Sunday, April 5, 2009

Great Clermont Sprint Triathlon


Let me lay that out there right now....because Clermont has always been a challenge for me. It is where I do about half my cycling workouts and it was where I did my first triathlon outside of Danskin 10 years ago. Today's race was short and it was hilly and it definitely got my attention.

Ok..for those of you from the northernlands and from hill country who read my blog, cut me some slack here. I AM the quintessential FLATLANDER. I love my bike and run courses flat and fast. This Athena athlete has alot to haul up those hills and today was no exception.

I can blame my exciting morning on my friend Beth (check out her blog at : ). She is the coach for the Central Florida Chapter of Team in Training's Triathlon Team. Although she has an extensive background in running (over 30 marathons and god only knows how many half marathons), triathlon is something that has quickly become her passion over the last year. She is running her first St. Anthony's Tri at the end of the month and wanted a tune up race done prior to our St. Pete's Olympic Distance. "Come on Melissa, do this race with me" she exclaimed on the phone and via messenger. "Come will be fun!!!"

I did my Saturday workout with the team. A 25 mile bike followed by a 3 mile stumble/walk/recovery run and I still wasn't sure if I would do the race. Beth grabbed me at the end of practice and said "Come on..let's go get our packets" and off we went.

If you have read my blog before, you know that I have an addiction to finisher medals. I like'em...ALOT. Beth likes them even more than me I think...heck..she has a sticker on the back of her car that says "Medal Ho" you get the picture. We showed up at Lake Minneola to register and grab our numbers and goodie bag and as we walked out of the registration area...what do I see....?? Hmmmmm Shiny..pretty...ribbon accented MEDALS. I inquired with the staff if EVERYONE got medals tomorrow...she said yes. I decided I was definitely doing the race.

Now during practice, Coach Beth took a tumble on her bike and ended up with a bruised leg, bleeding knee and a bruised posterior. I was really wondering if she should do this race..but she was determined. See...she saw those shiny pretty things too!!!

At 5am, I was up and my race routine had begun. Bike racked, car loaded and I was off to 7-11 for my extremely SMALL coffee and some cheerios. I returned and waited for Beth to meet me at my house so we could ride together. I called her and she didn't sound good. She was not feeling the greatest but she really believed that she needed this race to "tune up" for St. Anthony's. We discussed it as she drove to my house and decided upon her arrival that she was going to do it even if she had to walk the run.

We made it to Waterfront Park for a perfect, beautiful sunny day and a dynamite start to a great race. The water was cold (wetsuit legal but I left mine at home..I hate those things) and my swim was slow. I really have to work on my upper body strength.

As I made my fastest transition to date from the swim to the bike, my mind wandered back in time to the early years of triathlon and the sprints I did in Clermont. Oh those damn hills!!!! As I left transition, I approached the first of many, downshifted and made my way up.

I hit a max speed of 32mph on the downhill during the 12 mile bike, dropped a chain on one climb and had to dismount and fix the problem but overall, I had a good ride. Im just so heavy that the hills destroy my overall time on the bike but, as you all know, I am really trying to lose the tonnage.

Back to transition where I caught up with Beth. She was doing ok but you could tell she was in pain. We exited transition together and walked for a bit. She broke into a run and after 1.5 miles, she was feeling like she could run. As for my run, I was feeling the effects of the workout the day before and decided to take it easy. I walk/ran the entire 3.2 miles and had a ball doing it saying hello to other racers, spectators and the like. I thought it better of me to take it easy..this is not my "A race". I want to be strong, healthy, fast and READY for St. Anthony's. Beth finished 5 minutes ahead of me and met me at the finish line!! As expected...the bling appeared after the finish...ahhh one more medal for the collection

We checked the results to find that Beth had gotten 2nd in our Athena age group and I had gotten 3rd. I can't think of a better person to have ahead of me considering all the things Beth has done to help me with my running. We waited for the awards ceremony (something totally new to me) and got our "unusual awards"...a small thermos with the logo of the race and our age group division place on the back. I know its not what I expected but it was nice to receive something for the division finish.

I learned today that its tough to race on tired legs but Im glad that I participated. I was incredibly proud of Beth for pushing through the bumps and bruises and accomplishing her goal. She is going to do great at St. Anthony's!!!

In a few weeks, I have two major races: St Anthony's and the Gulf Coast Triathlon. I feel like I am ready for the Olympic Distance...but Im not sure if I am ready for the Half always...i will keep you posted!!!


Chris said...

good job, flatlander

Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


I'm still Jenny From The Block said...

You are truly an inspiration. Thanks for your blog. I'll be checking in from time to time, no doubt.