Mighty Montauk Olympic Triathlon Saturday, June 11, 2016: First Female Overall (2:11:29)
Swim .9 miles (24:42) Bike 22 Miles (1:03:28) Run 6.2 Miles (39:57)
I must enjoy the thrill of signing up for races last minute. Second triathlon of the season which I decided to do just days before the actual race. Luckily, Mighty Montauk is a race I have done almost every June since 2009, it is my favorite triathlon, and the race director Merle has gotten to know the Bottini family well J . She also has dealt with me in years past, calling her last minute to try to get into the race! Thanks Merle!
Mighty Montauk is a race that is very special to me…maybe because of all the summers growing up and going out with my family to watch my dad compete in it, which he has been doing for almost 30 years. Now I get to do it WITH him! Mighty Montauk also happened to be one of my very first triathlons EVER in 2009, and it is a course I have come to love, and look forward to doing every year. It’s a much more laid back race compared to others, it still gets a lot of fast athletes, but there seems to be much less “egos” involved and more fun, laid back personalities, just looking to have a good race and good time enjoying Montauk. As an Olympic distance race, it consists of a .9mile swim (this one is always a solid mile /slightly longer), 22mile bike and 6.2 mile run.
As I had mentioned above, my dad has been doing this race since almost 30 years ago (as old as I am about to be), and for the past few years now his 3 brothers have also been coming out to do it. My Uncle Mike lives out in Amagansett, and he actually has been doing Mighty Montauk (along with many other races) probably longer than my dad has, and up until a few years ago he was probably still beating me! Now all of them have gotten into the sport and it makes for a nice little reunion every summer when we go out to race it, and there is no shortage of ball busting. This has become another reason I love going out to Montauk for this race, I love seeing all of them out there and it’s fun to discuss and often make fun of each other after the race.
So, about 3 days before the actual race, I got Jeff to sign up with me. The race is on a Saturday which is unlike a lot of races, but a much better way to do it...you get all Sunday to enjoy, and it doesn’t ruin your Saturday getting ready for it. We headed out Friday afternoon from CT, took the ferry over and drove out to Montauk to get our race packets before going to my Uncle Mikes for a nice BBQ with the rest of the Bottini’s! Before you know it, it was 9pm and we were getting headed to bed. This was actually one of the first times that I was up before my alarm at 5am, I was ready to go after a good night sleep. I always like to make sure I have enough time in the morning before a race, to have some breakfast, coffee/tea, and not be in a crazy rush. Race started at 7:30, took 25 min to drive there, and I typically like a good hour to set up, go to the bathroom, get body marked etc. Race morning I don’t typically like to change up my eating routine too much (except I hold off on the spinach and veggies in my eggs prerace J ). I typically do 3-4 egg whites, a ½ cup cooked GF oats with berries and cinnamon and tea/coffee. I don’t eat too much, because I know I’ll end up running to a porta potty at unwanted times, but I make sure to get a good mix of protein and complex carbohydrates. I also like to keep my dinners the night before a race on the lighter side, and not far off from what I would typically eat. I usually like salads, sweet potato, and chicken/fish/eggs depending if I’m traveling to a race or at home and able to cook.
Once we arrived at the race site, the sun was shining and there wasn’t even a need for the sweats and sweatshirts we were wearing. We parked and biked over to the transition are to find a spot on a rack, get body marked and get our wetsuits on. If you read my prior post on Race #1 which I did not wear a wetsuit for, today was all the reasons why you DO want to wear a wetsuit. Montauk of course gets a bit cooler than other places, especially the water. This is a race you want a wetsuit for, water is typically around 60 degrees, and since it’s a longer swim the buoyancy of the wetsuit would be beneficial. Definitely needed it just to keep warm today. I was in the second wave, all women, which I always liked. Once I got in for a quick warm up, we were quickly corralled out of the water for the start of the race. It’s an in water start which is nice because it eliminates that mad dash, and jumping on and over people into the water. First wave was off and then all of us ladies entered the water. Everyone is always smiling and kind of looking around at each other, just waiting for the sound of the gun. The course is an out and back, 5 buoys, and it always looks like such a long ways as you look out ahead. I anticipated the gun and got into a good position to sprint straight out to that first buoy…this was one of the very first things my dad had told me to do when I started doing triathlons…sprint out as hard as you can for about 2-300yds, then settle into a pace…and you will be clear of all the people. Maybe its common sense…but, I think about that before every race, and sure enough I always find I am almost way out in front swimming alone without anyone to wrestle for a spot with. I felt good, minus the slight frozen feeling in my arms, but I stayed dead straight to each buoy and kept a strong pace the whole way through. The way back always seems much faster, I eyed that big American flag at the swim exit and moved my way through even some of the men who were in the wave 5 minutes ahead of me. About 25 yards away from the swim exit, I’m breathing to my left and notice a guy next to me in a wetsuit with red on it and it crosses my mind that it might be Jeff. I keep breathing left and see it’s his goggles, and definitely his stroke…I wanted to just stay right next to him and give him a shove, but I instead I darted for the beach. As I exited the water and pulled my goggles up, they announced I was the first women out of the water. I looked back as I ran across the beach and saw Jeff just coming out, I waved but I don’t think he even noticed! I ran into transition, or T1 as they call this part of the race, quickly yanked my wetsuit off,
helmet on, race number on, bike shoes and off I went to bike. This took about 1:30 seconds to do, another part of the race where you can make or break time. I knew at this point that I would need to hold my own on the bike if I wanted to finish first. The bike is my weakness, and I typically am passed by women within 5 miles here if I am really moving strong. I kept giving myself points to get to, and felt more and more confident as more and more miles went by and no one had passed me. I felt pretty good, and enjoyed hearing yells from Jeff and my Uncles as they saw me on out and back portions of the race. As soon as I turned back onto the road to transition area, I knew I was in a good position. This was the first time I ALSO remained first for the women coming off the bike and onto the run. This would however be one of the first times I was already in lead for the run…no one to chase down, only women behind to not let catch me. The nice part of the run course is 1. There are 3 out and backs where you can see anyone who is behind you, and 2. All those out and backs are down/up pretty big hills which is definitely a strength of mine. At the first out and back I spotted the 2nd and 3rd place girls behind me…I couldn’t tell how far ahead I was, but they looked strong. I knew I would have to push it. I felt ok, but not as fresh as the weekend race before. I headed up some of the first hills and quickly gained some ground, I picked it up even more for the second two big hills and when I saw Jeff I think I let out a big “ugh” or “I’m dying” , he told me to back off a bit, but I don’t think I did. I wanted to get to that last hill without anyone passing me, and knew by then I could handle it to the finish. Its times like this in races where you might never know you could push as hard as you do…that competitive drive just takes over and can really surprise me sometimes. Crossing the finish line felt great, especially seeing all my family cheering on the sidelines, and Jeff right there as I flew through the tape.
The feeling I get at the end of a race is what I love, that wobbly legged, full body state of exhaustion that almost feels as if your insides have exerted themselves to capacity! All the pain you feel while racing and thinking to yourself “why do I do this” , is always worth it and what keeps me coming back for more!
Article in East Hampton Press: http://olive.pressnewsgroup.com/Olive/ODN/EHPRESS