There are a couple of races that I just love so much that I keep going back. Two of them are Women only events - love that! You don't need to deal with men who HATE being chicked!!
1. Tri It Now Ladies Sprint Tri on Mothers Day - Manassas, Virginia. I have done this race twice so far and I am trying to get it to fit in to my race schedule for 2014. This is mostly a newbie event and maybe part of the reason I like it so much is that I actually place in my age group! Two years in a row and two years that I have gotten 2nd in my AG! This race almost doubled from the first year I did it so trying to place in 2014 may be very hard if the growth continues. The swim is a pool swim done as a snake - so you swim laps back and forth crossing under the lane divider at the end of each length. The bike is on a closed course and there is quite a bit of diversity in the bikes you will see: Hybrids, Road, Beach cruisers with baskets, and of course, Tri bikes! The only downside to this race is the 8 hairpin turns at the end of each road. The run is a nice flat and fast our and back course that you can see your competition.
The second race that I LOVE is the Sprint Tri at Sandy Hook, NJ. I have done this race 3 years - the first two years it was put on by Danskin, but in 2013 the race company changed to Iron Girl! I had previously done an Iron Girl event and it was exciting that I now had one in my own back yard! Sandy Hook is just AWESOME! I have better memories of the first 2 years since Iron Girl made some changes that I didn't like, but I will still be back. The swim had to be modified this year because of rough seas, but is generally in a sheltered bay cove. The bike is a fast and flat out and back - always with a head wind on the way back in! The run is another out and back through a lot of the old buildings of the park. Great race with great women! Looking forward to this one again too in 2014!
Another race I would consider doing again, but doesn't fit into the schedule this year, would be Eagleman 70.3 in Maryland. This is not a women's only event, but was well organized and just FUN! This was my first, and only so far, 70.3 and I would love to do it again to better my PR!
Gear is fun, isn't it! Triathlon is not cheap - it's bad enough to buy equipment for one sport, but three!! CRAZY! So picking out my top three gear items...that's tough. The things I picked are things I use a LOT, some even daily.
I train by heart rate, therefore, my first and probably most important piece of equipment is my Garmin 910XT with the heart rate monitor. I had the Garmin 305 before the 910Xt and just love the ability to take it in the pool or an open water swim.
My second favorite piece of equipment would have to be my Cycleops Mag trainer and my Specialized Amira Comp Force! See how I did that....two equipments in one! I spend about 95% of my cycling time on the trainer - just like Andy Potts (love him!)!
Let's see...my new favorite piece of equipment is my CW-X compression leggings. I have both the full leggings and the capri length. I actually raced Marine Corps Marathon in the capri length (and it was the first time I wore them - usually a big no-no, but it worked out great!). My legs really do feel fresher for longer and I like the support on my lower back. I also wear them after a long run or hard workout and seem to recover faster (it could just be in my mind, though!).
And as a bonus I will share my two favorite nutritional supplements!
SKRATCH Labs for Hydration - tastes SO good for a sports drink. Pineapple is my favorite. All natural with no artificial anything which is just what I love. It really is the only one I can stomach.
Huma gels - I think I tried every gel that was on the market. I hated them all and sometimes even gagged on them, until I found Huma. Again, it is all natural and tastes so good.
So these are the things that have powered me through 2013 and some of the races that I love! I look forward to trying new races!