It’s Race Time!

kandmAfter several weeks of Ironman training, it felt great last week to switch over to race mode and test my fitness leading up to this weekend’s Door County half-ironman triathlon. It was also a week of firsts: my first race of the season, first aquathon in two years, first open water swim in a Madison lake this season, and my first ever-road race. It was also the first time I crossed a finish line in first, but ended up third.

The interesting catch to last Thursday’s aquathon (1000m swim followed by a 5k run) was that participants had the opportunity to take time off their overall time by consuming food in transition. Each tray of wings, can of beer, or cupcake consumed was good for two minutes off a participant’s race time (up to 8 minutes). It’s a fun idea, but I had doubts about my ability to consume wings and cupcakes and then run a hard 5k. And I figured the time it would take me to eat a cupcake would probably cancel out any kind of advantage gained. So I bypassed the food table. And in the end, although I finished first, two women moved ahead of me in the final standings due to their iron stomachs.  I guess I have some work to do on my cupcake transitions!

I still had a great time and it was wonderful to see and catch up with so many friends. Race-wise, I felt especially good during the swim. Although I’ve been training exclusively in the pool, I felt really comfortable navigating the open water. And the run went relatively well, too. There were definitely people gaining on me, and my legs were not comfortable nor happy running fast, but I was able to gut it out and finish. And after the race, I enjoyed a few of those transition snacks.DSC00303

Saturday’s Bluemounds Classic was my very first road race, put on by my team, MadCity Velo. I volunteered my time before the race serving as the co-cookie coordinator—meaning that I helped coordinate the efforts of 8 bakers and more than 200 cookies for the post-race celebration. Sounds like my kind of job, eh? At the last minute, I decided to participate in the race, figuring it was a great opportunity to get in some very challenging hill training. The course is 24 miles, includes 2 laps of a beautiful 9-mile loop in the unglaciated region of western Dane County near Brigham Park, and finishes with an infamous four-mile climb up County Highway F to a summit finish. There were about a dozen or so women who started the race. I felt lucky to have a teammate who was generous enough to show me the ropes. We took turns pulling and she clued me in on race strategy tactics. In the end, we finished 3rd and 4th. My legs definitely felt the burn afterward. And I’ll also admit to indulging in more than my fair share of  cookie sampling post race.

This weekend I’m off to Door County to participate in the Door County half-ironman triathlon on Sunday. It’s one of my favorite races—it’s really well run and in such a beautiful spot. I see this as my “A” race of the season (more so than Ironman Wisconsin in September), so I’m going to give it my all. It’s also my first triathlon in almost two years. I feel ready and excited…not only to race, but also for a weekend away in one my favorite places.

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