Thursday, July 26, 2012

Race Report: Danskin Women's Sprint

by Brenda Chroniak

I got to the race, picked up my number, set up my transition area, hung out with Sue Bruce for a bit while she set up hers, and was suddenly alarmed to see that NO ONE had a wetsuit. I panicked for a second that the water was too warm, asked a volunteer, and learned that it was absolutely wetsuit legal. It was just that much of a newbie race that the majority of the field didn’t have one. So I happily put on my personal flotation device and thanked my lucky stars that I wouldn’t be drowning that morning.

I was in wave 8 of 9, so pretty much EVERYONE started before me (including Sue), and we were swimming toward the sun glare, which I was nervous about because I’m known to swim crooked in even the best conditions. In the end, my swim time was nothing spectacular, but it was almost a minute faster than last year, which I was happy about. What was the most awesome for me, though, was that even in the glare I sighted perfectly and didn't go off course once. I've been practicing my sighting at Walden and to be spot on course the whole time and to be actually using proper technique felt really good.

My T1 was a hot mess. I was so wonky after the swim that I started to take my watch off for no reason and then said aloud to myself "Oh. Why did I do that?" and put it back on. I also probably could have solved the Sunday NYT crossword in the time it took me to get out of my wetsuit and put on my bike stuff.

But then I got on the bike and just gave it my all. I didn't hold back. I’ve been working really really really really hard on my biking this year and that was the area where I hoped to see the most improvement, so I decided to try going as hard as I could, to see just how much I'd blow up on the run. I always worry about leaving something in my legs because the run is the strongest leg of the race for me, but this time I didn’t care. I wanted to push it and test my limits. And I'm not kidding, only one person passed me the entire 12 miles, and there wasn’t a single person I didn’t pass myself (mainly because I started in the second to last wave).  It was unreal. Now I know what Pokress and Dwyer must feel like during races.

I got off the bike and T2 was just as fumbly as T1. I started to run toward the bike out and the volunteers had to tell me I was going the wrong way. Awesome :) 

I felt like molasses on the run, but I was actually averaging 7:34s (solid for me) and there were plenty of undulations on the course, so I was pretty happy with that pace. And I still had a kick for the finish line. I finished almost 6 minutes faster than last year, 24th overall, and took home my first-ever age group win. Sue finished second in her AG and 9th overall. It was a good day for BTT.

Overall, I just love this race. It’s a lighthearted environment with low-key transition and finish areas, women were all cheering for and encouraging each other on the course, there was a motivational speaker/athlete in the water with a megaphone telling us we were all “excellent” and “beautiful” and “vibrant,” and there was a high-five tunnel at the finish line, which you really can’t beat.

And yes, I was that girl who showed up to this low-key, girl power, “come as you are” race with a carbon fiber tri bike sporting Michelle Quigley’s race wheel on the front and Noah’s disc cover on the back, and the guy doing bike check out after the race TOTALLY called me out on it—“Waaaait… did you ride a DISC today???”

Yes, sir, yes I did. And an AG win is an AG win. Right?

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