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Iron Girl Atlanta race report June 28, 2010

Posted by bettyjoan in Races.
Tags: ,

My second triathlon of 2010 is in the books – and it didn’t involve any mechanical problems, woo hoo!

I love the Iron Girl tri (a sprint-distance race sponsored by Aflac) for a lot of reasons.  The 2009 race was my very first triathlon EVER, so it’s somewhat sentimental.  It’s a stone’s throw from my house, so there aren’t any travel logistics that have to be ironed out (and I can sleep in my own bed the night before the race).  It’s a well-organized event with lots of great staff and volunteers.  Finally, it’s an all-female event and there are a lot of beginners, so it’s very inspiring and empowering for the participants.

I checked in and racked my bike on Saturday, and I found out that my race number was lucky number 7.  I have never had a race number that low before!  Turns out they gave low race numbers AND primo rack space to the Aflac Team Courage participants, who are all cancer survivors (like me).  They also gave us a cool hat and a nice toiletry/travel bag, and they paid our registration fees.  Nice!  Another reason to love this race.

Sunday morning, I got to Lake Lanier right around 5 AM, and the only negative aspect of the morning was how far the participants had to walk to get from the parking lot to transition.  It was a workout before the workout!  I got body marked and set up my transition mat, and then I found all of my TNT friends and made sure they didn’t need anything.  Before I knew it, it was time to head down to the swim start!  My wave was very large, but I positioned myself in the right place and had a great swim.  They changed the course a bit – last time, it was a point-to-point, and this time it involved some turns – but I felt really strong and ended up finishing in 11:26 (last year’s swim time – 15:08).  The hill to transition was every bit as steep and unpleasant as I remembered, but I got my shoes on and was out on my bike in 3:35 (last year’s T1 time – 4:55).

The Iron Girl bike course is VERY hilly, so there are always little snafus here and there – dropped chains, people who have to get off and walk, that sort of thing.  I didn’t have any issues personally, other than having a hard time generating any speed because so many women were tripped up by the inclines.  Which brings me to a minor gripe – I don’t care if you are a first-time triathlete or a seasoned professional.  You should KNOW THE RULES before you attempt a race.  There were women of all skill and experience levels out there on the course, and very few of them practiced correct (and, more importantly, courteous) cycling behavior.  I mean, how hard is it to say “On your left!” before you pass someone?  Not only is it a nice thing to do, but it also keeps people safe – how do I know not to pull out into the left “lane” unless you let me know that you’re already there?  Anywho, I had a mostly lovely bike ride and ended up finishing in 1:17:35  (last year’s bike time – 1:21:27).

After witnessing a crash on the hill up to transition (that’ll teach you to gear down), I changed into my run gear and headed out in 2:37 (last year’s T2 time – 3:21).  It was pretty hot out there, but I felt good and had hydrated well.  I walked through the aid stations, drinking Gatorade and pouring water on my neck, but I ran most of the 5K.  As is typical in a tri, I didn’t run as fast as I am capable of, but I finished the last leg in 34:46 (last year’s run time – 35:29).  I crossed the finish line with a big smile on my face – I knew I’d had a good race, and I was really proud of myself for doing another tri only a week after the DC Tri debacle.

My total time for the 2010 Iron Girl Atlanta was 2:09:59.  Last year’s time was 2:20:20, so I shaved over ten minutes – HOORAY, PR!!!

I can’t wait to race in the 2011 Iron Girl Atlanta triathlon – and if you’ve ever wanted to get into the sport, it would be a great event to start with!  Feel free to let me know in the comments if you want more info.

Next up: the Peachtree Road Race and the Chattanooga Riverfront Tri!



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