Thursday, August 16, 2012

TriGirl Sprint Triathlon Race Report

I decided to give the TriGirl Sprint triathlon a try for a few reasons:
  1. It’s an all women race, so there’s a nice, welcoming vibe there.
  2. It’s a smaller race. Unlike the race the hubby did last weekend, with 1,500 people and tons of tri groups represented (meaning it’s pretty competitive), TriGirl limits the participants to 500. It doesn’t feel quite as competitive, as this race tends to have a lot of first timers.
  3. It’s somewhat shorter than some of the other sprint distance races, which was perfect for my post-hip injury return to triathlon. Only a 300 yd swim, 11 mile bike and 3-mile run…it seemed very do-able to train for without overdoing it and re-injuring myself!
  4. They give good swag!  The race organizers are awesome and they run a well-organized race.  The swag is just the icing on the cake. 
Just a sample of the swag given at packet pick-up - the shirt, socks and key chain.  They also gave a tote bag, hammer gel, etc.

The Hubs suggested that we ask my parents to watch the kids, so that he could ride to the race with me and be my personal cheerleader. So, as always, I got all my gear together the day before and woke up in plenty of time to eat breakfast and head to the start. As we were driving along, the Hubs asked if I had my water bottle…”um, no” was my answer. Doh! Luckily, we were able to stop at a convenience store on the way where I could grab a sports bottle of G2.

Once we arrived, I set up my transition area. I was pretty close to the run in from the swim, as well as the bike in and out, so that was good. We headed over to the water, where I managed to get in not one, but two short warm-up swims. Something I’ve noticed in the few times I’ve been at the pool before this race, is that it takes me awhile to feel warmed up and get my rhythm. After my 1st warm up swim, I just wasn’t feeling it, so I went back in one more time and after that I felt pretty comfortable.

The water - perfectly calm...just how I like it!  And a gorgeous sunrise!

The Hubs and I hung out, watching bits and pieces of the Men’s Olympic Marathon on his iPhone. It was perfect, because it gave me something to distract me from the race. Meb is my favorite of the three Americans racing, so I was super happy that he was hanging out toward the front of the pack. Before the race started, the Hubs informed me that Ryan Hall had DNFed. Bummer.

Waiting for the race to start

Finally, it was time to head to the start. Luckily, I ran into fellow tri-blogger, Jill, while waiting for our wave to start. It was great to have someone to talk to for a bit. Before we knew it, it was our turn to get in the water. The downside to having a race with a lot of first timers? I kept swimming into people who had stopped to tread water, stopped to grab a pool noodle (yes, the life guard had these), etc. The swim felt extremely crowded and every time I never really managed to get a good rhythm going. But, it’s a short swim, so it wasn’t that big of a deal. I am happy to report that I did not have any of the open water anxiety that I have been plagued with in the past, so that is a good thing.

Almost time to start..yes I'm being a goofball and waving

I headed out of the water, relieved that the swim was done! T1 didn’t take long and I headed out on the bike. It always seems to take me around 2 miles to get my heart rate under control on the bike. The bike course on this race is very pretty – lots of trees and nature. The downside is that there are a ton of turns! I would get my speed up to 19 – 20 mph only to look ahead and see that I’d have to slow down to turn again. At the turn around, I was pleased to see that my average pace was 18.7 mph.  Apparently, I slowed down a little in the 2nd half...maybe all those turns?

This is my "hallelujah that's over" smile...yes, I feel this way even for 300 yds!

I finished the bike and headed out for the run. Once I had gotten out of T2, I saw the Hubby and realized that I had not taken the Hammer Gel that I was going to take midway through my bike. Doh! But, it was only 3 miles and I figured I would be okay. To be honest, I had no idea what to expect on the run. I had only done one brick, and my runs lately have been slow and a combination of running and walking. At CB&I last year, my run pace was around a 9:28 minute mile (good for me!). I suspected my average pace now would be between 10:30 and 11:00 minutes per mile. I was pleasantly surprised to look at my watch and see that my average pace was holding steady at 10:05…and that was with me walking through the two water stops. The run is an out and back. Going out, you are in the sun for almost the 1st full mile. But then, you are rewarded with not only some shade, but a softer running surface. The final mile is the worst, because you are not only getting tired, but back in the direct sunlight again. Sigh. But, I was determined to keep running no matter what. I tried to speed up a bit as I approached those final few meters, but I’m not sure I succeeded, lol!

Heading out of T1...telling the Hubs that I forgot my gel!

The finish - a welcome sight!

Heading to the finish - yahoo!

Finally, I was done! The volunteers gave out our medals , a cold wet towel and a cold bottle of water. It was heavenly!  It was great to have the Hubs there waiting.

Me and mymedal...and my "real" coke reward, yummy!  I only had half, but it was delicious!

The medal up close

My final results:

Swim - 7:47.3
T1 - 1:24.1
Bike - 35:31.0 (18.6 mph)
T2 - 0:53.5
Run - 30"09.5 (10:03/M)
Total Time - 1:15:45.5 (11th of 55 in AG)

Overall, I think I did the best I possibly could, especially considering my training has not really been up to where it normally would be. Looking back, I could have not walked through the water stops. Or maybe I could have placed myself in a different spot at the swim start. Other than that, there’s really nothing I could change that would have allowed me to perform any better at this point in time. On one hand, I am happy that I don’t seem to have lost that much fitness in my hip-related hiatus. At the same time, I can definitely see areas for me to improve.

Will I do more tri’s this season? Maybe. I have two 10k races, a 10-mile race and 2 half-marathons between now and January. That really feels like a lot. Plus, the Hubs is training for a 70.3 in early November – trying to balance both of our training schedules, work, and family time is going to become more difficult as his workouts begin to get longer. (Not to mention all his IMTX training after that!) I may be doing good just to get in my 4:30 am training runs, much less biking and swimming. Plus, I want to continue to focus on the weight loss and strengthening.  But, I’m not going to say for sure that I’m not doing more tri’s this season…who knows!


Lisa said...

You did GREAT!!! Give it time, you will be back to where you were before you know it.

Jill said...

Woohoo, girl - you did GREAT! I am so impressed with your bike time...I just cannot seem to get fast on my bike. I think I just need to get out there and ride, ride ride (but it takes too much running time away - bleh). Love the medal - how cute :). Congratulations!

Robin said...

Way to go! Great Finsih.

Anne said...

You've certainly come a long way since your injury, haven't you?! I love all-women races just for the feel of them. The noodles, though, I would not have expected during the swim.

Laura @ Mommy run fast said...

Congrats!! Must feel so good to be racing again! I had wanted to do this tri until I realized we'd be out of town... maybe next year!

That Pink Girl said...

Okay, so glad to see you swim/bike/running again after all,you went through earlier this year. Annnnd kicking some major tail while doing it! Congratulations and how HAPPY do you look in all your photos?! Love it!

On the Right Track said...

yeah!!!! Awesome!! I loved the 2 sprint tris I have done...very differentt than just run races, but I find myself getting very nervous! Way to proud of you ;) said...

I think that it is great that if it just focuses in women. You can distract for the men times.