August 7th, 2011 was an epic day of racing in Wilmington. I did a mini sprint triathlon with two of my daughters: Laura and Becky.
I think it all started back in January, when Laura and I did the Little River Trail run. We ran 4 miles together in the freezing cold that day.
Laura loved racing together, so this summer she said wanted to do a Triathlon. I chose She Tri’s because it was a nice short distance race, all female, flat course, and close to the beach. We planned our family beach vacation around that week. And, I put together a beginner training plan for Laura and she started riding her bike in addition to running. I bought a decent bike for her to ride using my REI dividend. It’s a Marin Fairfax. It’s a good fitness level road bike. And Laura loved it.
Becky was already running just for fitness and fun, and she asked if she could do it too. So, they both started following the training plan. And they shared the spiffy new Marin Fairfax bike, naming her “Marina”. It was not any problem sharing Marina for training. But come race day, we were faced with the dilema: who gets to ride Marina? The other bike option was the Trek 500 mountain bike. Not a bad bike, in fact, I raced my very first tri season on that bike! But Marina was definitely slicker, faster and more comfortable than the Trek. They decided that they would swap bikes half way through the race, each riding Marina for 5.5 miles of the 11 mile bike course. We were planing to stick together throughout the race anyway, so that was a good plan.
About ten days before the race, Becky got a bad flu, was physically wiped out, and could not do any workouts. She was really worried about that. I told her that she would be fine, and you are supposed to rest your body anyway before a race. She was just getting a little extra rest!
Travelling to the Race
We packed up three bikes onto the back of my car, and headed to the beachhouse we rented in Surf City, NC. That’s alot of bikes!
Surf City is about 30 miles north of Wilmington. We had a nice quiet evening unpacking our suitcases and walking on the beach. We went to bed early in preparation for our epic race day!
Setting up for Race
We woke up early, ate some bagels and peanut butter for breakfast. Then we set out for the She TRIs race site in Wilmington. We arrived about 45 minutes before the official race start time. We pumped our tires up. We loaned the bike pump to the woman parked next to us. It was her first race that day, too!
We had plenty of time to pick up our race packets, get our time chips, and go to body marking. Body marking is one of my favorite parts of race-day, and Becky and Laura thought that was very fun. I did not think to take a photo of that moment. sniff sniff.
Then we went to set up our transition areas. I showed them how to apply their number stickers to their bike and helmet, and pin the bib on their shirts. We went over the plan of what to do in T1 and T2. We were all wearing sport bras underneath a speedo swim suit. The plan was to put on bike shorts during T1. Put on Sneakers, helmet and then ride. In T1, all we had to do was rack the bike, take off the helmet, and put on the running shirt with bib pinned to it. This was a good plan. We were all set to go. Here is Becky (left) and Laura (right) ready to go! Becky was using the Trek bike, and Laura had “Marina”.
We had about an hour before our swim start time, so we walked around and observed other athletes as they came out of the water, went through T1 and headed out for the bike. I saw two of my age group friends head out on the bike: Gloria and Rebecca. It was fun watching them race, as they are both fast chicks!
Swim 200 meters
Due a mix-up in the swim start times, we were at the end of the swim line. This put us behind alot of super slower swimmers. Laura started at 8:53am; I was 30 seconds later; and Becky brought up the rear. There was one girl behind Becky and that was the very end of the line. We passed quite a few swimmers, but tried not to stress over it. We mostly wanted to have a fun day. Our swim times were about 5 minutes.
Bike 11 miles
The bike was a two lap flat course around a scenic little lake. The race photographer was right at the start of the course. We were all smiles, as you can see!
As we settled into the ride, I went to the back and let Laura and Becky set the pace. We passed a few other riders. A few riders passed us. Laura has good bike legs and so she kept inching ahead of Becky and me. I could tell they were both working pretty hard. I was so proud of them!
I hoped Laura remembered the plan to switch out bikes after the first lap. She did not. After we got started on the second lap, I had to ride full speed ahead to catch Laura. We stopped and waited for Becky to catch up. We all took some drinks from our water bottles and carried on with Lap number two. It was beautiful weather and we all had a great time, I think. We finished with a 13 mph average pace. That was a really great result for a first Tri!
The Run: 2 miles
Laura had gotten a little bit ahead of us again in the second lap of the bike, so got to transition first. She waited for Becky and me in T2. We all started out on the run together. Laura settled into a steady jog ahead of us. She had a big smile on her face.
Becky looked wiped out and said she couldn’t run. She said that her legs felt like Jello. She had missed most of her brick workouts due to being sick; and I think she was still not back to full strength. I told her what Ginger told me to do in the Ironman: If you can’t run, at least hold your head high and power walk. So Becky and I power walked. When able, we did little spurts of running.
We saw Laura inch away little by little. Becky has nice long legs, so her power walk pace was pretty decent. And her run spurts were pretty fast. As we ran across a little wooden bridge, there was a guy shouting out motivational things. That spurred Becky on to keep running a little longer. As soon as we were out of sight of that guy, she stopped to walk. I asked her if that guy helped her to keep running. She said “Yes!”. I asked if she wanted me to yell things to keep her running. She said “No!”. I felt the best thing to get her to the finish line was for us to keep up with the power walk/run plan.
We passed a few folks, who were also walking. It was hot, so we took water at the aid stations. As we neared the 1 mile turnaround, we passed Laura jogging on her way back. We did high fives. Laura looked strong and still all smiles.
In the second mile, we passed a few folks, who were also walking. It was hot, so we took water at the aid stations. We again ran over the bridge with the motivational guy. He was awesome! I told Becky to keep running, only six more minutes of suffering, can you do that? She said no. We walked some more. When we could hear the finish line music and cheering, she picked it up and ran the rest of the way across the line, looking strong!
The race photographer heard our names being called and figured we were related, so she took this shot of us together. I did buy all these pictures, by the way! Good memories!
Our pace for the 2 mile run was 13 min/miles. I was pretty amazed at that. I was proud of my girls, and happy that Laura had a strong day, and that Becky kept up and finished the run despite jello legs. And it turns out that Becky got third place in her age group, beating the 4th place by 2 minutes. If she had not worked hard power walking, I don’t think she would gotten third.
After the race, we went to Star bucks for coffee and cake pops. Yummy!
Then we went to the beach. Yay beach!