The Decaturian is Millikin's student-run newspaper. The opinions reflected may not be those of Millikin as an institution.

The Decaturian

The Decaturian is Millikin's student-run newspaper. The opinions reflected may not be those of Millikin as an institution.

The Decaturian

The Decaturian is Millikin's student-run newspaper. The opinions reflected may not be those of Millikin as an institution.

The Decaturian

Through Kendra’s Eyes

Millikin University 2023 Women’s Triathlon First Race
Photo courtesy of Millikin Athletics

It is cool, cloudy, overcast, with a chance of rain. It is travelling day for The Millikin Women’ s triathlon team.  

We are driving five hours and twenty minutes to Grand Rapids Michigan to compete in our first triathlon of the 2023 season. As a freshman, I am without a doubt feeling nervous. I spent over three hours packing for a one-night stay. The amount of gear it takes to get through one day of workouts let alone race day is crazy. 

 It is almost like if you do not forget at least one thing, are you really a triathlete??  When you are racing a triathlon, it is better to have and not need than to need and not have… I say that with firsthand experience.  

Once we got to Michigan, our first stop was the race site at Reads Lake, after the bathrooms of course.  

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Course recon is one of the most important parts of doing a triathlon. This is where you practice running and biking through the course and make sure you have a feel for it. The swim practice is always TBD. Sometimes there is a specific time for all people to practice the course and sometimes you must wing it… During course recon, our team rode one loop of the two-loop bike course then ran about half of the run course.  

After that, it is time to fuel up and get a good night’s sleep.  I also like to look at the maps of the courses a few nights before the race to make sure I have an idea of what it will look like.  

Race day adrenaline always hits me in the middle of the night. I can never fall asleep. 

 When I finally do fall sleep, the 5 A.M. alarm sounds off.  

Next thing you know the air pods are turned up and I am getting myself hyped up with Pitbull’s song “Hot.” It is important to have a pre-race mantra and my favorite one that I have been using is “It doesn’t have to be the best race of all time but give your best effort for what the present allows for”. 

 Breakfast is another extremely important part of racing. If you do not fuel before you will not be able to recover, and the chances are high that you will run out of gas before the run. My favorite pre-race breakfast is to have is a multigrain bagel with laughing cow cheese, avocado, Dijon mustard, and pepperoni. Sadly, after prepping my breakfast and putting a plastic bag of ice in my lunchbox to keep it cold, I discovered the ice had melted and made my sandwich was all soggy.  

Thanks to oatmeal, berries, and hard-boiled eggs I had a good plan B.   

For the record, 50-degree mornings in tri suits that are basically bathing suits is not fun. Especially when the first event is swimming.  

I was drained from being so cold and worrying about the gap I was about to have from the swim to bike. The swim was terrible and the worst part of the race. The cold temperature of the air and the with lake being 73 degrees, it created a type of fog you see in horror movies. The only vision of the course that I had was a faint image of another swimmer a good distance away from me.  

Coming out of the water was also rough and I could not find my bike in transition. 

 Pro tip… make sure you practice the swim out into the bike in and have landmarks for spotting your transition area. 

Once I found my bike, I put my helmet on first, got my shoes on and headed to the mount line.  

This bike course was by far my favorite except for the fact that I was so cold that my heart rate did not go above 110 bpm for much of the ride even though I was averaging 20mph. I know I could have done better on the bike, but I did end up passing a few people.  

Once I made it to transition again, I racked my bike, and attempted to change my shoes which was a challenge. I lost a good chunk of time in transition because my hands and feet were numb making it painful to put my feet in my shoes.  

I also did not have the finger strength to unclip my helmet causing me to ask a random volunteer for help. I struggled opening my GU packet on the run as well, but I knew that if I did not get some sort of nutrition, I would tank my run.  

Thankfully I got it open. My run is without a doubt my favorite part of the triathlon. However, I still had minimal feeling in my feet. 

 Somehow, I managed to run about a 20 minute 5k with an average of a 6:42 pace. I was able to gain a lot of time on the run and pass even more people.  

I finished as hard as I could for the day and that is all that matters. 

 As a team we placed fourth, but my teammate Aly Barnes placed second in individual awards. I could not be prouder of her.  

I know future races will become better for the whole team. One of my favorite parts about this race was certainly fresh mini bagel bites and protein ice-cream samples they had at the end for us. I can not wait to come back next year.. 

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