I decided about 4 months ago to train for the Northeast Missouri (NEMO) Triathlon just outside Kirksville, MO in 1,000 Hills State Park. I had planned to do this with race with my friend Laura but she broke her collarbone in the middle of our training
and is only just now getting back to being able to exercise. This triathlon was recommended to me by several local athletes as a great stepping stone to an Olympic Distance tri. It is significantly longer than a sprint but not quite Olympic Distance. The distances were .75 mile swim 18 mile bike and 5 mile run. I have done 3 sprint tris but this was a big step up for me.
Fortunately my ever supportive husband
was happy to go to the triathlon with me since Laura was not able to. We left Quincy a little after noon the Saturday before the race. This was perfect timing as we got into town early enough to check my bike in, get my race bag, head out to drive the course in 1000 Hills State Park and arrive back at the registration at A.T. Still University for the mandatory race meeting set to begin at 4:00 PM. I noticed immediately how friendly everyone was at this race. NEMO volunteers are great hosts they even had pizza, sandwiches, pretzels and cookies at the pre-race meeting.
I went to bed early but I slept restlessly from 3 until 5 AM and having bad dreams like I missed the start of the swim because I could not find my swimming cap! I don’t know if the cap is mandatory but in my dream it was!
In the morning the when we arrived the park was still dark but the sunrise was great to see behind the trees. It was beautiful. It was a point to point course so we were shuttled to the start of the swim. I was so happy to have my friend Ann with me who is a fellow running club member. She is an experienced swimmer and was able to give me some last minute pointers as swimming is definitely not my strength! The water was 74 degrees wetsuit allowable and I had borrowed one from a friend but I decided since I had not practiced in one EVER to just swim without it. I have it drilled in my head from running marathons…NEVER do anything new on race day. I kept imagining myself unable to get the suit off, jumping around on one leg while I tried to pull off the other leg and crashing into someone’s $5,000 bike. No, the wetsuit was staying in the car. (Although it took me so long to do the swim that almost all the bikes were gone by the time I reached the transitions area!) It was tough to get in the water when it was only 53 degree outside that’s for sure!
I really enjoyed the swim in this beautiful setting. I got a bad cramp in my calf at the very end which caused me to panic a bit but fortunately it went away as I ran from the lake to the transition area to get my bike. My transition to the bike was slow. I get really shaky and overwhelmed in the transitions of triathlons I have done. Finally, I was off on the bike. The course had some hills but I really enjoyed it. It was an out and back course so it was fun to be able to see the leaders coming back. Although the guy that was winning got at flat!
The final stretch of the bike came back through the park down a shaded cool area of the woods and it was downhill! Whee!
Now it was on to the run. Getting my running shoes on was a lot easier than at other races with my new hot pink elastic lock laces.
I am always amazed at how hard it is to run after completing the swimming and biking. I am a fairly strong runner but have never been able come even close to my typical paces when running in a triathlon. The run course was very hilly…what did I expect at 1,000 Hills Sate park? I pushed as hard as I could and out of all three events I placed highest in the run.
My final times were: Swim 33:46 (.75 mile) Bike 1:08:48 (18 miles) Run 44:31 (5 miles)
Total time with transitions 2:27 (this was not chip timed so I do not understand from the crazy excel sheet how you figure what each transition times was!)
I was not pleased with my time but I really enjoyed the experience and would recommend this triathlon to anyone looking to step of from a sprint. It was a well run, very organized race in a gorgeous setting.