Yesterday I completed the Danskin Triathlon in Sandy Hook, NJ, an all-women’s sprint distance race that includes a 1/2 mile swim, a 10 mile bike ride and a 3 mile run. Yesterday, I also re-discovered a part of myself that I had mistakenly let go. And a new personal best.
Race day started like any other.
I had prepped the night before, hardly slept (pre-race nerves) and woke up early for a breakfast of Purely Elizabeth granola, a banana and coconut water.
I made my way to the race site, set up my transition area and had my arm marked with my number.
As I made my way to the swim start with plenty of time, David and I stopped to take this picture. Notice the goggles on the ground.
Continuing on to the swim start, eventually I realized goggles were no longer in hand. With calm, clear heads, we doubled back to transition, re-traced our steps and asked volunteers for any spares. With no luck and after uttering a few expletives, I eventually decided to move on to the swim start, mentally preparing myself for a goggle-less swim.
Once at the race start, I decided to ask a few more volunteers if there were any spare goggles around. One informed me that my goggles had been found and were at the announcer’s table. Thankful I had stayed calm and with my head back in the game, I was ready to rock the race but not without my usual pre-race jitters.
The swim usually makes me panicky so I took it slow and steady, focused on my own race and my own stroke and ignored the splashes and kicks of everyone around me. It proved to work and once I had settled into the first minute or so of the swim, it was smooth sailing from there. After a longer-than-usual run to transition, I yanked my wet suit off, steadied myself and hopped on the bike, a straight, flat out and back. The head wind on the way back added some intensity and then it was on to the run — a sub-8 minute mile run!
The timer on my Garmin had stopped working during the swim so I had no idea how I was doing throughout the race. Using my heart rate as a gauge, I pushed and paced and finished spent but strong.
When I saw my results I was shocked and surprised to see this:
Compared to my results from 2005:
If you’ve followed my 9-week training, you’re familiar with my journey to this race.
When I started my training in June, I had little to no expectations. After a three year racing/training hiatus, I was feeling out of shape and incomplete. I had taken the time off to focus on being an entrepreneur and in finding my career calling, lost my fitness identity.
Last December, as I created my intentions for this year, I added a sprint distance triathlon to the list. I figured I’d start back up small and see how it felt. Just writing it down felt wrong and fraudulent. Who was I — now in my 30s and having taken time off — to want to do this again?
I almost crossed it off the list entirely.
Then I got an email from the race organizers and an opportunity to participate. As a tri newbie, I had completed this race in 2005 at the urging of my then-boyfriend’s mom’s friend (I know, confusing). I was still new to the city so I joined a training group and made some new friends. My parents traveled from Louisville, Ky. to cheer me on and between them, my boyfriend, his mom and dad and his mom’s friend’s husband, we had quite the cheering crowd.
Yesterday’s race was totally different and just as special.
Only David was there to cheer me on this time. The course had changed just a bit and after all these years, I completed it even faster than I had the first time.
The official spokesperson for the Danskin Triathlon Series, Sally Edwards, has completed more than 130 triathlons and 16 Ironman competitions. With the Danskin series, she has pledged to be the final finisher in every race so no woman has to finish last.
This is just one of the reasons why I love this race. If you’re new to triathlon or like me, coming back to it after a break, this race is safe and supportive. It’s also inspiring. Yesterday I was moved to see women of so many ages and sizes owning their strength and their power to accomplish their goals. Many are cancer survivors, others are on their own health and weight loss journey.
What I’ll miss the most about the Danskin Triathlon is training for it.
Help me find my next tritahlon. Do you have a favorite race or one you’ve been wanting to try? Share it with me in the comments below.
If you missed my training series, you can catch up here: