This past weekend, I experienced a pretty sweet homecoming at the Cazenovia Triathlon. Held in my teeny tiny hometown, this sprint-distance (0.5-mile swim, 14-mile bike, and 3.1-mile run) event was my first multisport race in 2012, and upon finishing, I was instantly hooked. In 2013 and 2014, this tri took place the same weekend as USA Triathlon Age Group Nationals so it didn’t make my race calendar. This year, though, I was able to swing it—and I notched a big PR: I placed 15th overall, 5th female overall, 1st in my age group, and I shaved nearly 20 minutes off my 2012 finishing time!
All photos courtsey of my Mom!
Even though I registered for this race in January, I kept it on the DL. I told myself if I had a strong showing in Milwaukee, then I would mostly likely feel OK with ending the season and not doing it. Nationals didn’t quite go as planned, and although I’ve come to terms with what happened out there, I did not want that outing to be the final one. Coach Pat and I have talked at length about Milwaukee and developed a game plan for this race, which was to have fun and hopefully notch a big PR—mission accomplished!
Swim – 800m – 14:41 (6th female overall)
2012 time – 18:43
Unlike the triangular 2012 course, the route this year was a simple out-and-back.
My wave contained several age groups (women ages 16-39), but I could pick out the “actual swimmers” pretty easily. Right off the bat, I hopped on one girl’s feet and drafted off her for the majority of the swim. I didn’t feel as smooth as I did at Milwaukee—probably because I didn’t warm up—but I was able to find my groove quickly. The best part was hearing my parents cheering for me as I came out of the water.
They said I was number three, which I felt good about considering my strongest of the three disciplines was next up.
Time to make watts!
T1 – 1:27 (6th female overall)
2012 time – 1:59
Not making excuses, but this was a slower transition because we had to walk our bikes up a hill to get to the mount line.
I haven’t attempted a shoeless, flying mount yet, but that could’ve saved me some time. Maybe this is something to start practicing.
Bike – 14 miles – 44:23 (6th female overall)
2012 time– 54:15
Obviously, I wanted to smoke the bike, but within the first few miles, I could tell my legs didn’t have the “pop” they did for Milwaukee. Plus, this was a hilly and somewhat technical course so I adjusted expectations. I don’t feel great, but this isn’t the “A” race; let’s still put forth today’s best effort.
As I climbed one of the opening hills, I saw a dude wearing longer shorts (i.e. not tri apparel). As I passed him, he called out, “Hey, Carrie Stevens!” I turned around and realized it was one of my high school classmates! You know you’re doing a hometown race when …
Anyway, the rest of the bike was uneventful. I passed one of the girls who beat me out of the water and played leapfrog with another. She broke away, though, and beat me into transition.
T2 – 1:00 (6th female)
2012 time – 1:36
Again, due to the hill, I was cautious.
Run – 5-K – 23:39 (7th female overall)
2012 time – 28:20
I know this run course very, very well—part of it takes place on the 4th of July 5-K route—so I was mentally prepared to deal with the brutal hill about a mile in.
And the hill coming out of transition
My pace dropped big time, but I was able to hang tough and settle back in at the top. I was also able to hang tough mentally when an older woman caught up to me as we neared the turnaround at mile 1.5. Her breathing indicated she was working a lot harder than me, so as she made her move, I hopped on her shoulder and challenged her to keep the pace. Ultimately, I was unable to stay with her, but I played the game (and played a little defense) and threw down a 7:05 for my final mile, which felt a lot better than I thought a 7:05 would feel.
Am I a runner?
This confirms that top-end speed is there, but I need to be mentally strong enough to tap into it.
Official finish – 1:25:11
2012 time – 1:44:52
I couldn’t have asked for a better “homecoming.” I was able to string together a pretty solid race, and being able to see and feel the improvement has totally reenergized my triathlon outlook. (And this progress transcends triathlon.) The overall podium is within reach, and I’m knocking on the door. Let the hard work continue! And this off-season, that once again means focusing on the run … more to come … and I’m coming for you, 2016!