Monday, September 26, 2011

Iron Girl 2011 (pics included)

I DID IT! I completed my first multi-sport event and I actually placed better than what I expected. I had the best group of supporters there to support me and ofcourse my sister stuck by me the whole time even though I'm sure that she could have completed it much faster than I was going.

The 7th Annual Iron Girl Bloomington Duathlon was set to start at 7:30 am. The transition area where I had to rack my bike opened at 5. I thought I was going to have to be there that early just for my sanity. We didn't end up leaving my parent's house until 5 and made it to the event site within a half hour. It didn't feel too cold when we got there but I was glad I was wearing a long sleeved Under Armour under my long sleeved running shirt my sister bought me. It seemed to get colder as the morning wore closer to the start time. After racking my bike, we walked around the event site and relaxed a little as the sun came up over the Bloomington skyline. At one point, it did start raining. We weren't expecting any rain and I think it made the air even colder.

14-29 yrs wave
The wave start for this race started with the oldest competitors first and the youngest age group last. I was in the youngest group of women, 14-29. The woman with the red visor actually won the race. I believe she also won it last year. One of the things I really liked about this race was the range of abilities. There were elite racers mixed in with novices. I'm sure the elites don't really like it too much but they can get passed us slower folks pretty quickly. About five minutes before the start of my wave, I made sure to warm up so that I wouldn't get any shin splints like the last race when I didn't take any time to warm up.

Race Beginning, I look super nervous

Alyssa smiling the whole way, I think I was tearing up.
And we are off! My sister was smiling the whole way through the starting line, or whenever we passed a camera one of our cheerleaders was holding. I admit, I felt pretty good on the first 2 mile run! We passed the first water station without taking anything. I thought the water station was at the 1 mile mark and I was freaking out that I ran an 8 min/mi pace! I was wrong though because we came around the bend to find the mile marker. It was great having my sister there on that run because she pushed my pace and we just kept going. She told me she hadn't seen me run so far since high school. I felt pretty good about that one. I completed the whole two mile loop without stopping to walk.
Finishing the first run, into transition
Transition sucked because we had to run the whole length of it to get to our bikes and then run the whole length again to get out of transition. My bike was one of the last ones on the rack. It was kind of a bummer but I knew running was my weaker of the two sports. I was hopeful that I would pass a lot of people on the bike route.

It was strange my legs adjusting from the running to being on the bike. I found a great pace about 2 miles into the bike loop. I was warned that the loop was hilly, but hilly is relative. I felt like the hills were pretty manageable and nothing compared to the hills in the Madison area. I was right about passing a bunch of people on the bike. It has always been my strongest sport. It was hard for me to pass women that were off their bikes, either from injuries, broken bikes or just plain giving up. I'm sure I would have kept going even if I had to get off my bike and walk it. It was a gorgeous ride. I finished the ride in 1hr 29 min. My goal was to finish it in 1:30 so I was right at goal and I probably passed 30+ people over the course of the two loops.

Out of Transition into our second run
Transition number two was pretty much at the same time as transition one at 4 minutes, which is really long. I was having an issue because some other lady put her bike over my stuff and where my bike was supposed to go. So I had to move some bikes to the side to make room for my bike. I was surprised I jogged all the way out of transition and jogged just passed to where my family was standing with their cowbells. I felt my calves tightening hard just after that and I had to walk up the hill.  Just after the hill my sister made a goal to run to the lamp post at the end of the downhill. I made it to that post and kept going. I was taking baby steps on my run. I was running pretty slow but I did run! I walked another 30 seconds or so until we got to the water station where I downed a couple of small glasses of Gatorade to up my electrolytes to make my legs stop cramping. (Next time I will carry some on my bike, lesson learned). I ran the whole last mile without stopping to walk. My sister was talking me through it and encouraging me the whole way. She was giving me pointers to keep my mind off the pain and numb toes. She help me open up my lungs and keep the air moving through them easily. I was finding that I was hunching over towards the end.

Final turn before the finish line
I picked up the pace as I came down the final stretch before the turn towards the finish line. I wanted to look good for the crowd and my family! They had to think I ran that strong the whole way!

Final Stretch
Crossing the Finish Line!

I finished this race with a better standing that what I expected. I really just wanted to finish, and I did,  but I finished 797th out of 1105! I was hoping for the top 1000 of participants and I came in 200 under that! Ok, so here are the official numbers: first 2 mile run: 21:47 (a new min/mi PR, sub 11 min), 22 mile bike ride: 1:29:14, second 2 mile run: 26:16, overall time: 2:25:15. I wanted to say thanks again to my wonderful sister Alyssa who stuck with me the whole time. Also thanks to my hubby Pat, my mom and dad, my greatest friend Christina and Ann from Twelve-In-Twelve for coming to cheer me on! You all pushed me a little harder! Also thanks to everyone else for the huge amounts of encouragement!

I would recommend this event, or any Iron Girl event, to any beginner! It was well organized. The entrance fees were a little steep at $90.

I should be getting ready for work. I hope to write about my mental hurdles in the next day or so and I want to talk about some new goals too!

1 comment:

  1. I'm so happy for you, I cried reading this. Congrats and I'm so proud and excited. Way to rock it!!!!