Jax Triathlon Series – Sprint Tri Race #3 Review

With less than a week to go until my final Tri of my first Tri season I realized man I still haven’t written my race review from the last Jax Series Race! I’m going to warn you though and remind you that these are my raw heat of the moment feelings and though I try to be as positive as possible I am very hard on myself and tend to be my own worst critic. It’s something I continually have to work on but I believe it helps drive me to do better and become more in tune with my body. Hands down when it comes to tris and running my weakest “muscle” is the one in between my ears.
Ok so here’s the story…
Going into the third race of this series I was flat out pissed off! I was very thankful that I had already arranged for my mom to be visiting so she could watch the kiddos during the event. Remember Troy came home just three weeks prior to this event. I love my husband but I don’t care who you are reintegrating under “normal” circumstances is hard enough, throw in the wrench of your husband suddenly coming home because he was “shot in the buttocks” (yes we refer to his injury in Forrest Gump style) makes things even harder. I wasn’t pissed off that he was home, I was pissed off that he had staff duty and wouldn’t be able to come and see this Tri. I was being selfish and simply wanted him to be with me but of course this wouldn’t be the case so I was just mad!
The Friday before the race my mom and I packed up and loaded up the van. Sophia only had a half day since it was her second day of school so after I got her off the bus we headed out and went down to Jacksonville for packet pick up. I went into the sponsoring store and handed them my USAT ID and guess what – they didn’t have a packet for me. I stayed calm and filled out the necessary paperwork and talked to the lady about how it was just my luck right now and that I had a feeling his would happen since my friend Jillian had noticed that I wasn’t on the participants list. Even though I had emailed them about it I still some how was the only person from the other two events that didn’t get transferred over. Oh well, no big deal, I just wouldn’t have my name on my number all cool like a pro or something. On a side note one super cool thing about the Jax Tri series was the shirts – if you did all 3 you ended up with 3 different types of shirts by the end of the series; race 1 we got a traditional white tech tshirt, race 2 a red tech tank (men got blue) and race 3 a green long sleeve tech shirt.
We headed to the hotel (we got a hotel room at the sponsor hotel because it was a good rate and well originally we were going to make a fun family vacation weekend out of it but alas it was just me, my mom and the kids) and when we pulled into the upper parking lot I was glad that my bike rack was broken (yes I know that it’s difficult to break a bike rack but alas I did long ago) and that my bike was in the van because the incline was so steep that my hitch scrapped the drive. I checked us I and we headed up to our room. It was very nice and we had a view of the swim course as well as the transition area. After we got settled we headed out to dinner and I won’t say where we went because I’d like to give this place the benefit of a doubt since they were crazy busy but all I can say is that dinner flat out sucked! We ended up getting my moms meal taken off the bill that’s how bad it was. We probably could’ve put up more of a stink but I didn’t have the fight in me to do so. I was already emotionally exhausted and just chalked this up to my current “luck”.
After dinner we headed back to our hotel room and settled in for the night. I really liked having a king size bed and actually got some rest for the first time in this Tri series. The alarm didn’t go off so early as well since all I had to do was walk down stairs. I got up just before 0600, got on my Tri suit and went to set up my transition area. Staying so close to the Tri was really nice and I was able to go up and back a few times, bringing up some breakfast for my family and relaxing and using a “real” bathroom before heading back down for the pre-race meeting. Before the meeting I went into transition one more time to check on my gear set up. I found my friends and we did our usual thing, listened to the race directors instructions (nothing new really) and ten headed into the beach.
Swim – Once we were on the beach I wasn’t as nervous as before. I was just plum pissed off. All of my goals that I had set after the first Tri were thrown to the wind and I just wanted to push through and be done. The ocean was rough but no where near as bad as the first Tri. I set myself up in the front pack, Jillian had the confidence in me as a lead pack swimmer and I’m thankful for that it else I would probably still be hanging out on the shore still unsure of myself. One thing I love about racing with her is that just before the siren goes off she shouts out “GOOD LUCK LADIES!” Everyone claps and cheers and I don’t know what it is exactly and you’d probably have to experience the moment for yourself to fully understand what I mean but I just love it! The siren went off and so did I. I dashed into the ocean and dove under the first wave and just went. I hadn’t swam at all since our last Tri and even so I hadn’t had a training swim since June! I just let the fish inside me take over. Some people say you never forget how to ride a bike well I kind of suck at bike riding (it’s my weakest event in the Tri) but swimming, now that just comes naturally to me. Since the ocean was rough I did get a bit off course and suddenly the buoy wasn’t to my left anymore but to my right – oops. I got back on course and sited more until I hit the last buoy. Once I made the final turn I went all out with my swim and rode the waves in. It felt good. I stood up and ran out and through the fresh shower (so glad they had that on again) and into transition.
T1 – still I just suck at transitioning. I even had my water bottles in their cages on my bike this time and had practiced riding with them but dumbo me had a rough time simply taking my bike off the rack!
