post-race contemplations- Iron Girl Triathlon 2013, Race Results

HI all, So. I completed my first sprint Tri – like I said I would! Go ME!

Who's Awesome? I am Awesome!

Who’s Awesome? I am Awesome!

The race was originally going to be a 1/2 mile swim, an 18 mile bike ride, and a 3 mile run. It actually turned out to be a little less of a swim, a little less of a bike, and right on with the run. Keeping that in mind, here was what I thought in my “pre-race contemplations” post. If you want to read the whole post, you can find it on this page.

finish 1

PRE-RACE (Plan C,Plan B, Plan A) REMEMBER – the swim and bike ended up being shorter…

Plan C (worst case scenario)
Swim 30 minutes
T1 5 minutes
Bike 50 minutes
T2 5 minutes
Run 30 minutes
Finish time 2 hours.

Plan B (middle of the road scenario)
Swim 25 minutes
T1 5 minutes
Bike 45 minutes
T2 5 minutes
Run 28 minutes
Finish time 1 hour 48 minutes

Plan A (pie in the sky scenario)
Swim 23 minutes
T1 4 minutes
Bike 43 minutes
T2 4 minutes
Run 27 minutes
Finish time 1 hour 41 minutes

DRUM ROLL PLEASE!!!!!!finish 2

I finished in a total of 1 hour 22 minutes and 20 seconds! I beat out all my plans! (Again, less miles covered, but not THAT much!)

Swim: 19:26 min.
T1: 3:55 min.
Bike: 31.44 min. (even with the 6-8 min. stop)
T2: 1:35 min.
Run: 25:40

Now that is called being prepared!finish yell 1


Iron Girl Race Day Recap… The Run

As I was saying… the sun was shinning and the wind was at my back. Man-was I pumped. You would think one would be tired after swimming in a typhoon and riding a bike through a wind tunnel! Just kidding, it wasn’t all that bad, it was behind me now. I was smiling, laughing, yes tearing up, and chatting with the ladies along the route.

The route was fast and flat, a small turn around and then head back to the finish!

I have to say, I was pushing it. Didn’t need that Gu I had in my pocket, I was running off of pure excitement, Joy, and adrenaline!

I chatted with one or two ladies who were passing me, we said things like “you are awesome, keep it up!” and “See you at the finish line!”

Before I knew it the run was over! What the heck, the whole race was over! The race that I had prepared for for how many months, swimming many times a week, running, more times a week, and trying to bike as much as mentally possible. It all paid off, can I tell you (you probably already guessed this) but I am tearing up right now! I probably will each and every time I re-read these posts.

The excitement, the exhilaration, the joy of going through the finish line is so amazing, everyone in their life must once feel the feeling of working hard to complete a goal and then completing it, and completing it well. It is a feeling of a life time, it is addicting and it makes you say – I am ready for another!

I finished, man did I finish! I was so pumped with adrenaline I think I talked with over 50 women and met the winner. She was so nice! Competing in a race or sport that you love makes you a happy person. I swear. As Reese Witherspoon’s character ELLE WOODS in Legally Blonde put it “…exercise gives endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t kill their husbands!”

Happy people just don't kill their husbands!

Happy people just don’t kill their husbands!

Up next… my race times and how they compare to my pre race goals!

Iron Girl 2013 Race Day Recap… The Bike

Jogging out of the transition area, hit the line and jumped on my bike. The gears were too low, so (and here is where my user error occurs) I proceed to ‘cross my chains’ What? YES. Now my pedals would not move forward. Any of you out there that have had a 6 gear Iron Man quality bike know that when your chains cross, you are not going anywhere till you uncrossed them. I am not an experienced rider, if I were I probably could have stayed on the bike and shifted till I was in the clear, but I had to dismount. Not, though, before I gave a big smile to the camera guy and rode past him. Can’t have a bad picture, now can we?

bike pic 2

Dismounted, not many riders passed me, I clicked my gears and hand pedaled my pedals until I was clear to go, I think this took about 6-8 min off my time. Lesson Learned. And off I rode.

The wind was at my face, side, back, and other side, ( that is called ‘coming from all directions’, thank you narrator in my head) and I pushed. The view was so pretty, the Bay on one side and trees on the other, the sun was shining down and the sky was light blue. I was having an experience of a life time! I pretty much passed everyone, all you could hear was “passing on your left” as I passed each Iron girl. I hit the turn around and kept up the pedaling. “Passing on your left” was what I said, and “you go girl!”, “right on sister”, and a few other motivational phrases were yelled back to me. Before I was completed the bike I was passed by probably 3 ladies. I was pleased!bike pic 1

Into the transition I went, quick, quick. Pro-compression visor that matched my Pro-compression socks, CHECK!


