Spirits are high following the Esprit de She Naperville Triathlon. It is all coming together…
As one of the last waves to go, the sun just started coming out, and I was feeling restless. I like to get things done before I have time to think about it, but this race did not play to my favor. After the closing of transition, I had over an hour wait until I started. The elites went first, followed by the oldest to youngest competitors and I was in the youngest wave, 24-under.
To put it mildly, I was more than ready when we entered the water, trying to scoot my way to the front. There were a lot of young girls in my wave and I could tell some were swimmers who were most likely still swimming year round on club, they could prove to be good competition. The countdown was up and we dove in. I had a couple girls who were initially in front of me that I had to swim around, but once I hit a clearing I started to pick it up. Surprisingly, I pulled into the lead and continued to muscle through. This swim was a nightmare, I was literally swimming through a minefield. There was lots of dodging, weaving, and sighting as I came up on previous waves before me. Needless to say, I was very envious of the elite wave having a clear, open space to swim. I exited the water and made the run to transition, feeling a tad off. This might have been from lack of food (last thing I consumed was 3 Clif Shots and before that a bowl of cereal at 4:30AM, I started at 8:20AM). Fortunately, I felt fine the rest of the race.
Swim: .5 miles 9:32 1:17 min/100m AG 1/47 Overall 5/1,517
No problems in T1.
T1: 2:39 AG 2/47 Overall 31/1,517
Side note: Transition was huge and the last waves had the worst spot. Usually, the bike in and out are located at opposite ends to give people a fair advantage when it comes to running your bike in transition. We all know, the less you have to drag your bike around the faster your transition time will be. Well, the bike in and out was located at the same spot so I had to run my bike a fair distance, twice, unlike the elite wave who had a perfect in and out location. I guess you can’t win them all.
I was told by multiple people that this bike course was flat and they were right. It was a complete opposite from the hilly and torturous Galena course. The roads were pretty packed as we made our way around twice and I found myself on the left hand side for the majority of the race, hollering “on your left!” The 13.3 miles flew by and I ended the bike thinking I could have gone harder, but I did feel strong.
I am slowly trying to “race” on the bike and not hold back for the run, which is always looming in the back of my mind.
Bike: 13.3 miles 40:25 19.75 mph AG 1/47 Overall 55/1,517
Fast dismount and easy transition.
T2: 2:02 AG 6/47 Overall 166/1,517
I ran out of transition with the lead in my age group, with no idea how much the lead was by. I know I am not the fastest runner and this is where I lose it. I just started pushing it at a strong pace, staying as relaxed as I could. Unfortunately, I messed up my Garmin by pressing the start/stop button and not the lap, so I had no idea what my pace was throughout the race. Ugh…
The run course was pretty pancake flat as well. I just kept on telling myself, they are on your ass, keep running, keep running. I grabbed a quick drink of Aspire at two of the aid stations, which tasted great. Towards the end I was starting to feel it, but I was so close. Half a mile left I had to dig deep and up the pace for a strong finish. I was relieved as I crossed the finish line.
Run: 3.1 miles 24:38 7:56 min/mi AG 7/47 Overall 127/1,517
Total: 1:19:13 AG 1/47 Overall 30/1,517
A PR in all three disciplines, but most importantly a 5K PR! I needed it too, second place came in 21 seconds after me…she ran a 19:53, 5th fastest run of the day. I knew someone was on my ass.
This race really showed all the hard work I have been putting in every day and it sure felt great for it all to come together. Although I have made huge gains over the past year, in all three disciplines, I am still striving to get better. My first triathlon was last year at the end of June and it was brutal, but it caused a spark. A spark that rekindled my competitive fire. I think back to that day and how far I have come in just under a year and it gets me excited for what has yet to come!
Awards were very unique! I love the necklace!
Pros about this race: Fast course, lots of volunteers and spectators, and lots of bathrooms! There was a fun post race party that had a flower planting station, free manicures, and plenty of other vendors. The weather was great and there was free and easy parking. Included in race bag, Moxie Cycling tank, Luna Bar, and Clif Shot Bloks. In addition, there is a friendly, exciting atmosphere that is great for first timers. Athleta and Lifetime do a great job hosting the Esprit de She race series.
Cons about this race: I had to travel to Naperville twice in one weekend, 4+ hours of driving. Not so great transition. I am also not a fan of the youngest competitors going last, although I see why they do it that way. Lastly, extremely crowded course.
Beyond thrilled with my first, first in AG. Next up, ITU Chicago, where I will be racing in my first Olympic!