I just competed in my second sprint triathlon this past weekend and I finished 4th out of 9 girls in my age group. Not bad, not bad at all. But I missed 3rd place by a second, literally 1 second. I finished with a time of 1:08:04 the girl a head of me finished with a time of 1:08:03. I was that close to a podium finish. I was mad, and I wasn’t mad at the girl who beat me by 1 second, I was mad at myself. Where did I lose that 100 milliseconds? Where could I have gone faster? Pushed myself harder? My mind was racing with so many emotions that I didn’t know what to think. I let myself be mad for a while but looking back at the race I really did awesome. Especially with how my race day started….
My wonderful support crew (aka. my boyfriend) was to be designated driver for my race. But, alas my driver fell threw. He decided to go out the night before and had one too many drinks. He didn’t get home until 3am and we were set to leave at 6am. For those of you who think 3 hours of sleep is enough to sober up, it’s not. I couldn’t get him to get out of bed to save my life. I made the executive decision to get a ZipCar at 5:30am. I booked the car online and ran, literally ran, to the garage to pick it up.(Guess I am warmed up for the race, I thought to myself.) I got back at 5:50am, kicked my boyfriend’s butt into gear and loaded up my stuff. I really thought this would throw off my good mood and ruin my race mentality but I didn’t let it get to me. I just thought to myself “Good thing I’m pretty awesome.”
Fast forward to the race, and my swim went really well. I was probably inspired from Rick and Dick Hoyt, the famous father and son duo, start the race off. This triathlon was their 1,100th race. I was absolutely blown away by the love and dedication of one man to his son. It was amazing to see Dick pull his son in a inflatable boat, the man is 73 years old! I hope to be his age and racing in my 1,100th race.
After the Hoyt’s took off I had to wait awhile for my wave to start. I entered into the beginners wave and it was the last wave. So there was a lot of waiting. Luckily, I didn’t have to deal with a wetsuit! My past two attempts with my new wetsuit failed on me completely, my whole top filled with water and it was tough. This time I was kitted out with a bright neon suit (I partially wore it so my really hungover boyfriend could spot me easily.) The water was 83 degrees and half way through I thought to myself, ‘This isn’t refreshing at all.’ Yuck, I exited the water and ran to the transition area.
My bike was awesome. It was a 9mi route with rolling hills. I crushed it. My average speed was 16mph and my fastest speed was 33mph. (Not bad for hardly riding my bike this month…actually at all.) I felt good.
I transitioned out to the run quickly and hit the road. It was only a 3mi run and I told myself “Just run hard.” I let my legs get used to carrying my weight again after a fast bike ride and stepped up my pace a little to about 8:30min/mi. Average pace, but I decided to take it slow until the last mile. That’s when things got interesting…
I have a tendency not to turn around and see who is closing in on me. As I hear people approach me from behind I let the anticipation and nerves drive me a little harder. I hit the last mile and hear fast footsteps, I don’t turn around. I assume it was the really fit 40 year old woman I just saw passing me. I feel someone grab my arm and say, “Come with me.” I glanced down at her calf and she’s 24, it was one of my age group competitors. She picked up her pace and I picked up mine. We were running side by side for the last mile. I thought to myself, “Wow, this is what it’s all about. To be truly racing.” I was filled with adrenaline, but I was still conscious of my heart rate. I wasn’t wearing a monitor but I was breathing heavily enough to judge it was rising fast. I kept the pace with her for 4min then she backed off. I kept my pace (about 7:30min/mi) and ran until I saw the gate leading to the finish line. I had about .25mi to go and the girl pulls up next to me and she pulls up fast. I pick up my speed and it’s an all out battle to the finish line. She pulls ahead of me just a touch, probably 3 seconds ahead of me. And I think to myself as she closes in on the finish line, “Let her go she has it.” She crosses the finish line before I do. I couldn’t tell by how many seconds, I was just so winded I could hardly stand up. I shook her hand and congratulated her.
I just raced my hardest. My competitive spirit was thrilled! I was on a high. It felt awesome to be giving it all I had against someone else. Finding out I lost the podium by 1 second sucked. Like really sucked. It was a wake up call for me. I realized how close you can be to lose a podium finish. I am sure all triathletes (amateurs and professionals) have faced a millisecond loss like I have. I have to remind myself this was only my 3rd triathlon. If I am getting close to that podium now, imagine what I can do in the future! It was that one second, and that second humbled me and showed me I am good at this. I cannot wait for my next race.
– Train Hard. Tri Harder.