John Tanner Sprint - May 5, 2003

I never thought that I would write one of these, but since I used a lot of the great tips that I picked up from other folk's RRs I felt I had give back!

John Tanner State Park (Tri the Parks Series) in Carrollton, GA
600m swim
11.2 mile bike
5k run

Short version:
This race was run really well, everything was well marked and spaced out very well so kudos to the race director and the tri blue sky org. It was a great experience for my first USAT sanctioned tri.
Lessons Learned - #1:warm up in the water for 15 min or so, not just take a quick "dip"; #2: squeeze H2O bottle to clean feet in T1 works perfectly!; #3 train bricks!; #4 this sport is home to some of the nicest people and is SO MUCH FUN!!!
Times: Swim (600m) - 13:35; Bike (11.2 miles) 37:19 (includes T1 and T2); Run (5k) 23:39; Grand Total 1:14

Going into the race my public goal was to "do my best" but my private goal was to finish in 1:15. This was my 2nd tri, my first being the Orlando Danskin last year (which is an awesome way for women to get into triathlon). My friend Christine is my long distance training buddy and was flying in from Minnesota to run the race with me. Our husbands are our cheering section/pit crew and were very sweet to put up with us and our last minuet "oh! I forgot... in the car" requests while setting up our transition spots.

Upon arriving at the park I noticed the atmosphere was much more "intense" than the Danskin race, in the best way possible. Christine was borrowing my mountain bike and she was nervous that it was the only mtn bike that she saw on any of the racks... lots of really nice bikes and people who looked very organized and ready to compete. We both had a moment of "what are we doing here!?!".

The announced the water was 72 degree and wetsuit legal, but it didn't matter to us as we didn't have wetsuits! Well, we realized 72 degree water was warmer than the 62 (or so) degree air so we got in the water to warm up. Here is Lesson #1 of the day - warm up for 15 min in the water, just swimming easily. At the danskin I had a total panic attack in the water, this time, no panic! I attribute it all to swimming in the lake instead of sitting on the beach getting nervous, because when I first started warming up I got that panic attack all over again, but I wasn't racing so I was able to calm down and figure out that I did in fact know how to swim, however slowly!

So pretty soon, the race starts and they are starting all the women together (only 55 of us!) and we are off!!! Now, I have to say I got clocked on the head and back a couple of times, but as we know that's all part of the "fun" so I tried to stay calm and get into a zone, but that never really happened, but I made in through swim, checked the watch and saw 13 something, uh oh, already behind schedule. It was at that moment that I decided to not worry about time, just go as hard as I could.

T1 - feel pretty good about this one, but don't know exact time. This is where Lesson #2 comes up and actually a big THANK YOU to whoever wrote about the squeeze water bottle to clean off your feet trick! It worked like a charm. The best part was hearing my husband yell "don't forget your helmet!" (see what I mean, he is a great pit crew).

Bike - okay, this I was nervous about b/c it was my first race with my new trusty steed my xmas gift to replace my mtn bike (Cervelo One). I always felt like I didn't deserve it because I hadn't "paid my dues" for long enough before buying a road bike... boy am I glad I didn't wait! . I did most of my training on the trainer in our basement, just because of time constraints and unwillingness to be roadkill. We had done a couple of long rides in N GA on the weekends, but I was still nervous. Anyhow, the bike part was SO MUCH FUN!!! I was able to pass a few folks, and then when I was start to feel really fast, this great lady passed me like I was standing still and I though to myself "game on!" so I raced to catch up with her and we pretty much swapped with each other for the rest of the bike segment. so a big THANK YOU to her, because she was a great motivator and really nice! I started feeling really good around mile 10 but at that point I was almost done. So, rolling into T2 looked down at the computer and saw 33 min... yeah, my bike goal had been under 35 so I was really happy.

T2 - Wasted sometime trying to find my stuff on my rack as I was inexplicably lost due to the fact that somebody re-racked their bike right over my "spot". Once I located my stuff, I wasted some time getting socks on sticky feet but Yankz are my new best friend. This time I was entertained with "hun, don't forget to take OFF your helmet!" from my husband.

Run - Legs felt like LEAD. Lesson #3 - MAKE time to train bricks! I never did and it really hurt getting off of that bike! Finally started feeling like a runner around mile 2, and the last 1.1 miles just flew by (I agree with RINO's post from earlier, it might have been a short 5k). Have another big thank you to send out to the lady that passed me about a .25 mile into the run, I hung on her shoulder for a LONG time and she was a great sport about it. She totally motivated me to keep the same pace that she did and so I have her to thank for getting me through the run fast enough to cross the line at 1:14:32! making my goal with 28 seconds to spare! yeah!!!

After race, my husband wanted to wait around to see the mens race results (his FIRST tri in May 17), so we loaded the bikes back in the car, etc. and waited for results to be posted. I was grabbing a bagel when Christine yelled over to me "oh my god, you were 2nd in your age group!!". I thought for sure that she was joking, so I had to check it out... you would have thought that I won the race I got so excited! I was on cloud nine and everyone was really sweet to wait for the awards ceremony. Well, it turns out that I ended up 3rd in my AG once the final results came in, but still I was pretty excited!

Thanks to those of you who read this far!! I didn't get to meet any other TNOers at the race but I will be looking for y'all at the next race! take care and train safely! Jill


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