Monday, July 30, 2007

Race Report: Bucker Mission Man Triathlon

"Triathlon is NOT for sissies." - Our Mom, after cheering us on at Saturday's race

We showed up to Saturday's race with a different attitude -- and it paid off physically, mentally, and spiritually. After warming up with our coach and fellow Triangle friends, we gave our mom a hug and lined up behind the first wave of swimmers to participate in the pre-race prayer and national anthem. It doesn't matter how old we are, having our mom there to cheer us on was wonderful and the national anthem always gets us a little choked up.

Ray had just finished one the toughest weeks of her life -- took final exams in her last pre-requisites for the doctoral program that starts in January, closed on her new home, and supported her husband through finishing his nursing school thesis. Sleep-deprived and unsure of the day would bring, she approached the race as she would a long workout and looked to simply enjoy the day.

Rob had been reading The Triathletes Guide to Mental Training and was looking to avenge some of the mental gremlins that plagued her last race.

The Swim

750 yards in flat open water. Ray started at the front of our large wave and was the third woman out of the water! Rob hung near the back and for the first time stayed completely calm and even throughout the swim -- even when she was caught in traffic, kicked in the face, and got a bit off course!

Ray - 13:32
Rob - 19:37

We exited the water running up a boat ramp and quickly transitioned to our bikes.

Ray - 1:04
Rob - 0:51

The Bike
15 miles on a beautiful, gently rolling course. Our strategy was to give 90%, while trying not to let a fellow age-grouper pass us (AND to avoid the penalties we've both received earlier in the season!). Ray felt more confident than ever on her new tri-bike and Rob averaged over 19 miles per hour.

Ray - 48:06
Rob- 46:57

Despite the narrow shoot and traffic, Ray perfected her flying dismount! We both transitioned very quickly and headed out for a run we knew would hurt!

Ray - 0:53
Rob - 0:49

The (Trail) Run
The run course has to be one of the best parts of this race - along with the yummy post-race food and motivating, organized, and cheerful volunteers! After surviving a quick uphill out of transition, we headed into the woods for an out and back 3.1 miles We'd previewed the course during warm-up and knew where to expect the hills (small steps, big arms, small step, big arms!). Positive mental talk was definitely key to this hilly and hot finish. We saw each other and gave our usual thumbs-up at the turn-around and passed a few fellow age groupers in the process, which built our confidence. We both finished strong, as evidenced by the very loud, PRIMAL groan Robyn let out in the shoot -- apparently scaring the dude in front of her who stopped short of the timing mat as she flew by him.

Ray - 29:17
Rob - 27:52

The Bottom Line
We both loved this race. Robyn saw some time and strategy improvements and Rachel was happy that she didn't back out, despite a very, very hectic pre-race week. We both finished in the top half of our age group and the top half of all women racing. Overall, we found the joy inside the challenge and drove home with full hearts and wide smiles.