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Iron Girl Atlanta 2012 Race Report

The Details:
Sunday, May 20, 2012
Location: Lake Lanier Islands Resort, outside Atlanta, GA
Women’s Only Triathlon
1/3 mile swim/19 mile bike/3 mile run
7:00 a.m.


I woke up this morning at 4:00 and got ready to rumble. Okay, so the only rumbling was in my stomach – nothing a little peanut butter and banana didn’t fix.

This race was a big deal for me – first race back since breaking my fifth metatarsal bone in my right foot in February. I was under strict orders not to run the 5k part of the race, to be careful on the bike and avoid getting kicked during the swim.

I wrapped up my foot with athletic tape – not for support during the race, per se – but rather for support getting in and out of the water.  Sand and uneven surfaces are the enemy in the final weeks of healing.  Don’t ask about my wrap method. It’s a secret and awesome (and colorful).

I was so flipping excited to be back in the energy of race day. So excited.

Karen, SBM & Mountain Goat

I met up with Karen, Mountain Goat, Arpana, Joanna, Charity, Andrea and others before the race. Karen and I were only three or four bikes apart on the racks. And I was proud of all the Swim Bike Mom gear on the course! Rocking it out, SBMs (and non-moms representing!)

Arpana, SBM, and Karen


The Race Start

Karen was in the wave start in front of me, so we were able to hang before the start. Mountain Goat and I were in the same wave, which was one of the last to take off at 7:30. She was fussing at me on the beach, saying things like “Why did I let you talk me into this?” and “I am so hungry, this is stupid” and “Goats don’t swim!”  I told her that she would be fine. A Great Wall of China Marathon in 2009 (?) should count for something.

After an eternity of a wait… we were off.

The Swim

Bottleneck central. Probably one of the most bottlenecked starts I have experienced to date. Very hard to get around anyone  – at every turn someone was there. One girl was putting down the breaststroke and kicking me in the ribs, the legs for 200 meters. Why was someone breaststroking beating me? I do not want to talk about that. But dear Lord, please learn to freestyle or backstroke on the course. The breaststroke, while is sometimes necessary, is dangerous for those around you for the entire race.

Iron Girl is a big “beginner” race, but this was a tough swim (and tough race, for that matter) and I am in awe of the beginners who finished this race. I am not sure if this was my first tri if I would have made it to the end. Way to go, ladies.

I felt pretty good during the swim, although I felt like I was moving slow.

Sixteen minutes later, I was out of the water and heading up the giant hill to transition.


I was in and out of transition pretty quickly considering the long walk from the swim finish to my bike.  Before I left transition one of the volunteers screamed, “Yay Swim Bike Mom!” Love that! Anyway, I was ready to go – grabbed Antonia and shuffled past the “mount here” line.

The Bike

I got on Antonia and quickly realized that something was wrong. Holy crap…. dropped chain.  I must not have checked it when I racked it yesterday. I pulled over to the side and fiddled with it. I have no idea how I got it back in order and with no grease on my hands. I think I can thank the Expert for his superior bike cleaning skills yesterday.  Either that, or he booby trapped me. Ah-ha!

I was incredibly thankful to Karen for suggesting and then taking us on the Iron Girl course for two rides before the race. It was nice to know when the hills were coming and how to position on the downhills. The mean, nasty hill around Mile 9 did not even close to break me this time. That hill almost killed me the first ride.

I was also incredibly thankful to be on the bike, out on the course. I was able, maybe for the first time, to truly appreciate the wonderful thing that is triathlon and racing. I really, truly love it. Even the pain. I love it all. And being down for the past three months with an injury has been terrible and more difficult than I thought. I am SO glad to be back!!!  Each race, I feel like I am doing something bigger than my wildest dreams – even when I do sprint distances and 5ks- because it takes me back to the first race I did, and reminds me just how far I have come (even with a beat up foot).

Because I wasn’t “running” the 5k, I decided to tear up my legs and push as hard as I could on the bike. I spent most time in the big gear and just grinded (ground?) it out.  I was pushing pretty well and ready to have a super great bike time… that is, until I hit the road back to the resort. The jerkface drivers heading for their day on the lake were the biggest group of anti-cyclists I had ever seen. Riding right up against the white line. Refusing to move over (at all). I understand we were slowing their vacation time, but this was a race… I apologize.  I was frustrated because I ended up wasting probably 8-10 minutes dodging cars. I said it once, and I’ll say it again – what a race for beginners –  I applaud you first timers – this bike course was hilly, mean and the traffic situation was difficult.  I am not sure what could be done about the cars – but some driver education – and that’s beyond the scope of triathlon.

I rounded the corner back to transition and saw crazy volunteers.  Oh wait, it was SBM pals Kimberly and Elizabeth. Thanks  for the support ladies – I loved seeing you!

Elizabeth & Kimberly lighting the way!

I was off the bike in 1:12:47, which included the dropped chain and the ridiculous traffic situation on Holiday Road.  Pretty happy.


I do not remember anything about T2. Except that I almost forgot to take off my helmet.

The “Run”

Okay, so I wasn’t supposed to run.

And I did well walking. I was annoyed being forced to walk (I like to walk on my own choosing in a race!)… but I walked.  I kept a good 13:50-15:00 minute mile walking pace, which is harder than I thought it would be.

