When I agreed to sign up for a July triathlon, my thought was “This is going to be hot.” My plan was that I would swim hard, bike hard, and slog through the run (as the heat makes my HR skyrocket). But the Colonial Beach Sprint was at a good time in my schedule, and I had friends going, so why not?
I could not have been more off base with my plan.
Based on the forecast, I knew it was going to rain, knew it wasn’t going to storm, but I did not grasp what “rain” truly meant. Saturday morning, we got up and drove to the race start and it was raining. Then it started pouring. I mean, we were just going to get wet when we got in the water, so what did it matter? Around 6am, they made the decision that they were going to have the race, so we all started setting up transition. A friend checked out the run course and told us it was pretty much under water, so trying to keep running shoes dry was pointless.
As race time approached, the skies started to clear up. We headed down to the beach and into the water. The water was 80 degrees and the air was 70 degrees, so the water felt great. It was chilly outside!
The swim started and with all the rain, the chop was more than I expected. It wasn’t bad, but it was definitely more obvious than I thought it would be. I was nearing the final turn of the swim when the rain started again in earnest. Great. It was weird to try to breathe and get raindrops in my mouth. Just an unfamiliar sensation, not a challenge or anything.
750m swim – 21:31
T1 was uneventful. It was wet and overcast so I didn’t bother with sunscreen or my wings. Wouldn’t have been able to get them on with how wet they were anyway. Struggled to get my socks on, but I hate biking/running without them, so they were going on no matter what.
T1 – 2:46
Not long after I started on the bike course, I got passed by a fellow Athena. So I made it my goal to try to keep up with her. She was moving, but I thought I had a chance to keep up with her. Thankfully, the roads weren’t super smooth, so the rain wasn’t making things too slippery. But man, it was wet. I had my light colored lenses in my glasses, which definitely helped, but I kept having to wipe water out of my eyes. At one point, the rain was so hard it was tough to see and it actually stung where it hit my arms. Not terribly bad, but a noticeable pain. It was just crazy! I’ve never ridden in anything like that.
I mostly kept up with the girl and passed her at one point, but she came flying past me a bit later. It was fun to push myself. I struggle to do that in races where I don’t have a challenger. It’s finding the balance between pushing the right amount and pushing too hard.
I discovered that while leaning over the bike, the rain water would really fill up the chamois in my shorts and then when I sat up it would all squish out. So gross and hilarious.
14 miles – 52:09
When I got into transition, it was flooded. And my right running shoe actually had a puddle of water in it. Awesome.
T2 – 1:47
Liz and I were in T2 at the same time, and after leapfrogging for about half a mile, just decided to run together. My 1:1 wasn’t working for me because my heartrate kept getting way too high (I think I was pushing too hard because the weather was cool, plus I just wanted to be done since I was so incredibly wet). So I ran 30:30s and she ran with me for most of it. It was fun to have a partner to run with! I kept telling her she could run ahead, and I think she thought that meant I didn’t want her running with me, but really, I just felt bad holding her back.
But man, it was fun to run together. At one point, we splashed through a puddle and just leaped into it, splashing as much as possible and laughing. It was so much fun. At another point, she hit a puddle and splashed me. I scolded her for getting me wet and this volunteer made the greatest face in response. So funny.
Also, for the second race in a row, my hair used its powers of strength to destroy the hair rubberband tying it back, but Liz had an extra one around my wrist and saved me. Lesson – carry a spare.
So the run wasn’t what I expected at all, but man, it was a blast.
5k – 39:29
Total time – 1:57:39
I had hoped for under 2 hours and I got it, and it was so much fun. The rain was insanely ridiculous and made for a great race. I’m pretty sure that I was wetter after the run than I was after the swim, because at least the swim cap pressed the water out of my hair somewhat.
Of course, by the time I was driving home, the sun was out and it was a glorious day. OF COURSE IT WAS.
Still, I loved the race exactly as is. The volunteers out in the rain were phenomenal. And we had a blast.
And then I spent the next day trying to get my stuff to dry.