A Back to Back Weekend (Simone’s Thoughts)

When I tell people I am doing a triathlon over the weekend they already think I’m crazy, but when I tell them that I’m doing two in a weekend I get some pretty funny looks. Doing two triathlons back to back is always a painful but rewarding experience. You can’t expect to feel great on the second day, but when you get to cross a finish line twice in one weekend it makes it all worth it. The thing that makes it the most challenging for me personally is trying to figure out if I should pace it on the first day or go all out and not save anything for the second day. I try to figure out if one race is more important to me than the other, but then when I start racing I usually forget about pacing and just try to do the best I can.

On Saturday morning I was going to compete at Big Lake and on Sunday morning I was going to compete in the Brewhouse triathlon. They were close to the same distances, but they each had very different weather conditions each day. Saturday morning was a gray, cold, and rainy day, where as Brewhouse was foggy in the morning, but very sunny and warm towards the middle of the day. On the drive to the race on Saturday I could also see that it was pretty windy which made me worry about what the swim course would be like, but it actually worked out to be an advantage for everyone racing. When we pulled up to the race venue I could see that for the majority of the swim we would have a tailwind that would push us along almost the whole way which was a relieving sight to see.

After seeing the swim course I did all the usual race day procedures in the rain which made it a little less than enjoyable, but I tried to keep my energy up so that it would carry through the rest of the race. After the prerace meeting we all went down to the beach and I was almost excited to start the swim just because I knew the tailwind would be very nice. When we started I could immediately feel the wind pushing me and it saved me a lot of energy for when I got onto the bike. Getting out of the water felt very cold and windy and when I transitioned and got onto the bike I could still feel the wind pushing me around like it did in the swim.

I started on the bike feeling very confident, but when I turned at a corner and felt the wind and little pellets of rain in my face, I did not feel so confident. My average on the bike instantly dropped when I was going into the wind and I let that bother me for the rest of the bike course instead of pushing through it like I should have. When I finished the bike and went into the run I had to make up a lot of ground as usual. On the run I was by myself for most of it so I did not really have anyone to push me, but it also was really fun being towards the front of the pack even if it meant not having anyone chasing me down.

After what seemed like a long time I came into the finishing shoot and was pretty excited with how I placed, but I was not excited when I saw my time coming across the finish line. After looking at results I saw that my bike and run time were significantly slower than the year before. This really bothered me because each year I want to improve instead of getting worse, so when I saw how much slower I was it made me feel pretty defeated. I decided that even though I was going to be very tired the next day that I wanted to work harder and get a better time at Brewhouse so that I could have some confidence going to nationals. There was no awards ceremony, so I grabbed my medal out of a plastic bucket and picked up all of my stuff from transition so that I could go home and dry everything out for the next day.

Hearing my alarm at 3:45 in the morning is like listening to nails on a chalkboard, but when I hear it that early the day after competing, it somehow sounds even worse. I woke up and got out of bed but the instant I stood up I could feel just how sore my legs were. I quickly got everything together so that I could sleep in the car for as long as possible on the drive up to Duluth. When I woke up we arrived at the race course and the weather was much nicer than the day before. There was no rain, the sun was out, and everyone just seemed a little bit happier that day. I got my packet and body markings for the second time that weekend and as I set up my transition spot I got to enjoy talking to some close friends at the same time. The early wake up call was starting to seem worth it as the day went on and as I kept getting ready for the start of the race.

Before I went down to the water I checked which wave I was in and I figured out that I was in the elite wave which meant that I would be going out with some of the faster competitors. I surprisingly was not nervous, but I was actually excited to go out with that wave so that they would push me to get a faster swim time. After the 10 second countdown we were off and I managed to stay in the middle of the pack so I would not get run over by as many people in the front. The swim was much longer than most that I had done this year so it allowed me to concentrate on my form and breathing in the water. Before I knew it the group that I was in was out of the water and running up the path to transition.

I remembered what I had told myself the day before when I was getting on my bike, and after my slow bike time yesterday I really wanted to work hard on the bike today. When I started I could really feel the soreness in my legs, but that didn’t matter to me today because I was going to keep pushing through so I could improve my time. I didn’t really think of anything else besides to just keep pedaling and to just keep pushing through. I slowly felt better the longer I went and than just like the swim, I was done much quicker than I had expected. My legs felt completely numb when I struggled to hop off my bike, but I also wanted to¬† improve my run time like I did with my bike, so I knew that I had to pick up the pace when I started my run.

The run was mainly in the sun, so when I saw the first water stop I was relieved and I gladly took the water they where handing out. After the water stop the course turned into a dirt road for a portion of it, and I loved that because it made me feel like I was in a cross-country race and it was also nice to be running on a different surface to change it up a little. After the dirt road section I knew I had about a mile left to go, and because I really wanted a faster run time I decided to pick up the pace even more. It hurt so bad, but I knew I would regret it if I did not get a time I was hoping for. Coming into the last home stretch I felt my legs start to tighten up, and the pain I was in was displayed all over my face. It didn’t matter though, because when I crossed the finish line I was so excited that I had completed two triathlons in two days.

After minorly throwing up for a little bit, I went to go check my results and I figured out that my bike and run time were significantly faster than the day before. I was so happy that I pushed through the pain and continued to work hard through the end. As awards started I got to enjoy everybody around me and have a fun time making new friends and I also got to enjoy going up to get a award along with one of my best friends and training buddie. After awards ended and people were starting to pack up their transition area to go home, I was feeling so happy that I got to compete here, but I was also sad that the day was ending just because I was having so much fun and I didn’t want it to end. Although I didn’t want the fun to stop, I was also excited to get another week of training started before age group nationals. I was so grateful that I had an awesome race at Brewhouse because it gave me confidence going into the week and into nationals. I have no idea what I’m going to experience in this next week but I have a feeling it’s going to be an exciting adventure. Thank you Brewhouse triathlon for making my weekend extra amazing!

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