Authored by: Kristen Flajslik
I started getting nervous a few days before the race – mostly because it was the first of the season and my first race on my bright pink triathlon bike. Since I live in Hopkinton, I was able to pick up my race packet the day before the race. I brought my dog to Hopkinton State Park and enjoyed walking him by the water.
On race morning, I was wide awake before my 5:30 alarm. I left my house around 7 and drove to the race site. When I was walking my bike to the transition area, my totes collected sand from the beach. So once I put my things in transition, I went to say hi to Roy and ask if I should try to clean my tires. He kindly gave me a cloth and said wiping my tires down would make me feel better (it did). Before the race started I saw several people I know including a colleague, friends from town (and there 3 year old), a girl who babysat for my kids occasionally while in high school (and is now a star on the Dartmouth triathlon team -she was third overall in the triathlon at season opener) plus her family, and most importantly teammates Melaney, Zabeth and Lakshmi. Melaney gave me a team envision transition towel which I was psyched to use for the race. While hanging around transition, I chatted with some people who were about to compete in their first multi sport race, and tried to give good advice.
About 30 minutes to race time, I ran about a mile to warm up. When it was time to line up at the start line, I positioned myself towards the front of the group, but with about 4 lines of people ahead of me. My goal for the first run was to keep my effort level at a 8/10 which I thought would be 6:45-7 min/mile pace. It ended up being slightly faster. On the hill in the second mile, I was passed by another woman, but decided to keep my effort level at the 8/10 level. I tried to stay calm during T1 and took my time mounting my new bike. Once I felt settled on the bike, I got into aero position. Around mile 2, there was a decent climb during which I passed several people on the bike, including my colleague. I had a little trouble drinking from my aero bottle on the bike and also my turns were wider than ideal. I felt strong on the bike until coming back into the park and struggled a bit on the final hills during which time I was passed by multiple people. Since I did not do a great job of drinking while riding, during T2 I took in some fluids before starting off on the run. I also forgot to remove my helmet when I started the run. A volunteer yelled at me and I went back towards my bike, but before I could get there she took it for me.
My legs felt tired going up the hill during the beginning of run2, and I told myself to relax and settle in since I knew there was a nice downhill coming. I remember a spectator pushing a stroller encouraging me to relax my shoulders and that I was in the lead. It was hot, so I took Gatorade at mile1. At the turnaround, I saw my colleague and two women, and we cheered for each other. Shortly after, I saw the Dartmouth athlete doing the triathlon coming in on the bike and cheered for her also. I took Gatorade again at mile 2 from the Hopkinton cross country coach who runs the kids’ summer track program my children participate in. The hardest part of the run was the hill towards the end, but I knew once I was up it I got to run across the dam and to the finish. When I saw Zabeth near the finish, I pushed as hard as I could until I crossed the line. I felt sick for a minute after finishing, but after I felt better I walked past the finish line to cheer for people coming in. It was great to see Melaney finishing strong! I think the most fun part of the day was cheering for the other athletes finishing.