Race Coverage

De-Cobwebbing...

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By Laura Swartz

 

Buffalo Race Report…Dusting off the cobwebs…

Every season I can’t help the overwhelming nerves of getting the first race of the season out of the way. It seems like after 15 years of doing triathlons I shouldn’t get nervous but I do each and every single race. In fact I thrive off it. So how ironic that my race bib had a Katy Perry quote “Recycle those nerves and make them adreneline “.


Leading up to the race training was a bit off due to a trip to the ER and 13 stitches in my elbow after a trail run gone bad on Mother’s Day. The last half of the stitches came out the Tuesday before Buffalo and I was finally able to get back in the water. Taking two and a half weeks off swimming seemed like taking months off during my two short pools swims Wednesday and Thursday. The month of May as anyone with kids knows also means crazy kid schedule with one returning from college, one graduating from high school and one working hard to finish her sophomore year of high school. So many of these things could be excuses for why I didn’t perform the way I would have liked but I don’t like excuses. I like to figure out what I can do better...

and push myself to do it. Often times to a fault if you ask my family since I could win a race and be unsatisfied with the results. But that is what I also love about this sport. I challenge my mind and my body and I continue to push through the barriers and excuses I could give myself. Thanks to my coach Kris Swarthout who puts up with and responds to my endless texts with answers and encouraging words.


I woke up early eager to be at transition when it opens as that is the way I roll. My stuff was together and ready to go so getting out of the house was a non event. Arriving at transition I had my pick of locations and also saved a spot for my friend’s son. Josh Halper pictured above just finished his freshman year at University Miami and raced with their triathlon team including racing at collegiate nationals. Next to show up by me was Kristina Swenson a talented collegiate at Iowa State. Kristina and I first met a masters swimming. Since then we have raced many of the same races. I was also able to meet the rest of Kristina’s talented crew pictured. Last my buddy Marc Sontowskiwski showed up and took a spot by us. My transition area was full of people that inspire me, for me to inspire and to make me smile and laugh. I also have to mention that when Cheryl Zitur showed up I got a big smile and hug. Cheryl is an amazing athlete and like Jan Guenther a role model that being over 50 doesn’t have to mean slowing down. If I am going to be beat I love when its someone like Cheryl who inspires me.

cute_dog.pngOn to the swim. I tested the water and found it pleasantly refreshing with my long sleeve wetsuit. I was in the final wave of the morning with all the over 50 crew. I set myself up on the front a bit off of center. Apparently not far enough off to the side. I am not the fastest fish in the sea but I finished about 16/60 in my wave. For what ever reason this was the worst swim portion of a race as far as getting clobbered that I can remember. I quickly got kicked in the eye, swam into sideways, and it felt like people were coming at me from all directions. As I tried to move out of the way I calmed myself and remembered how short the swim was. Focus. After rounding the last buoy I realized I forgot to dust a cobweb by not looking at the swim exit. I was now out of the washing machine start and had to keep looking up to make sure I was going the shortest way to the exit. Was the orange fence where I was getting out? I attempted to swim in as far in as I could as I kept running into people who stopped to stand up and walk out. That is their prerogative but a bummer for me.
In T2 ,I had a quick decision to make. I realized at the swim start I forgot my allergy medicine which could impact my asthma for the run. While I swam I was preoccupied whether or not to take the time. I decided to grab it out of my bag since I knew exactly where I had it. Why didn’t I just remember it home? Another cobweb.


So next up was the bike. I love my Specialized Shiv! Biking has been the most exciting to me over the last few years as I have seen my abilities and potential grow here. The hill at after the mount at Buffalo can be tricky but I was in the proper gear and all went smooth. Once I got into a rhythm I decided to try to open the individual package of my allergy pill. Let’s just say that took too long and cost me mental energy probably some mph as well. Once I got that I hills that I always seem to forget at this race. The ride was smooth, course was in good shape and well marked with lots of volunteers and police making the intersections safe. Thank you to the race director for that!


T3 was smooth although slipped my awesome Newton Distance shoes on didn’t go perfect. User error and another reason for brick workouts.


Last up the run. For me running is what I have been doing the longest. It has also given me the biggest challenge as I age. I refuse to believe it has to be that way but I am working on that . So my run times aren’t what they used to be and I sounded like a freight train but I got it done. As I saw Kristina, Josh and Cheryl on course I could gage that my distance back was not what I was hoping for. I crossed the line knowing I had more. I could dig deeper and clean up the cobwebs. I guess that is what keeps me coming back to this sport. That and the amazing people I have met and friendships I have made doing this sport called Triathlon.

ED. Laura, now 52, placed 6th @ Buffalo Sprint. We included the pic of the dog because we think she's really cute and cool.

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