Race Report – Mini Mussel 2016

Race- Mini Mussel Sprint Triathlon

When- July 9th, 2016

Where- Geneva, New York

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So I’ve mentioned a few times (here, here, here again) how hectic and crazy my life is right now. Musselman weekend totally snuck up on me. I have no idea how race week showed up when it did. I was originally slated to the full 70.3 race on Sunday, but after much hemming and hawing, I opted to drop down to the sprint at the last second. It took a every fiber of my being to make this choice, but I’m okay with it. I’m sad, I’m frustrated with myself, but I know it was the right decision given my circumstances at the moment.

So Rob and I headed back to our mostly packed up home in Geneva Friday night. Packet pickup was slow but uneventful.

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I slept great, honestly. No dog, no baby. Just a hard crash. I thought I’d be a little more nervous and toss and turn a lot, but even though I hadn’t raced in almost two years, my body seemed to know it was okay and let me sleep.

I rolled into transition pretty early Saturday morning. I took my time setting up my things and getting myself ready.

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Muscle memory seemed to exist, even for just simple things like transition. I felt like I was going through motions I had been through so many times before, because I was, even if it had been a while.

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After that I spent a bit of time hanging out with my tri club friends and just waiting for the race start. I was in the second wave though, so I didn’t have too long to wait. Part of that wait did include my attempt to get into my wetsuit. I’m a bit heavier than I was the last time I wore it, so I had no idea if it would fit or not. It took some extra hands, but it did eventually go on and zip. It was tight, but it was on.

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All hands on deck to squeeze postpartum me into a wetsuit

Getting into the corral and then into the water, I expected to be nervous. But I wasn’t. It felt right walking through the throngs of athletes and wading out into Seneca Lake. I thought my first race after almost two years off and being 7.5 months postpartum would be more scary, but honestly, I felt relieved.

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I’m grateful that despite everything going on in my life, despite dropping from the half iron to the sprint, that I can do this. I’m working on being more gentle with myself and trying to accept a new me, and wading into the water, treading for a few minutes in the morning sun, waiting for the bullhorn to go off, it felt good.

And the horn did go off. Did I mention this was my first open water swim since Iron Girl 2014? No? Well it was. Woops.

I started off free style, but it was surprisingly congested so I switched to breast stroke so I could see a little better and not get kicked in the face as much, which of course happened immediately. And I ended up sticking with breast stroke for about 90% of the swim. It felt like the right stroke at the time. I swapped to free style a few times, which I am noticeably faster at, but my wetsuit was a bit tight and constricting, so breast stroke seemed to take some of the pressure off my chest. Not ideal, but I managed to get through the swim. I was slow, my wetsuit was a bit too tight, but I was okay. Swim- 20:39 2:45/100m

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Swimming, why are you so hard?

T1 was okay. All my muscle memory sprung right in and I was in and out in 3:30. Not super fast, but by no means my slowest T1 either.

Onto the bike. I love riding and I love Finley. So smooth and easy to ride. I slipped out of the park and out onto 96A, the worst part of the Mussleman course. It’s a roughly 4 mile “false” flat. It’s a crummy way to start out the first few miles, slowly trudging up a long, low climb. It definitely hits your quads up for a decent amount. But the wonderful thing about wine country is the rolling hills, and what goes up must come down. Can’t complain about the long winding downhills that I was able to get down onto my aerobars during and pick up some much needed speed.

One thing I can complain about though; my back brake lever. Not even just the lever, but about halfway through the bike course, the whole brake end came loose from my handlebars and the only thing keeping it from just falling right off was the brake cable itself. So that definitely sucked, but the added benefit was that I spent a lot more time down on my aeros in an effort to keep my weight off my broken bar end.

Also, Ironman is using Gatorade Endurance on the course now, so I ordered some and this race was my first time using it. All I have to say is yuck! That stuff is pretty darn gross tasting. And I felt pretty much the same as I do using other liquid fuel options, so even though it’ll be on the course at Choo and I’ll grab some if I need it, I won’t be carrying it on me. Hard pass.

I felt good during the bike course. Rob bought me a fancy new racing helmet for my birthday back in April, but of course I forgot it in Syracuse. I could have used the free speed for sure, but I still was cruising along, enjoying my ride. My speed is definitely pretty trashed right now, I really need to work on that. I’m coming in at a solid 3mph slower than I have been in all my past racing years, which sucks, but it’s just the truth of my current situation.

Despite my brake not working right, I still sidled into T2 right around the time I expected, though I had hoped to be under the hour mark. Oh well. Bike- 1:02:29, 15:36mph

T2 was typical for me. In and out in 2:24, so not my fastest, not my slowest. Seemed to be a common theme for me during this race.

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Heading into the finish chute! I’d like to say I was high fiving Beth, but really I was offering to take her GU garbage from her.

As I headed out for the run I already knew I wasn’t going to run the whole 5k. I had yet to do a single brick workout prior (double woops) and my running isn’t really totally up to snuff yet. I figured I’d do some run walk intervals of .25 mile run/.10 mile walk, give or take. I never lengthened the walk interval, but more times then not I did run more then the quarter mile I told myself was my minimum. My legs were definitely heavy for the first mile, then once they started to feel better and I found a bit of a cruising pace and managed to finish strong. Run- 37:52, 11:52/mile

Total Race Time- 2:06:54

This wasn’t my slowest race, but it definitely was far from my fastest. I’m glad I got out there and raced being only 7.5 months postpartum. I am still sad that I dropped down, but it honestly the right choice.

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I am thankful for my body and all that it can do. I may not like the way it looks, and I may be struggling a bit with accepting the “new me” in terms of my athletics, but I’m still grateful. I hope someday I can tell my daughter about this and she will feel proud and inspired. Hard work pays off and I’d like to think that I’m a good example of that, though harder work would have gotten me 70.3 miles instead of 21 miles. But sometimes, that’s life. And it’s okay.

I love Musselman. The whole weekend is a huge celebration of family, fitness, and triathlon. Such a spectacular race and I’m so lucky to have lived a mile from transition all these year, to have trained on the course regularly, and called such a great race my home town race. There will be more Musselman in my future, absolutely.

7 Thoughts on “Race Report – Mini Mussel 2016

  1. Way to go! Being postpartum is the hardest challenge to overcome, in my opinion. And completing this just 7.5 months post baby is something to celebrate on many different levels!

  2. Ethan on July 15, 2016 at 12:43 pm said:

    Congrats on getting out and racing. Looks like you had lots of fun and did a great job. I live in Buffalo and definitely considering Musselman in the future based on your exciting review. Right now I’m fueling up for Nickel City Triathlon tomorrow, hoping to have as much fun as your race.

  3. I raced when my daughter was about four months old…it felt SOOOO good! Congrats on getting out there -it looks like a fun event!
    cheryl recently posted…10 Truths of No-Bullshit Triathlon Training.My Profile

  4. You did an awesome job girly!! Great job!!!!
    Rachel @ RachelMcMichael.com recently posted…Perspective is Everything!My Profile

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