Monday, August 3, 2015

New Hampshire Chunky Dunk Duathlon Race Recap

As I mentioned, when I was in New Hampshire to see family, I looked up local races and actually found a local duathlon right near where we were staying that I signed up for.  I think definitions of a duathlon may vary but this one was a 1/2 mile swim followed by a 5K run.  Signing up and completing this would check the New Hampshire box for me and also give me a good training swim in lake water!

On Saturday morning my mom and I woke up and drove about 30 minutes over to where the race start was.  I originally thought I would just be going out and doing the race by myself so when I learned that my mom was going to come with me I was really excited.  I personally love watching races, but it's not always the most exciting thing for other people.  We arrived, parked, and went to check in for the race.  There was a long line, a lot of people had bikes, and they also kept asking people, "Are you doing the paddle boarding?"

I started joking around because I was like, "Man, I hope I signed up for the right thing!" As I was only prepared to swim and then run.  Luckily, I was right, there were just a few other things going on including a paddle board race and lots of relays and other things to confuse the heck out of me.

The transition area for the race was a little wooded area off of the beach and it was sort of awkward with wood and mulch chips around and lots of stuff that can get stuck to your feet.  I tried to find a place to leave my things that was close to the beach and set up my sneakers, some water, my bib, a towel, etc.

Since I didn't have any of my "usual" race things like the towels and stuff that I use, it felt a little unnerving, but worked out fine.   Lots of people had buckets with water to dunk their feet in, which I have never had a problem/need for in the past, but in this race would have been really helpful!  I may steal that idea for the future.

After setting up we went to the beach for the race announcements, some stretching, and some mom and me selfies.

Also, this is where the lady organizing the race was giving out instructions and was SUPER confusing and contradicted herself so many times.  She kept mistakenly saying that the women would swim first, then the men, and saying "Men 30 and under swim in the first wave!" then "Men 30 and up swim in the second wave."  There were some 30 year old guys who just had no clue what to do.

It was a little chaotic but eventually all was under control and the men swam first and I started in the 3rd wave of the females.  It was a pretty small group but a few people who looked like they would be rather competitive.  I was a little nervous going into the water because this was actually the longest race I have ever swam in open water.  The buoy looked SO far away!

The swim started out okay but I immediately had a moment of panic when I realized that I was having a REALLY hard time sighting in front of me.  I could not tell where I was headed and could barely even see the other people swimming.  It was not a sunny morning so the cloud was really gray and I felt like everything just blended together when I looked up.  Here is a picture I snapped before the race started to give perspective.

There was only one marker for the course that you had to loop around and it was so far away and directly in front of me, whereas I breathe side to side. All of that, plus my goggles fogging up, I had no idea where I was going!  The waves were small so there weren't many people around me and I really struggled to sight well in this race, having to break out of formation and rhythm to just stop and tread water and look around a couple times.

Finally we turned around and it was just heading back in to the shower.  I thought it would get easier to see but I still could barely tell where to go!!  There were just tiny cones on the beach as you can see above, and people standing around everywhere so I wasn't exactly sure what part of the beach to be pointed towards.  I tend to not want to follow the lead of other swimmers but I was picking off the men who were slacking and treading water a lot so I figured they had their heads above water enough to know which direction to go in and started just following the people.

After coming out of the water I ran to the wooded area, wished I had a bucket of water to dunk my feet in, threw on my sneakers, got some wood chunks in there, pinned on my bib, waved to my mom, and head out!  

My watch GPS didn't pick up right away because of all those darn mountains out there in New Hampshire I am assuming.  But about .4 miles in it caught on to the fact that I was running.  It was an out and back on a path that looked like it was probably an old rail road and reminded me of the lake that my family goes to.  It was really scenic and the sun wasn't too hot or anything so I just really enjoyed the run.  I reminded myself that it was my "New Hampshire" race so to take in the uniquely New Hampshire scenery.  Mountains, green trees, lakes, etc. it was gorgeous!  

After the turnaround I head back in, ignoring the stupid pieces of wood in my shoes, and waiting to find my mom at the finish.  The finish you spiraled around the beach and there were lots of cheers which was fun and you finished on the sand.  I didn't see my mom but I heard her when I was finishing and when I walked over to give her a hug at the end we obviously both started crying.

A swim and a 5K isn't a cry-worthy race for me usually, but it was so awesome to have my mom there.  I know she wishes that she could be at more of my races.  As an athlete herself, she is used to being out competing and running and has been such a huge champion of mine as I have gotten more into all this stuff.  She came out to Albany when I did my very first triathlon ever, we've done a number of 5Ks together, and is still the first person I call at the end of a big race to tell how I've done.  I remember when I was back at spin class in Cumberland for the first time after I ran Paris Marathon and the instructor (hi Chris!) telling me how the morning of the marathon she was spinning with her phone on her bike waiting for me to call and how she rushed out of the room when I did.

My whole family is incredibly supportive of me and it means the world to me.  When I raced in the Providence Half Marathon my sister, brother-in-law, brother, dad, mom and EVERYONE came out to watch.  It was one of the most amazing races for that reason.  When my dad was just here, him and his wife and my little brothers came out in the pouring rain to cheer for me, after my dad had dropped me off at the crack of dawn with no sleep!  He comes out in the freezing cold and snow every Thanksgiving to see me run a rinky dink 5K as well.  It's amazing to be able to have family at races who has seen my progress over the years and this swim/run was no different for that reason.

We took some pics at the end of the race, I changed into some dry clothes, and we head back to the lake house as if nothing had happened.  It was a good morning.

I wasn't sure of my race results until later in the day.  I usually have an idea of what my 5K time is because of my watch timing but since it didn't start right away I really wasn't sure.  I stalked the online results all morning and when they were finally posted I was pretty excited.  Mainly with my run time.  I finished the 5K in 25:44 which is a great pace for me, especially after a swim.  

There were 49 people who did the duathlon and I came in 21st place.  3rd in my age group (out of 5.)  However, I was happy with the fact that my swim time was a 1:59 pace for 100 meters or 1:48 pace for 100 yards.  I feel good about being under 2:00/100 meters so I was good with my paces!  It is all about racing myself and getting better.  I know I need to work on sighting and not breaking during the swim so we will see how it goes this weekend when I have my next race!!  It is the triathlon I have been working up to all summer with a 1500 meter swim, 22 mile bike ride, and a 10K race!!  Wish me luck!!

1 comment:

  1. i literally teared up - sweetest post yet! love you!