NUUN at the ready, Mike’s recovery drink and a GU and I was running out of the transition area. I waved to my parents and down the road I went.

The wind had died down now and at my back, the sun was shinning and I was pumped for the run!

Iron Girl 2013 race recap… The swim

When I last left you, I was watching the waves and the other swimmers head out to complete their Iron Girl task Accomplishment.

The course was a straight shot across a small inlet area. As I watched, I was shivering, both from shear terror anticipation and from the freezing cold wind. It was a chilly windy morning. I had decided against the wet suit and decided to wear x2 top and Castelli bottoms. It was a good choice for a few reasons. Mainly because it was easier in the Porta pot!

Also because they didn’t ride up the entire race!


My friend Kate and I realized that though the race was running late, I had only a few minutes till my age group started! Kate is 10 yrs my jr. and started a few waves behind me.

As quickly as I couldat the speed of a turtle in bare feet, on medium sized stones, I got myself down to the start and stepped into the water. (I noticed later that I cut my heal and my toe on that little jaunt, oh well)

The water felt warm compared to the air, I believe the race heads said the water was between 65-68 degrees. I was glad it felt warm and proceeded to get in up to my neck. My age group competitors were PUMPED! So, in typical Erin fashion I teared up and send out loud whoops and excited yells. (everyone was doing it, come on!) after about 15 min in the water, waves pushing and pulling, women yelling (and crying) with excitement- WE WERE OFF! The first part of my first Tri sprint!

The first things I noticed as I swam, one person immediately needed help, waves were all up in my face, and everyone was saying “sorry”, “sorry”, “sorry”. We were kicking each other or slamming arms down on others and simply letting the accosted know that we cared and didn’t mean it. Ladies can be so nice, when we want to be!

Back with my head in the water-Man, the waves were huge! I caught a few in the face and decided it was breast stroke/Tarzan swimming water. I swallowed more sea water than my share on the swim. I rounded the first marker and my fears faded. It was still very rough but I had a little heart-to-heart with myself.

I said “Erin. The only way you are getting out of this water is to swim!” So I did. (Gotta love those self heart-to-hearts they get me every time)

Girls were dropping like flys grasping for floats or help. I found out later some competitors threw-up or just out and out cried there way in. I have to admit I did choke on the water smashing into my face from time to time…and if I had my wetsuit on I know I would have felt nauseous.
I saw the beach and gunned it the best I could, trying to ride any possible waves to shore. Hit my hand one, two,three,four times to the beach got up and ran. I had made it safely to shore. I shook someone’s hand and gave a high five. Trying not to tear up (yea, it’s a thing with me) saw my parents

20131101-085035.jpgand with a huge smile and a wave I was off to the change into my shoes and hop on the bike.

Into the transition area I thought of all I’d read. Drink, shoes, wipe down, only get on the bike when allowed- helmet must be on or disqualification! Transition went so smooth and I was through the corral and on the bike.


With a ‘user error’ bike start, (uugh me) the bike went great.

The bike…Coming up.

Iron Girl 2013 Race day recap… Finally

Part one…before the swim

The morning started at around 4 am. Oatmeal maken, bag packen, clothes putten on all went smooth. We were out the door and on the road to Sandy Hook, NJ.




I had placed my bike in the transition the night before but the Iron Girl people suggested all be parked and ready for the race by 4:30-5 am. We parked and walked and walked and (you guessed it) walked to the race transition bike rack area. It was quite a long dark walk. I like to remember it as a beautiful star filled warm up.



Bike and transition area set I hit the Porta pot a bunch of times with all the other ladies. Speaking with the other competitors I learned that compared to most I had probably over trained for the event. One women who had never completed even one running race didn't do even one pool or open water training. WHAT?


We had a wave start, in water start. I walked myself down to the swim Porta pot and met up with my friend Kate. We stood in line for about an hour and had to run to the beach and I was ready to go.

But first I want to tell you about the water conditions. The water was white cap rough. Large waves. The other swimmers going out looked much slower than I expected. It was because of the waves. I found myself thinking of my training and that women who didn’t do even ONE swim session pre-race. Oh man, poor her. Preparation is important!
Stay tuned for the swim recap!

