It's been a while since my last post, nothing to incredibly exciting has been going on, and I have been healing from an injury I had no control over. But yesterday something exciting did happen - I competed in my first triathlon ever!
I went to this race with Molly last year, so I was familiar with the course. I had even ridden the course last year for something fun to do, so I had a good idea of what I was going to face.
Here I am setting up my transition area for the first time:
The swim was in the bay, which they told us was 68 degrees. I had rented a sleeveless wetsuit, and even 68 degrees wasn't warm enough for me to keep it off, all though I did see quite a few people who opted for Speedo only. I prefer the buoyancy of the wetsuit, so I kept mine on.
I thought a lot about what I was going to wear under the wetsuit. I just couldn't fathom riding and running in my one piece polyester suit. I finally decided to wear my biking shorts and sports bra. I figured it would make my transition a little faster, and more importantly, much more comfortable on the swim and run.
We're ready to go!
Our swim wave went last, at 4:30pm. Molly and I were in the 34 and under group. There were some young girls there, who I had no doubt would be faster than me in the swim, so I lined up in the second row. Looking back, I should have just gone in the front, it would have been okay.
Having never done a shore start before, I was a little apprehensive. When the gun went off I did a lot of heads up swimming to see who I could pass. I swung out and was able to pass a bunch of people before the first buoy. I sighted well and felt like I did a good job staying in a straight line from buoy to buoy. I continued to pass people and the buoys kept coming faster. Before I knew it, the swim was over and I was dizzily running up the hill to transition. I ended up placing 2nd in my age group for the swim.
Here's a picture of our wave entering the water:
Here I am at the swim finish, trying not to fall down...
I got into transition and did my best to get everything on. I have mountain bike shoes, but today that was a blessing, as we had to walk our bikes, uphill a 1/2 mi., to the place where we were allowed to mount our bikes. This was tough, my heart was racing, I was nauseous, and my legs were screaming at me.
The bike was a beautiful course, but not my best showing. I had to constantly remind myself I had not been able to be on my bike for 3 weeks due to my injury. Of course, when the girls on mountain bikes and running shoes passed me, I did curse to myself a bit. There was nothing I could do about it at the time, I stayed in my zone and thought about not blowing my legs out for the run. I was hoping to take a gel as soon as I got on my bike, but my stomach was not having it. I managed to get in a full water bottle and gel by on the second half of the 9 mi ride, but it wasn't pretty.
At the dismount point, we had to walk our bikes back down the hill we'd come up which was pretty exciting. Luckily I didn't fall, and no one fell on me so I felt successful.
Here I am almost at the dismount point, I was hurting....
I racked my bike and got my running gear on. Now we had to go up set of stairs and another hill (for another 1/2 mi) before truly getting to the run course. Again, my heart rate spiked, and I just walked up the hill. Once out on the course my legs actually felt okay, but I was breathing hard and had double side cramps which stayed with me the entire time.
I have just made it up the hill and am on my way out...
At one point I heard a conversation going on behind me. Two girls, seemingly in no distress at all, were having a full on conversation and passing me at the same time. I swore silently (breathing too hard to swear out loud) and kept going. I was really just jealous that they could talk and pass me at the same time! Oh well, this was my own race. My knees, ankles, and feet were all feeling good so I was happy. In fact, I had really been looking forward to the run - no body to kick you like in the swim, and no one to hit you on your bike!
I saw a girl about 50 meters ahead of me at the turn around. I really wanted to catch her and attempted to pick up the pace. Running back into the park, we had to go uphill again before we came to the flat finish. I wanted to walk, but I noticed the girl I wanted to catch was slowing down, so I kept plugging along.
As we came down the hill, I continued to catch up to her. On the flat, Molly spotted me and started yelling and cheering, which was awesome.
I really picked up the pace and flat out sprinted the remaining 25 meters or so and passed the girl I had been trying to catch right at the finish line.
At the end I was the closest I had come all day to tossing my cookies. But I kept it together and Molly and I took this picture:
A big thanks to Molly, for keeping me calm when I was freaking out, and her husband, Jeff, for all the great pictures he took and cheering! It made my first tri a lot more enjoyable.
My next tri is the third week in May. I am looking forward to having a better bike and run, hopefully sans side cramps!! I have to say I probably won't do this particular race again, unless they figure out a way to change the 1/2 mi uphills out of transition...
Happy Spring, everyone!!
4 weeks ago