Before I signed up to race Ironman Lake Placid with the Team for Cures I had planned out my race season and signed up for a few races with a focus on short distances, speed and hoping to set some personal records. Then Ironman popped up and my focus turned from speed to long distance and endurance.
But of course I was already registered for my short races so I decided to use them just as training and to go out and have fun while going through the motions and working out the quirks before the big race. The first of these short races was the Hudson Crossing Sprint Triathlon held in Schuylerville, NY at the Hudson Crossing Park. This race holds a special place in my heart as it is where it all began back in 2011. It was my very first triathlon and it opened up my eyes to the fun of the sport. The first year I raced it I came in 4th in my age group missing 3rd place by a mere 2 seconds and the second year I raced it (in 2012) I was faster but moved down to 5th in my age group as the race field that year was faster. So as much as this race was supposed to just be “training” I really wanted to see just how much I could push it and possibly take home an age group award.
Here’s how it all went down:
The swim for Hudson Crossing is in the Champlain Canal, just above lock #5. It starts on the east side of the canal heading upstream before making the turn to head back and ends on a peninsula of land that juts out into the canal on the west side. It’s only 500yds, so it’s short, but the water temperature is on the cool side (it was 67 degrees on Sunday) and it is an in water start (you can’t touch the bottom) so you have to tread water for a few minutes before the gun goes off. I was in wave 1, which I was happy about, as it meant I had less time waiting around in the cool air (it was 44 when I left my house that morning!) and I could get the swim out of the way (it’s my least favorite part). I was one of the first people in the water so I had time to get water into my wetsuit and move my legs to warm up a bit. Because the water was cold and the air was cold my goggles kept fogging up due to my body being warm which was kind of annoying, but there wasn’t anything I could do about it. I had limited visibility so just followed the masses and made it through. I felt good during my swim but I also felt like I was going as fast as possible and working very hard for it! I wasn’t relaxed and was just counting down the minutes until I was done. Overall I was very happy with my swim time, but would like to be a little more at ease during it.
Time: 39 minutes 38 seconds
Distance: 12 miles
I love the Hudson Crossing bike course. Other than Bacon Hill which you have to climb ~1.5 miles into the ride, the remainder of the course is rolling hills through beautiful farmland. I rode the course last week to remind myself of the hills and to see what the road conditions were like before race day. There are some sketchy sections on Route 32 going down Bacon Hill and Route 4 has seen better days but overall the roads weren’t too bad and it was just as beautiful as I had remembered it was. Since moving across town I haven’t ridden much in farm country and hadn’t realized how much I missed it until riding this course. The scenery is great and there’s much less traffic than some of the roads I ride near my house now.
But anyway, back to Sunday… In previous years, biking has been my weakest sport but I have worked hard on it this year trying to get faster. While I still have a long way to go I was very happy at how my ride turned out in this race. I got passed by a bunch of crazy fast men but I managed to pass one other female and knew I was keeping a pretty good pace. When I came in off the bike a friend shouted out to me, “go get her, I think you are second!” I assumed he meant second in my age group, I couldn’t imagine that I was second female overall (though now that I think about it, the first swim wave was only 2 female age groups so it should have dawned on me that he meant overall…). As I entered transition I saw the other female so I hustled and had a quick transition and managed to exit before her. On to the run I went…
Time: 25 minutes 54 seconds
Distance: 3.1 miles
The run for Hudson Crossing starts on the road heading into Schuylerville, passes through a few residential streets and then picks up the canal trail back to the park where it continues on trails. It’s a very scenic run and I love not having to pound the pavement for the full 5k. Coming off the bike I was feeling pretty strong and had that finish line in my mind, along with the possibility of a personal record and placing in my age group. As I rounded the first turn heading out onto Route 4 towards Schuylerville I heard a spectator yell, “Awesome job, first female out!” Who, me? Was he really talking to me? I had no idea I was the first female out on the course and I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d be hearing those words. I have to say, I was riding high on that feeling! Unfortunately I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to hold that place, my run isn’t strong enough right now, but I held it for the first quarter mile before I was passed. I was later passed by 3 other ladies, (good job, ladies!), but managed to hold onto my pace only slowing in the last mile, crossing the finish line with a total time of 1 hour 16 minutes 39 seconds, beating my previous record set back in 2012 by a huge 7 minutes! I placed 1st in my age group (yay!) and was the 5th female overall, boy did that make me feel awesome. I know it is a small race and having a smaller field to compete against helped me earn my age group award, but it was still a major accomplishment in my books.
Overall I had such a great day. It was nice to start out my season on a high note. I have one other sprint distance triathlon two weeks before Ironman Lake Placid which I will be using solely as a training day, no racing for this girl, I don’t want to risk injury so close to Ironman. After that I have 5 weeks before my last races of the season, the Lake George Olympic Distance and the Lake George Half Iron Aqua bike. I’m hoping to set a personal record for the Lake George Olympic race, it was my first (and only) Olympic distance race that I participated in back in 2011 so it’s a big goal of mine to PR. The Aqua bike is just for fun, to say I completed the “Prince George” (both the Olympic and Aqua bike in the same weekend). The bike course for the half is beautiful so I figured it will just be a nice day to ride and cheer on others racing.
I have a couple more big training weeks coming up before it is time to taper. I can’t believe Ironman is less than 7 weeks away!