Carolina International

This weekend I took part in my second race of the season, Carolina International. However, leading up to the race things were anything but normal… It was my good friend and training partner, Kimberly’s bridal party get-a-way weekend. So needless to say, going into this race there was a little extra eating and drinking and a little less sleep. All that being said though, it was a great weekend and the race didn’t suffer too much because of it. To recap the weekend (briefly) and the race….

Friday — Arrive at the lake, finish getting everything ready for the weekend then head out for a quick
run and some strides.  The rest of the bridal party and Kimberly arrived at the lake house around 8:30. We all do plenty of talking, giggling, eating and a little drinking then finish the night with the movie Dirty Dancing. 

Saturday — SLEEP IN!! Woohoo! Then we all headed out to the lake and unfortunately got a little burnt… yikes!! Kimberly and I ditched
the party for a little while to get our race packets and drop
our bikes off in transition around 5:30. Then by 7:30 we were all painting the night away with Wine & Design at the house.
You win if you can guess what this is!!
Hint…it is not a cat!!

Sunday — RACE DAY!! Sunday started bright and early with the alarm clock buzzing at 5:15 (only about 4.5 short hours after it was set…whoops!). After throwing down a quick almond-butter sandwich and some gatorade it was time to hit the road. 

Although the race was close to where we were staying, this was a point to point race so it was bit more work in the morning. We headed to T2 (the second transition point) to drop our run gear and to be body marked then quickly made our way to T1 to get our bikes ready for the day ahead (I have to say, I have great race parents…my dad got up at the crack of dawn with us and drove us all around making the morning super smooth!! Thanks dad!!). 
After a little wetsuit wiggling (if you ever want to be entertained, watch the shore before a wetsuit legal race…they are not easy to get on so you will see all kinds of straining and wiggling), the gun went off and we were on our way. The swim was 1500 meters and was a point to point event with two turns. Going out to the first turn was great, it felt smooth and sighting was easy. To make things even better, Kimberly and I had quite the cheering squad at the first turn. I could hear them even when my head was under water. They were great!(thanks for rallying the troops mom!!)After the first turn, it got a little rough. We were going directly into the sun and this was the longest leg of the swim. There were terrible glares off the water that made sighting nearly impossible. Then at turn two we headed back for the shore and out of the sun (thank goodness). I came out of the water in just under 30min. 
On to T1…brutal! It is just under a half mile run up a gravel / grassy hill to transition. I made it though this and onto my bike in just under 4min. 
Flying mount and I am off! I successfully made it on to my bike without having to break my stride too much. To do this I had my shoes already clipped onto my bike and rubber-banned into the correct position so I could immediately start riding once I crossed the mount line. As soon as I got up to speed I reached down and strapped my feet into my shoes while continuing to ride. At about this point, the cheering section was in sight and they had some great signs that were sure to make you smile. My favorite was “SMILE if you peed in the water.” The bike course was a total of 27miles on crappy roads (VERY BUMPY). The first 10 were pretty rough. It seemed as if you were constantly going up or down hills the entire time. The next five were great and filled with rolling hills. At about mile 15 the cheerleaders were back at it. It is always nice when you can break from thinking about the race and smile for a second. Then we went back to hills for the next 10. I did hit a new speed record though, I maxed out at 42mph going down one of the hills… Scary but totally awesome!! The last two miles were filled with turns and through neighborhoods. I ended up averaging just under 19mph.
T2 was much better than T1…. it didn’t involve any gravel or hills. I was able to do a flying dismount, my feet were already out of my shoes and I was able to get off the bike while it continued to move and was in and out of T2 in about 45 seconds. 
Kimberly (left) and me (right) leaving
transition two. 

Run Run Run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me…. JUST KIDDING! Lots of people caught me. The run was a hilly and hot 6.2miles. I went out of T2, a little too hard and the hills and heat got the best of me. I ended up finishing the run in about 52 minutes. That is about an 8:20ish pace, so not terrible but I am defiantly capable of better. 

Overall, the race was a success though. I was 47th overall, 9th female overall, and first in my age group with a time of 2:53:07. Thanks to all the support that I had out on the course, it made what could have been a brutal race, a great race. 
Me, Kimberly, and Brittany (left to
right) on the boat after some good

Once all the race day festivities were over, it was back to the house for some lunch and lake playtime. I was able to get my first wakeboard run in of the year and caught a few more rays before heading back to good ole Raleighwood that evening. 
It was a great weekend and one that I know I won’t forget for a while to come. Thanks everyone who helped make it great!! Y’all are awesome!! 

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