Bike – I felt good for once out on the bike, clipped in easy, took in some water and got moving. All was well and then suddenly it wasn’t. There were nuts out on the road! At first I had planned on doing this ride in intervals like I had practiced in training with Jillian and Loraine but then it turned into survive not getting hit by the psycho drivers! I really like this bike course because there is ample space in the bike lane. The road isn’t completely closed to traffic which is fine but motorists on this day were just jerks! The race is well organized and has police and volunteers at every intersection and rotary (you go through 4 rotaries on this course which is kind of cool as well) yet even still people were jerks and going through one intersection I’m glad I slowed down and shouted out to the people behind me because a lady turned right into us and caused a pile up where luckily no one fell or got hurt but there was lots of yelling and even though she sped away the cops quickly caught up to her and pulled her over. I was shaken and just wanted this bike to be over when again I was in another nerve wracking situation with a jeep purposely getting as close to cyclist as he could. He did this to me and then drive on I shouted out to the cyclist ahead of me and yep the jack ass did it again! Ok people look I understand some of y’all don’t like cyclists on the road, I read nasty posts on Facebook all the time about it but give us a break – I agree there’s no excuse for the dumb ass cyclist weaving through traffic and not obeying the laws of the road but when you see a pack or cyclists in an event like this and we are well in the bike lane, etc, please respect that we are allowed to be there! When I went through the last rotary I knew I only had a couple of miles to go and went as fast as I could to the transition.
T2 – I racked my bike, switched out my shoes, grabbed my race bib and took off on the run. My knees hurt! I’m still not comfortable on the bike and know that this has something to do with my knee pain. I needed something besides myself to get me through this run and I found the motivation by looking at the back of people’s legs. You see in the Tri world your age is based on the year you were born and so even though I don’t turn 30 until the end of my Tri season, I’ve been racing in the new age group. I found a 33 and sped past her, found another one and past her, I was feeling good and kept trucking on. Then I found one more and past her. I let up a bit and saw Jillian as I was hitting mile 1 – we exchanged our typical high-five and I kept chugging along knowing the turn around wasn’t that much farther. Just before I hit the water station that last 30-35 age grouper I had passed came up on me and passed me – oh no she didn’t I thought lol. So I decided to forgo on water and charge ahead to the turn around. She caught up to me by the turn around and we played the same little game through the water station again – this was the first time I hadn’t taken any water on a 5K during a Tri. I felt fine and honestly think that sometimes I stop to take water as a way to slack off. Yet just as I was letting down my guard again she caught up to me. I felt defeated and just let her pass and thought to myself, what are you doing Liz?! I sped up and hung with her through the rest of Fort Clinch. I noticed that she had a GPS watch on and it made me want one even more because I had no clue how fast we were going, we were just chugging along. After I turned out of Fort Clinch I saw Lisa and have her a high-five as we passed each other. Then that was it, I didn’t need my “pacer” anymore, I knew the finish line was just a couple of small turns away and I knew I had it in me to let it all out and leave every morsel left in me out in the course and that’s just what I did. I finished and saw Jillian cheering me in. I grabbed water and took a swig, turned around and gave my “pacer” a high-five-hug, she knew she got me through that 5K and she was happy to help. That’s what it’s all about, that’s what I love about racing, I continually meet people like that and I love it! I love that we didn’t speak a word during that 5K but we were so in-sync with each other and pushed each other to a level I didn’t think was possible.
Post race went as usual except that I ran back to my hotel room to change once transition was open. I came back down for awards with Ceci. We hung out and ate and chitchatted as usual. I saw my results and was a bit disappointed. I had another 9th place finish which was fine for me but I was upset with my time. I wanted so badly to break 1:30 and simply couldn’t. Troy had challenged me to a top 5 finish and I wasn’t even close and that challenge bothered me and of course I sent him a nasty text message about it because I didn’t reach any goal either of us has set before me. Then the overall standings were posted and I thought I just might have a shot at a series award and in a way I did and I missed it by less than 2 minutes and that pissed me off even more. I was so mad at myself and so disappointed in myself! Again, I know deep down that I shouldn’t be and I know that I had overcome a lot to just even finish like I had just still as I said before these were my raw heat of the moment feelings and I still kind of feel that way. I want to feel that way because then I can use it to help push me to the next level. I’ve looked over the results and contrary to popular belief the older you get, well it doesn’t get any easier, these ladies that I’m competing with are beasts – and I mean that in the most amazing, inspiring, I know that they push me to do better, etc way! I can’t use excuses, I just have to take each event, review it, learn from it and move on. I know the areas I have to work on and I just need to get it done. I learned a lot about myself in this series. I learned that open water swimming isn’t so bad and I like it because there aren’t any flip turns involved (ask my swim coach from college, I used to cry over flip turns). I also learned that I’ve come a long way as a runner and have posted my best 5ks in tris and am interested in seeing how I do in a stand alone 5K in September. There were many other lessons along the way but hey I need to save some material for a book right?! 😉 here’s to the Jax Tri series – it was an excellent event and I recommend it to folks in the area. Also, here’s to just one more sprint Tri this season (that’ll take place next weekend).
Here were my splits –
Swim 8:39
T1 1:34
Bike 56:43
T2 1:22
Run 23:47
Total 1:32:05


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