This marked the second year of my participation in Musselman weekend. And I have to say that the race is one of my all-time favorites.
Simply because it is so well run. Everything is easy to follow. Directions and information are plentiful both on the website and at the venue. Questions (even the really stupid sounding ones) are answered patiently and with respect. The community seems to embrace the entire weekend, making it a festival atmosphere which gives friends and family something to do while you, the athlete, is going a little nutty. The volunteers are friendly, knowledgeable and understand what you want, when you want it and why. And the set up for spectators is friendly with ample space to watch the action in, areas and activities to entertain while you wait and food and beverages available (which is not the case for spectators at all triathlons).
Race director Jeff Henderson is thorough, accessible — and has a great sense of humor.
Whether it’s the mini-Mussel (sprint distance), the Musselman (70.3) or the newly added miro-Mussel (ridiculously short distances meant to be raced in costume and on tricycles) it’s an event that gets nothing but high marks from me.
Yesterday was the official race report.
Today, it’s the left over musings from my third 70.3 race and another great (and challenging) experience:
Emotions run high
Remember that and be kind, be apologetic and be forgiving. When I entered transition off the bike I went to my assigned spot and saw someone else had racked their bike in my spot. The thoughts in my head went from “huh?” to“Are you KIDDING me?!? Who racked their bike in my spot?!?” Only bad part was I said that last part out loud. Even worse, the guy who mis-racked his bike … was on the other side of the bike racks.
He kindly moved his bike and I apologized. And apologized. “It was a hard bike,” he said. “I would have felt the same way if that happened to me.”
Again, kind sir who was probably No. 598 … I am so very sorry and thank you for being so understanding.
Support crews rule. Part 1
I had the largest contingent cheering for me at this race since I did my first triathlon at Keuka Lake in 2008. As I emerged from the water from early swim warmups, I saw two green t-shirts standing on the beach — my mom and dad. “We were walking over here and saw one orange cap in the water,” my mom said. “I knew that had to be you.”
In addition to my parents, some of Mark’s friends were doing their first 70.3 race and their fan support also became my fan support (heretofore known as the “Rochester contingent”). And at the finish line, some of Mark’s family members from the area came to cheer me in. Trust me, if you ever think, “I have a friend dong a triathlon/marathon/really important race. I think I may go watch,” stop thinking. Just go. It means a lot during those long miles.
After surviving the hot, hilly 13.1 mile run the last quarter mile was the most interesting. I passed the Rochester contingent, including first-time finishers John and Corey, when I heard someone shout, “Want me to run you in?”
“Yes!” I shouted back. And so Mary left her shaded picnic table ran with me toward the finish line. (This should serve as a warning to others.)
A few yards later, as I approached the finish line, I caught a glimpse of my family, Mark and Mark’s family. It was then that his great aunt (whom I believe is in her 80s) took off to try and sprint with me through the finish line. I think I beat her. But just barely.
Support crews rule. Part 2
Mark served as my official race support for the entire weekend and while he had a glimpse of Race Day Amy two weeks ago for the Welland sprint, a 70.3 race is an entirely different animal. And he didn’t even blink when I cried when we got the wrong dorm room in the “athletes village” (a.k.a. Hobart & William Smith residence halls). He merely reassured me everything would be O.K. and suggested we eat. Soon. Immediately if it all possible. It doesn’t take long to figure out those types of things about me, but it is wholly appreciated and cherished. It’s not just the understanding and empathy that count, but the delivery of those qualities. Along with the delivery of food and sports drink.
Best new tips of the day
Putting ice into your hat at each aid station on the run is cooling and not as awkward to run with as you may think. Also learned on the run course, flat cola actually sounds appealing at some point and actually tastes pretty good. Then again, that may be the sign of a really difficult run.