Tri the Swamp Rabbit 2017
It is a sprint tri that takes place on the campus of Furman University. With such a great location, and the only SCTS race in July, it proves to be popular every year. This year was no different, with over 250 athletes lining up to take on the 250 meter pool swim, 16 mile bike and 5k run.
The FGM team was represented by Fiona Martin. Tami Leonhardt was also in attendance along with many friends and familiar faces. Fiona (I) drove up to Greenville the night before and shared a room with a fellow open female competitor. The usual jokes ensued about sharing too many secrets or putting something in each other’s breakfast, but we behaved ourselves and went to bed early to prepare for our 5:30am wake call and 7:30am race start time.
I arrived at the race site about an hour early to pick up my race numbers and set up transition.This left enough time for a short warm up on the bike and in the pool. Then, at 7:30 on the dot, the race director was at the pool and setting people off in 15 second increments. I was number 17 so I was in the pool not long after the first competitor jumped in.
The pool at Furman is quite short and dark, and to get the full 250 yard distance, you had to swim up and down the majority of the lanes. Since it was short, I went out at 100% and was happy to hold a strong 1:35/100yd pace with no one passing me and no need to pass those in front of me. I did get whacked pretty hard in the second lane by an athlete swimming in the other direction. I was quickly out of the pool, goggles off, swim cap off and running up the grassy hill to T1. Total swim spit time of 4:26, 8th fastest female.
I had a quick T1 – 41 seconds – and was out on the bike. I could see my closest open female competitor in front of me, and spent most of the bike leg trying to close the gap between us. We gap remained firm for the first 10 miles, but she pulled ahead a bit in the last 6, at which point I was thinking about my legs for the run portion. The bike course was rolling hills so energy expenditure and conservation was on my mind. My quads hurt the entire ride, but I had something to prove after a less than stellar performance at Tri the Midlands. Only 3 male athletes passed me on the bike course, which is really good, and no female athletes caught me. Final bike split time of 48:57, 20.1mph average, 7th fastest female.
My flying dismount into T2 went well with no shoes lost. I had another quick transition of 40 seconds, and when I got out on the run course, I was surprised that I was within sight of my nearest open female competitor in front of me. I knew she was a faster runner so I used her to pull me along. I hoped that I had put enough time on the bike to have a good gap with my nearest open female competitor behind me. I was amped for this run – I had to do better than Tri the Midlands – and the conditions were perfect. I knew this course well – there are a few little steep hills on the campus and then 2 miles of running up and down the Swamp Rabbit Trail. The way out is uphill and then downhill on the way back. This also let us see where our competitors were. My competitor in front was surprised to see me so close on the turn around so she kicked it into high gear. My competitor behind me was a decent distance behind me and looking tired. I knew I had to keep my tempo up. All in all, I pulled together a strong run for me and finished 4th overall female, and 4th open female. Final run time of 22:32, 7:53/mi pace, 12th fastest female.
My overall time was 1:17:15, a minute and 15 seconds behind 3rd place and 1:30 ahead of the 5th open female. This was a 5 minute PR compared to last year so I was extremely happy with this result. I hope to continue to build on this, improving my swim, bike and most importantly, my run. I’m looking forward to the next race, the Greenville Triathlon on August 13th!