Banking, Training, Trainer, and a quick race recap (warning, I complain a little)

Rounding out the week of my 2nd and 3rd weeks of tri-training, I feel like this has been my schedule forever. I am really settling right in and seeing results as I bank training sessions into my bank of ‘TRI-TRUST.’ No, that is not a real bank, but where I put all my training and will withdraw when I complete the Athleta Iron Girl 2013 in September AND when I hit the pavement in Philly for my 5th Marathon.

I also hit up the personal trainer this week and ran a 10k race and scored a PR. (SEE, this is where my bankable training comes in handy)

I banked the following numbers.
Week #2
35 miles ran
2425 meters swam
1 hr and 50 min. bike
Riding (horseback) 1 hr
Turbo Fire 45, HIIT 15 and Tone 30

Week #3 (still in progress, but expected!)
35 miles ran
2750 meters swam
50 min. bike

In other news… I went to see my old friend and Personal Trainer Katie this week. She tested my balance and we found that my whole right side is TIGHT! This includes, my shoulder, my hip, and my calf. So I have been doing all the stretches she suggested and I have already felt differences in my range of motion.

Also, I ran the Good Neighbor Day race on July 4th or (should be better known as) INDEPENDENCE DAY!

The race offers a 5k, 10k, and 15k run and walking and kiddie races. It is a 3 loop course, each loop is a 5k.

I ran the 10k. I have run the 15k a few times but I had 7 miles on my schedule so I chose the 10k and did a 1 mile warm up at or near race pace to get the feel.

So, I’ll cut to the chase. It was 76 degrees, about 98% humidity, which made the race temp feel like 86 degrees. The course is all black-top, no shade to speak of, but they spray water and neighbors put on their hoses and sprinklers which is nice. The police are great and super helpful to anyone in need. There are always plenty of people cheering the runners on, which is also nice.

The race went off late, per usual. All the runners were yelled at and practically got finger wagged by some lady on stage telling us to all stop talking and to listen up. I would understand if the information was important and was goign to save my life on the race course, but it wasn’t! Just unneccesary, really.

OK, I just have to say it, this race is my least favorite race, but it is the ONLY race around on Independence Day and that is why I do it. (sorry)

The race started and we were off. Many ran out too fast. (It is a small town race, so it is a great time to learn your running lessons see I kept slowing myself down, telling myself that the heat will kill me on the second lap if I didn’t watch it. 5k was done and I was on my second lap. I waved and said good morning to the Police Chief as he went by and he did the same. (note: my sister’s family are good friends with the Chief and his family, they are good people.)

Second loop and I wanted to push it, I knew there was a slight hill coming up so I waited until I hit the 2nd to last water station, dropped the whole cup of water on my head and ran. I ended up with a negative split! (yes, that is 2 races in a row!) and got a PR 9:02mm. That is unofficial though, cause they chip time, but they chip time by the gun not by the individual. I knew though that it took me 51 seconds to get to the sensors. Am I the only one that bothers? Do I take the time I know I did it in or do I take the gun time?

Anyways, I felt great at the finish, had to walk at least .25 miles (or so it felt) to get to the water. Why would they do that on such a hot day? Everyone was still just standing at the finish line making it a mob scene chit chatting, standing in runners way, and not replying when I asked if they knew where I could get water. They just looked at me like a deer in head lights, anyways… races are fun and I am happy I completed it.

Did you complete in an Independence Day race?

1/2 Sauer 1/2 Kraut Race recap

The 1/2 Sauer 1/2 Kraut half was a race I signed up for 4 weeks ago and was very excited to complete. I had run the Marathon the year prior and scored a PR, I love this course!

My finishers medal!

My finishers medal!

The morning started out at 4:20am, getting up and ready to hop in the car by 5am to take us to the race. I had my pre-race oatmeal all set and my gu’s all ready. The drive in was uneventful, I wasn’t as nervous or teary eyed as I have with my others. I cared a lot how I was going to do on this race but I was taking a different, less stressed approach. I think it helped. I wanted to PR. I didn’t care if it was by 1 second. I wanted it! I deserved it! I have put tons of time into my training and felt ready for anything.


Philly in the distance…

Usually, I worry, worry, plan, plan to the smallest detail possible, worry more, tear up in anticipation and then get to the race and run and worry… This time around was going to be different! I cooled it with the worrying, cooled it with the planning. I did, however, go over the race in my head a bunch of times, but not in a stressed out way. More of a ‘man I love this course’ way and thought that the mantra of the day would be “just run” …AND it all paid off! I PR’d by almost 3 minutes and I felt awesome throughout the entire race!

Getting to the Cannstatter Volkfestverein

Sorry about the fence, it surrounds the complex

Sorry about the fence, it surrounds the complex

I picked up my packet with ease and stood in line for the bus.

