I was supposed to race USAT Age Group Nationals on August 20, 2011, but due to my schedule (trial starting on September 6) and Shaun’s schedule (he has a version roll out this weekend) we decided to forgo the trip to Burlington, Vermont and race locally instead.  The Park City Mossman Triathlon fit the bill so I registered for this flat Olympic distance event. 

Pre-race I didn’t feel so great.  My swim is ok, but my run is still coming along and my bike is, at best, “meh.”  I never really prepared and raced an Ironman to the best of my ability before so I never really had to deal with post-IM loss of fitness (then again I didn’t really have any fitness going into Louisville or Arizona).  Accordingly, my expectations for the race were pretty low.  Goal was to get the heart rate up on the bike and then go all out on the run and see what I had.  The course is pretty conducive to fast times (an ocean swim, a flat, five loop bike course and a flat double out and back run) so I was hoping to not suck too much.

It was Jeff-y’s birthday so we got him a special “Happy Birthday Princess” Balloon for his transition spot.

26:30.  Not the swim I was hoping for or am capable of.  The tide was heading out so I was able to dolphin dive the first 200 yards or so.  That was pretty much the highlight of the swim.  Once I actually started swimming I had a really hard time sighting the buoys (a little bit of chop, small buoys and my crappy eyesight did not help).  On the way to the first turn buoy I smacked my hand into a lobster pot marker and cut up my palm and ring finger.  Not good.  After the first turn buoy, I actually turned in the wrong direction and essentially headed out to sea instead of swimming parallel to the shore. It wasn’t until I heard a frantic kayaker screaming at me that I realized I was way off course.   It took me a while to get back on-course and I tried to follow feet for the remainder of the swim.  Based on my detour, I think the swim may have been a bit short (which makes the swim time even worse). 

Coming out of the swim.  Not very happy about my cut hand or my detour. 

1:11:17 (20.96 mph / 170 Watts).  The course was five pancake flat 8K loops with a hairpin turn at the end of each loop.  There was a bit of wind that picked up as the day went on.  There was a pretty consistent tail wind on the way out and head wind on the way back.  Nothing huge, just annoying.  It took a long time to get my heart rate to settle, I’m not sure if I was going too hard or just pissed off about the swim.  For a flat course it was pretty clean.  There were several USAT officials on course and only a few draft packs.  I wish I could have ridden harder, but I just didn’t have the legs.  I came off the bike first in F30-34 and 12th overall so I’ll take it.

Getting off the bike.  Mr. Red stayed with me pretty much the whole time.

52:17 (8:14 min/mile).  My Garmin clocked the run at 6.35, so it looks like the double out and back course was a bit long.  I pretty quickly ran up 4 girls in front of me and didn’t let any girls pass. I felt good except my legs had nothing. Kept trying to push the HR and the legs did not want to respond, I’d get a few really quick steps off and then back to the plodding. It wasn’t that my quads hurt, I just felt like had no turnover.  I did get to use Jeff-y as pace booty.  When I saw him at the first turn around he was about 2 minutes ahead of me.  I got it down to under a minute by the second and passed him at about mile 4.  It was nice to have something to run after.  I was pretty consistent throughout and kept my miles between 7:50 and 8:20 (there was a definite tail wind on the out and head wind on the back).  I finished up 8th overall and 1st in 30-34, so it wasn’t too bad. 

Pretty much every race there’s a shot of me yelling at Shaun. 

Post-race I waited for Jeff-y to finish and got to see my parents.  It was nice that my parents got to see me race.  So much of what I do is see me for 30 seconds and I’m back 2.5 hours later.  Here they pretty much got to see me every 14 or 15 minutes and the entire race took less time that a half iron bike.

Jeff-y and I at the finish.  Second year in a row I’ve run him down.

Shaun and I hung around for awards (I won free entry into the race for 2012 — pretty cool considering registration is $100) and I got to stand on the top of the podium.  I really wish the third place girl had waited around for awards so it didn’t look like there were only two of us in the age group.  In retrospect I’m glad I didn’t race AG Nationals — I would have had my ass handed to me, although its funny that placing first, I qualified for AG Nationals in 2012 — and I know I have a lot of work to do before Florida. 

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Kelly Burns Gallagher

mccarter english employment litigator / oiselle team runner / coeur sports triathlete / sonic endurance coach & race director / witsup.com writer / dartmouth '02 / emorylaw '05

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