Monday, August 25, 2014

Priest Lake Triathlon

When I found out about the Priest Lake Triathlon, I was bummed because it fell on the same date as the Seawheeze half marathon I was planning on doing.  However, after Ironman my heart was just not into the half, or spending the money to travel away for the weekend when I was already "away" from home.  As soon as I made the final decision to back out of the half, I instantly was "in" for the Priest Lake Tri. It was the last race in the area and wrapped up a solid month of racing for me with back to back weekends, something I've never done.

The only dilemma was I couldn't find a reservation at the "resort" where the race took place the night before so we were up at 4 am and on the road before 5. We've been spoiled here not having to do those 4am wakeup calls so it was a nice little reminder :)

My friend from HS planned on joining us Saturday for some camping style fun and celebration so we rented a little cabin for the night after the race.

What a fantastic event.  Everything was casual, well organized and the scenery was unbeatable.  The best part about the race was the swim start.  It was a self seeded rolling swim start for everyone.  I got to start right up front and had the BEST swim I've ever had in any distance race.  I went out hard, but controlled and found my rhythm and my pack. The water was so crystal clear you could see the bodies around you and barely had to sight. This is something I've yet to experience in any race. I knew I was with the front pack and raced hard and smart to hang on to the back of the pack, which I've never been able to do before.  I came out with about 8 other swimmers in 11th place including the men!

This picture isn't of the race venue but somewhere else we drove to on the lake - you can see how crystal clear the water is!



The bike was just as breathtaking and I actually had to remind myself that I was racing not sightseeing. I rode strong, but did have to back down a bit because my left glute/hip was locking up a bit.  I knew there were some really strong girls behind me so I was happy to hold them off until we rolled into T-2.

The run was again just as beautiful, which made up for the fact that it was out of my comfort zone all on dirt forest roads without a flat section on it!  This was definitely the most challenging 10k I've done but I was just so happy to be out there, and thankful I didn't have my Garmin on!

I was passed by one girl and she was FLYING, but not in my age group.  Then, in the last quarter mile I heard heavy breathing from what sounded like a girl.  I didn't turn around to look, but I was damn sure not going to give up and get passed (which I usually expect in a short course race) in that final stretch. I dug deep and pulled away, crossing the line just seconds in front of her, and happy I did because she did turn out to be in my age group!

In the end I ended up 2nd, which must have been due to the rolling start because there was no one else in front of me (in AG - just elite category) but someone did have a faster time by THREE seconds :)

All in all it was my favorite racing day so far and I would go back and do it in a heartbeat!

Shane race in his first Mtn Bike tri and got 1st in his AG. He's hooked! Solid day for both of us, and a fantastic time with friends after the event just hanging out on the beach and later by the campfire.


It has been so MUCH FUN doing these new (to me) events, such a nice change from the same old Tempe Town Lake venue with exceptional race directors and really, really nice athletes.  In fact, at the start of the race as we were lined up for the swim - it seems everyone knows everyone and they all introduced themselves to me, wished me good luck then cheered for me out on the course.  Amazing sportsmanship and a reminder of how much I love this sport and community.

One more fun weekend adventure coming up in Montana doing real camping with my dad (wish me luck - it's been years since I've done this!) then back to Ironman training next week!!


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