- Julia Ritter
2021 Edinboro Triathlon Race Report
Updated: Jun 15, 2021
Edinboro Triathlon – Sprint (.3 mi swim / 12.5 mi bike / 3.1 mi run) Edinboro, Pennsylvania June 5, 2021 Race Report: Julia Ritter (F 60-64)
This event marked my return to triathlon after 10 years! I’d been training for 6 weeks (thank you, Coach Gunnar!) but in those weeks I had not even done a 5K yet without walking every few minutes, so I was wishing I was a little more prepared, but definitely eager to give it a go. Goal: to finish. I awoke at our friend’s cabin on the shore of Lake Erie, about 35 minutes from the race site. Got to transition when it opened for the Sprint at 7AM. (Olympic was an hour earlier.) Loads of time, parking was easy. Summer is lush and green here in PA, and people often let you park on their wild-growing-freshly-mowed yards for events like this, so we tucked the car under a shade tree on the grass of Pat Crawford’s Jukebox (barn/dance hall in town) and unloaded -- just a minute’s walk to the lake and transition. Racks were organized by Bib# and Bibs were assigned by age/gender so my neighbors in the transition area were all women like me, in their “seasoned” years shall we say. Super friendly, lots of positivity. Right next to me was a super sweet 70+ woman who had just biked from Pittsburgh to DC. But back to the race: The day was sunny and clear, starting out in the 70s, heading into the 80s by the finish. Lake temp about 66. Swimmers went out in groups of 4, maybe 10 seconds apart, so no mad rush. Even though it wasn’t crowded, I started out feeling over-conscious of the swimmers around me (kept looking up at who was where) which meant I interrupted my stroke a LOT. Finally, I let that go and got into a rhythm -- second half / home stretch felt strong. T1 felt smooth except feet got a little hung up on my wetsuit and my friendly Pittsburgh-to-DC neighbor appeared, telling me the bad news that she’d had to cut short the swim because her asthma kicked in --> so I talked with her whilst trying to also calmly and quickly do what I needed to do to get the heck out of there. My husband filmed my T1 so I’ll send that to Coach Gunnar for analysis, conversation and all ;-) Bike felt strong but my time didn’t indicate it as such - lol. It was a much straighter and faster course than I’ve been riding at home where I’m used to lots of turns and hills and have been primarily mountain biking. So the straight open road will be something to work on – and getting more used to those skinny tires! T2 went fine, I think. Somehow my husband missed that completely, so no video to scrutinize. SO glad I went with lock-laces and no socks! Starting out on the run, legs felt heavy and ineffective. (Great) And right away there was a hill. I remembered reading Gunnar’s recent race report where he said he walked the hills (or at least some) and this gave me instant permission to walk that hill. As if I had a choice. Then there was an aid station, which I took to mean walk some more, because Gunnar said those are good places to hydrate … and walk! Yay, Gunnar! Once in a while I also luxuriated (aka walked) in a bit of shade. The day was heating up. So yes I did actually run, but walked enough to keep me functional. About a 12-minute pace overall. I’m not proud of that, just being honest. In the home stretch I got a miniature version of one of those bursts of energy you get as you approach the finish, even though my legs were maxed out and I just wanted to walk some more. But crossed that line running!! Greeted by smiling faces and an ice-cold wet towel. Came in for a landing and suddenly it was all good. The best feeling! Snacks and drinks were plenty. Results were announced quickly (I thought), even as racers were still coming in… I meandered around and kept my ear out for my AG… then was shocked to hear First Place: me! “Wait, was I the only finisher in my age group?” I asked the Race Director (could have sworn there were others). She answered with a wink, “So far!” Oh right, athletes still coming in…
OK, so my competition was slim (yes, one of the perks of getting older), but in the end another F 60-64 did finish behind me. And (since I’m being honest here), a few gals in the age group above (and below) me beat my time, which makes sense given my level of preparedness. I think I ended up 4th out of 11 women over 55. Anyway, I am thrilled and thankful to have met my goal which was simply to FINISH THIS RACE! Thank you, Coach Gunnar, for guiding me through. And thank you, Coach Martin, for welcoming me to your squad and giving me all those swimming pointers when I was in Santa Cruz. I’m excited to keep training with TCM – from way out here in PA – and looking forward to another race or two this year!