Day 2: The Dirty Mitten Triathlon was the day after the Dirty Mitten Gravel Bike Race, which also happened to be my birthday! And if you want to read about that bike race, you can find that blog post here. Erika picked me up at dark o’clock and we headed to camp. She was the biker in our Olympic relay, Di the swimmer and I was the runner.
We parked up the road and walked the quarter mile to transition. I was greeted by Di and Gabriele with a big stuffed birthday cake hat. It was a fun surprise and kept me warm so I wore it all day!
I was a bit nervous to run. My bruised toe didn’t make a peep on Saturday so I figured I’d go for it. But it had been 2 weeks since I had ran one step so it was an unknown.
Erika suggested I wear her trail shoes, due to the wet grass and slimy trail. They were Topos (#ad)which is a brand I had never heard of but instantly fell in love with (bought some as soon as I got home). The roomy toe box was perfect for the swollen toe, the drop felt very similar to the Hoka, but the firm sole was a much better fit for trails.
Our relay got off to a great start with Di’s super-fast swim. She was the first relay, and maybe even the first female out of the water. She hustled up the hill to transition where I pulled off the chip and attached it to Erika’s ankle. Erika had her work cut out for her. John Mosey planned a hell of a course complete with Sager road in all its sandy glory. Erika had her mountain bike which was probably a great choice for the sand but not as fast on the flat, hard packed gravel. She had a great ride and came in a few minutes behind our competitors, which I know just had her peeved.
Now it was my turn! I had the other relay team ahead of me, which I set my sights on. I set off trying to do better than my usual pace, which is more or less a trot these days. I’ve had low iron, and although the tests show my ferritin is rising, it’s still low and I still experience muscle fatigue when running. Very very frustrating.
So I figured it would not be speed that would help me catch the other team, but perhaps if I was lucky tenacity would do it.
I have gotten in the habit of regrouping with walk breaks on most of my runs that last longer than 45 minutes. I don’t love it and worry that I’m creating a bad habit but it has helped with muscle fatigue. I was determined not to walk today though. Not on my birthday and not when my friends were counting on me!
About 2.5 miles in I spotted Di and she told yelled “you’re gaining on her!” Well that was fun to hear and lit a little competitive fire, which I admittedly often lack. I finished the first loop and was about a mile into the second loop when I spotted her. I saw her spot me and I think she started running faster. Oh boy!
I knew she was doing a run/walk as she was just getting back to running after a medical break. Her run was faster than mine though, so I was spot on that tenacity would do the trick.
It was a funky course with weird terrain and a few pitchy hills. I would have normally enjoyed waking those hills but not today! When I got to the bottom of the hill before the finish, Di and Erika spotted me and all three of us started jumping a squealing like kids! It felt so triumphant like hitting the winning shot or something.
We crossed the finish line holding hands with big smiles and then finished with a group hug. So fun. And just the reminder I needed of why I love this stuff.
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