The alarm went off at 4 a.m. and I had a few moments of wrestling with the part of myself that, rather sanely, wanted to remain sleeping. When I signed up for the Triple Crown series I assumed all the races would be early in the morning, as most are in the US. I was thinking 7:30 maybe 8. I was not thinking 6:30. Silly me. Not only was the Jamestown race that early, it also involved remote parking and shuttle buses to the start. A month later when I look back at this race, I remember three things: the hills, the scenery, and the logistics. Let’s start with that last one.
The subtitle for this one could really be called the one where I almost pooped my pants on the run, but we will get to that in a moment. The Cranberry Olympic triathlon is part of a weekend of multi-sport racing in Lakeville, MA, a scenic town about an hour southeast of Boston. It’s run by Sun Multisports, a smaller, local outfit whose races I’ve done in the past and always found well run and well organized. After the surprise podium in July at the Hock Sprint triathlon, I was eager to see if the training gains would translate to the longer olympic distance and improve on my Quassy experience from May.
All I wanted was a fast training day. Putting in all the zone 2 work and bike drills had left me feeling slow on my runs. I was a can of soda left out in the sun and turned flat. With a few weeks before the Jamestown Half Marathon, I was looking for a local race that wouldn’t disrupt our weekend schedule and where I could go fast, or at least try to. Some athletes can self-motivate and find that speed in daily workouts, for me, I just need the racing environment and the competitiveness to really hit that top gear.
Now that it’s summer, it’s time to give a couple spring races a quick recap before I completely forget what went down. In late April, I ran the James Joyce 10k Ramble, a race I’ve done multiple times in the past and is a good measuring stick for early season fitness. I followed it up just a week later with the Cox Providence Half Marathon, the first leg in the UHC Triple Crown series. To the time machine!
[Update: Now includes the foot story!]
Five…four…three..two…one. I waded into the 60 degree water and tried not to get kicked in the head. I had a headache and overflowing sinuses. I’d been awake since 1 a.m. My right eye was inflamed, maybe infected. Four of the five toes on my left foot were bleeding and swollen. The new wetsuit was scratching my neck. I dove in and tried not to hyperventilate or panic. 32 miles to go.
[Warning: This sort of became epically long and probably has way more information than you really want to read, unless you’re doing Quassy yourself. Feel free to skim and check out the excellent photos Michelle captured.]
The 2014 season is essentially already a month old here in the Northeast and, other than June, I have my races, picked (some already completed) and paid for, for most of the upcoming year.