Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Took the Fast Track at the Off the Rails Sprint Tri

photo credit: Zac Hosack and Malin Fjällström-Hosack

I wasn't sure that I wanted to do this race. It was the same day as my dad's birthday, our first without him, and a lot of emotion churned up for me kind of unexpectedly the day before. Racing well takes a lot of positive energy and I wasn't feeling positive OR energetic. I was also coming off a lazy, gluttonous week of family vacation in Cancun the week before.

But of course I am glad I went and raced with friends. There's nothing like a race to push us to find that extra gear that is not available in training.

We began with a 3-lap, 300m pool swim, seeded by our self-reported 100m swim time. I was seeded bib #22 (but chip #28 which alarmed me briefly but dramatically at 7:58 with an 8 am race start), and I ended up ranked #21 on the swim. I only had to pass one breast-stroking guy on the swim and didn't get passed so that worked out pretty well. I kept hearing what Coach Tom had said to us: "finish your stroke, think about those sexy triceps!" LOL!

photo credit: Zac Hosack and Malin Fjällström-Hosack

bike mount, photo credit: Ann Stinnett

I'm a wide-open biking kind of girl so the sections of the course with tape arrows on asphalt directing us between planters, around medians, and through turns was a little challenging. But the longer stretch along the railroad tracks was a lot of fun. At just over 9 miles, it's a short course that requires maximum effort.

photo credit: Ann Stinnett

The 5k run was on the mostly shaded Tinker Creek Greenway. I took off feeling AWESOME...for the first mile. Then it always becomes a bit of work! But at that point my mind filled with the same thought I've had at every race since my dad passed away - of him painstakingly sanding and painting every vertical spire of our wrought-iron railing on our front porch a few summers ago. He enjoyed projects and if I didn't have any for him, he would find some! As with all he did, he worked patiently, he paid attention to detail, he did not relax his high standards nor stop before it was finished, and most importantly, he did it all with love.

photo credit: me haha

As I run with that vision filling my mind, I think to run patiently (in the moment), with attention to detail (cadence, relaxed shoulders, flow), maintain focus, and do it with love. Take it one spire, one mile at a time. 

Just past the turn-around, in a deja vous moment from last year's race, the very strong Mark Long (who went on to finish 4th overall) passed me by. I paced behind him as long as I could then settled in for my own finish - which was sufficient for a strong win [Full results here]. I shared the overall podium with Taylor Jennings for the second time - we did this also in 2012 at the TriAdventure race!  We won roof-mount bike racks from Yakima which was cool!!

photo credit: Bryan Walsh

After the race, my mom and I were texting about my dad and she said, "you ran with his hand on your back." Yeah, I did :-)

Thank you to Ann, Zac, Malin and Bryan for the photos; to Roanoke Parks and Rec for the excellent race; to Bryan for supporting my racing as well as the Roanoke Tri Club and for being an excellent Sherpa (aside from telling others to catch me on the run!); to my mom and sister, husband and kids for their support especially this year; and to Coach Jim who has been guiding me through the ups and downs for 7 years now!!

I'll race again this weekend at Bath County, and then not again until Nationals in August. It's a busy July for the family so I'll shift focus to them (and to a good training block ;-)