Sunday, August 20, 2017

Luray International Triathlon: Seconds matter!

Yesterday I raced the Luray International, which was my first time racing there since 2011.  It's a popular and beautiful race in the Virginia region, drawing heavily from the DC and Richmond areas as well as from our Roanoke/Blacksburg corner of the state. The race includes a small pro field in an open/elite division.

Things started a little rough for me when something I ate on the way there Friday that did NOT agree with me. I "lost" most of my dinner and did not sleep well. Fortunately I felt OK enough when I got up the next morning and I was very happy to see my friend and training mate Janet (and her husband Gary) had made it to the race. They had traveled up the morning of the race after working very late the prior evening. They'd had almost no sleep!

I was super excited to finally meet Paralympian Patty Collins, who is also a coach with Team MPI. While I've worked with her for some time and we've communicated quite a bit, it's the first time we've been together in person!

I lined up for the swim with Janet hoping I could hang with her but she pulled ahead before the first turn! She is strong in the open water and just thrives in the swim.

Janet and me!

Lake Arrowhead

The water felt great and it was busy in the little lake, but not overly congested. I swam a 31:08 and came out just a bit over two minutes behind Janet on the 1500m swim.

I headed out on the bike and stuck to the plan Coach Jim had laid out for me in terms of target power and limits on surges. My legs felt decent but I was burping like crazy from whatever got me the day before. I eventually found Janet and Rebecca about halfway through the 26 mile course. I was happy to see I had the 2nd fastest female bike split among the age-groupers. I don't think it's a secret that I really enjoy the bike leg!

Gary and me in the same picture!

I came in from the bike as Gary was headed out on the run (or out for lap 2). The run was generally downhill out and uphill back on the two-loop course. It lulls you into a false sense of comfortableness in the first mile or so and then reality hits on the slog back up from the turnaround. On the plus side, my stomach settled in time for the run. It seemed like it was forever to start loop 2, then I got a second wind on the downhill and just did what I could to bring it home. It was not pretty and it was not fast. 

When I looked at results, I saw two master's athletes just ahead of me and was thrilled to see I snuck in as third master's. I was very surprised (and thought it was a mistake) to be announced as third overall. That's because the top five females were in an open/elite division, so the three of us were then top of the age-groupers.

The top three age-groupers were separated by just 37 seconds!! 2nd place started a wave ahead of us, so I wouldn't have seen her ahead as a target. Had I seen her 11 seconds ahead, who knows what would have happened. But, it's a good reminder that every second matters. [Full results here.]
  • 1st - Maribeth Malecki (age 53): 2:43:11
  • 2nd - Abigail Ruscetta (age 42): 2:43:37
  • 3rd - ME (age 50): 2:43:48

us master's athletes have wisdom and experience on our sides ;-)

I can't say I was feeling too positive on the hot, hilly, turn-y run. If you'd have asked me how I thought I was faring at that moment, I'd have said NOT well. It's a good reminder that we can't judge our own race while we are racing. Keep forging ahead to the finish and do the best you can with the conditions of the day!! You might just be surprised!

I look forward to cooler conditions in Rotterdam (remind me of that when I face the cold swim). 

Thanks to the best ever sherpa and photo-taker Bryan.