case, so I went all out for the first loop and then just played it safe once the course got busy. I felt ok, but just as I was getting going, the bike ride was over. I came in to T2 in 4th overall with a big gap to the second place female.
The run was out and back in a narrow coned off lane on the far right of the bike course. When I started running, I felt great. Without even thinking about it, I took off fast, just like my old self. It was a huge surprise that I was able to run fast with nothing hurting. I just went with it for as long as I could. But at about 2.5 miles, I started to feel like I went out to fast. I tried to hold on to the pace, but I ended up getting passed by a very fast moving Jess Barton at about mile 3. My plan for the race was to just run fast to 3 miles anyway (since I am racing a full triathlon next weekend), so I just cruised in and finished second. My fans (SJ, his mom and Amy) were waiting at the finish chute, so I grabbed Amy and we crossed the line together. She's now "finished" races in Brooklyn, Philly, NYC, and Boston.
From the finish line, I went directly back to the transition, collected my things and jumped in the car to race back across town to Belmont so that we could make it to the festivities on time. This meant that I had to miss the awards ceremony and also wasn't able to cheer on the other athletes. I'm sorry about that. It's not my style to miss podium presentations, but I had to put family first on this one!
I'm still shocked that I was able to run hard and feel good doing it yesterday. Even though I didn't quite have the fitness to hold the pace for more than a few miles, it's a huge improvement. Not long ago I was carrying around 30+ extra pounds and wondering whether I would be able to do anything athletic ever again!
It's refreshing and motivating to feel like work I've put in is starting to pay off. I'm actually excited for (and not dreading!) my next run workout. One of these races, I'll return to being someone who is feared on the run. Next up is the Rev3 Wisconsin Dells Olympic Distance Triathlon on August 11.