After a winter of hard training, Team Freeplay was more than ready to get the race season started. There have been all kinds of, what we like to call, “tune-up” races over the last few months: running races, mountain bike races, Spartan Races. But now the days are getting longer and warmer (much warmer), which means one thing. It’s time for the super-serious, putting-it-out-there, real races.
Sara Randolph, our resident #IronMomGoingtoKona, got things kicked off at the Bayshore 70.4 in Long Beach, where she didn’t let things like an open course (!) and crowds of people on the bike route stop her from taking the overall female win. And she broke five hours in a half-Ironman for the first time ever — even with the extra .1 miles. Guess she’ll have to get a new goal for the rest of the season! Sara’s now in Boston spectating the Boston Marathon as she rests a sore IT band and prepares for Ironman Texas next month.
For most California triathletes, race season starts in So Cal at Oceanside 70.3, where Freeplay was represented by our youngest athlete, Jaimee Davis. Don’t be fooled, though. Jaimee is so relaxed you’d think she had decades of experience. After a mini-vacation and some hanging out at the beach, she dominated the tough and competitive course with a 5th-place finish in her age group (the youngsters 18-24). It wasn’t that long ago that Jaimee had never even seen a triathlon, much less finished one — much less finished a half-Ironman! Watch out for her in the years to come.
Since she couldn’t get into the sold-out Oceanside (*sad face*), Kelly O’Mara headed to Galveston — as in, Texas — for her first triathlon of the year. It didn’t go quite as well as her half-marathon PR in February, but it still went well enough. Galveston was windy, hot, and very competitive. But Kelly toughed it out, and did not lay down in the shade like she was seriously considering at one point, finishing in 4:43, 2nd in her age group (30-34) and 4th amateur woman. And then she re-packed her bike in the race parking lot and headed home to get recovered in time for Wildflower, a California classic.
The team’s enthusiastic running ambassador, Erin Wachter, wasn’t focused on triathlon through the long winter months, but on something a little crazier: The Gorges 50K up in Oregon. Even though she started the year off recovering from wrist surgery and was still struggling with a knee injury going into the race, Erin was not going to let go of a top 10 finish once it was in her grasp. She sprinted for the 6th-place woman overall spot and only threw up after she crossed the line.
We’ve also had women taking podiums at the Sactown 10-Mile, the Super Sunday 5K, and Xterra Real Granite Bay. And our fearless leader has been doing her best to try not to podium on the trails, but she just can’t help it. Even this past weekend, Freeplay represented all across Northern California, with Christine Scott finishing the Half Moon Bay Triathlon as the second woman overall (and with only one professional woman beating her) and Elise Winter taking second and first in her age group at the aptly named TBF Icebreaker Triathlon in Folsom.
And we’re just getting started.