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Aug 4 / Jane

Jersey Girl Triathlon 2013

Well, that was awesome!

I’d been anxious the last several days in anticipation of the Jersey Girl Triathlon (JGT).  I wasn’t worried about any particular event, maybe a little uneasy about transition, and I suppose it was more a little fear of the unknown.  Swim, bike AND run in under an hour and a half?!  So I had some strange dreams and asked everyone I knew who’s done a triathlon for advise.  I paid close attention to the JGT Facebook group and made a point to read every detail on their race website.  Mom had picked up my packet for me on Thursday so I felt a little unprepared when packing my items, but I triple-checked with her what she had that I needed on race day and what went where and we discussed transition to swim, to bike and to run.  By yesterday evening I was feeling pretty good; I’d checked off all my lists and went to bed early.  I’d even gotten a decent amount of sleep by the time I awoke at 4am this morning!  I had a good breakfast of oatmeal with almonds and chia seeds; I made a protein shake and packed some snacks for after the race.  Alex and I loaded up the car and were off for the shore.

Traffic was backed up into the parking lot I’d earmarked from the website, so we decided to forgo it and park further on.  Pier Village was dead, so we found parking quick and easy and directed my parents to do so as well.  We unloaded the car and started walking towards the transition when they arrived; it was perfect timing.  I added my race number to my bike while Alex attached my participant wrist band.  We headed towards the transition area together where I went alone and set up my space.  I laid everything out in order in which I’d need them, like I was directed from veteran triathletes.  When I was satisfied I grabbed just my googles and swim cap and picked up my timing chip.  Back with my family mom marked me with my race number, and we waited with my heat marker until the start.  I should mention, mom had modified my marathon sign (See Jane Run, Run Jane Run) to include removable sections to now say “Swim” and “Bike” over “Run” for each portion.  Everyone on the boardwalk was getting a kick out of it and some ladies in my corral even noted how much love there is for Jane today.  =)

The transition area at sunrise

The transition area at sunrise

Photo Aug 04, 6 25 42 AM (1)

Dad and I before the start with my fancy new sign!

The race started and our heat moved onto the beach.  We moved up to the on-deck corral and listened to announcements on the route.  3minutes after the heat ahead of us we were off.  I was semi-freestylin’ it in the beginning trying to get out of the crowd.  We were bumping into each other a lot trying to get out to the buoy.  I may have panicked in other situations, but the salt water made me feel very buoyant and there were so many “swim angels” waiting to assist us, I felt very safe.  Around the buoy, we swam north along the coastline to a second buoy, where we turned left again and headed out of the water.  I turned to sidestroke on the long leg of the swim: every time I tried breaststroke I ended up with a mouthful of sea water and side stroke just seemed more efficient.  Nearing the end, two members of the heat behind me raced past and a member of the “swim angels” asked if I was okay.  That’s when I turned to see I was at the end and could stand and walk out of the water, haha.  I was ready to keep swimming!  Swim time: 8:02 for 300yds.

Prepping for the swim

Prepping for the swim

Out of the water, I hit the foot shower button and rinsed off my feet.  Up the stairs onto the boardwalk, volunteers were hosing down participants as well.  I grabbed a drink and jogged over to my bike.  Bike shoes on, helmet on, gloves and sunglasses, check.  I walked my bike out of the transition and jogged to the bike mount point.  My family had raced from the finish of the swim to cheer me on at the bike and I was off.  Transition took me 4minutes flat.

The bike was likely my strongest leg, I felt good, and started picking other riders off right away.  The course was well marked, sometimes coned off for us, sometimes just in the bike lane, not closed to traffic, but regulated at every intersection by police.  The bike was 11miles along the same route as the New Jersey Marathon.  The out portion of it (south on 2nd Street & Ocean Ave) was fastest, I averaged over 20mph with a tail wind.  Coming back with the headwind it was a little slower, 17-18mph average.  Both ways seemed to be uphill to me.  I hate that, I remember thinking that at the marathon too.  Oh well, used my gears properly and made good time for me.  Only downside on the bike was my bike number, it kept flapping in the wind and hitting my legs.  After messing with it one too many times, one twist tie came undone.  I pulled the whole thing off and stuffed it in my pocket about 3-4miles into the race.  Definitely not positioned correctly: now I know.

And I'm off!

And I’m off!

Finishing the bike leg

Finishing the bike leg

As the bike leg ended a lot of spectators were cheering.  I dismounted and headed straight into the transition area.  It took 35:49 minutes for the bike portion, and 2:03 minutes to ditch my bike and gear, change shoes and attach my race bib and I was off and running: 3miles to the finish!

The beginning of the run was rough, I passed my family again in Pier Village and I started to get a cramp.  Another runner commented how her legs were feeling like jelly and she’d prefer another swim portion to the run!  Honestly my legs felt pretty good (and I did NOT feel like swimming again!), but I didn’t take in any fluids on the ride (doh!) and was feeling a little dehydrated.  I tried to pick up the pace running along a bike path down along what used to the boardwalk (it hasn’t been rebuilt since Hurricane Sandy yet).  There were a lot of people out by then, running, walking and biking along the path, a lot of people walking two and three across that JGT participants were weaving in and out of.  I ran past some enthusiastic volunteers at a water station, then into the turn around where we battled some cars on the route.  We headed back along the same path towards the finish.  I saw three women with ages in my group (ages were written on the back of your calf) and picked them off one by one.  Once back through Pier Village, my mom appeared on the boardwalk and started to run with me to the finish.  I picked it up with her and we ran into a massive crowd of spectators!  Mom left me at the chute and I raced towards the finish, time: 26:46, faster than it felt.

Start of the run

Start of the run

Mom pushing me to the finish

Mom pushing me to the finish

I grabbed a water bottle with my medal and took off in search of my family.  I was DYING for chap stick and had to rush into the transition area to get some from my bag.  We took everything back to the car and headed to the refreshment area after for fruit and bagels.  We even found a geocache on the way, haha.  Some “after” photos were taken and we headed home for a nap.

Jersey Girl Triathlete!

Jersey Girl Triathlete!

What an awesome experience.  It really was a fun, well organized, well supported race.  My official race time is 1:16:38, placing me 10th out of 94 in my age group and 107th overall out of 1049, that is top 10%!  I think there is significant room for improvement and now that I have a feel for it, I’m definitely looking forward to racing the Jersey Girl next year!  Maybe I’ll even include another sprint triathlon on my schedule next year.  =)

The transition area awaits!

The transition area awaits!

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