What made the 2018 SmithPoint Triathlon particularly special, was there were more than 100 first time athletes competing.

I knew at least three people who were racing for the first time – Ray, Craig and Rebecca, all members of WeRTriathletes.  I found it inspiring to watch these athletes cross the finish line (or at least tell me they did!)

This had been a race I did last year and loved it. It is one of those races that are so much fun, you just want to do it every year to see if you improved.

Me, Ray and Laura before the race started!

The night before the race, I slept over my friends’ house, so my travel time to the race was under 15 minutes. My friends were so gracious and I was so appreciative of that extra hour of sleep.

I arrived in transition at 5:30 am. I had 15 minutes to set up before transition closed. I racked my bike, laid out my gear, slipped on my wetsuit and went for a quick swim. The water felt great. It was warm and it didn’t seem like there was much of a current to me. I swam out to the first buoy and then back, just in time for the announcements. 

After that, we all lined up in our groups. I stood with Laura in the 40+ group. There weren’t too many groups but there were a lot of people. Vicki Ventura, the race director, said there were more than 600 people registered.

I felt the swim was nice and easy. However, there were a few unfortunate events. For example, swimming to the first buoy was a little hazardous. I was pulled underneath momentarily, and I know other people had that experience as well. 

The second thing was the crowd. I think the event could have used another directional buoy because the swimmers went way past where they were supposed to turn. I followed everyone and ended up doing nearly 1000 yards instead of 500. 

Getting out of the water was relatively easy and I ran into transition for T1. I took off my Roka wetsuit, put on my bike shoes, Rudy Project helmet, race belt, glasses and I was off.

I easy mounted on the bike and went up and out. As I was making the climb, I saw Ray speed past me on his mountain bike. I screamed out, “if you beat me on that mountain bike, I’m in trouble!” 

I didn’t see him after that.

I kept at a good pace into the wind at around 14- 15 mph. I was riding for a bit with Joe, a 47-year-old, soon to be retired police officer. He passed me. I passed him. He passed me. I felt like we were playing cat and mouse. As we made the turn, I pushed it into high gear and pedaled as fast as I could to pass him. He was soon way behind me. I was riding alone toward the end. As I approached SmithPoint Beach, I noticed a ton of people on the run. “OMG, am I that far behind?” I thought. I was riding now around 19 mph and I was proud of myself for pushing forward. 

I asked the volunteer if I was the last one in the gate. “No, you’re not last,” he said, “my wife is way behind you.” I smiled. 

At the dismount, I thought about the ride. I really enjoyed it. I loved that it was flat and fast and I loved the setting! (You know what? I actually love riding my bike…)

I ran the bike back into transition for T2, racked it, took off my pink Pearl Izumi shoes, took off my Rudy Project helmet and put on my gear for the run.

I opted out of wearing socks. MISTAKE!!!! I should have taken those extra couple of minutes to put on my Balega socks because of course, my feet swelled and were covered in blisters.

Although I got blisters toward the end of the run, it was awesome. I loved going over the bridge and through the neighborhoods. It was hot, so, when I got to the water stop, I poured two cups of water over my head. I was doing the run/walk/run a new interval I hadn’t tried before 15/20. I knew it was slower than last year, but I also knew that I was making negative splits.

I felt strong throughout and crossing the finish line, just made me want to do it again!

EventPower LI hosts and organizes the Smithpoint Triathlon. Vicki Ventura and her team do such a great job organizing this event. They also have amazing volunteers. There were a ton out there on the swim, bike and the run course. Everyone was so encouraging. I loved seeing my friends volunteer, watch the race and also participate in the race. 

My favorite part was seeing some of the first-timers finish the race. I love giving back and getting these emails made me feel even better!

I made it! Made my two goals- finished and didn’t come in last place 😀
Looking forward to the next one.Thanks for giving me the motivation! CB

Or… getting a Facebook message like this: 

We all had a great time and a big thank you to Hilary Topper for getting me to try this crazy sport.” RC

This awesome award was given to all the finishers by EventPower LI

Those messages meant so much to me that although I actually did worse than I did the year before in terms of time, I felt good that these first timers had an awesome experience and to be honest, I had an awesome experience too!

Can’t wait until next year! Thanks EP!