I may have been a part of the widest age range between teammates at yesterday’s St. Anthony’s Triathlon in St. Petersburg, FL. In this week’s blog I’ll share my experience and intention racing at this year’s race which was host to the USA Triathlon Southeast Regional Championship.
As I shared in last week’s blog, Resetting the Body & Mind, part of competing on a regular basis is to break things up during the year to refocus, target specific goals, prevent burnout and have fun doing it. Well yesterday was an example of preventing burnout and having an absolute blast.
After being dialed in to a 5 1/2 month long training block to compete at the 2019 Duathlon National Championships two weeks ago, I was very intentional to give myself a mental and physical break after the race. I had a week of doing what I felt like each day followed by a modified training week in preparation for the St. Anthony’s race.
This race would serve as a fun race experience. Believe me I do have fun at all races but when racing individually I get pretty ramped up and dialed in mentally to perform, balancing the fun and competitor aspects. So how would I have fun and make this a different experience? Race a relay….
Coach Celia Dubey recommended a team of Dylan Nolan and myself. When she posed the question to me, I quickly responded, “that would be fun!!!” Dylan is 13 years-old and is one of the fastest swimmers and runners in the area and on top of that is one super great kid. I run track with him every Tuesday morning trying to keep him within reach. We have really bonded and I was excited to race with him.
After the high of the Duathlon National Championship weekend, this was the perfect way to get up mentally for a race. Dylan and I discussed preparation thoughts at our Tuesday track workout and then met at the race site the day prior and did a walk through. For a relay race there are extra logistics to consider as we would be handing our timing chip to each other in the transition from swim to bike and bike to run.
We met again Sunday morning at 6am to do yet another walk through of transitions. We were ready! I felt a fun excitement prior to the race. Dylan is confident in his abilities as he prepares himself well, puts in the work, and has a lot of race day experiences to draw from.
One thing I have done since starting to compete in races is to get to the site early to allow time for any curve-balls and yesterday served me up a pretty big one. After pumping air in my tires at 5:30am and preparing my area of transition I went back into transition 10 minutes prior to it’s closing to stage the race. I checked my area one last time, checked my gears, brakes and tires.
When I pinched my front tire it was completely flat. I quickly ran it over to the bike technician and they had it changed in maybe five minutes. I had them check my back tire for piece of mind and I was clear. Preparation is vital in these races and I’m so glad I go through these final checks.
Dylan would race the swim and run portions and I had the bike leg in the middle. Dylan had an incredible swim finishing second among all relay teams (57) and ahead of the elite division athletes…wow!!! He closed the gap on the first athlete into transition by running fast from the long swim exit to the transition area. He was setting me up for a great bike. We had a smooth transition as I grabbed the timing chip from Dylan’s ankle and placed it on my own.
I sprinted out of transition aside my bike and then hopped on at the mount line. As I settled into a rhythm I remember looking at my watch at one point thinking to myself, “I only have 10 miles left,” as we were racing the sprint (12 miles). I raced the Olympic distance at the Duathlon Championships two weeks earlier which was 24.5 miles. I just thought, “there is no pacing here, this is hammer down the entire way.”
At about the half way point there was a u-turn where I had a competitor closely behind me that I could tell was in the sprint division but didn’t know if we was in the relay or solo race. I make no assumptions and continued to hammer. At about the nine mile point he was beside me and that just elevated both our rides the rest of the way. I surged ahead thinking I was going to try to hold him off as long as I could.
That was such the motivation and certainly made me go harder than I was anticipating. It worked as we came into transition together. He ended up being in the solo division but I know we helped each other simply by making each other push so hard. I racked the bike and ran to the transition area where Dylan was waiting. At this point I was pretty sure we were in first as nobody passed me on the bike. I yelled, “we are in first….go Dylan!!!” And boy did he….
Dylan had a personal record 17:08 5k to finish! After the race his mom shared that she was watching for the runners coming back to the finish and said, “that guy is really flying!” That guy was Dylan! How cool is that?!?! He came smoking through the finish line. I ran back through the finish line to greet him with a big hug! What an amazing race we had!
We cooled down and shared our experiences as our teammates greeted us as well. At this point we were pretty sure we won but you never want to make any assumptions. Eventually I went over to the result tent and it stated we were the overall winners! We beat all male teams by over 10 minutes with a final time of 1:01:28. After reflecting I don’t think we could have done anything differently. He raced a blistering fast swim and run and I had my best sprint effort.
It was an interesting feeling as this is an individual sport but our team dynamic is so much fun and to be able to race with a teammate was a blast. I did have the feeling prior to the race of not wanting to let Dylan down with my effort so there is that extra part of motivation of not wanting to let your teammate down. I think we covered both ends on this day as we both raced our butts off to the win.
- Celia for the idea of the team, organizing the course ride and swim Saturday and race day Sunday, and your leadership, excitement and friendship
- Lauren and Mike for allowing me to race with your son
- Anthony and Kayleigh for cheering from the bike course and finish
- Michael and Joan for cheering at the race
- Amy for getting up at 3:30am to get down there early, staying late and racing her butt off as well
- Dan for making the two days special with your own preparation and great race effort. Love working with you and seeing your great progress in such a short period of time.
- Total Fitness teammates making these experiences a real family affair…such amazing support for each other
- Dylan for being one fantastic teammate so focused and making this one terrific team accomplishment and memory
– Add Health to Your Life