A few weeks ago, I ended my triathlon season at a local race, the Skylands Triathlon. I went back and forth over doing another big race this year, but after struggling to recover from back-to-back weekends at Timberman and Rev3 Maine and a few sleepless nights as I was preparing to apply for residency, I decided to cap off the year at a smaller race to boost my confidence and end the 2016 triathlon season on a positive note. Once I made this decision, a weight was lifted, and I was finally enjoying training again without the pressure of a big race on the calendar. I was excited to be doing a local race in my home state!
I love to race local and here are some reasons you should too!
1. Sleeping in your own bed the night before the race!
This one is HUGE!!! Personally, I dislike sleeping in a hotel, and even though a good night of sleep the night before a race is hit or miss, I tend to get more quality sleep when I am in my own bed versus a hotel or AirBnB. And as it turns out there is an evolutionary explanation for why it is harder to get quality sleep in a new place! Only in my own bed can I assure that the firmness of the pillows will be to my liking and the comforter will be an adequate weight to create the ideal sleeping environment. For the Skylands Triathlon I was able to sleep until 5am, use my own bathroom, and make a fresh pot of coffee and bowl of oatmeal. It was basically like any other morning, which was wonderful.
2. Fewer logistics that require less planning!
For Skylands, I only had to drive 45 minutes and park 100 feet from transition, before I went to pick-up my packet. Oh and there were no lines for packet pick-up or body marking. And no bathroom lines for the REAL bathrooms. That’s right, REAL bathrooms with toilets that flush, not nasty porta-potties. It was such a relief to have this streamlined preparation that did not involve multiple trips to the race site to pick-up the packet, check-in the bike, do a million other things, blah blah blah blah blah. All of that can make for a super stressful pre-race experience, which is not ideal the day before a race. It was nice to not have to desperately search for a place to stay make other travel plans, and worry about what/when/where/how I was going to get my nutritious meals, which was a huge relief after being on the road for 10 days for my last two races.
3. Less expensive than doing a big branded race!
I do not think I have to say a lot here. Just go compare prizes for those big branded M-dot races to your local triathlon. I get that money is not an issue for many triathletes, but if it is and you just want to race for fun, then race local!
4. Racing with your friends and teammates!
When you race local, you are more likely to see your friends and fellow triathlon club members. It was awesome to see so many TMBers on the race course at Skylands, plus while getting in the water for the swim someone yelled out if there were any TMB athletes there and I excitedly yelled out “yeah TMB!” It was also great to catch-up with people after the race.
5. Your family will be more willing to come watch you race!
Let’s face it, triathlons are not a fun-for-the-whole-family type event. Add in travel to an already long (and painfully boring) day, and they will be less likely to sign-up to come along and watch. But at a local race that is a short car ride away, and parking isn’t a nightmare, you’ll be far more successful in coercing them to come watch you race/Sherpa for you.
6. Great prizes!
Local races often give cooler prizes than some dinky medal plaque, such as the cake plate I won at the Lake George Triathlon. I happened to win some much needed cash at Skylands. Race local and you might walk away with some green, you never know!
In summary, racing local is great because you can sleep in your own bed, spend less money, use REAL bathrooms, stress less, and probably have more fun!
Next up is the Princeton Half Marathon on November 6. I am raising money for HiTops, so check out my fundraising page for more information. I hope you consider making a donation.