On Friday before the race, we packed and headed up to Nevis in time for packet pickup and the spaghetti dinner benefiting the Nevis football team. My parents met us there. Packet pickup wasn’t busy at all so it only took me about 5 minutes to get my bib, t-shirt and swim cap (no bike numbers at this little race!). This race is capped at 250 participants, so it’s a nice size – and it sells out FAST every year!
After dinner, we headed back to Travis’ parents’ house. Ironically, his parents were down at my parents’ house in Rochester because Al had had heart surgery that day at the Mayo Clinic. (He’s doing decently well, if you’re wondering.) I put Annabelle to bed and we watched Jim Gaffigan’s Mr. Universe standup on Netflix while Emma bounced off the walls. She was hard to get to sleep that night, and Annabelle woke up a few times because she was too hot and had to burp. Every time I got up to tend to Annabelle, Emma got wound back up. Finally, Emma crashed around 11:15 and we moved Annabelle downstairs to where it was cooler.
I slept decently well for a pre-race night. I woke up to thunderstorms sometime in the very early a.m. and was more worried that the thunder would wake Emma or Annabelle up than I was about doing a race the next morning.
Finally, it was 5 a.m. and time to get up. I nursed Annabelle a bit longer than I had planned – until 5:45 – and put her back down. I quickly showered and changed into my tri shorts. I decided to wait until right before the race to put my tri top and sports bras on, because I planned to nurse Annabelle again around 7. Nursing definitely presents a unique challenge for race day!
I ate a bagel with cream cheese for breakfast, made a cup of coffee, and Travis, Annabelle and I took off for the transition area around 6:30. My parents planned to wake Emma up around 7.
We easily found a parking spot and walked the 2 blocks to transition. I set my bike up near my friend Emily’s and we chatted for a bit while I set my stuff up. I went to get body marked (they just did bib number on both right arm and right leg – no age group), which only took about 3 minutes.
By then, it was about 7 so we made our way back to the car so I could nurse Annabelle before the pre-race meeting at 7:45. She must’ve been completely full though, because she wanted nothing to do with nursing. So I just put on my Body Glide, sports bras, and tri top and we headed back to transition around 7:30.
After the pre-race meeting, I made my way down to the beach and got used to the water. I swam around a bit and then the first wave was off. I was in the fourth wave – women 34 and under. The waves were 3 minutes apart. The leaders from the first wave started coming out of the water. Finally, the purple caps were up!
I was a little nervous as the director counted down our group, but once he said “Go!” and we all started swimming, I willed myself to settle down and “race my own race.” I kept my sight on the buoys, which actually didn’t seem that far away since the swim was only 400 meters, and focused on breathing deeply and evenly. There were a handful of purple caps swimming around me – several of us were doing the breaststroke. The only somewhat eventful things that happened during the swim were that I swallowed a mouthful of water once (but didn’t panic!) and I told an older gentleman who was doing the backstroke that he was going off course.
Finally the swim was over! I stood up when the water was below my waist, and walked up the beach and giant hill to transition.
OFFICIAL SWIM TIME: 10:53
There was a kiddie pool to use for rinsing your feet off, but I had brought my own wash basin to use. I rinsed my feet off and tried to towel my legs and feet off, but I was dripping water so it didn’t really help. The second sports bra I wore isn’t one that I’ve worn during a race before – I usually only wear one for triathlons, to minimize the amount of fabric getting wet. But since I’m nursing, I knew I would be a lot more comfortable on the run if I wore two. And I was, but that bra definitely held a decent amount of water! I had to wring it out on the bike, and my shoes and socks were soaked by the time I started the run. I was worried about blisters, but it didn’t seem to matter.
Anyway, after toweling off a bit unsuccessfully, I put on my socks, shoes, sunglasses (in case of bugs, not sun), and helmet, grabbed my bike, and away I went.
OFFICIAL T1 TIME: 2:43
The bike course was a loop, starting out going west from Nevis, then north, east and back south. The first half was rolling hills. I played leap frog with a few people. Whenever I passed someone going up a hill, I thought, “Either I’m in better bike shape than I thought I was, or I’m being an idiot and these people are being conservative and saving themselves for the run.”
By about mile 7, I was thinking that maybe the right answer was the latter. My legs were starting to feel tired. Lucky for me, the last 5 or so miles were mostly flat. Other than my butt hurting for the last 4-5 miles, feeling like I had to pee, and the wind picking up a bit, the bike was very enjoyable. The sky was overcast, the scenery was pretty (farmland, trees, lakes and rolling hills), and the volunteers were helpful.
