On Saturday, Ashley and I drove to Forrest City, Arkansas to compete in the Mighty Mite triathlon. It's a 1/3 mile swim, 13 mile bike, and 3 mile run which is close in distance to the Memphis in May Sprint Triathlon.
I was doing a lot of smack talking with Ashley since I beat her in the MIM tri (our first) and she kicked my butt in the Dragonfly (our second), but she was quietly planning to whoop me once again. She made sure to point out her new contacts, which helped her see in the water, and I'd already seen her fancy new bike. My only hope for a win was to blow her out in the run, but the run is always hardest for me since it's last.
There were 14 members of our team there, but I don't think we ever got everyone in one picture. Here's most of us, some of us sporting our new team outfits.
Mighty Mite is a point to point race, which means there are two transition areas and you end up 16 miles away from where you started. So, getting everything set up was a bit more time consuming than usual, but thankfully we didn't hit any snags.
As this was the third tri for most of us, nerves in the group were much better than usual. Even though I didn't sleep well and I was worried about the heat, overall I felt calm and ready. Here I am getting in the water.
Yes, I look a little hesitant on the outside, but I wasn't on the inside! If you can make out that tiny green buoy at the base of the trees in the picture, you can kind of get a feel for what 533 meters looks like. We had to swim a big rectangle. To me it looked just like the big rectangle at Dragonfly, which was 800 meters, but judging from my time, I'd say they measured right.
My MIM swim was 13:43 for 400 meters, so I'd say this was an improvement for me.
I'm always so happy, and thirsty, when I get out of the water.
I started the swim over 100 people ahead of Ashley, so I hoped I wouldn't see her until after the race, but just as I was leaving transition, she strolled up with a big grin and said, "Hey Stace."
I got on my bike as fast as I could and took off. The race starts on top of a hill and then about .5 miles in there is a pretty steep uphill. I'd been practicing my uphill and felt ready to kill it until my left side gears locked up. @#$&! I had to get off my bike and walk up the hill. I tried to stay calm and hoped that I could at least compensate on the right side in order to finish the race.
Thankfully I did have enough room on the right to keep a good pace, but the course was really hilly and each one wore me down a little. Around mile 3, Ashley cruised up next to me with that stupid grin and said, "Hey, Stace." I told her about my gears, she expressed some concern, and then shot past me.
That was fine. It was good motivation for me to have her in my sights. It made me work extra hard. My mantra was "push with your whole leg, push, push..."
I'd been practicing drinking water on my bike too, since that is usually my downfall, but I was so focused on keeping up with Ashley, I never even thought to take a sip.
By mile 12, I couldn't see her anymore and the last big hill nearly killed me. Ok that may be a bit dramatic, but I definitely felt like I gave the bike all I had.
My MIM bike time was 48:49 for 12 miles, not 13, so I'm not so thrilled with the time. However, the Mighty Mite course was crazy hilly and the MIM was flat as a pancake.
When I set out on the run, I could see Ashley again, but she was far enough ahead that I didn't think I'd ever catch her. I got a little bummed and honestly a little nervous. I was really hot and I was having a hard time pushing myself. I did a run/walk for the first mile, and once I cooled off, I was able to run most of the rest. I really needed some Gatorade or Bee Stingers, but I had none. Usually there's Gatorade on the course, so I wasn't prepared.
Thankfully the firemen, and several residents, had hoses and sprinklers set up for us to run through. They were heaven sent. I was absolutely soaked, but I needed it.
Near the end, one of my teammates (who is 27!) caught up to me and we were able to chat for a bit and keep pace. As we neared the finish, she took off, and I just tried to keep going. (That's me in the back.)
As I neared the finish, I saw lots of my teammates and coach and Ashley and they all cheered me in. Once I saw the race clock, I knew I was close to my MIM time, which I wanted to beat, so I dug deep and sprinted to the finish line.
Run 33:50. Pathetic! My MIM 3 miles was 31:54, BUT it was at least 15 degrees cooler.
So Ashley reigned supreme again, to the tune of 6 minutes!
But whatever, it was still fun. Yes, fun! And I'm glad I did it.
We have one more race, the Annie Oakley on August 11th. It'll be the shortest, but hottest race yet. I'm going to work on getting my head in the game a bit more, and really try to push through the mental weakness at the end.
Look out, Ashley!