Daring to bear… the main event 

Pre-Race: After an evening of waking up about every 2 hours, I reached my 4:30am wake up call and surprisingly felt rested. My friend Kelly and I packed up her car, ate our breakfast, made our coffee and were on the road by 5:00am. We got the park by about 5:40 to unpack and head to transition. I am glad we took note to leave early- traffic built up quickly and our other tri friends were not as timely getting into the park.

getting set up
getting set up

With my transition area all ready I headed out towards the water with wetsuit, goggles and swim cap in hand. I managed to find my cheerleaders while waiting on the beach in my sausage suit too. Felt good to know I had a good crew of friends and family cheering me on and motivating me to finish strong.

The Main Event: My wave went out into the water at 7:52 sharp (nice work on the logistics race people) and we were off by 7:54 according to my watch time. The water was measured at 72 degrees that morning so it felt good and after managing my way through the scrum in the beginning I soon found my pace for the swim. The first 500 meters were probably the toughest. I kept a nice steady stroke and before I knew it I was headed towards the shore.

First transition was much better now that I had my minimal shoes to slip into, no dealing with socks at this junction. I slipped my Quest bar into my bra and was off for the cycling portion.

DSC01680Bra-Quest Bar

We were thoroughly warned that the bike portion was one of the hilliest on the east coast, and they were not lying. The only great thing about the hills was that always meant a nice downhill too. With the rain from the previous evening the roads were a bit slick and it could get a little dangerous at times but I managed without any blips. I did know of a few people who had fallen off, including my friend Kelly and my other tri friend Dave who had to fix a flat. Lucky me, I was crushing the hills (thanks to that intense training ride) and was back in before I knew it.

This is what happens when your cheerleaders chat with you during transition
This is what happens when your cheerleaders chat with you during transition

DSC01700

After a slower transition (thanks family) to the run, I was off for my least favorite part of the race. I just kept up the mentality that I refused to stop and I only did during the run over the dam for some Gatorade and water because it got HOT. With a sprint to the finish line I had made it, and I felt great about it!

DSC01714

The Results:

Place Final Time Rank Time Pace Rank Time Rank Time Pace Rank Time Rank Time Pace
273 3:43:40.9 285 40:15.2 2:27HY 248 4:49.1 286 1:51:20 13.1mph 292 4:06.6 219 1:03:09.9 10:11/mi

Which ended up being a little better than I expected. I figured that I would finish just shy of 4 hours, and was impressed that I shaved off more than 15 minutes from my goal time. Now I have a goal pace for my next race… although I plan to do a couple sprints and/or aquabikes before jumping into another Olympic distance race.

Great job to my tri friend crew and also to everyone who completed Black Bear this year! I feel good being part of the one percentile of crazy fitness freaks!

Tri Friends!
Goofin’ off during my bike to run transition. Who wouldn’t give their mom a sweaty hug?

tri’d and true,

Em

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