Busting it in Bluewater
My hips had already set me up for failure. Two days prior I woke up in the middle of the night unable to move. I had so much pain from my TFL (at the time, I thought it was Sciatica) that I couldn’t bend, turn over, wiggle, you name it.
But I wasn’t going to miss a duathlon on my birthday over a whiney hip. If that meant crawling to the finish line, I was prepared to do so.
The Race: Bluewater Bay Duathlon is a small but well organized event in Niceville, Florida. All proceeds go towards the EOD Fund, RWB, and the local high school. It is easy to dish out money for a race when you know the money is going towards wonderful organizations. Duathlon usually implies run-bike-run. No different here.
Ease of location: Amazing. Because of its small size, parking and getting to transition was a breeze. I was able to arrive an hour before the race, pick up my packet, get body marked (Officially 26 that morning. Whaaaat!), set up transition, and have 30 minutes to spare for warming up. Even better, honey buckets weren’t necessary as there were indoor bathrooms to use. Easy and convenient doesn’t do it justice.
Run 1: 5:25minute/mile.
(I’m waiting for the results to be fixed, because I just don’t believe it.) Everyone was ready to zip through this first mile and the pavement was ready for us. Feeling the energy of the group made everyone work harder.
I entered t1 around 5th female, and killed way too much time there. 1:26 for a run to bike transition is absurd, and I know that. Bending down to swap shoes about toppled me over with pain from that hip. I wasn’t ready for this bike ride, but 1 leg was down and I wasn’t giving up.
Bike: 39:37 for 12 miles.
Great? No, but pretty average. In fact, my road bike passed quite a few tri bikes on this ride. The winds were so strong it hurt us all; and several people were getting warnings for drafting. I admit it was tempting. I heard a couple people were completely wiped out by the wind on a turn. I was thankful to not be one of them.
The route itself had several turns for such a short course, but was well labeled and easy to follow. Spanish Moss covered the trees throughout the entire race, making the scenery between that and the bay just stunning. My biggest complaint on the bike course was of a photographer. She was right at a turn and instead of standing on the outside of our marked bounds, she was right IN THE MIDDLE OF THE LANE. Woman, seriously. Move yo’ rear. Cyclists would rather have an easy, safe, and smooth turn than having to slam on the breaks for you and a fancy picture.
I entered t2 having gained some ground much lost in terms of where I stood among the women, especially because I saw a female already on the run leg. T2 was a little better at 0:59sec but still painful and not amazing.
Run 2: 25:30 for 5k (just under an 8:30minute/mile pace)
I caught up with a kind woman right out of t2 and asked to join her at her pace for a little while. She agreed but suggested I not let her hold me back, as there were only a couple women in front of us. I couldn’t believe her and asked at the water station how many women
were in front of me. They confirmed: 2 or 3. That was all I needed to hear. Screw my hip pain. If there were 3 women in front of me, that put me in 4th. NO ONE wants to JUST miss the podium. Head down and focused on my breathing as I hit the gas.
I passed the woman I assumed was in 3rd place.
AWESOME! I’m there!
CRAP I have to STAY there!
Crossing the finish line, one of the race directors cheered and said I took 2nd. Turns out, that woman I saw already on the run leg was part of a relay team. They are in their own division and don’t “count” towards overall placement.
I came in at 1:12:55, 2nd Overall (female), and 1st in my Age Group.
The bling that all finishers get was a nice touch. Shorter distances mean not always getting swag outside of the t shirt, but this race came with a nice tech t, the medal, and a water bottle in the packet.
Sadly, I didn’t have my Moxie Multisport gear yet, so I was sad to not get to rep anything. Patrick offered up his Gulf Coast Cycle and Tri visor to rock. Heck yes, I’ll rock them. They are an amazing local bike shop that continues to be my hero.
As a plant-powered athlete, I am used to being unable to eat at post race parties. Oh well. Red beans and rice were served with bread and 2 free beers. Plenty of beer options, though! And the views of the bay and boardwalk made up for the lack of food options.
The awards ceremony. It was late to start, unorganized (which surprised me since the rest of the race was beautifully handled), and turned into a lot of personal commentary. It got boring, quickly. On top of that, they gave out first and second place for age group, but only first for overall male/female/masters. I was sorely disappointed that I busted my bum for 2nd place overall, to not even be recognized. Overall awards are rare for my age group and I was excited to rep my local tri shop up there. While I got my award for 1st in my age group, even that was a mess. It was more like, “Here take this and leave because we’re busy reading other stuff.” The picture of me standing up there with my medal is next to two women shuffling through papers. Super awkward and not worth posting. Oh well.
Ultimately, it was a small racing event and all the money went towards wonderful causes. That’s what matters. Well… That and I kicked my own butt, despite the hip pain. So there’s that. I would do this race again to support what it stands for, but would probably not stick around for the awards ceremony again. It was a waste of 2 hours.
I ended my weekend on a high of winning, my 26th birthday, and some sandy yoga. Hard life, right? ;)