(Steph and I at North Beach on Friday night. Steph & I pre-swim on race morning. This is my Yoda Ear swimcap look.)
What a fun, memorable weekend! Iron Girl Racine was my first women's-only triathlon. Iron Girl hosts 12 events: 15Ks, 10Ks, 5Ks, triathlons and a duathlon across the U.S. between April and mid-November. I was thrilled when they added Racine. I'd been to Racine twice for other triathlons, so I felt comfortable with the logistics and the date was open. I also got an awesome registration discount through active.com!
I love Iron Girl's mission: to empower women toward a healthy lifestyle. And I love Grace, the Iron Girl logo and Grace's meaning as described on the web site: "it’s what makes women heroic, charming and limitless. Grace is with us in difficult times and happy times, silly times and sad times. Grace is with us physically, mentally and emotionally."
Iron Girl does many things well:
- Performance shirts sized for women & gorgeous, quality finisher medals (many races now offer t-shirts alone, but I love getting medals.)
- Custom personalized race bibs so people can cheer for you by first name.
- Post-race catered breakfast cafe: amazing! They served: bagels, diced potatoes, eggs, bacon/egg/cheese burritos, fruit, yogurt, granola, biscuits and gravy, danish, coffee, juice, milk, and more I'm probably forgetting. My plate was full! And we ate on cute little round tables with fresh floral centerpieces and white tablecloths!
- Stephanie and I arrived too late to attend the pre-race expo Friday. I was really hoping to get one of those cute Aflac ducks!
- I liked the race packet instructions (see photo below). It was easy to follow and to know what to do with everything in the packet.
- After running up the long sandy transition area (see photo below) a volunteer passed out cute Aflac towels to wipe off on the fly as we ran to our bike racks.
- And post finish volunteers passed out cute little Aflac duck sponges, making post-race cleanup quick and easy.
- I liked the signage, chutes, and finish area. Also different areas like registration, results, medical were easy to identify. And the announcer was upbeat and friendly.
(photos: left - the race packet instructions. right - it rained lightly all morning but the sun peeked out moments before the swim.)
(photos: left - This is my friend Cheryl. You'll want to read the feature I wrote about Cheryl here. She's amazing and I'm so glad I got to meet her and several of her family members and friends! right - This is Kelly, the Aflac Iron Girl Across America host. She blogs at My Life as a Trimommy. I was also excited to meet Kelly. I enjoy her blog topics and Iron Girl updates, check them out.)
(photos: Steph and I pre-swim. center - this is Steph's wave coming in. right - me coming up the long sandy transition area.)
It was cold and raining pre-race. I was grateful I had a long-sleeve flannel along. Brrr! The water was about 68 degrees with some rolling waves out by the buoys. I've swam in open water in the low 50s, but even 68 can be chilly when you put your face in and swim. I spent some time warming up pre-start and didn't even notice the temp when it was my time to go.
My wave (30-39) was the largest group and many of the women decided to swim-walk the swim. This is fine with me, I want people to have the tri experience and I'd rather have athletes finish then go under, but it was unusually crowded during the swim with athletes popping up into bursts of walking all over the place. I worked hard to weave through the bodies and hit the shallows (about knee-thigh deep) at 7:44, finishing with an official swim time of 8:41 PR. (Thanks Coach Nick and Coach Katie H!)
The bike was flat and fast. The rain stopped, but the course was wet with occasional gravel and some stretches of bumpy city roads. I was conservative on the corners and did my best to keep my speed up, finishing with 44:54 (18.3mph PR).
T2 was crazy. I almost began the run wearing one bike shoe and one running shoe. Then I was so frazzled I lost my sense of direction and couldn't find the bike to run chute. And it was during T2 I remembered cramming part of a blueberry bagel in my sports bra pre-race... Oh oh. Yep it was still there. So I had stuffed my sports bra for my interview with Kelly the Iron Girl host, my wetsuit swim and bike segment. That is a first. Thanks Grace!
Off to the 5K. The run split time between a bike path along the lake and flat city streets. I worked on staying in the moment, engaging my core and glutes and working on my turnover. I have tons of room for improvement on the run, which is great since I currently spend the least amount of time running. As my strength and fitness improve and my weight comes down, I want to focus on the run more. Run: 30:34 (9:51/mile pace.)
Overall PR: 1:29:13! I finally broke the 90-minute mark! YES!
(photos: Thanks Joe for taking the photos! Yes Steph got a few comments related to her race number.)
(photos: left- talking to a photographer who took a picture of Steph and I for a Wisconsin women's magazine. center - the breakfast! right - Steph interviews me during the post-race extreme high period.)
(photos: We biked from host hotel to race site pre-race but we weren't sure we wanted to drag our bodies, bikes and gears back post race. Steph's husband drove their car down to pick us and our gear up post-race. Thank you Joe! While we waited I did a little lazy post-race stretching. Oooh yeessss. While the rain stopped, I was thankful for my flannel shirt.)