Race Report – Tri-It Triathlon

Spoiler alert: I’m a triathlete!

Yesterday, I competed in my first triathlon, the Tri-It Triathlon in Bear, DE.  As you can tell from the name, it’s designed to be very newbie friendly, which is exactly what I needed.

The day before the race, Kim and I drove up and went to the First Timers meeting and to the practice swim.  That way, we got to get into the water and swim about 100 meters (the kids tri course).  I was so glad I got in.  I never got in an open water swim practice, so this was a good feeling.  After swimming, I felt a lot more confident.

Race morning arrived and I was feeling pretty good.  Nervous, but good.  We met up with Jen and her moms, our cheering squad.  Okay, they were really there to cheer on Emily, who was also doing her first tri, in the 9-10 year old age group.  And Jon was probably there for Kim, seeing as they’re married and all, but they cheered for me too, so it counts.

We were pretty excited to see that the kids tri was before ours, and we all had to be out of transition when they started, which meant we had every opportunity to watch them.  There were some really intense kids.   And Emily did an AMAZING job!

Then it was our turn.  Swim is definitely the scariest part of the tri, and the water was about 71 degrees, so I just wanted to get in and be done.  We were in the second wave, so we watched the first group go off, then we waded into the water to get ready to start.  I opted to be near the back of the pack since I wasn’t planning to place.

And we were off!  The course was pretty simple, only 1/4 mile with two left turns.  Easy peasy, right?  Unfortunately, somewhere before the first turn, I got kicked in the face and got a bloody nose.  It wasn’t too bad, but when I tasted the blood in my mouth, I panicked.  I had a moment where I thought I was going to have to DNF, not because of an injury but because I was freaking out.  So I swam to one of the paddleboarders and I was telling him that I was fine, just needed to clear my throat.  Mostly, I was convincing myself I was fine though.  He was SO incredibly nice and told me to do what I needed and pointed out the next paddleboarder, said it was his girlfriend, and that I could also stop there.  I don’t know how long I waited – it felt like three minutes, but it was probably less than one.  And then I swam on.

I just couldn’t get my rhythm though.  So I did a lot of side stroke and weird breast stroke, just trying to finish.  And finally, I was at the shore.  Kim and I actually came out of the water at the same time.  I don’t even want to know what I looked like, but I probably had a huge grin, because I was so excited to be done.

Now, transition time.  The track to transition was pretty muddy, but they put down mats to try to make it easier on us.

I ran to my bike and squirted off my feet with my water bottle.  I dried them with a towel and put on my socks and bike shoes.  Grabbed my race number, helmet and sunglasses, and I was off.  When I left, Kim seemed to be having issues with her socks.  It’s amazing how the little things get complicated when you’re trying to do it quickly.

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Onto the bike.  I looked pretty good running out into the course.  I mounted slowly and headed out.  As you can see from the photo, the men’s wave was right on my heels (and some were ahead of me).  But I just decided to do my best.

This course was fast and flat and I felt awesome.  I didn’t push too hard, just set out and did my best.  I got passed by a ton of guys, but I managed to pass a few women and that felt pretty awesome.  I felt like I was finally finding my groove.  I didn’t have my watch on, so I had no idea how I was doing, nor were there mile markers, so I was just cruising along.

I came back into the transition point and saw my cheer squad, but they didn’t see me.  I sarcastically yelled “Thanks for the cheers, guys,” laughing, but they didn’t notice.  Turns out they were yelling at the course monitors because somehow, cars kept ending up coming right into the bike course, not far from the mount/dismount line.  Not good at all.  I hadn’t noticed them, but I don’t know if they weren’t there or if I was just oblivious.

Reracked the bike and I was back out for the run.  I couldn’t find my groove.  I had a Gu and tried to set into my 1:1 pattern, but I just felt like I was struggling.  I figured it was because my legs were so wobbly.  At one point, a woman asked me if I was on track to podium for the Athena categories.  I laughed, but it was a nice compliment!

I still didn’t know how I was doing, but by this point I had a watch on, and I knew what time it was, so I knew that my bike must have been fast.  I continued to run, through the muddy course, around the turn, and headed back.  At this point, I saw Kim, who looked amazing.  Finally, I made the last turn to the finish.

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It felt awesome to see the cheer squad out there yelling (and taking photos).  I ran my strongest into the finish and I was DONE!

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I got my medal and turned back to the cheer squad to cheer in Kim.  We’re triathletes!

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After the race, we went to check out the times.  No wonder I was so tired!

