The adventure begins!
Kelly, Katie and I rode to the race together. This is Kelly’s 2nd tri season, so she’s a pro at this. Katie did her 1st tri last weekend (CB&I), so she was nice enough to come cheer and take pictures for us. The ride to the race ended up being quite an adventure! I won’t go into all the details, but let’s just say that I lost my navigator rights and Kelly lost her driving to the race rights! We remembered from going to the Take a Hike Ike Tri that the directions to Deussen Park sucked. It was no different for this race. We were among many to have to turn around…when we did, we saw signs pointing to the race parking. Apparently we were coming in from the wrong way or something? Who knows. Fortunately, we gave ourselves plenty of time to get there, so no worries.
Once we arrived, we headed to get our body markings. I think that’s when it hit me – when the lady was writing my number on my arms and leg, then asked me my age for my calf – I thought, “wow, I’m doing a triathlon!” We headed from there into the transition area to set up our stuff. My assigned spot was pretty much in the middle. I chatted with the other women around me – they were all 1st timers too. Once I had everything set up, I went over to see Kelly in her transition area. Next, we went over to the water to check out the temps. Nice and warm, and very flat! Perfect! I decided not to use the wetsuit (aka my security blanket). Finally, we went to pick up our chips and get our bearings on where to enter and exit the transition area for the bike and run. I did run into Kerri from beginnertriathlete.com, which was cool.
After that, we pretty much just hung out and took a few pictures. Once transition closed, we made our way over to the swim start. Kelly and I were both in the 1st wave, so it was good to have someone to talk to while we waited. That was when I realized that I completely forgot about my ½ PB&J I had brought. Doh! Oh well.
Honestly, I didn’t feel that anxious about the swim at all. I thought being in the 1st wave would freak me out. But, the course looked short from the shore, and I knew that I could do 200 with no problem. I just told myself to stay calm. I wasn’t in the back of the pack like I had planned, but since 80% of people in this race were 1st timers, I figured I was okay. That ended up being a good decision. As soon as they would let us wade in, I went in to get acclimated to the water.
When they blew the horn, I did the dolphin dive that Viv taught me and was off! I managed to freestyle to about the 1st buoy. Even though I didn’t feel anxious, I was breathing like a mad woman! I had to do some sidestroke to get my breathing back to a somewhat normal rhythm. It never got there, but it did get better. However, every time I attempted to freestyle again, I got winded so I ended up doing a lot of the remainder of the swim using the trusty ol’ sidestroke. I even passed a few people while doing it! When I started heading to shore, I stole a look back and realized I was no where near being the last one in from my wave! Hooray! The swim was over before I knew it! The nice thing about this distance is that it is totally doable for a novice swimmer like me, and it’s so short that the wave behind us didn’t have time to pass. And, any swim would be better than that 1st ows practice!
T1 – 2:26.4
This is were I am annoyed with myself…my T1 time was 2:26! Seriously, what in the hell was I doing for almost 2 ½ minutes??? I know what I was doing – I was getting pebbles off my feet, lol. That, and since I’m not coordinated enough to drink while I’m riding my bike, I took a second to take a Gu and a drink from my water bottle. So anyway - I ran it in, but was surprised how wobbly I felt after the swim. Not bad, but a little unexpected. I heard Kelly yell out “great job” or something like that in the transition area. It was a bit of a blur though. I tried to get as many pebbles off my feet as possible, rolled on my socks and slipped on my shoes. I also decided to go ahead and put on my race belt. I grabbed my Gu and water. That’s when I started noticing people around me coming in from the swim and I thought, “Shit, hurry your ass up!” Then put on my sunglasses and grabbed my helmet and unracked my bike. I remember thinking, “STOP! Put on your helmet!”, so I did just that. I ran to the red line, mounted my bike and was off.
Bike – 8 miles, 26:38.9, 18 mph
Fortunately, I remembered to shift gears, so that it wouldn’t be hard to pedal in the beginning. My breathing was really hard for the 1st couple of miles on the bike and I don’t think I got it under control until I was well into mile 2. I checked the nifty bike computer (my Mother’s Day gift!) and was at a 17 mph pace. That’s the fastest I’ve ever gone in a training ride, so it was my goal pace for the race. However, I found myself getting closer to the people in front of me and wanted to pass! My 17 increased to 18. Sometimes it was 19, but my problem is that I turn really slow and really wide…that certainly didn’t help me on the ride. I really enjoy the bike, so my goal was to just enjoy this. At some point, there was a nice downhill and when I looked at my bike computer it read 24 mph. That was fun! At first I was worried that I couldn’t hold the 18-something mph pace, until I reminded myself that it was only 8 miles. And, I reminded myself that it was a race – no regrets, so I said screw it! I know I am not a super fast runner, so what the hell? I gave it everything I could. I do think I slowed down a little too early getting into transition - another thing to work on.
T2 – 0:50.5
Since I don’t have bike shoes yet or clipless pedals, this was cake for me. Run bike to rack, rack bike, remove helmet and go! Oh, and that PB&J from earlier? I ran over it with my bike, lol! A guy standing near the transition area, said “Umm, I guess you didn’t want that sandwich?”
Run – 2 miles, 19:39.6, 9:50 pace
I started my Garmin as I was finishing the bike, but realized that it still hadn’t found the satellites yet. Ugh! I was about ½ way through the 1st mile when it finally started working. WTH? My goal was a 10:30 pace. For me that’s pretty good, even for a short 2-mile distance. After my Garmin kicked in, it read a 10:17 average pace, so I thought “okay, let’s keep it there”. It was an out and back course and I saw Kelly as I approached the water station. Hooray, I was ½ way done! I did walk as I drank one Gatorade and poured one water on my head. I ran the rest of the way in and was happy to be done! It was great to see Katie and Woodlands Fit friend, Erica, at the finish. And, I was actually surprised to see my overall pace at 9:50! As always, I go out wwwaaayyy to fast and then slow down.
So that was it - my 1st tri experience! I have to say that I loved it and can’t wait to do it again – but maybe something a bit longer? The race definitely exceeded my expectations and I even performed much better than I expected. And, TriGirl is a great 1st race to do! First of all, it’s an all women race. Second, they give great swag – a cute, pink technical shirt, pink bag, and pink pen. Third, the race is very well organized – lots of volunteers there to help a girl out. The post race party wasn’t anything extravagant – breakfast burritos, sodas, ice cream, but it pretty much meets everyone’s needs. Overall, a HUGE thumbs up to TriGirl. And, they have another race in August! It’s slightly longer than this one, but still a do-able distance…so if you’ve ever thought about doing a tri….just sayin’
- Not forget to eat my pre-race food
- Work harder on the swim training. Maybe get in a swim to bike brick? This is my weakest event, so it needs extra training time.
- Bring an extra towel for getting the muck and pebbles off my feet!
- Learn to drink and ride at the same time, so I don’t have to waste so much time in T1…this could be crucial for a longer distance.
- Get in longer bike rides more often. Not sure how to work it into the schedule, but it needs to be done. I think this might be my stronger area, so I want to see how far I can push myself in the distance and pace.
- Learn to turn on the bike without having to slow down to a 12 mph pace!
- Don't wear race belt & number on bike...the flapping in the wind drove me crazy, lol!
- Speedwork! There’s no reason that I shouldn’t be able to maintain a better run pace in these shorter distances.
All that being said, my challenge is still trying to fit the training in without sacrificing too much time with the hubby and kids. The hubby seems to be supportive, so we’ll see. My goal is to do a sprint tri each month until August. You know, before getting all wrapped up in the longer distance runs for ½ marathon training.
That’s right, no full marathon for me.