This post is long overdue, but I had to make sure that I didn’t DREAM what I’m about to share… I won this weekend. I raced the Nantucket Sprint Triathlon on Saturday, July 18, and the Nantucket Olympic Triathlon on Sunday, July 19.
I came in second in my age group in the sprint triathlon, and 12th overall female. And then the next day, came in first in my age group in the olympic triathlon, and 6th overall female.
And trust me… it wasn’t an accident.
Last year I set a goal for myself – to win my age group in the Nantucket Sprint Triathlon. So I started training with that goal in mind, and pushed so hard that I injured myself and had to back off of training for a few key months. I couldn’t run, and biking was very limited.
There was a lot of crying on the couch in those few months, and a lot of stress. I went back to some old habits of obsessing about my weight and feeling guilty not exercising or eating certain foods. It was frustrating, but it didn’t stop me. I persisted until I figured out how to get back to training full force. So much physical therapy, bike fittings, massages, trying this and trying that, isolating workouts and other variables… Until I FINALLY could get back to running. Too bad it was two days before my first race…
But I still came in 6th in my age group. And I was thrilled. Pretty solid for not having run in three months. It reinvigorated me. It gave my new hope. “I can do this.”
So I signed up for another race, a month later. And this one was even harder. It was a longer swim, shorter bike, and the athletes were incredibly strong. This time I took 5th. So close… and Nantucket was a week away!
I was signed up for the sprint:
.4 mile swim
13 mile bike
3.4 mile run
Unlike last year, the jitters were gone. They were replaced with excitement and energy. I had believed for so long that I was going to win this race, that it seemed impossible not to.
And I went for it. Swim. Transition. Bike. Transition. Run. Finish line. Results board. Second in my division!! And 12th woman overall.
I guzzled water, stood on the podium, GLEAMING, and was high for the rest of the day. SO HIGH that I thought about signing up for the next day’s race. The longer one… double the race I just did.
So I set my alarm clock for 4:45 am and woke up with my friends who were already planning to do the race. We rode our bikes to athlete checkin and I registered on the spot.
.9 mile swim
26 mile bike
6.8 mile run
As I slid on my wetsuit with plastic bags, there was one thought going through my head. “DON’T FINISH LAST.” And that pretty much stuck with me until I started passing some guys (That’s right… I swim #LikeAGirl) in the first swim wave. I knew I had three minutes on those guys, so maybe the DFL wasn’t an issue.
I stripped off my wetsuit with my friends cheering for me on the sideline, and when I reemerged from the transition area on my bike, they had found me and cheered me on again.
“Go pass some boys!!” one of them yelled, and I lit up and dug into the pedals. I started passing women, and then the men. Because, oh yeah, I ride a bike #LikeAGirl too.
Because of the way the course was set up – two loops of the bike and run – I could get a sense for who was in front of me. And I didn’t see too many women. So now all I could think about was, “I could actually win my age group.”
I powered through the bike, keeping the perfect amount of pain in my legs and moving the pedals at optimum cadence. I flew past some more men and into the transition area. One more leg. Only 6.8 miles on foot. I got this.
I felt every step of that run, grabbing a cup at each water station to take a sip while the water splashed all over my face, and then dousing myself with what was left. My friends and strangers continued to cheer me on and I found the strength to keep going. Then at about mile 5 I found myself on a stretch of road with no spectators and no athletes. The perfect place to stop. I had fun thinking about stopping. About walking for a minute and relieving the pain in my feet and the new chafing sensation in my shorts. But that’s all it was. Just a thought.
I kept running, and as I made the last big turn to face the finish line, a woman came up behind me and pulled a few steps ahead.
“Give these people a show! Sprint to the finish!” yelled the race director hanging by the turn. And I dug in. With no time to look back, one of my friends was waiting by the finish line and he yelled, “go as hard as you can! she’s right behind you!” and I gave it everything I had.
I gave some sweaty high-fives, and walked to the results board trying to hide the excitement of what I already knew. First in my division :) And the kicker?? Sixth woman overall.
Oh, it was a good day.