Sarah Second at the Jamestown Tri

 

Sarah has been hitting up the local triathlon circuit in her build-up to the New York City Triathlon later this month. Here are details from her latest race. 

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It seems like old news by now, but I’m finally getting around to gather my thoughts on the Jamestown Triathlon. After the race, I fell into a black hole of work which I’ve finally crawled out. I should know better than to put off a race report because the details start to fade soon after you cross that finish line and now the race—and everything I learned from it—seems a lot more fuzzy than it was two weeks ago. 

The Good: I finished second! In my first Olympic distance race in six years, this exceeded my expectations. My goal was a top-five overall finish, and, at best, winning my age-group. So, to cross the line as the first woman (only to be beaten by Rachel, who started five minutes behind me in the women’s 40+ wave) was a nice feeling and a really good start to the season. Plus, my finish time of 2:17:10 was about 15 minutes faster than I’d ever covered the Olympic distance. Granted, the course is FLAT. But my splits were much improved across the board. I’ll take it. 

Highlights of the morning included…

• Being first out of the water and on to the bike.

• Holding a strong enough pace on the bike (my NEW!! Felt DA4) that I didn’t get passed by any women until 30 minutes in. Still much to be improved here, though. 

• Overcoming a mental and physical meltdown on the run to post the second-fastest split of the day, to pass another woman late in the race and secure my second-place spot, and to turn in one of my fastest 10Ks ever. 

The Bad: Cramps, cramps, and more cramps. Possibly due to dehydration, low sodium, or just my body being out of whack with the heat, I suffered pretty severe cramping in my left leg during the swim, bike, and run. Like the kind of spasms that seize your leg from the butt down to the ankle, making it feel like it’s a wooden log you’re dragging behind you. When it happened to me in the swim, I kicked like crazy with the other leg to try to keep up my momentum. When it happened to me in T2, I limped into to transition, barely being able to walk, just praying it would go away so I could attempt a run. When my quads started to seize on the run, I gave up a good five times in my mind before convincing myself to just finish, even if it meant walking. But knowing that walking would make the cramps even worse, I kept putting one foot in the other, and eventually hit a stride that didn’t feel like a death march.

Lowlights of the morning included…

• Being kicked in the face and intentionally dunkedwhile attempting to pass some (slower) men in the swim from the wave before us. (Thanks dude.)

• Hitting a wall of men in the last stretch of the swim, forcing me to stand up in the shallow James River way too early and having to walk in the water for about 10 meters to get to the shore.  

• Limping into T1 and T2 trying to fight off leg spasms and not knowing whether I could even start the run. Good times. 

A lot of the tough things dealt to me that morning and pretty much par for the course in triathlon. There will always be people kicking you in the face, dunking you if they think you’re impeding their space (and, likely, I was). And I should have swam around that wall of people so I could have a faster finish out of the river. And had a lot more to eat and drink on the bike to avoid those cramps. Lessons learned. 

With two weeks behind me now, I’m a lot more satisfied about the results and itching to race again—and race smart, so I can be a little less miserable out there. 

The Stats

Swim: 25:16 (2nd overall; first in my wave)

Bike: 1:07:46 (14th overall)

Run: 40:47 (2nd overall; first woman to cross the line) 

--Sarah