Swim (1/4 mile) – 12:40
T1 – 2:21
Bike (10 miles) – 37:10
T2 – 1:22
Run – 22:55

For a final finishing time of 1:16:30.  WAY faster than I planned.  I am so incredibly pleased with my bike time.  I had been training on hills, so this flat course was amazing.  And the reason I struggled so much with the run was likely due to my tired legs, but also because I was running too fast.  And the swim… well, it was pretty good, even with the freak out.

I’m so glad I finished and now I know what I need to work on for Iron Girl in August: not freaking out in the swim.  I’m planning to get in as many open water swim practices as I possibly can with Team Fight and the Mid-Maryland Tri Club, and I’m going to ride the Iron Girl course on the weekends to get used to the hills.  That’s my goal race for the year, and I want to finish strong.

But for now, I’m going to bask in the fact that I’m a triathlete!

14 thoughts on “Race Report – Tri-It Triathlon

  1. Oh wow! So happy for you. I’ve ‘almost’ convinced myself to sign up for a local super sprint next month. I’m so impressed that you kept going after your experience in the open water. My husband keeps telling me that’s precisely why he wouldn’t do one – the likelihood of getting kicked in the face by another swimmer. I had been thinking: that NEVER happens. But really proud of you for gathering yourself and pushing on. You are a triathlete! And you will rock Iron Girl!
    DisneyBride recently posted…Spartan Race giveaway winner! Aroo!My Profile

  2. Thanks all! And Mer and DisneyBride, go for it! I was terrified and I still am, a little bit, but I’m so glad I signed up. (Also, getting kicked wasn’t that big of a deal, weirdly.)

  3. CONGRATULATIONS!! I love the idea behind this Tri, that’s something I would need, too. So sorry you got kicked in the face…that would have freaked me out too! You did great, congrats again!
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  4. Congratulations! I’ve been kicked in swim too, unfortunately it does happen. It’s great that you were able to power through that and finish the race!

    It sounds like you overcooked the bike a bit. That’s really easy to do. Triathlon is all about pacing yourself. The important thing is to remember that these are not a separate swim, bike, and run, but rather an entire race, and to really focus on expending the right amount of effort at the right moment. My coach always tells us to imagine that you have a book of matches to burn each race, and you want to be burning the very last match right at the sprint to the finish line. Then you can fall over. 😉

    You mention that your “A” race course has hills. Whatever you do, make sure to not push too hard on the hills. Stay steady and let people pass you. As long as you continue to “work” on the way down, when they’re all tapped out and coasting, you’ll probably pass them. And that way you’ll save your legs for the run, which will be helpful if you have a longer run than this on the end.

  5. Thanks, Lisa! I really do think that my problem during the run was pushing too hard. My run time shows that. I was amped up, but I should have just slowed down. With my heart issues, I shouldn’t be running a sub-12 mile, especially with walk breaks. I know what my body can do, and that is not what it is supposed to do. I felt awesome through all of the bike and even getting off of it. What I should have done was slowed down on the run. It wasn’t my legs giving me trouble, it was my cardiovascular system. (The way I felt later in the day confirms this.) Which unfortunately cannot be fixed with any sort of training.

    I think if there had been mile markers, I would have been better off because I would have seen that hey, I ran a mile in 11 minutes, and that’s not supposed to happen, and I would have slowed down. Even though it seems illogical, I should have slowed down. As my cardiologist put it, pushing myself like this isn’t going to cause any lasting damage, but I’m going to feel it and really wear myself out and he does not want to see me doing it with any sort of regularity. So what happened Sunday is no big deal, but I need to learn to pace myself. I thought the sluggishness was due to the bike, but it was due to my pace.

    You are right that I need to be strong but smart on the hills. I’m lucky in that one of the local groups does weekly training rides on the bike course for August’s tri. So I can get out there and try out the hills and figure out where they are and what I need to get through.

    Thanks for your support

  6. Way to go!! First of all, I am bowing down to you in awe over your bike time! You are a speed demon!! That’s incredible! And second, I’m going to bow again because you pushed through being kicked in the face and the blood and all! Especially on your first tri, that had to be really freaky! Third, about your run, I can never get into a groove after the bike, even with brick practice. It always feels like I’m going in slow motion, and I feel out of sorts.

    Congratulations on your accomplishment and I can’t wait to hear about your next tri!

  7. Ready for the Iron Man? The great thing about training for a triathlon is that each sport complements the other. Running, biking and swimming are great workout routines to enhance running, biking and swimming. Btw, I find wearing a watch during a competition distracting.

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