As it happens, my cousin, a runner who is interested in triathlon, lives in Columbus. So, when I was planning to go to the conference, I figured I should try to throw in a race with her while I was there. We found a race in Alum Creek State Park not far from her place. She signed up for the duathlon and I registered for the tri.
Last Sunday was race day. It was a perfect day for the race: 20 degrees (68 F), light wind, scattered clouds. Annie and I made the 10 minute drive to the beautiful beach where the race started and were followed shortly by our cheer team, my aunt and uncle and Annie's husband and daughter. We had lots of time to get set up and we were both quite relaxed and looking forward to the race.
Annie started her first run at 7:00. My swim wave was the last one to go at 7:43. I walked down to the other end of the beach to the swim start and watched the rest of the waves go off. The swim was a straight line parallel to the beach for 800m. I did a little warm-up swim before my wave went and then we were off. The water was clean and warm. It was my first wetsuit swim of the year and I felt all choked at first but before long I found my groove. Then it was over before I knew it!
I was on a rented Trek road bike for the ride (Annie made all the arrangements for the bike!). The course was 28.3 km (17.7 miles) of gently rolling, smooth road through the state park and into the surrounding communities. It was absolutely beautiful! We rode on tree-lined roads, across a long bridge over the lake, and past well-groomed, upscale acreages. At one point, the trees were hanging over the road so closely that it seemed like I was riding through a tunnel of green. I loved that ride!
The 5K run was great, too. It started on a loose gravel path, which made the footing tricky, but the path wound through shady, green woods until we came out onto a paved path alongside the road. That path took us to the dam at the south end of the lake, which we ran across. That was cool. It was high up and you could look over the edge and see the water rushing out the other side. The run continued onto a high stretch of built up land that held the lake back - great views from there! Again the footing was tricky up there because it was rough, grassy ground but it was only for about 1K. After the turnaround, we went back over the dam and through the woods to run the last 300m on the flag-lined path beside the beach to the finish.
The post-race food was pretzels, twizzlers, tootsie rolls, mini chocolate bars, chocolate chip cookes, and bubble gum. Best ever!
I really enjoyed this race. The conditions were perfect and the course was spectacular. My chip time got messed up a bit and for some reason my swim, T1, and bike time got rolled into one and then it picked me up again when I was in T2. I'm guessing that my swim time was around 19.xx minutes, my T1 time around 3 minutes and something, and my bike time 1:05 ish. T2 was 1:46 and my run was 35 minutes. My legs felt like lead but I didn't care. Having just done the half iron in Hawaii the week before, I knew I wasn't going to have a terrific performance here so I just let myself relax and have fun. My total time was 2:03.
After the race, we spent the afternoon sitting on the patio with a few bottles of wine. My cousin Heidi, Annie's sister, drove down from Cleveland to join us. We debriefed the race and Annie said she really enjoyed herself, too. We had such a good time talking and laughing and catching up on a lot of years. It was a fantastic day.
Annie gave me this awesome wine glass!