As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I made my postpartum race debut this past weekend with a 5k run on Saturday, and a bike time trial on Sunday! This time trial is one of a series that I participated in last year as well. I loved them so much last year, that I signed up for them again this year! There are 5 dates total, but if you do 3, you qualify for the series awards. The Southwest Ohio Indoor Bike Time trial already had a race back in November which I didn’t dare sign up for because I was only about 4 weeks postpartum, but this one was close to 8 weeks postpartum for me, so I figured it’d be worth a shot!
I’d only been biking about 2.5 weeks prior to the race, so I literally had no goals except to finish. However, since I was a returning racer from last year, the race director and helpers recognized me and egged me on the whole warm-up and race! The time trial consists of 8 riders every 40 minutes throughout the day. I’d signed up for the “heat” with one of my friends who happens to be one of the top riders. I knew I had no chance against her, but I wanted to see her again, so this was that opportunity. When we were all “lined up”, the announcer went through and “introduced” everyone. She announced me as “the very fast Hannah Stedge” a “top female competitor”. I kind of gave a sheepish smile and thought “not today, honey..”. I went into the race just wanting to finish and “have fun”. But all this hype got me a little excited!
The race was a 10k that consisted of several hills mostly toward the end of the race. It is HARD! The idea is to go as fast as you can for the entire time. It all depends on your watts/kg, so power is key! I got to the race about 20 minutes prior (again, had to feed the baby before I left home!), so I didn’t have much time to warm up. When the race started, I still didn’t feel loose, so I spent the first 5 minutes or so just going easy and setting a consistent pace.
However, once I reached about 2/3rds of the way through, the announcer kept saying that my watts were increasing, and I was going to negative split. Of course, the competitor in me made me want to push even harder after hearing this! I picked it up, and made the goal to “pass” the guy in front of me. There were only 7 of us in this heat, and I was already ahead of one girl, but a guy was close enough to me to think I had a chance against him.
I pushed hard up the hills and started to feel like my old self again! I was breathing realllly hard (I actually hit my estimated max heart rate!), but my legs felt solid, so I kept at it! We got to about a kilometer left in the race, and the guy in 5th and I were neck in neck, but he was still ahead of me. We finished on a steeep hill, and I climbed HARD the whole time. Everyone was cheering, and I used that to power me on. Someone said “hit another gear, Hannah!”, and so I did! I went into a harder gear and killllled myself to the finish, and you know what? I beat that guy by 4 seconds. After my failure to sprint out the girl in the 5k the day before, there was no way I was going to loose another sprint to the end again!
I finished with a time of 18:56, 37th place overall (out of 61), 1st in my age group, and 6th female. It’s my slowest time ever (compared to my three races last year), but it’s a new postpartum PR for me! I’m hoping to chip away at my time a little more in January, and then maybe get an overall PR in February! Wish me luck!