Why Tri Iron Girl and Race Recap



Sunday June, 16, 2013

PRE RACE: So I probably stayed up 1 hour too late and had about 1/2 glass of wine too many, but here I am, it’s 5am and I need to be awake.  I lost the BOY to last night’s festivities with my brother and dismissed him from early morning triathlon duty knowing that my parents would meet me at the course.  The race location is about 20 minutes north, and I was impressed with how smoothly transition set up went.




On the way to the race sight, I realized that I forgot my bike gloves.  I was able to catch my parents before they left, and my Mom was happy to lend me a pair.  She arrived just as transition was closing, but they let me run in to add my gloves.




To wet suit or not to wet suit?!  That was the pre race question.  I had multiple opinions from my family, and others were discussing it in transition.  In the end, I decided not to go with the wet suit.  I began to doubt my decision (along with all of my ability to swim) as I walked down towards the beach where participants were ‘warming up’ in the water and starting to line up by waves.




I kept myself busy chatting with my parents and some other racers, and then strolled over to the beach for the race start.  Man, that looks like a LONG 1/3 mile swim, I thought as adrenaline started pumping through my veins.  I think this photo sums it up perfectly!

Here goes nothing…




SWIM (1/3 mile 12:59):  The wave before us takes off and into the water we go.  With nervous energy and 3 minutes to sit and wait, I strike up a convo with the girls around me.  Then remembering a tip from a fellow blogger, I splash some water on my face and dunk my body.  It’s actually much warmer than I expected.  The countdown begins…10…9…8…


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Go!  I start swimming and immediately forget all of my pool practice.  Not being able to see through the murky water, I find myself picking up my head often and using the breast stroke right away.  Wait a minute…I can do this!  I can swim!  I start to find my rhythm and then pop my head back up.  Stay calm, I tell myself.  The goal is to swim this efficiently and not waste precious energy by panicking.  1/3 of the way down and I’m rounding the corner hoping not to get run over by the younger girls trailing at my feet.  Rounding the next Buoy and the end is in sight.  With less swimmers near by, I find my swim stroke groove (better late than never) and head towards the beach.  Shoot, I realize, I forgot to start my watch.  OMG!  I didn’t wish my dad a happy father’s day!




TRANSITION 1 (4:02): I emerge from the water and start my watch.  I see my Mom waiting for me and cheering me up the hill.  I continue my run remembering to wish my dad a happy father’s day before entering transition.  Transition???  It’s been a year since I’ve done this…where to start…swim cap and goggles off, feet dry, socks clean, bike shoes on, fix hair, helmet on, sunglasses, check, gloves, thanks mom!  A sip of water and my bike and I are on our way.


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BIKE (14 miles 47:47): Oh no…did I just miss the timing pad?!  Who knows, but not much I can do now that I am on my bike and speeding away.  What a gorgeous day for a bike ride!  I hope this isn’t a hilly ride!  I quickly settled into my bike and started shifting gears from muscle memory.  I felt light on my bike and started passing other racers.  I felt energetic throughout the entire bike ride, moving quickly down the little hills and using momentum to power up the inclines.  I chatted and cheered on bikers that I passed, and only got passed by 2-3 other racers.  About 45 minutes into the race, I ate 1/2 a Larabar while reminding myself to drink water throughout the bike (even though I kind of needed to pee).  Swift and steady, I continued riding my ‘biking high’ deciding instead of riding today, I was going to race.  The bike has never been a strength of mine, but I knew that this would be one of my fastest races. I ended up with a 17.6 mph average.  If I bonked on the run, then I bonked on the run, but I was interested to see how far I could push myself.




TRANSITON 2 (1:46): To pee or not to pee?  This was the new question.  Biking gear off and running shoes on.  Plus a tshirt and a race belt.  Then, I was running out the other end of transition past the potties and around the lake.


RUN (3.1 miles 23:45):  Today’s goal…8 minute miles for a 24 minute run.  My legs felt heavy, but I was happy to have completed a handful of BRICK workouts during my training.  The run started off sunny, but I found some shade as I rounded the far side of the lake.  Mile 1…under 8 minutes.  Sweet!  Just keep putting one foot in front of the other.  Mile 2…7:51.  Almost done!  I focused on keeping my pace reminding myself that I didn’t need to go any faster or any slower.  I past a few other racers and one shouted out to me ‘When you finish, come back and pick me up,’ which made me smile.  I spotted my mom with a little over a 1/4 mile to go.  She started shouting and cheering me on as I kicked it into a sprint.




I later saw video of this self-described sprint and it really was more like a run : )  My parents said that my bright orange tshirt was easy to spot and they were able to find the best locations on the course to encourage me and document the day with photos and video.  I rounded the last corner and pushed towards the finish line.  My run ended up being the 9th fastest out 39 in my age group.  Woo Hoo!




FINISH 1:30:19




POST RACE: I immediately received my medal, a freezing cold sponge, and took 2 bottles of water.  My parents were waiting to congratulate me on my race!


