Race Recap: Iron Girl Athleta Sandy Hook Triathlon

Posted on September 10, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized |

On Sunday I completed the Iron Girl Athleta Sandy Hook Triathlon! It wasn’t a perfect race but it was a lot of fun and I’m so glad I went out there even though I wasn’t feeling 100% prepared.

My Mom and I hit the road at 4:45am and arrived at the race venue around 5:45am. We parked and I grabbed all of my gear and literally ran to the start line, which was quite far from the athlete parking lots. I had to get my race packet before 6:00am and then get everything into transition before 6:30am. It was a tight squeeze! The whole scene was extremely chaotic as I stood in line to get my name checked off, then to another line to get my packet and then to another line for body marking – which was actually not even a line but a clump of people trying to find someone to mark them up before heading into transition.

Super smile pre-race!

Super smiles pre-race and post-transition chaos.

After finally making it into transition, I originally set up my stuff around where my number should have been but it was insanely packed and I could barely fit. My brother-in-law’s sister was also doing the race and she got into the transition area even later than I did and ended up just putting her stuff against one of the side fences. She had plenty of room so I decided to join her last minute and got out of the chaos that was the middle of the transition area. This is the biggest triathlon I’ve done – almost 1300 participates – and without clear markings for each participant in the transition area, it was pretty freakin’ crazy. I was actually worried I might not be able to find my stuff so I’m so glad I moved it out of the way (and I ended up being really close to the bike in/out which was awesome).

The scene on the beach as the race began.

The scene on the beach as the race began.

Suddenly, it was time for the race to start and we all headed down to the water. I felt like I had JUST arrived at the race and had barely set everything up and it was almost time to start. While setting up my transition items I realized I had forgotten my Garmin and my body glide. I was clearly a little rusty for race day! I had drank some black coffee and water with a Kind bar that morning and was feeling good. We headed down to the water for the start of the race and noticed that the swim was no longer a horseshoe but was instead a point-to-point swim The water was also CRAZY choppy. It turns out they ended up shortening the swim from 1/2 mile to 1/3 mile and made it point-to-point because of the choppy water. Luckily, I feel like the swim is my strongest leg so while I was nervous, I knew I would be fine.  However, I was thinking about how many people are concerned about the swim portion and if they had any trepidation I’m sure it took a lot to get out there and complete the swim. We started in waves and each wave went down in age with the first group being the 65+ and the last group being 30 and under. It was very cold on the beach and we were shivering watching each group go into the water.

My mom claims I'm swimming in this photo but man, who knows.

My mom claims I’m swimming in this photo but man, who knows.

After waiting almost an hour it was finally my turn to get into the water. I had watched all the waves in front of me go and knew I wanted to start way out wide as to not get into the bottleneck heading into the first buoy. I felt like if I could get past the first buoy I’d be good to go. We were all chatting in the water about our nerves and then the countdown began and we were off! I got right at it and boy was it a bit crazy at first! The waves were out of control and every time I took a breath to my right a huge wave would come over me and into my mouth. I also had to look up a lot more with breast stroke breaks then I would have liked but I was exerting so much energy and was being sloshed around a lot.  I worked hard and stayed calm and made my way past each buoy and the swim went by really quickly. I swam hard into the end and then ran up the beach where I saw my Mom, my sister and some other friends.

I'm reaching up for a high five to my sister and telling her that the swim was super choppy. I'd also like to point out that the the women in the green caps were in the wave in front of me. Boom!

I’m reaching up for a high five to my sister and telling her that the swim was super choppy. I’d also like to point out that the the women in the green caps were in the wave in front of me. Boom!

I ran into transition and got ready for the bike and was out of there as quickly as possible. The bike was nice and flat the entire ride, which was an out and back, but the only challenge was the crazy wind on the way back in. The entire ride back I was working hard against the wind but it still went by very quickly. The website said the bike was 10 miles and the participate packet said it was 12 miles and there was a sign the day of the race that said it was 8.25 miles. So…yea. I think it was 8.25 but who knows!

Following the quick bike ride, I was back in transition and headed out to the 3 mile run. My legs were feeling like jelly but I really wanted to move through this run to the finish. The run was flat and an out and back loop. The sun was out at that point and I was definitely tired but it wasn’t bad at all. I wanted to be moving quicker than I was but I just couldn’t get my legs to move any faster! I didn’t know what my pace was without my Garmin which might have been a good thing or a bad thing…I’m still not sure.

Once I hit the turn around I knew that I was almost done and tried to pick up the pace.  A woman was on the sidelines yelling encouragement and said, “If you can hear my voice then you have about 300 yards left. KEEP IT UP!” So I picked it up and then rounded the bend and another woman on the sideline yelled, “less than 150 yards!” and I really kicked it into gear. I saw my sister and friends and then turned to the woman running next to me and said, “let’s do this,” and we sprinted across the finish line. We gave each other a huge high five at the end and it was awesome. My mom snapped a photo at the end just as I was raising my arms in triumph (which is how I try to end every race).

Woo! Finished!

Woo! Finished!

The post-race expo was filled with samples and food. We grabbed some waters and snacks and headed back to the transition area to grab our gear. As we were walking back to the car we crossed over the last mile of the run and there was one last woman still competing. As she ran by we all stopped to clap for her and cheer her on. She shouted that it was her first triathlon and that she was going to finish. I shouted, “the first of many!” and everyone cheered. That pretty much sums up the atmosphere at the race. There was definitely something awesome about a race that was just women. Even though I didn’t feel adequately prepared for the race, it was short, fun and I am so glad I participated. I of course had the typical post-race glow and started researching if there were anymore upcoming races in the area…why does that always happen?

My official results are below and aren’t too impressive but it’s all good.

Finish: 1:22:45 minSwim: 16:27 min (slower than I wanted)
T1: 2:44 min (long)
Bike: 30:14 min (nice!)
T2: 1:58 min (better)
Run: 31:22 min (10:28 average)

Age Group: 17/82
Overall: 226/1141

Fingers crossed for some good official race photos. I won’t hold my breath…


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2 Responses to “Race Recap: Iron Girl Athleta Sandy Hook Triathlon”

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I love reading this – your recap really makes one want to do a race – tri or run! You rocked it, congrats!!

Way to go Steph!!!

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    Two friends living and working in Washington, D.C. writing about life, food, fashion, design and living an active lifestyle…so, basically everything!


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