Today we did the Team River Runner Biathlon for the first time. We stumbled on this race a few years ago when looking for a kayaking race. It turned out to be one of the most awesome races ever and we just keep coming back. This year we were able to recruit another team member which made it even more fun.
Team River Runner promotes healing through kayaking. They work with wounded warriors that have lost limbs, eye sight, have brain injuries, etc. They are absolutely amazing people who volunteer their time to teach these brave people how to white water kayak.
This year we decided to volunteer in addition to racing. We got up early and made our way down to the river. Because we were so early and it was a chilly morning we were able to find parking close by. We found the volunteer coordinator and learned that our first task would be to put sponsor stickers on the boats. We got to work right away helping with that. After that we worked on setting up the breakfast table. It wasn’t long after that we could check in and get ready to race.
It was one of the first chilly mornings in the area. My teammates weren’t quite sure how much clothing to wear. Given my racing experience I was pretty confident in my choice to go with a short sleeved shirt. I get very warm when I run and paddle. It worked out just fine for me. Once we started the paddle I was plenty war
We wanted the “elite” heat go out first. They were paddling super fast and we were all slightly worried….but we knew our heat would be a bit slower. After watching the “elites” we took off in the second heat. The beginning of the paddle is always a bit of a mess. I call it bumper boats. It only took a few minutes to spread out though. I found myself in nice spot in the middle. The water is rough from so many boats moving so quickly. I worked on a nice steady paddle. In the past I’ve really killed myself on the paddle but I didn’t want to do that this year. My steady pace worked nicely.
We got to the turn much sooner than I expected. At the turn I yielded to a veteran and let him have the inside line. After that I passed him and thanked him for his service. I tried to just keep moving with a steady pace. The way back required a little bit extra because of the turn to get back to the dock. The dock was a mess when I approached. Two stand up paddle boarders came in just before me. One had one foot on the dock and one on the board as the board floated away. She jumped to the dock and left the dock helpers wondering how to get the board. Luckily they were able to grab it. They brought me in at an odd angle and almost dumped me out of my boat into the water. After a second try I made it onto the dock.
I decided to walk the dock since I got yelled at for running last year and then I used the transition space to take a short break. I grabbed some water and then made my way towards the run course. I started running before I actually got there.
I focused on a steady pace on the way out. I had my watch in multisport mode so I was able to see my actual running pace. It was nice to know what I was doing and not have to calculate anything. I was passed by a few people on the way out. I kept chugging along trying to get to the turn around. I finally saw my buddy and he told me I was close. I walked the turn around because it was also the water stop. After a few sips I threw the rest of the water and started running again. I kept just focusing on one foot in front of the other and a steady pace.
Eventually I saw the finish line and tried to speed up. I ran through and was nothing but happy to be finished. I stopped so someone could remove my timing chip. I met up with my buddy and waited for our other teammate.
After we were finished racing we watched some other heats and grabbed some food.
Team River Runner puts on a great race and we were so glad to be part of it. I have already put next year’s race on my calendar. I can’t wait to do it again.