June 9, 2014

Race Recap: Esprit de She Sprint Triathlon

Sunday, I raced the Esprit de She Naperville Sprint Tri, my third year on the course and second year of the Esprit de She series.  I think I can confidently say that this is one of my all-time favorite races.   Here's my six-word race recap:
Swam, Biked, Ran with smiling joy!
Six words are nowhere near enough to express my love and joy when it comes to this race!!  I headed into race weekend with excitement and anticipation.  Having loved my race experience the past two years (2012 and 2013 recaps), I couldn't wait to make it a three-peat.  Plus, I have been hittin' it hard lately in preparation for my first Olympic Distance tri in two weeks (eek!), so I was pretty sure I was capable of setting a nice PR at Esprit de She.  My race day began with a 4am wake-up call in order to get me to the race location (a 45 minute drive) in time to set up my transition area and secure a good parking spot before things got crazy.  Success!
Because I was ready to go by 5:30 and my wave wasn't starting until 8:15, I proceeded to nap in my car for the next hour or so.  Keepin' it classy, as always.  Among other things, one big thought in my head race morning was my friend Lauren.  Lauren was the first "normal person" triathlete I'd known, and hearing her talk about triathlon made me want to try one too.  My triathlete inspiration wasn't racing this weekend--she was in the hospital with a Chron's flare up.  :(  I wrote her name on my arm so I could think about her and dig deep for her throughout the race. 
 Eventually I left the warmth of my car--did I mention it was 55 degrees when I arrived??--and headed over to Centennial Beach, the quarry where the swim takes place.  I met up with my uncle and parents who came to cheer me on, and we watched the first several waves together.  Around 7:50, I said goodbye and headed over to the swim start area to get ready to go!

With a chilly air temperature (60s) at the start of the race, the 71 degree water actually felt nice and warm!  I have always started dead last in the group for the swim to avoid the shoving, but today I was feeling calm and confident, so I planted myself in the middle of the group.  I managed to not freak out at all during the swim, but that sensation of the grabbiness during a swim start just reminds me of that scene in the Disney Hercules movie where Hercules is trying to save Meg from hell and the spirits are trying to grab him and drag him back down...yikes.
I managed to get in my own space after awhile, and I felt great!  A year or two ago that grabby start would have totally given me a panic attack, but I stayed calm the entire time.  Success!
 0.5 mi Swim Time: 14:23, 1:55min/100m

After the swim, I raced up the beach and into transition, quickly dried off, and got ready for the bike leg.  After a less than awesome bike leg last year, I was ready to tear it up on the roads.  
T1: 3:02 (waaaay too long...)

I've really been pushing myself to log more frequent and longer distance rides this year, and I felt ready for this leg.  Despite the strong winds, I felt strong and confident--this seems to be a theme of the race!  I kept a steady pace, powered up the baby hills along the course, and passed tons of cyclists.  I ate about 4 Gu chomps and drank some water/gatorade during the bike.  I found the cooler weather meant I wasn't super thirsty, so I barely made a dent in the fuel I'd brought on my bike.  I don't have a bike computer and I was racing without my Garmin, so all I could do was keep an eye on my watch and estimate my speed.  I knew, however, that I was moving way faster than last year! 
13.3 mile bike time: 46:49, 17.05 mi/hr

After finishing the bike, I ran it back through transition to my spot (while simultaneously trying to tear my gloves off with my teeth...again, keepin' it classy), swapped my cycling shoes for my Brooks, my helmet for a hat, and hit the road.  T2: 1:46.  

I felt great from the first steps of the run--tired, sure, but none of that heavy-legged feeling that I often feel during bricks!  The reason is simple--I added more bike/run bricks to my training this year!  Who knew it was that easy...I felt great on the run and although I had set my watch for the 3/1 run/walk intervals I am always so successful with, I ended up running through many of the walk breaks and walking through water stops instead.  I almost died of shock when at the first mile marker my watch said I'd been running for 8:30.  WHAT???  I have never run an 8:30 mile in my life.  I am still skeptical that this run course was a full 3.1 miles, but if it was I managed to nail a 2 minute 5K PR at the end of the tri...even if it was a short course, I am still impressed!  The three miles passed extremely quickly for me, and I dug deep and considerably sped up my pace as we began to near the finish line.  When I saw that a girl in my age group was about to cross the finish line just before me, I found a completely new gear and zipped past her!  
3.1 mile Run Time: 27:13, 8:46min/mi

When I crossed the finish line, I could not stop grinning.  I knew that I had run a race to be proud of.  Not only had I set a big PR from last year, but I had felt so strong throughout every part of the race.  To top it off, I had run the race with JOY.  My legs were shaking from the sprint to the finish, but my heart was full.  I could not have been more happy with how this race turned out!
Total Finish Time: 1:33:11, a 7-minute PR from last year!

 After the race, I met up with my parents and three of my wonderful teacher friends who had gotten up early to come cheer me on.  I felt so loved!
 I can't wait to continue racing Esprit de She and plan to keep this race on my calendar every June.  I highly recommend it for first time triathletes and veterans alike!

Today marks two weeks until I race DOUBLE this distance in the Pleasant Prairie Olympic Triathlon AND the start of Week 1 of training for the Milwaukee Marathon.  YIKES!  Needless to say, it will be a busy summer.  I wouldn't have it any other way!


  1. Way to go! So glad you had a great race, you're inspiring me to do another!!!

  2. Great job on blowing your other PR out of the water and for feeling so strong!

  3. Congratulations on a very successful sprint! I love how your happiness shines through


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