Team Tough Chik Race Review – Meredeth

29 Oct

Team Tough Chik Race Review

Toughie: Meredeth

Location: ACAC Fitness Center, Midlothian, VA
Date: 10/07/2012
Temperature:  50 degrees, Pouring rain, Wind steady 2-8 mph
Official Time:  1:44:50

Time Breakdown: Swim-5:59*, T1-8:59, Bike-52:36, T2-2:53, Run-34:23
Place in Age Group: 17/21
Place in Gender: 136/172
Overall Place: 298/347

*Note – 5th place in AG for swim

The Course:  This was a new location for this race, which I also did last year.

The pool swim used both indoor and outdoor pools.  Novice swimmers (not me) in the indoor pool, experienced swimmers (me!) in the outdoor pool (heated to 81 degrees).  Swimmers lined up in “bib number order” which was based on their estimated swim seed time from fastest to slowest.  Swimmers entered the water from the pool deck, crossing the chip mat, on 15 second intervals and swam a “snake” pattern. It was a 25 meter pool and the swim was 300 meters.


Bike course consisted of rolling residential streets with a mile decent down Robious Road and an extended uphill climb on Winterfield Road for 1.6 miles.  The remainder of the course rolls through the Salisbury neighborhood, not very hilly at all, and right back onto Robious Rd as you head back to ACAC.


The run was flat through mostly shaded neighborhoods: Roxshire & Briarwood.  This exact course was created back in 2002, but the old Briarwood Triathlon existed at the same venue in the mid 80’s!  This makes it the longest and oldest standing triathlon venue in Richmond.

Thoughts on overall course: My only complaint was the weather.  I think this course would be fantastic to race on a great weather day.  Unfortunately, pouring rain makes any course for me feel much worse than it is.
My Goals: My goal for this race changed about two months out from the race.  Since it was the fourth and final triathlon of the season, it was supposed to be the race where I put all my hard work together and went all out for PR’s in all three disciplines.  However, as my training got more sporadic and I realized the impending weather forecast, I re-evaluated what was possible and decided to go for a swim time PR.  My swims have slowly improved and I feel that swimming is actually my strongest discipline compared to the others in my age group.

My Placing:  Prior to the race, I looked my swim history.  My PR swim time was 6:11 (Powersprint Tri in May of this year) but I always feel like I get stuck behind others and am forced to pass which doesn’t make for a smooth swim and takes up more time.  On recent trainings, I had worked hard on my flip turns, and had timed myself and was averaging the 300m in 5:35.  So, I talked it over with Coach Tonia and we decided to list my seed time as 5:15 instead of 6:15 in order to place me “ahead of the pack” and not mixed in with all the “newbies.”  No offense to newbies – I was one once!!  The plan would have worked perfectly, if Mother Nature had cooperated.  With the air temp hovering at 50-52 degrees and the cold rain pouring, it was extremely difficult to stay warm while waiting to enter the pool.  My feet were basically numb, despite wearing my flip flops until the last possible second.  My entire body was shivering uncontrollably and all my muscles were cold, despite my constant movement and stretching in place.  We stood, huddled under an awning, for about 30 minutes.  It was miserable.  And mentally, knowing I was going to enter the 81 degree outdoor pool, swim for about 5 minutes and then have to run back to transition was downright depressing.  To make matters more confusing, people DID NOT line up in Bib # order.  Myself (#91) and #92 (a young first timer) watched as we tried to figure out when to exit the awning and jump into line.  It started off fine, but after #50 or so, at any given time, the order could look like this 59, 60, 64, 101, 411, 75.  Say what?  It was all over the place and no one was there to enforce it.  In addition, some athletes had jumped into the pool section next to the start point, and were just hanging out by the stairs, trying to get warm.  It was difficult to see their numbers and they would wait until the very last second to jump out and into line.  So I judged the best I could and jumped in line when I couldn’t take standing there any longer.  It turned out I guessed well and was able to swim without having to pass anyone.  In fact, at least 4 of my laps, I was the only one in the lane!  The first 50 was rough, mainly because I was trying to deal with the shock of going from freezing air to warm water.  But I tried my best to remain focused on just the swim and not worry about the cold that was next.  One final fun note about the swim.  Before the race that morning, I wrote 5:59 in black sharpie on my hand.  I told myself I had to break 6 minutes in the swim.  In the end, I earned that exact time, which happened to be 5th in my age group for the swim.  New PR!

Transition: I suck at transitions.  Maybe it’s because I don’t believe that are really part of your race time.  I look at my individual swim, bike and run and I tend to compare those.  Any time that I spend in transition I ignore.  Hence, my transitions seem to be getting increasingly longer and I know it’s something I need to work on.  But, I had to wear my Tough Chik arm warmers and TC high socks.  And getting those things on in the rain?  Um, yeah.  9 min T1 time = FAIL.

Bike ride: I don’t like biking in the cold.  I don’t like biking in the rain.  You can imagine my mental state going into this bike ride.  I had already experienced a cold, wet bike ride in the Chasing Chicks Sprint Tri back in April.  So, I almost gave up.  It was the first time on a bike that I contemplated a DNF.  But, when you come to race in a Tough Chik uniform, you wear this extra shield of protection that doesn’t allow giving up.  As a TC, I have to keep going and that’s just what I did.  I kept pedaling and tried to smile even when the rain pounded like hail on my helmet.

Run:  I thought it might stop raining or at least lighten up for the run.  Not at all.  With my body and clothes and shoes soaked, I raced on.  I was just happy to be off the bike.

My Outfit: Tri shorts by Zoot, C9 sports bra, Tough Chik tri top, TC arm warmers on bike/run, TC high socks on bike/run, Bike jacket on bike/run, Nike hat, Headband from Coach T, Brooks Green Silence, Garmin, RoadID, and TC tattoo.  Loved all of it.

In the end: I finished.  Isn’t that what matters?  The 7th triathlon of my life.  A minute after I crossed the finish line, my husband and my two boys found me.  I broke down and cried.  I didn’t get my usual race “high.”  But I did get relief and confidence.  And a new swim PR.


One Response to “Team Tough Chik Race Review – Meredeth”

  1. Theresa Nelson October 29, 2012 at 7:16 pm #

    fantastic race report…..we felt like we were with you. So cute in your touch chik gear! Great job on the swim PR. Just remember to keep those transitions simple, I’ve easily moved up in placing by rocking transition times even with slow run leg.

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