We climbed one last hill coming into Nevis and then it was back in to transition!
OFFICIAL TIME: 52:24 (16.3 MPH)
I had toyed with the idea of parking my bike near the portapotties and making a quick pit stop, but by the time I got to transition, the urge had passed. So I re-racked my bike in the correct spot, took off my helmet and sunglasses, grabbed a Gu and headed out on the run.
OFFICIAL T2 TIME: 1:08
After being on the bike, it always feels like I’m running at a snail’s pace, even though I’m usually not. So my strategy for the run was to just find a comfortable pace and keep running. Maybe I was running slow, maybe I wasn’t. I wasn’t going to worry about speed.
A little after Mile 1, I started feeling a little sick to my stomach so I started eating the Espresso-flavored Gu I had grabbed. I ate about 2/3 of it by the time I reached the water stop at the turnaround. I grabbed a cup of water and walked until I drank it all. I discarded the cup and my Gu, and started running again. The sick feeling had gone away and I was feeling good.
By Mile 2, I started getting goosebumps from the pure joy and excitement of being out there and having the race go so well. I guess you can call that the triathlete’s high! The finish line was in sight, but I felt like I could’ve kept running.
I picked up speed for the last .1 mile where all the spectators were standing, and finished strong.
OFFICIAL RUN TIME: 31:58 (10:19/mile)
OFFICIAL RACE TIME: 1:39:05
Considering my A Goal was 1:41, I have to say, Booyah!
It’s an awesome experience to have the stars align for a race. You go out and crush your goal, AND have fun doing it. Doesn’t get much better than that.
I saw my dad, mom, Travis and Emma as I was coming in to the finish line, so after I returned my chip and grabbed some food and Gatorade, I went and found them. We chatted for a while and then our friends Brenda and Jake arrived via bike with their 2 kiddos. They had tried to time it to see me finish but I was too speedy! Haha. It was fun seeing them anyway.
We tried to grab lunch in Nevis, but only 1 of the town’s 4 restaurants were open, and it was packed. So we decided to meet at Zorbaz in an hour, giving Brenda and Jake time to bike back to their car, and me time to go back to the house for a shower and nursing session.
My parents headed back to their cabin instead of coming out to lunch, so it was just us 4 adults and the 4 kiddos. Travis and I had been wanting to go out to eat with Brenda and Jake sometime, so it was fun to get to do it. Brenda is one of my awesome running buddies!
After lunch, we grabbed our stuff and the dogs from Travis’ parents’ house and headed back to Brainerd. I nursed Annabelle and unpacked only to repack for a somewhat impromptu trip to Rochester by way of St. Cloud. We stopped by Fleet Farm for Travis to buy some fishing tackle and then were on our way down to St. Cloud by about 5 pm.
We met up with our friends Eric and Holly at a park in Sauk Rapids. Eric and Travis went fishing in the river while Holly, her 2 girls, my 2 girls, and I played at the park. After an hour, we ladies ate dinner at Noodles and headed over to Holly’s house, where we put the babies down for the night and the older girls played way past their bedtimes. The guys didn’t get back from fishing until 10! Unfortunately, they didn’t catch a single fish. We finally got on the road to Rochester – a 3.5 hour drive – at 10:30. Oy. It would be a late night after a very long day.
The drive was kind of dicey (due to us being so tired) but we made it to Rochester a little after 1 a.m. Thankfully, Emma went right back to sleep after we brought her in, and Annabelle nursed and went right down too. I crawled into bed around 1:45.
The next morning, Annabelle woke up to nurse at 7 and Emma woke up at 8. We had coffee and breakfast and then headed over to the hospital to see Travis’ dad. The girls and I stayed until around 1:30 and then headed back to my parents’ house for naps. After tag-teaming the girls, I finally got a short nap in myself. Glorious. Emma woke up from her nap around 6, I nursed Annabelle, we ate dinner, headed back to the hospital for an hour and then called it a night.
Monday, Travis had to work in the morning so my mom and I took Emma to a park in town while Annabelle took a 2.5-hour nap at home (Travis manned the baby monitor). It was fun – and so much easier to be at the park sans baby! We ate lunch back at the house and then went to visit Al for a bit. After packing up our stuff and the dogs at the house, we ate dinner at Panera with my parents and headed back up to Brainerd, getting back to our house around 10.
Whew! We have been here, there and everywhere for the past month and a half. Poor Annabelle, you can tell she’s ready to not be in her carseat so much. I’m hoping to be a homebody for a while now. Well, maybe.