Did you see Wonder Women at Raleigh 70.3? I don’t think you could have missed her if you were there. She didn’t ride an invisible bike (that would violate USAT rules) but she sure looked good out there.
A while back, two of my good friends decided that they wanted to do a relay at Raleigh 70.3 and reached out to our Greenville Tri Club community looking for a swimmer. I was still thinking I would do the race solo but then I saw the riff-raff (ug men) wanting to join them and decided to forget it. I did not want to do a spring HIM, I wanted to do this instead.
When we went to sign up, we had to come up with a team name and we settled on Wonder Women in honor of our cyclist (Kristin) who has done a number of running races in her Wonder Woman costume. And so OBVIOUSLY we had to do this in costume too.
Kristin and Elizabeth found some cheap costumes online and tried to get me to get one too. But I thought that might be just a bit too much drag for a swim (especially since they actually wanted me to be fast), so I went and tracked down this sweet suit instead.
So on Saturday before the race, we all climbed into Kim’s car (our spectator/chauffeur) and road-tripped to Raleigh. We got to the expo kind of late (probably were some of the last ones through) so we goofed off a good bit and came away with a lot of free crap. Then we drove out to the lake to drop Kristin’s bike and let me get a quick practice swim in. Then we headed back into town for dinner and race prep.
Race morning! We got up with the intention of getting on the later buses to the lake since our wave start was last. This was…interesting. We watched some of the last big buses leave and….no one came back. There were still quite a few athletes still waiting (not just relays!). Finally they tracked down a couple small buses (and a church bus) and we had to stand and hold on for dear life onto an overhead bar for the ~40 min trip to the lake. Our spectator made friends with another spectator in line and rode out with him (a total stranger?? I was a little freaked out at first but he was cute).
The bus mess left us with not much time to get out of T1 so I went in to help Kristin get her bike ready and we all got body marked. Then…we waited. Hung out in the port-a-potty lines a few times, chatted with people, watched the pro men finish swimming, hung out some more…I guess it wouldn’t have been much better if I had raced solo because the W25-29 wave was the one before mine.
FINALLY it was time. I got in the water towards the front but not in the front row – I knew it wouldn’t matter much because it was already crazytown out in the lake. I tried to catch someone’s draft but it didn’t last. We started catching people from the wave before before the second sight buoy and by the time I hit the first turn there were people everywhere. From that point on it was just “don’t drown anyone”. I swam strong and hard but did my very best not to completely run anyone over. It was pretty good up until the approach to the boat ramp – the course was narrowed and there was just no room to budge! I got caught behind a guy who was going much slower than me but was doing everything he could to keep me from passing him (or maybe he just flails around a lot). Got up the boat ramp and almost ran past the relay pen where Kristin was waiting. I finished in 33:26 and was the 7th relay swimmer out! The time seemed slow but word was the course was 300 m or so long.
After I finally navigated my way out of transition, I met Kim and Elizabeth so we could figure out how to get back to T2/downtown. We had planned to ride the bus back but the timing of this was not at all clear and it turns out they weren’t leaving until the last cyclist was out. Not going to work. Luckily, we met another new friend/random stranger who was doing the relay and offered to take us back into town. So advice for relays at Raleigh – leave your runner downtown. DO NOT take them to the lake unless you drove to the lake because it’s going to be a problem.
Once we got back into town, Elizabeth headed to T2 to get ready and I went back to the hotel to change for my 8 mile run (because my coach hates joy). I figured I’d have time for 4 miles while waiting for Kristin to finish biking then I could do the other 4 while Elizabeth was running. I ran along a good bit of the run course and it made me very, very happy to not be racing because it was hot as all get out and not shaded. It was probably the worst 8 miles I’ve ever run.
Then we drank beer for a while and waited for Elizabeth to finish. Kristin biked in a strong 3:21:04 and Elizabeth finished in a speed 2:00:31 for a final time of 5:59:44. Good enough for 24th out of nearly 80 relay teams!
There were a lot of fun moments doing this race in costume. People wanted to take pictures with us (or of us) or just would come up and talk to us. There was a really cute moment after the finish when a little boy came up with his mom and wanted to get a picture with Kristin and Elizabeth who were still in costume.
So. Do a relay. Definitely wear a costume. Make people laugh on a miserable hot day (because you can imagine those costumes weren’t hot at all yea?). I know there’s a lot of rumbling and grumbling about costumes at events like this but the fact is – it’s fun. We livened up the day and made it memorable for us. Rest assured, we will do this again!