08 25 2014.

race report: rev3 shejams olympic triathlon relay 2014

86308099

On August 24, 2014, I competed in the Rev3 SheJAMs Olympic Triathlon as part of a relay team – I was the swimmer.

To start, I had never actually seen a triathlon – and despite being a participating athlete, I was fired up to get to watch parts of it. I also felt lucky because I was doing the swim, which meant that I’d be “done” early and didn’t have to be mentally prepping for anything further on – though Rachel (the runner) had hurt her shins earlier in the week and there was the faint but present possibility of me having to run going through my head. I actually would have been more than willing to – since that’s the part I really wanted to do anyways!

10626533_10154579112260121_6413819529621400558_n

10468016_10154578920530121_775710533646219333_o

I went for a short dip in the water to feel it out and…I was so surprised. The water was WARM! The first 50 yards of the water was just concentrated with little floaty seaweeds so that was kind of gross – and when I came out, I had seaweed all over my face and hands.

10632595_10204329476255418_4441251227290863635_n

I had told Theresa (the biker) that I’d be around 40-45 minutes. I figured, my time for the Tri for a Cure (1/3 the distance) was roughly 10:30. Multiply that by 3 = ~30 minutes. Assume I’d get tired and slow down, add ~5-10 minutes. Then there’s the run to transition, add ~5 minutes. ~45ish minutes.

Let me tell you – the SheJAMs relay group was so. freaking. excited. We all squeal – and I’m not really nervous – especially after knowing that the water was quite comfortable. The .9 mile swim is farther than I’ve ever swam competitively. I knew that I was going in a little over my head (hah…swimming puns) but I knew that I could do it. No matter the pace, I knew – without a shred of doubt – that I would be able to swim the whole thing. We were all lined up waiting for our wave to go. 3 minutes…2 minutes…1 minute…30 seconds. Andrea encourages us all to do warrior cries when the announcer tells us to go, and we do! I yell as I run down the beach (first running start swim for me!) and I can hear the excited cries of the other women around me.

10509670_10204537050175638_6817107955150148463_n

10616613_10204192921918939_6188980902413711150_n

Once I got out beyond the waves, the swim was great. I figured my breathing out and just stopped thinking. Once I reached the candy corn float, I went around it and then swam parallel to the beach. This was the long stretch – but because of the waves (which I couldn’t feel at all) I couldn’t see that far. I actually loved that. I don’t like seeing how far I have to go – so I was at ease, just setting the small checkpoint buoys as my next goal.

Not a single thing went wrong in the water. I didn’t swallow a drop, I didn’t get any up my nose, I didn’t see anything weird under the water, and I didn’t swim off course.

86310534

Finally I reached the last candy corn float, which meant that I could turn and swim to the beach. The tide was coming in slightly so I had a bit of assistance swimming forward. Soon enough, I was swimming in seaweed again and was catching the surf. It was a bit disorienting and I could see the bottom, so I decided to stand up and run the rest of the way in. WOAH vertigo. But I ignored it and just kept running.

I could tell I came in faster than I expected. I had no idea what my time was, I just felt like I did it pretty fast.

10646697_10204538243525471_5318836896765431715_n

I felt nauseous for about a minute of the run, but ignored it. That’s 4/4 races that I’ve felt nauseous during and I know by now that it’s a fleeting feeling and it’ll pass if I just ignore it – but don’t do anything drastic.

I finally passed the transition area (you have to run along the WHOLE thing and come in through the back) and all of the sheJAMs bikers and runners were waiting and screamed out cheers! I was so excited to run in because of their enthusiasm! I didn’t see Theresa at first and I was worried that I swam too fast and she wasn’t ready for me yet! When I ran back into transition, there she was! We had a great system – the one who is next to go will remove the chip. So she removed the chip – I cheered for her, and she was off! She estimated 1 hr 30 minutes, but expected 1 hr 45 minutes.

I dried off, sipped on some water, and sat with Rachel and Darren in the grass, waiting for the time to pass. The sun was HOT. Rachel was starting to get worried about the run. I ran into Sarah (IronWoman!) who was our sponsor. She had paid our entry fees AND fully donated so we didn’t have to pay a thing to do this. I was so grateful to see her and tell her exactly how thankful I was to have been granted the opportunity. (She talked a bit about her Ironman and said “Next time I do it…” with a smile.)

10635821_10154584046105121_2344613208833621854_n

Soon enough, it was time for Rachel to go. Theresa came in, Rachel removed the chip, put it on her ankle, and took off! Now we just had to wait for her to come back and we could all cross the finish line together!

10562993_10154584047890121_1709009776768441988_n

Theresa and I waited at the beginning of the finish line area and cheered for all of the competitors. I got to see the first place olympic female cross the finish line! I had never seen anyone “break the tape” before. Soon enough, Rachel returned and we joined her for the final length.

I realized a few things:

  • First – after spectating for 2/3 of the race, I kind of wish that I had done the whole thing myself. I wasn’t a huge fan of waiting, and I just felt like I could have done it!
  • Second – when I did the TFAC, I liked the swim. When I did the Tri for Preservation, I liked the swim. This time, I loved the swim. I think I enjoyed it because it was a longer swim. On the shorter ones, I feel like I’m just starting to get my rhythm and then it’s over. It feels like the whole swim is chaos. At the Rev3, I had plenty of time to just relax and swim. People were more spread out and it really was a relaxing thing!

A few things I’m proud of:

  • I finished the swim in 30 minutes EXACTLY! Which means that I did each third of a mile FASTER than I had ever done before! Add the 3 minute transition, that’s 12 minutes faster than I was expecting! Really happy about that!
  • Theresa finished her bike leg in 1:35 minutes – 10 minutes faster than her “I’d be happy with” goal!
  • Rachel finished in 1:12 – 8-18 minutes faster than her estimated window of time! So we all came in under our goals! I’m also REALLY happy for Rachel who has never competed in any kind of race before! I’m super psyched that all of the SheJAMs ladies cheered her on as well – since most of them had never met her! She finished with a smile – AND her parents came up from Vermont to watch her – such a happy day for her.

10559806_10203750526955344_6583887564449523250_n

86336403

OOBRev3Tri-2014-04710

I also want to express my gratitude to Darren who has come to all three of my tris so far. He gets up with me at 4:30 in the morning, watches over my bags all day long, and cheers me on from the sidelines. I couldn’t ask for a better motivator! Thanks, Darren!

Processed with VSCOcam with f1 preset

Credits go to Theresa Brackett, Jennifer Christian, Heather Shields, Sue Durst and the Rev3 Photographers for the photos!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *