Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tri Del Sol #racereport

Oy - not quite sure how to write this one up - it's gonna be long so you might want to grab a beverage.  I put in the work for the past couple months and it was time to get paid on Saturday.  I woke up at the ridiculous time of 4:30 and was out the door by 5:30.  I ate a real breakfast since I knew I wasn't going to be racing for another 3 hours and I figured it wouldn't hurt.

This triathlon takes place at a YMCA camp.  Very rustic surroundings - and spotty cell service at best.  But you have to admit, the morning was beautiful.  The 90+ degree temps we'd had earlier in the week had broken and it was in the mid 70s at the start.

My daughter came with me and we made it to the race site in plenty of time to get set up in transition.  The race was really relaxed in that no one stopped her for not being an athlete and she was able to hang out with me and some of my other friends who were racing.

I got my bike racked and was very happy to see my friend, Jim, had his bike right next to mine.  It was good to be in familiar company.  Looking back at my transition times, I should've set up my shoes facing the other direction, but whatever. It's not like that 10 seconds would have made any difference.  After getting set up, K and I walked around to check out the swim, bike and run start and finish areas.  I really psyched myself out by doing this because I started to obsess about how far away the buoys were for the swim (in that photo of the lake you can't even see the turnaround buoy) and that the beginning and ending of the run would be on trails (sand, woodchips, dirt and grass).  After transition closed, we headed down to the beach to watch the kid's races.  They were so cute and little!  (I apologize for the lack of pictures but I had turned off and put away my phone at this point and the bike course wasn't an area my daughter could get to once the race started.)

SWIM - 750 meters in 23:24
Like I said, I was pretty much freaking myself out waiting and watching the swim start.  My wave was one of the last ones for the sprint and I kept watching how unorganized the swim was turning out to be.  In the picture above, you can see some giant red balls out on the water.  Those were supposed to indicate the swim course and be in a horseshoe shape, but by the time the swim started, they were moving all over the place and people were swimming every which way.  I was starting to panic and got some hugs from my friends and even Angie's dad before the start.  (Angie went on to win the Olympic Tri Masters division - rockstar.)  I gave K a hug and thanked her for getting up at 4:30 to come with me, then walked down to the water.  Angie caught up to me and told me to just aim for the big triangle inflatable at the turnaround since the other markers were so fraked up.  She told me not to swim any farther than I absolutely had to, relax, and have fun.  I started making conversation with some other girls in my wave who were just as confused as I was (we weren't even sure it was our wave because you couldn't really hear the announcer).  I finally heard "sprint women 14 to 44 you have 30 seconds" so I got my goggles on and headed farther into the water.  There was a horn sound and we were off.  I wasn't too bothered by the people around me and I think I took off a little fast because I was completely winded just 2 minutes in.  I forced myself to try to slow down, get focused, and just swim, but I kept looking up and it seemed like I had so far to swim - only to turn around and need to swim back.  I felt like a failure every time I switched to sidestroke and I even did something I said I'd never do and switched to backstroke for a couple minutes to catch my breath. I at least made sure to keep moving though - I knew treading water would just make me more tired and I wouldn't get anywhere. I finally made it to the turnaround and headed back to shore, only to be blinded by the sun.  I couldn't see a damn thing and just prayed I was headed in the right direction.  I even kept looking for the lifeguards on kayaks just in case I wanted to bail.  Finally I could see the lodge on the beach and just headed for that since I knew it was near the swim exit.  I've never been so happy to see my daughter and friends as I was when I ran up that beach after getting out of the water.  I was slower than my goal but I made it out without quitting.  I was the slowest swimmer in my age group but I did make it out of the water before a few people so I'll take it.

T1: 2:39
This was wayyyyy too slow and I was even trying to be fast. Most of my age group (of which there were only 8) were out in about 1:30. Suffice it to say, I suck at transitions, but this was only my 2nd triathlon so I'm trying to give myself a break.

BIKE: 13.79 miles in 48:47 (17 mph ave)
I was very happy with my bike portion.  I felt like I pushed hard and I did a lot of passing (yes, I got passed too).  The hills were tough but not killer and I really let it fly on one of the downhill areas (averaging over 23 mph!).  I never needed to get out of the saddle on the uphills either, which made me happy. I was glad I had taken the time to preview the course on July 4th so I knew where to go and what to expect.  Being able to practice on those hills was helpful, too.  Since the course was the same for the Olympic distance, I wanted to make sure I turned the correct direction at mile 6. I was the slowest in my age group, but not by much, and I beat quite a few people on the bike.  I wanted to finish the bike in under 55 minutes and I crushed that goal.  Still lots of room for improvement though.

T2: 2:10
Again, too slow in comparison to my age group peers.  I should be able to change shoes and take off a helmet faster than this.  I swear, I didn't stop and eat a sandwich.

RUN: 3.2 miles in 32:49 (10:09 pace)
I was dreading the run for most of the last 1/2 of the bike route.  I kept trying to tell myself to bike the mile I was in, but my head kept going to the trail running I was going to need to do.  The last thing I wanted was to roll and ankle or something stupid like that (I NEVER run trails.  EVER.)  I got out of transition and realized I hadn't had much at all to drink on the bike and the weather was now HOT, so I grabbed some gatorade from a volunteer, threw it back (GAG) and started to run.  I saw my friends and K again and they seemed surprised to see me so soon :) I gave them a wave and off I went.  The beginning was just as bad as I'd lead myself to believe.  I was struggling to keep my footing and then coming out of the woods was a hill that went straight up.  WTF, seriously??? I walked. Lame, but true.  Once out of the woods, the full sun hit me and it sucked anything I thought I had left.  I really let the inner mean girl get the best of me on this run and that pisses me off.  The run out was mostly uphill (even though the data looks flat) and I let myself walk a couple times.  I walked through the aide stations. I walked WAY TOO MUCH.  I was looking at my watch and I knew there was no way I could make my sub-30 5k goal.  I did kick it in for the 2nd half and ran a nice negative split with a great kick (in grass, no less) to the end. (10:17, 10:13, 10:07, 9:25 pace for last .23)
FINISHED! 1:49:51
I was done and I finished strong (after a pretty rocky start).  My goal was to finish under 2 hours, knowing this was a much harder course than my first tri last year where I finished in 1:52:56.  My super-ambitious goal was to finish in under 1:50 and I made it - just barely!
I met up with my friends, got some snacks and stopped at the finisher tent for my bling.  Triathlons don't usually give out medals unless you win - which is disappointing for us mortals  - but more and more are giving out pint glasses or water bottles, which are a special bling in and of themselves.
I hung around for a while longer and watched my friends finish who were competing in the Olympic distance.  I'm so impressed with how well everyone did!  I'm not sure that the triathlon is really something that I will ever love, but I do like the challenge and that it forces me to cross train.  I just need to get over the fear parts.  Maybe I need to start looking at the duathlon and eliminate that nasty swimming portion :)

Did any of you race this weekend?  Have you done a tri?  Suggestions for how I can improve in transition and get over myself in the swim?

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