Waiting in line for the bus I heard many weird conversations...

Waiting in line for the bus I heard many weird conversations…

My parents were there to support me in my efforts and cheer me on, and well, just be there for me because they are so great. I was meeting them at the starting line.

On the bus, I people watched and reflected on the ride noticing that I didn’t see one pair of shoes that was like the other. I mean, everyone was wearing two shoes that match, it was just that no one in the place was wearing the same shoe! Are there that many different types of shoes that I step on a bus of, what? 100 or so people and no ones matchy-matchy? It is mind-boggling. The ride was short but a couple had time to fit in some PDA. Crazy, I know, I get it, but really?

Anyways… At the race location

Pennypack Park, race location

Pennypack Park, race location

there were plenty of Port-o-pots, lines were not outrageous and I went for a short warm up jog. During my warm up I picked it up to my race pace so I could feel the pace I was planning to run, stretched and it was time to get into my starting wave. I was in wave 2. There were 1000 runners, and notably one guy was running 160 in one year (he wore a ‘supermarathoner’ suit with a cape). I saw him a few times on the course.

The start had a few hitches, but then we were off. The pack was running fast, I stuck in there and said “just run.”  Usually at this point I would worry about going out too fast and petering out later on. Not this time. I just ran. Getting to the first hill and the second water station there was a row of young lady’s all dressed in their Lederhosen. It was neat, I passed them by, this time, but would see them again on my way back. This race is an out, up Mount Cuckoo and back. Rolling Hills and beautiful views!

(Sorry no more pictures till the end, I still haven’t got that ‘take photo while running thing’ down.)

Running at first was pretty uneventful, just running, I was going back and forth with a runner and finally asked her if she wanted to run together, because it was exhausting passing and then being passed (about 5 x) she said yes and we quickly began chatting and discussing life, family, running, and solving worldly problems (as we all do while running a race).  We were keeping a pretty good pace, gliding up hills and flying down the other side.  I ate a gu at mile 5 and she and I split up at the off-road trail. The race supplied Hammer Gels, I took one to try later. I don’t like trying new things on race day. That I will not change.

The off-road trail (Mount Cuckoo) is probably my most favorite part about this race.  This is what the race website ( says about the off-road trail- ” Mount cuckoo is a 1 mile trail section that might feature minor roadblocks like rocks, dirt, possibly horse poop and some short rolling hills. This section is relatively easy by trail runner standards, but the surface is definitely different from what you usually discover during a (half)marathon. This might just slow you down enough to miss your PR even if the weather cooperates.”

When running this race you really do run on a path riddled with mud, stones, rocks, sticks, horse poop, and there is a beautiful uphill then a nice downhill and I love it! One thing I find is that when non-trail runners see a trail they almost do a complete stop. When we all hit the start of the trail we were running in a close straight line.  The moment the first person hit the dirt it was almost like a wave of dominos almost ready to fall backwards.

Is that bad to say?

Is that bad to say?

I had to get past those people if I was going to hit my PR, AND I did!

I was through with Mount Cuckoo and had less than a half of the half to go. I said “just run” and I did. I put my feet to the pavement and ran and passed people.  This is new to me, usually I am dying on the second half.  I hardly looked at my Garmen and tried to be a ‘Gazelle’ AND it was working!

Gliding up hills and flying down the other side. I said hello to the ladies in their Lederhosen which was located up the last hill and took a sip of water.  Down this last hill, a few more bumps in the next 3 miles, and I was home free. My mind said, “slow down you need to conserve” and I said back a resounding “just run” and I did!  I passed a ton more people, which, again, is all brand new for me. I chatted with one runner who was upset about her time and I had to leave that negativity and picked up my feet, bent my knees, and “just ran”.

Cow bells in the not so far distance told me the finish line was near! I looked at my watch, it said 2:00:01,  I wasn’t going to finish under 2 hrs. no worries. I minute later I was at the last bend.  I picked up my pace.  I was flying, smiling, and yes tearing up.   I saw my Mom and she yelled for me to “GOOOO” and I pushed harder. I felt a little nauseous but said, to myself, “you throw up at the end if you need too, but you are just going to run now” and I did!

No, not throw up! Run! and I finished official chip time 2:02:20! My new 1/2 Marathon PR. Awesome.

Who's Awesome? You are!

Who’s Awesome? You are!

The fans were great, the course amazing, and the race administrators are one of a kind. I will be doing this again next year!

I have  a few thoughts of why I did so well this race. I’ll share that with you in an upcoming post.

What is your favorite course?