TRR Biathlon Race Report

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Sunday was the Team River Runner Biathlon. This is the second time me and my buddy have done this race. The first part is a paddle on the Potomac River and the second part is a run on the Capital Crescent Trail. The race this year was supposed to be at a new location but due to the government shutdown the new location was off limits. Luckily TRR was able to go back to the previous location and have the race despite the shutdown.

We decided to get up really early and get near the race site early in hopes to get free street parking. It worked out perfectly fine. There was a ton of parking and we were able to get really close to the site. We checked in at 7 am and then waited in the car for a bit before heading over to check out what was going on. Race announcements were supposed to occur at 8:00 but it was after that when it actually got started. We were in Heat 3 which meant a 9:40 start time. That's late for a race but since we weren't too concerned about our times we went with the flow and just hung out.

Plenty of boats and paddle boards were loaded onto the dock. The race requires that you use their kayaks. All the yaks are rec boats… one has an advantage by having a better boat. They do allow you to bring your own paddles but we have decided to just use theirs. There is no big advantage with ours….we just have basic straight paddles.

We watched the first two heats get into the water and take off. As the leaders from the first heat were returning from the paddle it was our turn to get ready and get into the water. The first boat I picked did not have properly adjusting foot pegs….so I had to jump to another boat and then get some assistance to get adjusted. I think the person helping me thought I was idiot but as I started to seal launch off the dock he realized that I knew was I was doing. He gave me a little shove and I paddled out to the start line.

The start last year was a big mess for me so I decided that I didn't need to start right on the line. The start was a big splashing mess! Paddles and water flying everywhere! We took off quickly and I settled into a steady rhythm quickly. I know for me this is definitely a case of slow and steady…..not to win but just to finish. On the way out I noticed that the turnaround spot was going to be further than the half mile they had indicated. I was the second female in my heat to make the turnaround but shortly after that I was passed. I'm not sure how many people were still behind me. I was probably in the middle of the pack.

The paddle was long and hard and the way back was upstream which worked against us. I did everything I could to just maintain a steady pace. As I got to the end I paddled up to the dock where the volunteers pulled me in. I tried to start running right away but was told to walk on the dock. As I made my way off the dock I ran to the water station and then took off down the trail.

I was hot and tired as I started running. My arms were like heavy dead weights as my sides. One of my shoulders was killing me. It took all of my strength to stay on my feet and keep running. I just kept plodding along and giving “good jobs” to other races. I kept hoping I would see the turnaround spot. Eventually my buddy passed me going the other way (he was quite a bit ahead of me).

I finally made it to the turnaround and grabbed some water. I was dead….and the run was long too so I knew I had to run more than a mile and half back. These people apparently do not measure the course. I kept plodding along back to the finish.

As I got to the very end people were cheering and I had one last kick to get to the finish line. At the finish line I was handed my “medal” and congratulated. My buddy was there waiting and I was dying.

My run was much slower than I wanted but I felt like my paddle was good. The course was 0.8 miles longer than advertised but I expected this based on last years' experience.

But who cares about my race… about the amazing adaptive racers? I'm sure they blew me away. They are amazing people that have fought for our freedom. I can never thank them enough for their service to our country. I can only hope that TRR is able to help them with their healing. I cheered the loudest for each hand cycler and blind runner. They are my heroes.