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Sep 29 / Jane

Jersey Girl Triathlon 2014

I had been looking forward to this event for nearly a year. My first triathlon last year, the Jersey Girl remains one of my favorite. I recruited Mom, Kate, Issy, Nula, Megan, and Gwen (as a late addition) to participate with me. A couple days before race day, our final line-up had some amendments and we ended up with 6 total: myself, Mom, Kate, Issy, Gwen, and Sally.

The forecast was not good: cooler and rainy. I had never ridden my bike in the rain, ever, so I was super nervous on the drive over. The ground was wet and it was overcast when we arrived (but it was not yet raining!). We met up in the parking lot, together with our best spectators, Dad, Alex, and Dan. Mom had picked up all our race packets, so we distributed and affixed swim caps, bike tags, timing chips, race bibs, etc.

Gear bags and bikes in tow, we set ourselves up in transition, got marked with our race numbers and age, and took some “before” shots. It wasn’t long before they were calling heats to the shore to line-up. They split the field into only 12 heats, the 29 and under’s going 2nd (after the Open, or “elite,” heat).

Giving directions to the ladies of heat 2.

Giving directions to the ladies of heat 2.

Family, before the start.

Family, before the start.

Future Jersey Girl Triathletes 2014!

Future Jersey Girl Triathletes 2014!

On the beach, getting ready to swim!

On the beach, getting ready to swim!

It was a large heat and the ocean was looking rough, but the temperature would be warmer than the air. I put my googles on and they fogged up before they even counted down to our start. I put them on my head as soon as I got in the water.  I was comfortably maneuvering around other swimmers, doing the breast stroke and keeping my head above water. The water temperature was very comfortable and while the waves were rough, it was over in no-time.

And, GO!

And, GO!

Running off towards transition...

Running off towards transition…

Swim (300m, shortened to approx 275m per results): 6:26

I was out of the water and running up the beach to transition before I knew it. I got to my bike and plopped down on the ground to put my bike shoes on. I was so focused I forgot to even wipe my feet off, dirty and wet, into my shoes they went! Kate and Gwen entered transition as I was getting on my gloves and helmet. The weight of everyone else’s bike on the rack had me yanking at mine to get lose, but off I went.

T1: 2:36

I got on the bike and started passing people immediately. It began raining and there were a lot more turns in the early part of the bike through Long Branch than I remember from last year. I really thought it was more just out and back. Oops? I was taking it easy due to the wet roads: without any experience riding in the rain, I had no idea how my bike would handle. I got stuck behind a slow moving car at one point through town. That was so very frustrating. Finally I hit Ocean Ave and picked off more riders, one by one. I was passed once, by a fast-looking girl on a tri bike (not in my AG as it turns out). My odometer clicked 11 miles and I couldn’t believe the ride was over.

Riding out on Ocean Ave

Riding out on Ocean Ave

And back on Ocean Ave...

And back on Ocean Ave…

Bike (11mi): 35:36 (18.5mph)

I thought the weather must have deterred spectators, since I did not see many on the bike, but then I realized it was just too early. Many participants were just starting the bike! Transition was a ghost town and Alex talked to me from outside the fence. Yes, the bike went well, but the roads were wet! I quickly racked my bike and changed my shoes.

Please note I have one foot in my running shoe, one socked foot on the wet ground and Im taking off my helmet... I will then throw my ring off with my gloves- and not notice it until halfway through the run! Oops!

Please note, I have one foot in my running shoe, one socked foot on the wet ground and I’m taking off my helmet… I will then throw my ring off with my gloves, and not notice it until halfway through the run! Oops!

T2: 1:31

It was strange heading out on the run with barely anyone watching. I was running alone until one girl came up beside me: she said she liked my pace and would run with me as long as she could. Just over a mile in on the out-and-back course, a speedy girl in my age group ran by. Then one more, not my AG, yelling encouraging words as she went by. She called me “girlie,” which I just love! I rounded the turn around and started seeing more faces behind me. Issy was close by at the turn around and I remember telling myself, don’t let her beat you! I pushed it into high gear and saw Gwen a little bit behind Issy. The boys were cheering at the finish and I was done.

Start of the run, all alone.

Start of the run, all alone.

FINISH!

FINISH! (In the same pose as the start…)

Run (3mi): 25:16 (8:26 pace)

I took my medal and a cup of water back to where the boys were to see Gwen finish. Issy followed her, then I ran up the course to run-in Kate, Mom, and Sally, respectively.

All five ladies with me completed their first triathlon at the Jersey Girl. They all battled strong currents in the ocean, a wet bike leg, and a windy run. And they ALL finished with a smile. I cannot tell you how proud I am of my family and friends. I had no doubt any of them would be able to complete the tri, I’m just thrilled they all seemed to love it as much as I do!

We grabbed some post race goodies and went to view the results. I had a chance to place in my AG, so we took some photos and waited for the awards. I did end up with 3rd in my age group with a total time of 1:11:21, 29th overall. We waited for the Mother-Daughter Team awards, but they did not come. We inquired after them, but to no avail. Later, online, Mom and I would be listed as the fastest Mother-Daughter Team with a combined time of 2:38:56 (average 1:19:28).

JERSEY GIRLS 2014

JERSEY GIRLS 2014

A podium finish for me.

A podium finish for me.

We packed up our gear from transition, changed into dry clothes and went to a nearby diner for lunch. We reflected on what a fun race it was and how proud we were of each other for completing such an awesome event. And yes, I am already looking forward to next year!

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