We had a nice road trip to New Glarus and got there with enough time to explore a little bit. The town is beyond charming. The surrounding countryside is beyond beautiful. If I could move there tomorrow, I would. We found the town hall and I registered for the race. The transition area was right next to the pool along with a nice playground area which was great for the kids. After pizza and a hotel swim we called it a night, and I tried to get some sleep. I did. I really tried. But I tell you, those jitters they like to keep you awake!
Luckily I still felt great before the race.
If not a tad bit nervous. Seeing everyone with their fancy logos and sponsored jerseys, with their glitzy gear and fancy tri tools, well it's intimidating and it made me wonder what the heck I was even doing there! Made me wonder if I was perhaps an imposter.
Things went great though! I was surprised to learn that I much preferred the open water swim of the Trek to the New Glarus pool swim. Wave one went in at 8:15 and my wave didn't make it in until nearly 10. That's a whole lot of waiting around if you ask me! They kept it at 4 to a lane and tried to group people together according to speed, but you just never know how fast you'll actually go during a race. I had some congestion issues in my lane and definitely lapped 2 people but it was clumsy and time consuming. I opted to not use my flip turns and so the wall ate up a lot of time as well. Still, I felt amazing coming out of the swim. The kids were yelling and cheering, Brendan was whistling (he's got an impressive whistle!) and Ruari even ran me all the way down to the transition area.
One of my main goals was to get my transition times down. At the Trek my T1 was over 3 minutes and my T2 was over 4 minutes (thanks to the bib snafu), so I was really concentrating on getting out of there quickly. I didn't even bother with my towel, just slid my shoes on, snapped my helmet, grabbed my sunglasses, a handful of energy snacks and took off with my bike.
Let me just remind you that the bike is without a doubt my weakest event. Not only is it my weakest, but I also haven't trained it since the Trek, like not even once. Add to that the fact that the New Glarus bike route was about 15 times hillier than the Trek route and also 4 miles longer, and well.....you get the idea. It was NOT pretty. At one point I actually had to get off my bike and run it up the rest of a monstrously steep incline. It was like a cartoon, I was pedaling and pedaling and slowly coming to a stop despite the fact that I was still trying to pedal. Yeah, not good. One of the hills was, I kid you not, an entire mile long. Have you ever had to stand up on your pedals while in second gear? It was a first for me too. I never had a moment where the bike and I were one and the bike was working harder than I was. Nope, didn't happen this time, but I did do a lot of yelling. Like, out loud, only the cows could hear me yelling. The bike was lonely. Since I was in the second to last wave of swimmers and was bringing up the rear end of the race, there weren't many people out there on those country roads. I passed one biker and got passed by two others (who would have made excellent pacers had I actually been able to keep up with them) but mainly it was quiet out there. Quiet and extremely hilly!
I was so glad to get back for the run, but I have to admit, I was wiped out by then. It was after 11 and the sun was beating down. The last thing I wanted to do was run for 3 miles, or for any distance really, but I racked my bike and got out of T2 in 47 seconds, which is a major improvement from last time! The run was pretty quiet too, although some of the racers who had already finished were lining the streets and volunteers were yelling out encouragements. I just can't get over how far a few simple words can take you. I kept wanting to say "thank you" but my mouth wasn't really functioning properly at that point and I needed it for breathing so all I could do was nod and smile and keep trudging along. I probably should have driven the route ahead of time, or even walked it, but I didn't and so I had no idea where I was on the way out. Luckily it was an out and back and so once I reached the turn around I felt better, but boy was I unprepared. I think for my next race I'll at least scout the run route ahead of time, just to get an idea. Maybe not the bike route though, I think if I had seen those hills ahead of time I may have very well backed out of the race entirely!
As I came into the last homestretch, the girls were waiting on the sidelines and they ran me in. This alone is what made it possible for me to sprint to the finish line.
I kept hearing the words "finish strong" in my head.
Strong and tired.
It was a great race. I finished 6th in my age group (to be fair, there were only 15 women in my age group, but still). I was only 30 seconds behind 5th and a minute behind 4th, so I'm on the right track. And I am thrilled to have completed my second triathlon sprint. Even more thrilled to find that I want to continue doing them! Turns out, I'm not an imposter, I'm a triathlete.
Plus, I feel I should mention that they had the BEST post race snacks ever. The Trek had dry bagels and squishy apples, but these guys in New Glarus know how to put together a spread. There was fudge, cookies, fresh peaches, cheese and more fudge. OH.MY.FUDGE, it was sooooo good. Mmmmm. Plus free beer at a cute little beer garden in town. Totally worth the hills!
And, yes, I did wear my medal during the car ride home, because I am in fact a giant dork. The sun was shining, the clouds were dancing and I was singing along to the radio feeling like a total rock star. It was a beautiful end to a beautiful day.