So I walked.

But when I saw “Mile 2” I couldn’t take it anymore (plus, the downhill had started) so I jogged just a little. And I jogged until the finish.

My favorite part of the 5k course was someone spotting me running… and they began screaming, “Swim Bike Mom you are NOT supposed to be running!!!” Guilty. Coach Monster gave me a similar lashing when I called him, but with a few more expletives. Still, the foot felt great.  The blisters on my poor un-run feet are horrendous, but as I rounded the corner to the finish, I was elated and so thankful to be back on the course.

The Finish

Mountain Goat and Jenna came through the finish shortly after me.  Mountain Goat said, “I bow down to you for doing a half Ironman.” I let her. Because I have the sneaking suspicion that she will do more triathlons, and this is the last race where I can enjoy the victory!  She ran a 22 minute 5k. I “ran” a 40 minute 5k. Today, the Chris Lieto was only slightly ahead…but not for long! (BTW – she had THE fastest run time in our division. Holy guacamole!)

I finished 75 out of 141… almost middle of the pack. Yay! I will take it.

SBM & Kelly

The Fun Fest

Great gathering of folks for a post-race lunch.  Enjoyed the laughter and the new friends.  At one point, I looked around the table and realized that Mountain Goat was the only person that I knew from outside the blog world – all of you guys were blog friends and I think that is cooler than cool.

Fun Fest!

Karen has also received a nickname.  Henceforth… I shall call her Yoda.  Because she is the Yoda of Triathlon.  She knows everything about triathlon and all Georgia races (and apparently Tennessee, and North Carolina and…..).  Oh you know you’re on the SBM Fave list when you get a name..

In closing, thoughts and prayers go out to one of the racers today, who Yoda reports experienced a severe crash on the bike leg today. Let’s keep her in our thoughts and prayers. She is in the hospital with broken bones and head injuries.  It gives me chills to think about how dangerous this sport really can be. Please lift her up in your prayers.  Update here.

Until next time…

….Just Keep Moving Forward.


  • Julie

    May 20, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    What a great race report! So happy to hear how well it went and am now coveting sexy harass SBM Tri kit! Yay from sunny CA to all the finishers!

  • Connie

    May 20, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    Congrats to you! I participated today as well. I won’t say competed because I wasn’t competing with anyone but myself and the clock!! This was my first triathlon ever!!! Finished in 3:06. I’ll take it, my run was slower than yours : ) I am NOT a runner. But I do plan on doing more : )

  • Kandi

    May 20, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    Yeah for you! I thought about you a lot today as I ran my half marathon. By mile 11 I had ice taped to my knee and I was walk/jogging and by mile 12 I was walking. It was a hard to rein it in and not hurt myself and have people running by me. I thought, “If SMB can walk it, so can I!”

  • Colleen

    May 21, 2012 at 8:47 am

    Such a great race report. All of you ladies amaze me!!! 🙂 And it was so great to finally put names and faces together at lunch! Thanks for organizing that!

  • LisaH

    May 21, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    I just discovered your blog while searching for blog posts about the Iron Girl yesterday.
    Congrats and great write up!
    It was my second Iron Girl Atlanta, first one was at age 50 last year to celebrate that milestone.
    I’ll neve be an age place competitor but I love the challenge of improving my times and I did it this year!
    Also love, LOVE the support from all the other Iron Girls and volunteers.
    Had a 24 year old pass me and give me a fist pump and tell me she hoped she was still doing tri’s at 51. I thought “Oh honey. it will be here before you know it!”
    And I think you pased me on the run. I saw your shirt and thought, “How cool is that idea…Swim, Bike, Mom?!”
    Congrats again, I’ll definitely be following your blog in the future!

  • Ingrid

    May 21, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    Great Post. Thank you for mentioning us beginners.
    I do feel it was a tough race for a beginner, but now I can conquer anything.
    Great time by the way!
    I finished in 2:53, not a very good time but I finished!

  • Heather Harrison

    May 21, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Just singed up for my first Tri in San Diego! Thank you so much for the inspiration, I feel so much gratitude reading your thoughts and stories everyday. I am pee your pants excited about this!!!

  • Ara

    May 22, 2012 at 12:16 am

    Congrats!!! That sounds like a tough race, yet a super fun race!! So sad to hear about the girl that had a wheel coming off accident. 🙁 I’ve seen some serious injuries of fellow triathletes in some of my races and my heart just breaks for them.

    • Margarietha

      June 12, 2012 at 8:44 am

      Great job on your finish. I found your blog tohgurh IronWaddler’s blog. I am seriously interested in this race for 2011. Any info on the course (either by e-mail or in your race report)would be greatly appreciated! I’m trying to get answers from a diverse range of people I know who have done the race: you as an under 30 yr. old; a 60+ male; and another woman in my age group who also lives in the area and is used to the terrain and climate. Also, was the weather typical for that time of year?

  • Theresa

    May 23, 2012 at 8:21 am

    It was nice meeting you at Irongirl. Yoda is a good nickname for Karen. She has always been a big help for me. I love your race report. As one of the beginners who struggled with the swim, it was a bit challenging. love your blog.


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