Race Coverage

Campfire Songs & Yelling Feet...



By Jennifer Martone

Square Lake 70.3 race report: 
To begin, a big shout out to Judi at MMR for putting on a safe and socially distant triathlon this year! Not an easy feat with park regulations and a forecast of steady rain making attracting volunteers a struggle. Kudos to everyone that helped on 9/12, a sincere thank you....

I’ll admit to being nervous in the days leading up to Saturday, primarily because I’ve had a couple of crashes in the rain, and wet race wheels and caliper brakes make it challenging to slow down and stop. I hadn’t done a long course tri in 8 years, and started training 2.5 weeks before race day for the bike and swim (once Covid hit, I hadn’t ventured into a lake or pool in five months). When a friend told me about the shortened one lap .5 mile swim, I figured I could wing it. I jumped into a friend’s backyard pool on 8/22, swam for thirty minutes and the next day drove to Sq Lake to ride the bike course, my first 50+ mile bike ride in years, followed by a 4 mile run in the 84 degree weather. I can do this!

At 4am on race day, I woke up to day 2 period cramps after 3 consecutive evenings of night sweats (sorry for TMI, but maybe there are other perimenopausal women reading this? Three periods in five weeks, my hormones are wacked, the joys of almost 50). Ok, I digress. Athletes arrived in pitch black to a steady downpour. We set up bikes 10 feet apart in our designated area, pre-swam in the chilly water, and waited with blue lips for our alphabetical groups of 25 to be called into the water.


The first 150 yards of the swim were ok, then I hit a bit of panic as I stared at the turn buoy ahead feeling a heavy fatigued state (probably due to the cold?), and for the first time in my racing history, I contemplated hailing a kayak. I talked myself out of this, channeled all the Eco Challenge episodes I watched, and found a groove. I finished with a decent swim and sped through T1.

I was surprisingly warm on the bike (maybe the hot flashes?) and settled into a decent pace for the early miles. Speedy first place finisher Meleah Murphy passed me with a quick hello, a motivating force to witness on the bike. I had bought clear glasses at REI the day before the race and they proved to be a bit of fail. Dotted with rain spots and jammed into my helmet improperly, negating all aero properties by causing my helmet to be at an angle, with obscured vision to boot. But alas, I survived the bike, even as lower back fatigue caught up to me on lap two. I was relieved not to end my bike in the lake, as I did my best to slow down the big hill coming in to T2.

I think my best split of the day was the 2nd transition, as I slid into my Hokas with drenched socks and made my way back up the steep hill, this time attempting to run. The first half mile was a doozy as I wondered how I was going to eek out 12.5 more miles, but again found a groove and plugged along, singing to myself a girl scout campfire song I learned 39 years ago “John Jacob JingleheimerSchmidt,” one of my race mantras. I carried a hand-held water bottle and chomped down a few salt tabs as I ran.

The run is hilly! Certainly, the most difficult half iron run courses there is. Volunteers in a few spots told me I was the 3rd female and the other woman was not far ahead. I saw her soon after the 6.5 turnaround and Mata gave me a friendly “please catch up and push me on the run, I need the help,” turns out she was running a very steady pace so I didn’t catch her, but since she had started in the first swim group, and I had already closed a gap that had me 8 minutes ahead of her at the finish.

The cool weather was ideal for running, and I’m always happy to be on two feet. I had one minor gear fail on the run – I chose a pair of “Heatr” socks that have logo stitching on the sole and it was my first time ever running in them, so my right foot yelled at me with every foot strike after mile six. That aside, I was ticking off the miles with a grin. Huge smile and arms in the air as I descended the final stretch, a great exclamation point in the day!

Thanks again Midwest Multisports Events.

ED. Jen finished 2nd overall in the women's competition. Her time was 5:09:10. RESULTS

Photo L - Jen Martone, Johnny Surprise, Meleah Murphy

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