Culpeper Race Report: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

So, the good, the bad and the ugly:

Good: I PRd!

Bad: I got passed in the swim by a guy who started in the wave behind me…and he was doing the breast stroke.

Ugly: I crashed my bike.

Doesn’t that intro make you want to keep reading?

So, I woke up 4:20 and planned to leave at 5:00. I had laid out all of my stuff the night before, so I anticipated a smooth start.

I walked out the door at 5:00 a.m., ready to go, only to discover that the automated rear door of my SUV wouldn’t stay open. It would open a few inches and then slam back shut. I needed to get my bike into the back of the car, the Hubs was still sleeping, and I was on a schedule. Not exactly the start I was hoping for. Ultimately, I ended up using my head to hold the door open while I struggled to get the bike into the back of the car. I finally did so, and was on my way, hoping that was going to be my one glitch in the plan this race day.

I got to the race venue, picked up my bib (#74), and set up all of my stuff.

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The swim is my least favorite part of the race for many reasons, including the fact that it is my weakest leg. My goal going into the race was just to get in and go and not over-think things (such as, what is lurking beneath me in this cloudy brown water?). I was in the third wave (baby blue caps) and tried to position myself out of the way, per my coach’s advice. The horn sounded and I started moving. I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath for quite awhile at the start, but I recognized that was just nerves, thought about my goal, and just kept going. Soon enough, all of the baby blue caps were in the distance, and I started noticing the bright green caps of the men coming up alongside me. I tried to stay out of the way as much as possible and soon the rush of green caps had passed me too. I even got passed by an older guy doing the breast stroke. Never a good sign. So, I think I need to do some work on my swimming… In any case, soon enough I had made it to shore and was out of the water and ready to kick some butt on the bike.

The bike is my strongest leg by far, so I was stoked to get started, especially on my new tri bike! Almost immediately, I passed three girls in my age group. The swim had taken a lot of me, so I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to get off to a strong start. All of my work riding the hills with Gretchen this summer definitely paid off, since this was a hilly course. I felt strong the entire time and did well keeping up with my hydration and nutrition.

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Things were going along great until about mile 18 when it started to drizzle. I was headed down a hill when I noticed a course marshall standing with an orange flag directing me to turn right. I went into the turn feeling fine, but I guess I was going too fast and slid on the pavement. I stupidly hit my brakes – totally just a reflex reaction. This was only my third trip out on my new tri bike and the brakes are MUCH more sensitive than on my road bike. Before I knew it, I was on the ground. I was stunned. I realized my left elbow was bleeding and I had a lot of pain in my left glute and thigh. I wasn’t sure what to do and wondered whether I should call my husband. But then I thought about this really awesome woman on Team HPB, who just broke her collarbone and within days was riding her trainer again, arm in a sling. I thought to myself, if she can ride her trainer with a broken collarbone, I can certainly finish an Oly tri with a bloody elbow and some scrapes.

I got back on my bike – gingerly – and started to ride to see if the bike was working okay. It seemed alright, so I started riding again. I was sore – and a little scared, to be honest – so I did slightly slow down coming in to T2.

At T2, I rinsed my elbow with some water and then started the run.

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My goal going into the run was just not to walk, but very early into the run I was wondering whether that would be possible with the fall. I started slow, figuring I would take it easy to start and see how things were feeling. Funny enough, the glute/thigh pain actually started to feel a little better the more I ran. It’s a hilly run, so I was happy that I never stopped to walk and finished at just under 10 minute mile pace. That is much slower than my 10k PR, but considering the circumstances, I was satisfied with the run. I say satisfied (and not happy) because the last mile was my fastest, so I probably could have pushed myself a bit harder.

I finished in 3:07:40 – a PR by almost 13 minutes from my time in the same race last year (3:20:23), despite the fall. It was cooler this year, so I am sure that helped, but I also know all of the work I have been putting in this year helped too – particularly working on getting tough. I almost certainly wouldn’t have kept going after a fall like that if it had happened at last year’s race. So I’m really happy about that, too.

I had planned to get a photo of myself at the finish, but with everything that happened, I had other things on my mind (namely, finding bandaids and ice). So, instead, here is a photo of the adorable commemorative pepper socks we all received for doing the race. 

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 No pain, no pepper socks!

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4 thoughts on “Culpeper Race Report: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

  1. Pingback: Work! | Stephanie Granlund

  2. Pingback: Race Report: Monticelloman Triathlon | Stephanie Granlund

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