I did it! I raced! And I have a baby! I know racing 7 months post partum didn’t break any records, but I was super happy to be back in the game!
My first race was the local Half Moon Bay Olympic triathlon. Olympic distance races really aren’t my specialty (or my favorite), but in this race I was in an elite field of 1 and I knew it would be a great way to dust off the cobwebs before lining up next to some of the best pros in the business. I also wanted to make sure I remembered how to get through my transitions!
First swim in my new Roka wetsuit...I think I'm in love!
That morning I was surprisingly nervous, but when the gun went off I almost laughed with excitement. My family is my #1 priority, but it was clear as I started my ocean swim that triathlon is still a true passion and I was ecstatic to be racing again! I felt pretty good throughout the race, and tried to stay a bit conservative on the pace – I mean I had NO IDEA how my body was going to hold up. When I got to the run I felt GOOD. I have been doing most of my running with Hanna in the jogging stroller and we rarely run below 7:30 pace. When I checked my watch at the first mile marker and saw 6:30, I thought “hmm these mile markers must be off”. But then I kept seeing the same split mile after mile. By the end I was POOPED but elated. I went into the race with no expectations (and maybe a little fear of completely embarrassing myself), but came away with a faster time than 2 years ago and the overall win. (and 1st place pro – in a field of 1, of course) J
Two weeks later was my first REAL race of the season (I say “real” because there was actually a pro field – and a good one!). While I had a MUCH better race in HMB than I could have ever expected, I was definitely able to keep my ego in check. Racing a half on a fairly flat course was one thing. Racing one of the toughest 70.3 courses in the US was another. The longest workout I had done since Hanna was born was 4hrs total (3:30 bike / 30min run). I REALLY didn’t know if I would have the stamina to get through all 70.3 miles, let alone RACE them! This was also an interesting weekend as I traveled solo – it was my first night away from the little one L I decided that if I was going to sacrifice time with my husband and daughter, I was going to make the most of it.
I had some decent head on shots of me on the bike, but I decided there was WAY too much cleavage for social media!
The morning was definitely interesting. WF is a bit of a logistical headache (but WORTH IT!). I had to leave the house where I was staying by about 5AM – a full 3 hours before the start of my race. I pumped right before I left, but as any mom breastfeeding mom knows, 3 hours is a long time to produce more! While the other pros were doing their warmup jogs, I was hand expressing in the porta potty.
Finally it was go time. I didn’t sprint the first part of the swim. I tried to start out strong, but I knew if I wanted a solid run, I was going to have to be patient. I also don’t have the swim fitness I used to as I have made a conscious effort to sacrifice pool time for bike and run time (if only there were more hours in the day!). On the bike I rode to HR. It felt super comfortable to start, but I realized that by maintaining that HR, my pace / power definitely slowed a bit the last 10-15 miles (something to work on for the next one!). I fully expected this to happen as I’m still building back my endurance. BUT I had a plan and was sticking to it! When I got to the run (or the 2nd run really since we did the first 2 miles after the swim), I still felt pretty good. I came off the bike near two other gals and I kind of assumed they would leave me in the dust. Over the next 11 miles we stayed pretty close together. On the final SUPER STEEP downhill mile I gave it everything I had. The girl in front of me pulled away a bit, but I was able to put some time into the girl right on my heels. I knew the run would be hard, but I didn’t expect to have a REAL race the entire run. It was both super fun and painful all at the same time! In the end I crossed the finish in 9th. I cracked the top 10 and took home a nice little paycheck.
Racing to the finish with a girl right on my heels...ouch!
Even though I’m busier than ever and have less time for training, I am enjoying racing more than any other season in my pro career. For the first time since I was an age grouper, I have allowed myself to leave all the pressure to perform behind and truly enjoy my progression back to fitness. When I started training again in February, I decided to hit the reset on my triathlon career. I don’t compare my power or pace to what I was doing BB (before baby) – I’m training to HR now so I can’t really compare anyway – and I am able to go into every race without expectations. All I want is to race hard and get a little closer to my goal of a PR at IMAZ in November. I’d say so far so good! Next up is Vineman 70.3 and Vineman Ironman 3 weeks after that! Both are sure to be extremely competitive, but I don’t care. I will be smiling through each race knowing how lucky I am to be doing what I love!
I sure did miss my little one and was glad to have a little recovery pool session the next day!
4/20 Wildflower 70.3 - 9th pro
7/10 Vineman 70.3