(400yd Swim / 13.4M Bike / 5K Run)
May 31, 2014
Age Group: F30-34, 4/4
Swim: 7:50 Pace: 2:09 Age Group: 4/4 Gender: 15/18 Overall: 49/55
T1: 3:43 Age Group: 4/4 Gender: 15/18 Overall: 51/55
Bike: 1:05:26 Pace: 14.0 Age Group: 4/4 Gender: 17/18 Overall: 53/55
T2: 2:15 Age Group: 4/4 Gender: 15/18 Overall: 50/55
Run: 26:37 Pace: 8:35 Age Group: 2/4 Gender: 10/18 Overall: 35/55
I didn’t have high expectations for myself going into this triathlon. It was my second triathlon ever and my first triathlon with my tri bike. And technically my first open water swim (my first tri was in the canal and I could touch the bottom). That being said, my two main goals were to not drown during the swim and to not fall/crash on my tri bike. I was successful in accomplishing both!
Bryan and I drove up after work on Friday to attend a pasta dinner at one of our teammates house in Richmond. It was nice to be in the company of my teammates and get some insight on the course. I loaded up on pasta and indulged in a glass of wine to calm my nerves. We stayed the night at another teammate’s house and went to bed fairly early. I didn’t sleep very well. Just tossing and turning and getting a little anxious for the next morning.
We were up at 4:30 a.m. Although my race didn’t start until 9:00 a.m., Bryan and the majority of our teammates were racing the 70.3 distance and their race started at 7:00 a.m. So I went early with everyone to set up my transition area, eat, hydrate, and stretch. There weren’t very many bikes set up for the sprint which I was surprised. The majority of the people racing were participating in the 70.3 distance.
After setting up my area, I had the perfect amount of time to watch the start of Bryan’s race and watch him finish the swim and start the bike leg of the race. After he started the bike leg, I got into my wetsuit and did a swim warm-up. The warm-up definitely helped me relax a little. I also got a text from my sister that said “you’re doing this for fun, so have fun.” She was right. I shouldn’t have any pressure on myself and to just have fun with it. I made it my goal to smile every time I was feeling discouraged or tired.
The start was a time trial start so I squeezed in line somewhere around the middle. When it was my turn, I jumped in and swam. I did a combo of 70% freestyle and 30% breast stroke. A major improvement from last year. I breathed every two strokes and sighted every four strokes. I definitely need to practice sighting in the pool because it seemed awkward. I did the breakstroke when I was rounding a buoy to make sure I stayed on course. I was only passed by a handful of people. I felt like I was in the water forever but when I got to shore I looked down at my watch and it said 7:30! Wow! That was fast! I was estimating that I would be around 10-11 minutes. By the time I ran up to transition my total swim time was 7:50. Nearly an 11 minute improvement from last year. That’s huge for me.
My first transition was definitely slow. I couldn’t get my wetsuit over my GPS watch. I spent the majority of the time fiddling with the wetsuit and the watch. Then I had to put on socks, running shoes (I didn’t clip in….), cycling gloves (and I didn’t ride arrow…), sunglasses, and helmet. Oh and a couple swigs of water. Again, I was just having fun, so I didn’t attempt to rush myself and forget anything.
The bike leg was the most frustrating leg for me and it’s the longest. My only goal was to not fall/crash on my tri bike. So I was extra cautious and didn’t ride fast or hard. I wanted to average 15.0mph but if I didn’t that’s okay (I ended up average 14.0mph, close enough). I’m taking baby steps with the bike leg of my tri’s this summer, so for this first race I would be wearing running shoes and riding upright, which ultimately slowed me down. I also kept my front gear on the lower ring and only shifted the back gears, again slowing me down. Baby steps though, I’ll get there. The first half of the bike leg was okay. I enjoyed it…somewhat. I kept my mind occupied by naming an animal for every letter of the alphabet. I couldn’t think of an animal for N, U, X, and Y. After that I named a male and female name for every letter of the alphabet. By this time I was to the bike turnaround. The second half of the bike leg seemed drawn out. I was now getting bored because I wasn’t going hard on the bike. And if I sped up a little, I freaked out and slowed down. And there was this monster hill towards the end of the course. I had to mentally tell myself “you are strong, you are fast, you are brave” on repeat until I made it up the hill. And to make it worse, my butt hurt incredibly. Yes there is padding in my tri suit but it was still numb by the time I finished. When I came to the bike dismount, I stopped and dismounted without falling. I probably could have been clipped in and been fine…next time.
Transition 2 should have been quick for me since all I had to do was put my bike up essentially, but again I took my time drinking water and removing my helmet and sunglasses in exchange for my visor. It’s not like I’m going for time so why not just take my time?
For my run, I just ran at a comfortable pace which ended up being 8:35 average. My legs didn’t feel heavy at all, probably because I rode slow on the bike. If I were really racing I could definitely have pushed myself more on the run but I was content staying around an 8:30 pace. My run was the best leg of the triathlon, but that isn’t a surprise since I’m more of a runner. Overall my run time placed me 35/55. If I had ran to my potential I probably would have been around 25/55. I’ll save it for next race.
Following the advice from my sister, I had fun and made sure that I was always caught with a smile on my face because that’s why I do this, to have fun. It made the day so much more enjoyable than beating myself up over a specific time. Sure I would have loved to have finished around 1:30 but I have all summer to get to that point. Right now it’s all about the little victories like not drowning during the swim or falling off my tri bike. And for my next tri, I’ll be clipped in with my sole goal of not falling during my dismount and to shift my front gears too haha. Maybe I’ll go a little faster.
After finishing, I loaded up on food and cheered on the rest of the Tri-Loco teammates during the 70.3 race. Bryan and I actually passed each other on the run earlier. I was just finishing my 5K when he was just starting his half marathon. So I went to the halfway point on the run course for the half marathon to cheer on Bryan as he ran by.
Saturday wasn’t his day. He was hoping to PR for this race but he wasn’t fully recovered from his hilly Little Smokies 70.3 two weeks ago and our Memorial Day Murph CrossFit workout 4 days prior. He said his legs just felt heavy and it just wasn’t in him that day. I told him to shake it off and not worry about it. Easier said than done. Some days you’re on and some days you’re off. He’ll get his redemption in 6 weeks at Ironman 70.3 Muncie.
Overall, my swim was much improved versus last year and my run even though it’s my strong point was also faster. My bike leg, not so much. I actually was slower on my tri bike versus my hybrid: 14.7mph vs 14.0mph. But I attribute that to being more comfortable riding faster on my hybrid. So for now it’s all about the bike. I know Lance Armstrong said it’s not about the bike, but for me it is. It’s my definite weak point and I need to get stronger and faster. For me to achieve this, I need to conquer my bike fear and really experience what it feels like to bike hard. I know what it feels like to swim hard and I know what it feels like to run hard. But for some reason with cycling I can’t tell when I’m biking hard and that’s where computrainer class comes in. I’ll be going to my first computrainer class this week or next to get an assessment on my bike skills and fitness, which is virtually zero, but hey I’ve got to start somewhere. Little victories.