Monday, July 14, 2014

Echo Triathlon

It was a beautiful Saturday morning for the Echo Triathlon. The day before, the weather forecast had called for a chance of thunder showers but as you can see there was nary a cloud in the sky. It's a little bit of a drive from my house to the reservoir so I opted once again to go up the night before and stay at the one hotel nearby. A fellow club member and I shared a room. It was the first time we had met and I know I say this over and over again but I love this sport because of the people! Every time I meet someone, I feel like I've made a new life-long friend. It was fun to spend time visiting and getting to know each other.

There was to be a swim clinic before packet pickup so we all headed over. I opted out of the swim but was there to take pictures.

After packets were picked up, it was back to the hotel to finish our prep and get our eyes closed early. The 4 o'clock hour comes way to soon on race morning!

There is little parking at the venue so we have to ride our bikes the two miles with all of our gear. Our group headed over about 5:30 am. The temperature was great, just a hoodie over the tri kit.

TriUtah puts on such a great race (I know I've said this before as well!). Bike spots are marked with our numbers so no question on where to set up. With setup done, it was time to catch up and visit with friends for awhile. I was doing the sprint and as often happens I was in the last wave so I got to watch my friends at their start.

Something new this year (I think) was participation of the Push to the Finish organization. Check out their website. Several athletes pulled kids with physical disabilities in rafts on the swim course and then they were pushed on the rest of the course. It was so great to see the joy in the kids as they were coming out of the water. I know I'm not strong enough to pull or push one of the kids, but this seems like such a worthy cause for me to check into.

The Olympic and Sprint waves started and soon it was time to get in the water for a warm-up. The water was perfect. The buoys were staying put (last year one of them moved so my swim was short). The air horn blew and we were off. Even with my bum shoulder, I felt like I was having a good swim and was happy to come out of the water at 18 minutes. Official time shows 20 something because it's quite a long way up to transition.
Photo credit goes to my favorite mommy-to-be and one of my surrogate coaches, Jen.
Love her belly!
With a quick transition, I started the bike. Since I'm not a fast swimmer, I usually make up my time on the bike. I passed a lot of people and was feeling really good. The course has a false flat out of transition with a little climb and then some rollers. On the return, there is climb up to where the dam is and I even managed to pass someone on that stretch! The run course parallels the road in spots so I was seeing my fellow tri club members out running.

Another quick transition and I was off on the run. I'm struggling with my breathing on my runs and had forgotten to bring my inhaler. Last year's run was about three minutes faster. I forgot to look at my time from last year so didn't know until later that I pr'd by a few minutes. I definitely made up time on the swim, bike and transitions. I believe it was one of my best open water swims yet, pace-wise.

So many of us made it on the podium. Even some newbies!
It was the first tri for one of my new friends, Melanie, and only her second open water swim!

This was one of the races last year in which I qualified for USAT Age Group Nationals. I thought that was a one time thing but when I looked at the results, I found that I beat out second place by a few seconds and have qualified again for next year.
I've taken a few weeks break from serious training and it probably helped with this race. Monday is my re-commitment day to my training schedule. It felt good to hit GPP this morning at 5 am. My favorite race of all time is in two weeks - Burley Spudman!

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