Earlier this summer when I was trying to find a tune-up race for Nationals, my only criteria was that it was within an hour-ish of the city and shorter than an Olympic Distance. And of course it had to fit around the other busy weekends in July. Holiday Man was the only race I could find that met the criteria and it was the perfect distance, slightly longer than a traditional sprint but not as long as an Olympic. I asked around and no one had ever really heard of it or knew anything about it, but I figured I would give it a shot.
It ended up being a REALLY well run, organized race in a cool location. I would definitely do it again.
I slept in, then Walter and I enjoyed the nice cool temps with a short shake-out run. Brad and I spent the rest of the day with some friends who came into town from Wisconsin. We hit the Lincoln Park Street Festival and had dinner at DryHops, a newish brewery near our house. It was a fun day, but I am not sure drinking beer all afternoon and eating fried food is the best pre-race prep. YOLO, right? The good news is that we were in bed by 10:30 and I slept like a rock.
Since the race was held in legit BFE (i.e. 7o miles from the city), I had to get on the road by 4:30. It was an early morning, but I had fun driving traffic-less interstates and dancing to music all the way there.
The only bad part about the drive is that I realized exactly 7 min after I left my house that I forgot to pack socks for the race. The timing was already going to be tight, so I had no chance to go back and get them. (And seriously thought I might see a 24 hour CVS near the race site where I could buy a cheap pair…um, I didn’t even see a grocery store within 30 miles, so I don’t know what I was thinking.)
When I arrived at the race site, it was raining and about 52*. I would have been ecstatic if this would have been a running race in July with those temps, but it was a bit chilly for a tri. As instructed, I dropped my bike at transition, then went up the road about a mile and a half to park my car and wait for the shuttle. I was getting a little nervous about the time, but the race was super laid back and really well organized, so I had plenty of time to get checked-in, set-up in transition and even do a short warm-up swim.
I was in the 4th wave with all of the other women 25 – 40. We stood on the beach and waited, then ran in once the horn sounded. This was my first beach start and I thought it went pretty well.
Right away, I was out front of our wave and I felt really smooth and efficient in the water. Thanks to huge orange buoys, sighting was really easy and I made my way around the triangle and back to the shore. About 1/2 way through I swam up on some of the waves in front of me, but there was plenty of room and I didn’t get knocked around at all.
My pace overall was slightly slower than I would like, but I felt great so I think I need to focus on pushing a little more at Nationals.
700 m swim: 10:35, 1:30/100 m, 2/29 female (1st place was in another wave), 4/94 overall
T1: 57 seconds
Not bad considering I had to take off my wetsuit and the ground was a bit wet in bike shoes. Maybe I should consider going sock-less all the time?!
I thought I would be chilly on the bike, but the rain stopped and the cool temps actually felt nice. I settled in and on the flats, I saw some 5 mile splits that were faster than I have ever seen, making me really excited about the new ride. The course was spread out, but there were enough people around to not feel lonely.
I got passed by the eventual winner in mile 5 like I was standing still. At the time, I looked at my Garmin and was riding 21+ mph, so there was no way I could keep up with her. I leap frogged with a couple of guys throughout and motivated myself to push harder by trying to keep them in my sights after they passed me.
There was one pretty steep, but short hill around mile 11. I was prepared for it, but wasn’t really prepared for how my new bike climbs compared to my old one. My road bike was definitely better for climbing and I missed how I could just cruise right up hills past people.
Around mile 15, I got passed by yet another girl. This time not as definitively, but I knew that she was also in my age group and that the three of us were probably in the lead overall.
I was more than ready to get off of my bike when I hit mile 17. My legs were burning and *everything* hurt from that silly saddle.
I am happy with my average, but really feel like I should be riding 21+ for this distance (and hopefully at Nationals).
17.4 mile bike: 51:00, 20.7 mph, 4/29 female, 24/94 overall
T2: 44 seconds
Again, not too bad. Can’t complain.
The run started out on a short steep uphill. It felt cruel on legs that weren’t quite loose yet. I pushed as hard as I could, waiting for that 1/2 mile point where my legs start to feel “normal” on the run. Once I got on a straightaway, I could see the 2nd place girl ahead of me about 200 yards. It was hard to tell if I was gaining ground on her or if she was holding steady, but just having her in my sight was good motivation.
Eventually as we hit more hills, I could tell I was catching her on the uphills. I debated whether I should hang behind her or pass definitively. I really didn’t want a 2-mile battle to the finish. But when I got closer and saw that she looked tired, I knew I was better off passing confidently. I finally caught her right at the 2 mile turnaround. She was very gracious and laughed as she said “They always get me on the run!”
The rest of the run, I tried to focus on keeping the pace (per the Garmin) below 7:00. Other than one longish hill, the back half had more downhills so I felt much better in the last 2 miles than I did in the first 2.
Finally I rounded the corner for the finish…and took a really terrible picture. I tried to smile when I saw the camera and this is the very unflattering result. Also, can anyone say week glutes/hips? That is one nasty collapsing right side. Yikes!
4M Run: 28:43, 7:10 min/mile, 2/29 female, 15/94 overall
(Garmin distance was different and showed 6:53 avg. I am not claiming one is right over the other, just not matching.)
Holiday Man “Mega” Sprint: 1:32:01, 2/29 female, 14/94 overall
(I only beat 3rd place by 20 seconds. I had no idea she was so close behind me!)
There was a nice little awards ceremony with sandwiches and a warm place to hang out. It was fun chatting with the other athletes and meeting people who will be in Wisconsin for Nationals. I also got a $100 gift card to Naperville Running Company for my 2nd place finish. (more new shoes!!??)