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While I’d been working hard, my Mom had made friends with multiple people including the Athleta sales girl who she was eager to introduce me to.  I was feeling great, not sore at all, and proud of my strong race.  I was happy to walk around the post race expo before finally making it to the bathroom.  I couldn’t stop raving about how well organized this race was and had the opportunity to tell one of the Iron Girl employees how much fun I had (and beg her to come back to Lake Zurich again next year).  Because of the location and awesome venue, this is a race I would do again next year for sure! 

We happened to be standing next to the billboards when they posted the results.  Since I didn’t start my watch on time, I wasn’t sure what my final time was and couldn’t find my name.  I gave up, grabbed some breakfast and more SWAG (including another 2 jars of Biscoff…ha ha!) while chatting with my parents.  The post race expo was so much fun that when we looked at our watches, it was already 10am.  We were able to find my name on the way back to transition.  I was pleased to find out that I finished 64/322 and 13/39 in my age division.  Already, I am contemplating what my next race should be…


I was a huge fan of the Iron Girl race series!  If you are looking for your next race, I would definitely check out their website!



Why Iron Girl?


Everything from packet pick up to transition was organized perfectly!

There is a table of hand sanitizer, sunscreen, chapstick, and other necessary beauty products by the port-a-potties.

This is your post race breakfast…




It never felt crowded (even in transition!)

The staff was really friendly.

The race course was filled with inspirational messages.




The next day they mailed me a colorful certificate

A really cute, actually gonna wear, race tshirt + more SWAG




Who doesn’t love an event dedicated to girl power?




Have you ever done an Iron Girl event?

What was the best race you’ve ever done?

35 thoughts on “Why Tri Iron Girl and Race Recap

  1. Congratulations on a great race! I loved the recap- it felt like I was there cheering with your parents!
    And I especially love the photo of you before the swim! I definitely think we feel/look the exact same before a race! You also described my half Iron swim exactly- forgotten pool practice, panic, and face out! Hopefully I can soothe myself like you did in my race this weekend!
    Congratulations again! When’s your next one?!

    • I thought that picture was priceless! I didn’t know they were going to capture it on photo 🙂

      I’m sure you will be able to soothe your nerves…find a mantra that reminds you of swimming in the pool. At least that works for me!

      I don’t have a next tri just yet. I am heading off to Israel for 2 weeks and hoping to find one that will fit in between my trip and Marathon training. I’ll keep you posted!

  2. Wonderful!!!!! DD said that the more you swim the more comfortable you will be-so keep it up! Your mom and dad got some great shots-and the venue looked beautiful.

  3. CONGRATS on an awesome race! And, fantastic race report! Love the play-by-play of what you were thinking 🙂 Iron Girl events looks like a ton of fun… think I’ll have to add the one here to my list!

    • For sure! There are tons of different levels and ages and Iron Girl creates a positive race environment! It was a fun play by play to write and my parents were the most amazing supporters!

  4. Awesome Race!! Congrats!! Even though it started out a little rough you were able to finish strong!! I hope you can find another tri to do at the end of the summer!

    Looks like an Iron Girl event is something to do in the future!! Great medal and Swag. I have never done one!

    I have had a lot of great races! I would say the best of the best was probably Ironman AZ!!

    • I have heard great things about that IM! What an amazing place to explore by water and land : ) Most of my races start off pretty rough (me and water used to not get along), but finish with my favorite (and strongest) are the run : ) I thought the Iron Girl was great (obviously) and hope they come back again next year!

  5. congrats you did such an amazing job and all that hard work training showed! I abs love your pic before you went in the water, hilarious! Looks like a great event too!

  6. Dang, you totally rocked your race! Love the photo of you waiting to get into the water. 🙂 Sounds like you did everything just right and you totally kicked that run’s butt! I don’t know if I can pick out one best race that I’ve done, but I really enjoyed my experiences at the Illinois Marathon and really like the post-race food that they have at the 13.1 Chicago.

    • I read your post about the 13.1 and I am definitely going to put that on my radar for next year. It’s fun to have a race that you like to do annually!

      I do think that my training was just right to get me ready for this weekend’s race! I never feel that strong on the bike so I must have done something right…ha ha!

  7. Great job! I had major tri-envy just reading this post… I miss it! Next summer I suppose!

    I’ve also heard that “real” triathletes pee on the bike… I’m not sure I could handle that haha. Although, I’ve always run faster races when I’ve had to pee!

    Also, you look so cute in your tri shorts, mine look so awkward on me!

    • I think the trick with my shorts was to buy the long ones which are super comfy! You should def look into this tri for next summer. It’s awesome!

      I have heard about the peeing on the bike….I guess I’m not that hard core : )

  8. Congrats!! Sounds like a fun race. What a great time on your run!! Now you are making me think I need to do another triathlon. I always wondered if I had waited and started at the back of the swim pack, would I be able to freestyle more? I was freaked out about getting ran over too!

    • Starting at the back is what works for me! You should definitely think about another tri. This one is awesome! I can’t wait to do another tri….hopefully this summer!

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