Yesterday I did my first triathlon of the year, a super-sprint. 1/4 mile swim, 12 mile bike, 2.5 mile run. I’m not going to lie, I was nervous. But Kim was with me and we were excited.
This race had a kids tri along with it, so we started the morning by cheering on the kids. Well, we started the day by being the first two into transition. But that’s what happens when you can’t sleep.
I was competing as an Athena, a woman over 165 pounds. There were 7 people registered in my category. I halfheartedly considered switching to my age group, since there were only three people there, but I didn’t want to switch groups just for a better chance at getting on the podium, and besides, my luck, I would have been 4th. Not worth it.
I forced myself to get into the water as soon as I possibly could to prevent any possible open water swim panic. I wasn’t in a wetsuit, as the water was pretty warm.
The swim started and I felt pretty good. I found myself passing some men, who had started 5 minutes before us. We were warned that the current was going to pull us to the left (the course went out, left, and back to the shore), so I was very careful getting to and around the first buoy.
Then, something went awry. Somehow, the second turn buoy, the one that we were supposed to go around to get back to the shore, broke loose and started drifting further away! When I finally got to it, a kayaker was towing it back towards where it should be, but when I sighted the shore, I realized just how far off I was.
With a 400m swim, my goal was to do better than last year’s 400m swim – around 12 minutes. I really wanted to do it in 10 minutes, but really just wanted to show improvement. But I was so far off course. Before I got to the shore, I glanced at my watch and I had been in the water for 15 minutes and had swam over 500m. Of course, the Garmin could be off, but I was definitely swimming more than I needed to. By the time I got out of the water, I was mad. After all, some people got the benefit of the properly positioned buoy. They were coming straight in from the turn.
Swim time: 16:04 (and my watch says it was an even 600m)
I took that anger and channeled it into speed. Ran into transition, my feet were clean enough so I put my socks and shoes on without rinsing. Ended up sitting down on the ground after nearly tipping over. Worked well enough. Helmet, sunglasses, no gloves since it was a short ride (something I would regret later).
I set out on the bike much too fast. The course was billed as flat and fast and I was doing 19 mph at one point. That is much faster than my body can do for any given amount of time, and I started to feel it. At this point, I started getting passed by people, both men and women. I took some pride in swimming that well that there were still men behind me, but every time I got passed, I got frustrated. I tried to stay out of my head and just ride my race. I never passed a single person. But I also didn’t get passed by any Athenas, so I thought that was good.
A lot of thoughts went through my head while riding. Most notably that I’m glad I’m getting a bike fit this week. I think when I ride hills, there’s enough shifting that I don’t feel it, but on a flat course where I’m not moving around in the saddle, I definitely could be more comfortable.
I’m riding along, minding my own business, when all of a sudden, I see a SNAKE on the course! It was moving like crazy, doing its wiggly snake thing as it crossed the road. I yelped “Snake!” even though there was no one around me, and made sure to detour around that snake.
At one point, I also realized just how much mud was still on my face from the swim. Ick.
I finished the bike and made sure to not kill myself on the dismount. That’s the scariest part of the whole ride.
T2 was pretty simple. Switch shoes, ditch bike and helmet, get hat and water, go!
I hate the run. I’m not fast, and I should be fast on a 2.5 mile run. I knew that people were going to be passing me. At this point, I also knew that I hadn’t been passed by any Athenas, so I thought I might be in position for third. Of course, for all I knew, I was in position for 6th, but I wanted to keep my hopes up. Every single time I got passed on the run, I checked out what people had written on their legs. Pretty pathetic, I know.
My watch was set to beep at me every minute during the run, but the weird thing was that in multisport mode, my watch was giving me the distance in kilometers instead of miles, so I had no idea how my pace was. I struggled to complete a full minute run, so I just started doing what felt good, trying to run as much as I could. Finally, my body got used to what I was doing and I could complete a minute long run.
My watch beeped at me and displayed my 1 mile time. 12:51. Well, that was faster than I had been training, so that was why I was struggling. But I just kept moving. And my second mile was even faster at 12:29! Crazy! I guess listening to my body works. I was a bit worried about my heart rate since my HRM wasn’t reading properly. But I just chose to not worry about it.
I made it back to the park and rounded transition to come into the finish line. I forced myself to just keep running to the finish. And I finished and got my medal and it was awesome.
Piranha sports has a cool digital screen where they show the times as they come in. So I walked over to see how I did.
After a few minutes, there it was. I was second Athena. SECOND PLACE! I was on the podium! Okay, so there were only 7 people in my group, but still! Pretty exciting for a chubby slow girl like me.