Finish a Triathlon - CHECK

Monday, September 14, 2015

It’s officially been 24 hours since Iron Girl and I am still pumping with adrenaline from the race. It’s the same smile on your face/butterflies in your tummy you get when you’re in a new relationship. Most things new are exciting and this definitely is one for me.

Saturday: Heading to Sandy Hook
Heading to Sandy Hook for race registration was a breeze. I quickly got to packet pick up, got all my

items and hung around to listen to the “Course Talk”. For us newbies it was a great chat – they talked about the course, suggestions, tips and the day overall. It was nice to hear how much support the committee/organizers of the event are willing to give to make Iron Girl the best race experience there is. They were already winning me over on day one.

The race directors did acknowledge one hiccup for race day…they were missing an entire shipment of medals. If you’re an athlete, whether you want to admit it or not, most of us are all about the bling. You raise your hands as you cross the finish line…take 10 steps and right there is volunteers placing your precious bling around your neck. Limited bling means not everyone is getting one…most likely the individuals who are towards the back. I was in the second to last wave because of my age group so in my mind, Amanda wasn’t getting bling on Sunday. I knew they would mail it, but come on, WE WANT BLING! Liam wants bling!

So after buying a few shirts at the expo, it was time to go rack my bike. All the athletes are lucky with this race series being able to rack their bikes in transition the day before the race. They hire a night security team and watch all of the bikes over night. It was nice to worry about one less thing on race day morning.

That night, Taylor and I met up with Sarra, Augusto and Laia for a tasty Italian dinner. Carb load – check. Back to the hotel I got all my items in order – Check. A restless nights sleep filled with nerves – check.

Sunday – Race Day

Transition Set Up
It was an early start…4 a.m. WOOF. The day began so early because for Iron Girl Sandy Hook, each triathlete (ahhh weird saying that instead of runner!) needs to have all of their items in transition and set up by 6:30 a.m. For those of you who do not know, transition is sort of like “home base.” At transition you rack your bike and lay out all of your gear. So first you swim, then you run into transition and put on all the necessary items you need to bike. After the bike portion you head back into transition, rack your bike and get all the necessary items to run.

The Swim
So once our items were in transition it was the waiting game until our start. The ladies were entered
into the water by waves starting at 7 a.m. Each wave had a different swim cap/age group. The blue cap (that’s me) started at 7:50 a.m. As I mentioned before, I was most intimated by the water. And rightfully so. On Sunday the bay was choppy…realllll choppy. And there was a strong cross wind coming across the bay. On the swim there is a bit of a channel created – one side is all blow up inflatable buoys and the other side is lifeguards in kayaks and on paddle boards. They are there to help rescue, but they are also there in case a swimmer needs to take a break to catch their breath, and then keep swimming.

The first few waves of swimmers went off and some never moved. With each minute watching, I saw more and more swimmers struggle. And then it was whistles for rescues. Some swimmers couldn’t handle it and had to be picked up by the rescue boats in the water. Just like that they were disqualified and their Sandy Hook adventure was over – 13 women in total on Sunday. My knees were feeling weak and my stomach had knots. How am I going to do this? Did I train hard enough? This 1/3 mile looks soooooooo long. Holy shit, I'm gonna puke.

And before I knew it, I was off. I ran three steps into the water and then dove in like Baywatch (I’m sure you can image how graceful haha) I was in and there was only one option, get to the other side. The waves were as rough as they looked. I focused on keeping my strokes steady and on my breathing. I took several HUGE gulps of sea water. Had one time where I needed to stop because I started to panic, but took a second, regrouped and went after it. Sixteen minutes later I was running on to the beach seeing our cheer squad and trying to catch my breath.

The Bike
I ran into transition, quickly dried off my feet, put on my shirt, sneakers, helmet and sunglasses and I was OFF. Off I went on a two loop, 15 mile course. Heading away from transition was amazing, wind at our backs and I was flying. But it was coming back that was the struggle because wind was in our face, but luckily I knew that because my friend Janice warned me, I was already mentally prepared. My game plan in the bike portion was to peddle my ass off on the way out with the wind, and focus on strong strokes into the wind.

Some of these women in the race are pure badasses. I was in awe of many of them. Two loops and
back to transition I was welcomed by screams from Taylor. I jumped off my bike and my legs turned into spaghetti. Taylor is screaming for me to sprint into transition and I could barely walk. Ut oh...

The Run
As I racked my bike I was telling myself “I have no idea how you are going to run with your legs feeling like this.” When I trained for this race, I trained all three events separately (except the swim where I would run to the pool and run after). But I never practiced bike and run. I headed out to the road for our run and it took me nearly ¾ of a mile to actually feel my legs and feel like I was going somewhere. I’ve never felt so slow in my life!

Once I hit the one mile mark I knew I had an okay stride and could actually feel myself hit the pavement. I hit the turnaround point (1.5 miles) and I told myself, this is your strong area Amanda, run home girlfriend. And that’s what I did. I ran my heart out to see Taylor screaming at the finish line as always, screaming with cowbell in hand. Seeing him at the end always makes me smile. Apparently he makes me run faster as well because I had a 9:19 pace after all that swimming and biking (I'm lucky to be there on a normal run day!)


And just like that, I am officially an Iron Girl AND I got a medal. The ‘do a triathlon’ is checked off the bucket list. I had a goal time of 1 hour and 45 minutes based off my training and my official time was 1 hour 47 minutes FLAT. Not too shabby for a first timer.

I have no idea what the “average” time is for these things and honestly, I DON’T CARE. I crushed it and I kicked some ass in my mind which is all that matters. My friend Scott who is our Special Olympics head coach posted “I hope everyone realizes how hard this event is and what an achievement you have made. Way to go!” Scott himself is an AMAZING athlete and for him to post that was humbling to read. I couldn’t help but get teary eyed because I myself don’t give myself enough credit sometimes. I should be very proud, and honestly I am! I am one happy triathlete.

Team Stroke It, Ride It, Pound It – congrats to you ALL. We rocked it out there and EVERYONE loved our shirts. Go girls!

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