So, I am a little late with the race report, but better late than never, right?
As I mentioned previously, my friend from high school (Michelle) and I met up again after not seeing each other in 11 years. It turned out that she was an Ironman triathlete too, but she lives in Minnesota now. So, we picked a race in between our homes to do together. As I'm not trained well enough for a half, we picked the sprint distance of the Rockman Triathlon in Rockford, IL.
I drove up to Illinois on Friday morning after a wonderful night's visit with another high school friend and her family in the Toledo area. I made the mistake of waiting to stop for a pit stop until I hit Illinois not knowing I would be smack dab in Chicago traffic. By the time I hit that rest stop, I really HAD TO GO! I eat like crap on long drives (don't judge me!). I decided I deserved a McDonald's hamburger. The problem was they were still serving breakfast. WTF! It was 11:30! Well, apparently, not in Illinois. I forgot about central time.
After we met up at the hotel (a Staybridge Suites - highly recommend with their free laundry room and large room with a kitchen), we decided to go swim in the race lake. One of the race guys told us we'd need to enter at the dock away from the beach, because the resident director (known by the locals as Hasselhoff) wouldn't let racers onto the beach or out on the course from the beach. The problem was the entry at the dock was DISGUSTING! Michelle made me go first. We swam a loop of the half-Ironman course in around 20 or so minutes. The weeds in the lake were so high that they literally wrapped around my arms and totally freaked me out. There was no way I was going back for another loop. RD said the lake had been treated, so I can't imagine what the weeds were like before. Getting out of the water by that dock was even more disgusting. We had brown stuff all over our wetsuits and faces - GROSS!
Neither of us was well trained for the race, so we decided to make it a training weekend and just train through the race. On Saturday morning, we headed out from our hotel on our bikes to the race course. When we got to the transition area, we actually got to meet the RD. He was funny and understandably stressed, but he educated us on the transition flow and sprint swim course (thankfully on a non weedy section of the lake). He is also the one who told us about Hasselhoff. We then headed out to do the sprint course and then ride back to the hotel. We did 30 miles total.
The next morning the forecast called for rain. Boo! It held off until the half-Iron folks headed out on the swim. We had to wait an hour to begin our swim. Before the National Anthem, the RD announced that the guitarist for Cheap Trick, Rick Nielson, was there. My hubby is a big fan and had told me the day before that Cheap Trick was from Rockford and that I should let him know if I met any of them. Yah right! Well, soon after the announcement, this guy in a Cheap Trick shirt walks up to us, tells us how glad he is to see us and gives both of us a hug. I was grinning from ear to ear. I checked later and it was definitely him. Very cool!
Soon enough, we were headed on the swim. I just concentrated on smooth strokes and staying straight. I hit every buoy dead on. My swim was a little slower than I'd like, but I was pleased with my sighting. Of course, there was a big hill to climb to get to transition. According to the results, I was 79th out of 122 swimmers. By the time I got out of T1, I was in 65th place. Goes to show you that practicing transitions is very important!
As you know, the bike is my favorite, so I started passing people like it was my job. I passed one guy, who then passed me back, but then I passed him and didn't see him again on the bike. Remember this guy because he comes into the story later. No one else passed me on the bike. By the time I finished the bike, I was in 41st place and in 40th place by the time I hit the run (again, transitions!).
The run course was hilly, but I don't mind hills. I'd like to say I didn't have much giddyup, but I think I just couldn't motivate. I was having too much fun chatting with others around me. The guy from the bike part came up to me and asked if I was the girl on the Cervelo. Now, we all know that there are lots of Cervelos out there, but I knew he was talking about me. I said "Yep". He said "Man, I tried to hang with you, but I couldn't." It made me feel good. It also made me wonder why I don't just race bikes instead of doing the triathlon stuff.
So, I finished the run and ended up in 59th place overall out of 122. My friend Michelle who is a much better swimmer, comparable biker and runner could not be caught. She finished over 2 minutes ahead of me and was 46th place. I was 5th in our age group out of 15 (13th woman out of 44). Michelle was 2nd in the age group and 9th female.
Here are my times:
Swim plus run up beach: 11:23
Bike: 38:23 (19.4 mph pace)
Run: 28:15 (9:07 pace)
Total time: 1:20:47
Given the shape I'm in and that I ran a half-marathon last weekend on little training, I'm proud of my performance. It was also a great way to catch up with an old friend and to experience a new shared interest together!