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Iron Girl race report June 30, 2009

Posted by bettyjoan in Races.
Tags: ,

Greetings from one of Atlanta’s newest triathletes!  I competed in the Iron Girl sprint triathlon on Sunday, and it was one of the most amazing and empowering things I’ve ever done.  I totally understand the addiction!

After checking myself and my bike in on Saturday afternoon, and after some good old fashioned carbo-loading at the Olive Garden on Saturday night, I woke up at 4 AM on Sunday in order to don my race uniform and head up to Lake Lanier.  I got there at 5 AM, got body marked, and set up my transition mat.  I realized I had forgotten my tire changing pouch (and if I didn’t have it, clearly I would get a flat–Murphy’s law and whatnot), but luckily my coach has the same wheels and lent me hers.  I took some pictures with my teammates, and then there was nothing to do but head down to the beach, where the starting line was.  I found my family, posed a few more times for the camera, and then before I knew it, it was time for my wave to go, go, go!

The swim was relatively uneventful.  There was a lot of breaststroking going on, which meant that other peoples’ legs were a little harder to avoid, but I stayed calm and finished in 15:08.  There was a HUGE hill to get from the swim finish to the transition area, and I was SERIOUSLY huffin’ and puffin’, but I made it and started getting all of my cycling gear in order.  I had to rinse my feet, and I had a bit of trouble with my gloves, so my first transition was a little long at 4:55.  Maybe I took a little more time than anticipated because I was dreading the bike ride!

Turns out there was no need to be afraid.  Other than some ignorant cars on the road, the first miles of the cycling course were rather lovely.  Well, for me, anyway–many of the participants were very intimidated by open-road riding, and many others had to get off their bikes and walk them up the hills.  Not me, though–I powered through the climbs, even earning a “You’re my hero!” comment from a fellow racer when I didn’t even have to get out of my saddle to tackle the course’s biggest incline.  Of course, I was worried about the downhills, and I got a flash of fear before I came to the first one, but I tried to harness my adrenaline into forward progress.  🙂  I didn’t fly, but I didn’t slam on the brakes, either.  Overall, I had a very strong ride, and I finished the second leg of the tri in just over 1:21.  My second transition was a lot easier (though I did have a touch of trouble putting on my ankle brace), and I was out on the run in 3:21.

Right away, I started feeling the heat of the day.  With every step, I was praying for a water station.  Luckily, there were three of them on the run course, and they had Gatorade AND cold sponges.  I cramped up a bit in my right calf and really felt like I was running slower than ever before–but I sped up toward the end when I saw my fiance!  As I rounded the corner to go up the transition hill one last time, my fabulous TNT mentor ran me right up to the finish line.  My run time was a surprisingly respectable 35:29, which made my total finishing time 2:20:20.  My pre-race goal was to finish in under two and a half hours, which I beat by ten minutes.  I have never felt better than when that medal was placed around my neck.

The crowds were amazing, the volunteers were incredible, and the stories were inspiring (you will be able to see some of them when the race is broadcast on NBC on August 2!!!).  As I was swigging champagne with my family when the race was over, I realized how lucky I was to have taken part in something so meaningful, on so many levels.  And of course, I realized how lucky I am to have such wonderful support during this life-changing journey.

But the journey is far from over–in less than two weeks, I will tackle an Olympic distance triathlon in Chattanooga.  This is my “A” race, the one I have fundraised for, and the one that my eye has been set on from the start–but, I will always remember Iron Girl as my first triathlon.  With any luck, it will be the first of many.



1. Mom - June 30, 2009

Betty, oops! Iron Girl,

I am so proud of you for yet another accomplishment in your life! I was so glad to be there to see you at every facet of the race and see your excitement, determination, and pride in what you were doing. Please tell me that tightrope walking will not be your next goal…j/k. I know you can do anything you set your mind on. I know you will do a fabulous job in Chattanooga…..I’m so proud!


2. bettyjoan - July 1, 2009

Tightrope walking? No thanks, I’ll stick with pursuits that keep me right at ground level (never was a big fan of heights). So glad you had fun at the race! Wish you could be there in Chattanooga, but you’ll be supporting me in spirit. Love you!

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