Race Report: Gillie Girl Triathlon

On Sunday I did the Gillie Girl Sprint Triathlon in Camillus, NY. I did this race in 2014 and 2016, so it was my third year doing it. The nice thing about doing the same race multiple times is that you don't get very nervous! Also it's fun to be able to compare your times to previous years on the same course.

A few other women I know from biking in Ithaca were also doing this race. It's a little over an hour away from where I live, and I had to do packet pick up and all that the morning of the race, so I woke up at 4:30am. Ugh. Nick and I left a little before 6am and got to the race with plenty of time for me to get my stuff, get body marked, get my timing chip and get set up in transition. One of the only things I don't like about this race is the transition is a free-for-all -- you don't have an assigned spot. As a result, it's really hard to find space if you get there late.

Swim - 0.5 miles, 17:40

I've been swimming a decent amount, but only in a pool. I haven't been in any non-pool bodies of water since the Cayuga Lake Tri last August. Oh well.

The water was 76 degrees, which is wet suit legal, but I didn't wear one. I was in the third swim wave. I moved towards the front of the group (not the very front, maybe 1 row back) because I've made the mistake too many times of getting caught behind people in prior races. A girl in front of me said (to no one in particular) "when I told my coworkers I was doing this race they said 'there's so many snakes in that lake!'" WHAT lady why are you saying this moments before we start?!! I told her I've done this event a few times and have never seen any living thing in this water besides a human and that seemed to calm her (and me). 

I was not nervous at all at the start. There's not really an opportunity to warm up at this event so I just dipped down in the water enough to get totally wet, and waited for the horn. As usual, it was really congested to start. I tried to start swimming normally right away but kept swimming into/over people. By the time I was approaching the first buoy I was starting to get some bad thoughts: "maybe I should have practiced in a lake" "I can't touch right now and there is nothing around me to grab on to" "what if someone grabs onto  me?" It's really easy to panic once you start having negative thoughts and I was mad at myself for even going down that path. I slowed a little to get some space and catch my breath and finally got into a rythm.

Finished the first lap and crossed the beach to start the second lap of the swim. Second lap was much more calm, no issues really. Overall I'm dissappointed with my swim time -- it's the slowest I've ever done the swim in this race, which is kind of annoying....I should be getting faster, not slower! Oh well. Mental note to start doing more structured swim workouts and focusing on speed, instead of just swimming easily for 30 minutes in the pool.

T1 - 1:44

I always feel kind of light headed after getting out of the swim. I didn't have a wetsuit on so transition wasn't too bad, just dried my feet and face off enough to get the bike gear on. I had the same exact T1 time last year too.

 

Bike - 14 miles, 45:25 

I knew I didn't have a great swim time so I was excited to be able to catch up with people on the bike. This course is super flat -- which is good and bad. No big hills to climb but that also means no downhills to recover. I was able to pass a lot of people. At the 7 mile mark you have to just turn around a cone in the road and head back - lots of people don't plan well for this. So many people stayed in a hard gear when they went around the cone, then had a super low cadence when they tried to get going again and took a long time to get up to speed. I passed a bunch of people near the turnaround.

I ate a few honeystinger chews throughout the bike and thought a little bit about how my legs were probably going to hurt running, but, it's not like I'd run much faster on fresh legs anyways. I passed a few other people right at the end and came into transition. No one passed me on the bike! My bike computer says I averaged 19.1 mph.

T2 - 0:28

I changed my laces on my sneakers to the stretchy kind that you don't need to tie earlier in the week, so it was super easy to get my sneakers on. No issues in T2 really. 

 

Run - 5k, 27:26, 8:50/mile

I borrowed Kate's running watch for this race but it took a while to get the location and start working, so I didn't have a good idea of my overall time but it did help me see my current pace. The run is fairly hilly and I find it to be pretty hard. I didn't bring a water bottle with me this time and I did walk through the water stops (there are 2 and it's an out and back course so you pass each stop twice). I also walked up one of the steep hills after verifying that there was no one close behind me that would catch up to me, and realizing that walking for a minute to catch my breath wouldn't really impact my overall time that much.

I kept reminding myself throughout the run that I did 2 half marathons this year! This 5k should be nothing. Other thoughts I used to get through it: "Kate just had a baby and she was running faster than this!" "This hill isn't as big as Turkey Hill in Skunk Cabbage!" "Less than 10 minutes to go, that's less time than it takes me to ride my bike up Buffalo. I'm less than a Buffalo hill climb from being done!"

Once I got back into the park I knew it was flat and tried to push it a little bit harder.There were a few people ahead of me that I didn't think were in my age group but I made it my goal to try to catch them, and I did. I felt pretty good as I crossed the finish line.

 

Results

My overall time was 1:32:45. I was kind of annoyed to realize later that this was my slowest time on this course! Mostly as a result of my swim. My run and bike times were close to what I've done in previous years. But, it was good enough to get me second place in my age group -- and I'm in a new age group! First tri in the 30-34 bracket. 

All of my finishing times for this course have been within 2 minutes of each other, so it wasn't significantly slower...but...I was hoping to beat last year's time.

 

 

Afterwards

All of my other friends that did the race also placed in their age groups! My friends Lynne and Jami and their daughter Lyra came to watch so I hung out with them afterwards as we drank delicious chocolate milk and waited for the awards.

The awards for this race were interesting -- we actually got trophies. I haven't received a trophy since my horseback riding days. I also got a $25 gift certificate to Fleet Feet in Syracuse. All finishers got a t-shirt, a medal, and a small glass as well.

This is a really nice, well put together race (which is why I keep doing it). There's also women of all abilities and ages doing it, which is really cool. Some people are clearly experienced, and for many it's their first time ever doing anything like this. The oldest finisher was 80! And she wasn't in last place! They had to add an extra age bracket for her award.

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