It feels like I’ve been chasing an age group award in short course triathlon for quite some time. I haven’t been on any specific plan to accomplish it, but I knew it was possible. Earlier this Summer I came close with 6th at Capitol View Triathlon and 4th at Triterium Triathlon, which technically should have been 3rd, but I won’t revisit that mix up right now. Instead I want to celebrate my first age group award at Wausau Woodson YMCA Triathlon!
Wausau Woodson Triathlon is a course that I did in 2011, I was in a younger age group at that point, 29! It’s hard to believe I’ve been doing triathlons that long. It’s kind of crazy that it took me five years to place considering how often I read “I did my first triathlon today and won an age group award!” by other triathlon bloggers. Oh my god, it was driving me crazy reading that over and over while I’ve been trying so hard to get there!
A brief recap of the race…
The swim is in a very small man-made lake. The water was warm enough to go without a wetsuit, and I knew it was a beach start swim. Knowing this I practiced running into a lake and swimming as fast as possible the week prior. I’m glad I did! I got in front of my wave, and when they yelled “Go!” I flung myself into the water and swam fast. No breathing or heart rate issues! I got out in 7:07, my fastest 400 yard swim split this year, and possibly to date!
T1 was 1:30, didn’t bother with bike gloves or socks for a short course.
The bike course was 17 miles. I didn’t remember it being this hilly five years ago, I was not mentally prepared for the hills the course had! It was also a bit windier than I expected. I was passing people, but also getting passed by girls that I assumed were in my age group. They don’t mark your age on your calf at this race, it was hard to know! Somewhere around mile eight I gave up a little mentally. My moment of “quit” lasted briefly, I got my head on right and did what I could to get my average mph up! Off the bike with 17.5 mph average.
T2 was 1:40, had to finagle with socks for the run!
The run is flat and offers no shade from the sun. It was getting hot! I did my best not to let the heat bother me and ran as strong as I could. First split was 8:44, not where I wanted to be. Second split was 9:14, crap, slowing down wasn’t what I wanted to do either! Third was 8:43, total 5k time 27:07. It was tough to run strong and stay mentally strong while not knowing how old anyone was out there. The other tricky part was that the waves were at random, not by age. I wasn’t confident that I had a chance at an age group award during the run.
After I finished I went to the bus where the preliminary results were posted and I was second. I knew not to get too excited about that because there was a couple waves behind mine. I tried to eat the complimentary lunch, but I was so anxious waiting for the final results. We re-checked several times and my placing didn’t budge. It wasn’t until they started to announce the age group winners that it became real.
She announced the 30-34 third place winner and my heart was pounding. I was shooting for third to begin with. When she announced my name as second my heart pounded harder, but I was so relieved! And so HAPPY!! Finally!!
I was 11th overall female out of 63, and 2nd in my age group out of 6. Yes, it’s a small race, but it doesn’t make this any less meaningful to me. It makes me want to continue to keep working on improving myself, and maybe go back again in five years to get first!