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Oct 2 / Jane

Hightstown Triathlon 2014

In training for the Jersey Girl Tri, I picked up some bike rides with Brad and some friends training for the Princeton Half Ironman. Following their lead, I signed up for Bill’s favorite race, the Hightstown Triathlon. Of course, Bill did not race it this year! They moved the date of the tri to August to accommodate the Half Ironman in September on its usual weekend, and Bill was not prepared for it. But it worked in my schedule.

Alex and I got stuck behind a 9/11 motorcycle ride on the way to packet pick-up the day before. It was a 15 minute ride that took nearly an hour! Thankfully the swag bag was worth it, and the peace of mind of getting everything together the day before.

I got to the race early (and solo), parked close by and reassembled my bike out of the car (yes, replacing the front wheel counts as reassembling). I checked-in outside of transition, was marked with my race number, then found a place to set up my bike. It’s a small race (only 128 finishers!) so there were only 3 heats: men under 40, men over 40, and women, in that order. I met up with Brad, and Bill, who was volunteering, and some other runners I’d get to know better after the event.

My transition set-up.

My transition set-up.

I waited with the women before the start on the side of Peddie Lake. It was cooler and overcast and looked like rain, even though there had not been any in the forecast. The mens heats were off and it was not long before we found ourselves hopping in the lake to wait at a buoy for an in-water start.

The gun when off and I was one of the slowest swimmers. To be expected, for sure: I had little practice this year and not a whole lot of confidence. I again took my googles off and put them on my head and proceeded to do a mix of side- and breast-stroke. I spent a tiny bit of time doing back stroke, but that made me nervous not being able to see ahead of me. I remember looking over and seeing Lisa, a friend of Brad from the Hamilton Area Trail Runners Group (HATR), we were evenly paced throughout the swim.  And then it was finally over. A very encouraging volunteer firefighter stood at the end of the dock helping us out of the water, and into transition I went.

Swim (1/4 mile): 11:26

T1 was super close and super fast. A quick wipe of my feet, shoes, helmet, gloves, and I was running my bike to the mounting line.

T1: 1:36

As soon as I got on the bike it began to rain. Another rainy bike leg, really?? We made some turns out of Hightstown then onto a flat country road, I started passing people immediately. I was working on passing a group of 4 or 5 with other rider ahead of me when the group all promptly turned right and myself and the other rider continued straight! We did a quick U-turn then sped up to pass that same pack of riders again. Then I passed the one in front of me. I was alone on a stretch right by the Turnpike where a slight uphill burned my quads and I felt like I was barely moving (looking back on it, I think the wind was just super strong at this point). Once heading back towards Hightstown I continued to pick riders off until I was back in town and at the dismount.  No one had passed me on the bike, not one person.

Bike (15.33 miles): 48:34 (18.9 mph)

I got back into transition to find there were not many bikes around me… The women who’d all exited the water, and then transition, way ahead of me, were all still out on the bike. Alright! I racked my bike, changed my shoes and headed out of transition. Don, a geocacher friend and volunteer firefighter working the event, was cheering me on as I started running.

T2: 1:17

The run course was flat, a mixture of road and gravel/dirt pathways. I saw Linda (HATR) first, who counted me as the 6th female overall (what?!); then Bill a little later on who snapped a photo and yelled encouraging words. My breathing was uncomfortable and I felt like my legs wanted to move faster but I just couldn’t. One woman did pass me, then I started to recognize the roads I was running and ran right past my car into the parking lot where the finish banner greeted me.

Run (3 miles, felt short): 25:18 (8:10 pace)

Photo Credit: Bill.

Run Jane Run! (Photo Credit: Bill)

I chatted with a co-worker at the finish. He took a spill on the bike, ouch! I looked at the results, not bad, 7th female. I probably placed in my AG too. I headed back to my bike to gather my things and change before the awards. I had the hardest time getting my bike wheel off (never an issue putting it back together of course!): I solicited assistance from another woman nearby and we managed it together. I was frazzled though and after getting my bike in the car, I closed the trunk with my keys inside. UGH! Thankfully, I had my phone in my pocket, so I called Alex (hungover or possibly still drunk from a housewarming party we attended the night before) to come bring me my extra key.

I walked back over to the awards with Lisa and celebrated what turned out to be a 1st place in my AG victory! My official time is 1:28:10, 47th overall (7th female), 2nd in my AG (but awarded 1st since 1st received another award).

Butch, Brad, Lisa, myself, and Tom. I, of course, the only one not changed after the race!

Butch, Brad, Lisa, myself, and Tom. I, of course, the only one not changed after the race! (Photo Credit: Bill)

Brad, Lisa, and Bill waited with me after the awards for Alex to arrive with my spare keys. Everyone else had run off. I have to say, that was one downside to this race, there wasn’t much of anything post-race. They had some egg casserole, I couldn’t even look at it after finishing, and coffee. What happened to bananas and a bag of pretzels? Oh well. Alex arrived and we all went our separate ways. I was indeed thrilled with my performance and wore my medal grocery shopping after the event.

Work the following day was just as rewarding. The co-worker I’d raced with made a point before the race to tell me it would be very disappointing if he didn’t beat me at this tri. I agreed since he is a much stronger runner than I. He was also training for the Half Ironman and is a much more accomplished triathlete, with a nice tri bike too. Well, I beat him. Granted he did have a fall on the bike, but that didn’t stop him from telling everyone I’d beaten him. =)

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