Greenville Triathlon 2017

Greenville Triathlon 2017

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Greenville Triathlon 2017

I love the Greenville Triathlon! This is a great race for many reasons – 1. It’s an established race that always attracts a good crowd of athletes and spectators. 2. It’s a welcome race in the middle of the summer months when there aren’t many races. 3. It’s my favorite pool swim – 50m pool where you only swim in one direction in each lane, and plenty of room to pass people (or get passed) without drowning.

I was excited for this year’s race as my times have been improving consistently and I was excited to be racing again after 4 weeks off from competition. I drove up the night before and stayed with friend and fellow competitor Jen Kryzanowski. She is only 2 weeks away from competing in the Age Group World Championships so her eyes are on that prize. Surveying our competitors, it looked like there were 8 women signed up for open female, but we figured there might be a race day sign up or two to watch out for, too.

Our alarms went off at 5:15 the next morning, and we were packed up and off to the race start by 5:45. The race started at 7am, so I felt like we were cutting it a bit close. When I arrived at the site, it was hard to find parking and then there were further delays trying to pick up our packets.

That said, I had transition set up and ready by 6:40, leaving enough time for a swim warm up only. I will be arriving to the next race earlier so I can get a proper bike/run/swim in beforehand.

My bib number was 15, which put 5 of my open female competitors in front of me and 3 behind me. I still love getting to start so early in the race – no more standing on the pool deck full of nerves for 30 minutes! My time came quick – I dove in (and kept my goggles on, my swim coach will be proud) and got going. I passed Jen, who was number 14, in the first 100m and kept the pace up. At every turn of the wall, it looking like there was a mass of women swimmers behind me. I kept expecting to get passed, but when that didn’t happen, I took over the lane and powered through. I caught up to the next male competitor just before hitting the ladder at the end of the 400 meter swim.

Out of the water and into T1 was a bit manic – me, Jen and another open female competitor called Ashley were in T1 at exactly the same time. Getting to the mount line, Ashley was up on her bike first, I was faffing with my pedals for way too long but was 2nd up on the bike, and Jen was right behind me. Note to self: I will learn to do a flying mount so I’m never stuck messing with my pedals like that ever again.

In previous races, I’ve been much stronger and faster on the bike than Ashley. Jen and I have had similar bike splits, so out of T1, I expected to catch Ashley and then try to hold off Jen. That is not what ended up happening. I caught Ashley in the first few miles and then figured it was clear sailing as long as I could keep pace. This course is rolling hills, which usually plays to my favor as I train on rollers and spend more time on the bike than many triathletes. I could hear someone shifting gears behind me as we were going up and down the hills.

I assumed it was Jen, but then I was passed by Ashley! Ashley and I went back and forth for the entire 15 miles. I got to hand it to her, she turned up her bike game a lot compared to the other races. It did worry me, though, as historically she has been a faster runner than me. I just hoped that the added effort she had to put into the bike would blow out her legs for the run. I didn’t see Jen behind me on any of the turns and was a little worried in case she had had a mechanical or some other issue.Rolling into T2, Ashley passed me in the last 25 meters as I prepped for my flying dismount. We had exactly the same amount of time in T2 (44 seconds) and then we were out on the run.

Now, this scenario was not one I had planned for – Ashley and I having a foot race (I planned on putting time on her on the bike) and Jen nowhere to be seen (still worried she had fallen or flatted). Unfortunately, I couldn’t hold pace with Ashley, although kept her in my sights for 75% of the run. This two loop 5k course lets you see where everyone is. I saw Adam Feigh finish first with Ricky Flynn right behind him, then I was keeping an eye out for Jen as I expected her to be on my tail. I still didn’t see her, but I knew I wanted to be happy with my run and hold a decent pace. I finally saw Jen on the final lap, at least a minute behind me, and I got to see lots of other friends out on the run course – Shawn Shealy, Kristin Cattieu, Carlton Sink and a few more. I picked it up on the last hill and brought it home with a final time of 1:15:11 – 4 minutes faster than my time last year. I ended up placing 5th overall female and 5th open female, but I continue to be pleased with the significant chunks of time that I’m taking off my previous race times. Ashley finished 2 minutes ahead of me (must continue working on my run!) and Jen came in 2.5 minutes after me due to suffering a panic attack on the bike. The next triathlon on deck is Toughman SC – a half ironman distance tri in Greenwood on September 30th.

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