Tuesday, August 27, 2013

2nd Triathlon!


So I hadn't planned this out like I did my other two (one done, one coming up).  We had just ended a group ride with my triathlon training group and some of the women were talking about how they were all signed up for that weekend's women's only tri.  They said "Why don't you do it too?" At first I thought "Nah, I won't be able to do it", but later I figured...why not?  I had the $, I had the time, I knew I could do it!

I signed up the Monday before at about 3pm!  This race management company doesn't use fancy software for their course maps, so I couldn't see the elevation, but I figured, this is the Midwest, it is flat.  Those rolling hills at the first tri have to be as bad (hilly) as it gets...right?  So that made me nervous and I put the race map into map my run, but the elevation would never pull up on my work computer.  Oh well...but I kept hearing rumors that the hills were pretty rough.

I arrived at the tri and parked in a field :) and started walking my stuff the 1/2 mile to transition.  On the way there, I realized that I forgot to pump up my tires!  Luckily one of the bike shops had an open spot at their tent and the man helping me said he had done both the course for my first triathlon and this course, and he thought that this one was much tougher.  Cue nerves setting in!

My # was 37 this time - they asked us how fast of swimmers we were and I put "very fast", which was the second to fastest category you could choose.  I got into transition and put my bike near the end of the 33-40 rack...first one!  But then I heard someone say to another triathlete "you got here first, put your bike on the end!".  Great advice!  I had a great spot near the exit, so I was excited.  I took a trip to the bathroom (real bathrooms - yay!) and found some of my teammates!  Some were doing a relay, so we chatted and decided to do a "social lap" around the U shaped transition area.

After the pre-race meeting, it was time to head to the water!  Coach Jeff was there and told me he knew I could beat the relay swimmer out of the water, so I should!  I said Okay, I will try!  We got to the water and I got in and did a quick warm up and hopped into line.  I started with the relay's swimmer.  We only had to wait for a minute until it was our turn to run down to the water.

I'm to the left in the green suit.
I ran a little ways into the water and started to swim!  People were going wide and others were sticking closer to the buoys.  It started to get pretty congested and I hit someone in the feet and someone else in the back of the legs as we got closer to the first turn.  After the first turn, I was just trying to go as straight as possible to the second buoy.  Much harder than it seems with that many people around.  I was passing people and I was getting passed as well.  Rounding the second buoy and heading back to shore.  I was tired, my quads were aching, and my tummy was starting to hurt.  This is always the point where the siting is the worst (ha, speaking from my 2 triathlon experience).  If I could describe open water swimming at the beginning of a triathlon to  someone who hasn't done it before, I would say this:  It is like you and lots of other people are super drunk.  You're all trying to get a certain destination, but you only have brief glimpses of clarity before you black out again.  You're all trying really hard to get to that destination, but some are veering off course and it makes it hard to ascertain where the actual destination is, but you do your best.

They also have a pretty good sense of humor.
I saw a lot of people standing up and making their way out of the water as early as they could.  I wasn't about to stand up before my hand hit the sand.  This was not the place/time for a slow-motion baywatch reenactment from me!  I got out of the water and saw the set of stairs...but where were the blue timing mats?  A girl in front of me was walking, but I started jogging and as I ran up the stairs, I realized that the timing mats were just before you got the the transition area, as you can see by the map above, we had to run a ways first.  I totally got passed by at least 3 people on that run to the transition.  I looked at my watch as I crossed the mats.  Swim time:  11:26.4.

Reaction GIF: what?, Doctor Who, David Tennant
WHAT??? PS first .gif on blog.  HAD to be Doctor Who :)

Dude, that was super slow for 500!  I'll chalk some of it up to 1. being slow-ish 2. The distance being meters, not yards and 3. the run from the beach to transition, which was included in the swim time.  BTW, the relay swimmer that I started with definitely beat me by at 45 seconds! Yikes!

So after I crossed the mat, I walked quickly to my bike and started to get ready for that.  By that time, my relay swimmer teammate had found me and was cheering, which was great, but when you're tired, and don't want to be moving on to the bike, I found it a bit annoying!  Tri Coach Jeff had set me to a big gear to tackle the hill right out of transition.  So thankful he did that!  It was definitely a hill, but nothing to sweat.  As we moved through the park, we got to a couple of more difficult climbs.  A girl in front of me got off her mountain bike and walked it up the rest of the way :(  I didn't care how slow I was moving, I was NOT getting of my bike!  We made it out of the park and I kept wondering if we were at the turn around yet haha!  I had to get that mentality out of the way as I approached the climb of the course.  100 feet over a mile.  People living in non-flat states would probably scoff at that, but daaaaaang it took forever!  I was breathing heavily and kept thinking of my yoga instructor saying things like "breathe into your quads!"  That and only looking about 10 feet in front of me really helped a lot.  At the top of the climb was the turn around.  and let me tell you, that ride down was sweet!  It felt a whole lot faster in the second half.  As we reached the last hill n the park, the volunteer shouted "this is it ladies!  Last hill of the course!  This is where skinny thighs are made!".  I loved it!  I made it back into transition, was annoyed that I had to go all the way around the U shape of transition to exit (got passed by at least another 5 people while jogging here).

Bike time:  49:12.  Thoughts:  Ouch.  So happy that is over!

That hill that was pretty easy at the beginning of the bike was now a super steep hill to run!  Of course there were people lined up all up and down it.  I could barely muster 1:1 walk/run ratios at this point.  Hill + Brick = no bueno.  I did pass someone at the top of the hill, although she was having side cramp :)  Very slowly, I got to 1:2 walk/run and then I just picked out different points to run to before i could look at my watch for a 1:3 ratio.  I got to the water stop at mile 1.  So happy.  I did a couple more intervals and felt much better after I took my gel.  Some of this was uphill as well.  I decided to stop looking at my watch and just run by feel.  I got near the turn around and kept picking points to walk,but I would get there and just pick a different point to run to.  In my second half of 5K, I only walked for less than a minute through the water stop.  That is unheard of for me!  I really wanted to finish faster than my first tri (which was trivial due to the courses being so different - both in elevation and in distance).  My watch said 1:36 and I knew my last mile would probably be 14 minutes, so I needed to run the whole thing if I wanted to finish under 1:54 (Math isn't my strong suit to begin with.  Let alone while exercising!).  I pushed through and those uphills were now some good downhills.  I ran it into the finish and was ecstatic to hear all of my teammates there cheering for me.  That was definitely a great feeling!

Run time:  44:18.  Thoughts:  The end of that run just saved how I felt about this tri!

Overall:  As hard as it turned out to be, I'm glad I did it and definitely glad I didn't see the elevation chart beforehand or I would have psyched myself out.

Time was 1:50:26.6.  I was 328/372.  55th on the swim, though, which was good.  Made me laugh to see the variations of swim times around mine.  I highlighted mine for comparision.

Yeah those ladies kicked my butt on the bike and some on the run too.  :)

All of us girls plus Tri Coach Jeff!

I had a great time and this one combined with my first one were everything I could have hoped for in a triathlon.  I wouldn't say I'm hooked on them just yet, but as I told Ty, I was looking up more tris a mere hour and 30 minutes after I arrived home that day! 

Up next is a tri that is the same course as my first, this time it is coed and in addition to sprint, they have olympic distance and an additional distance that is basically a little more than 3 times a sprint.  Oh and it is also in conjunction the like midwest collegiate triathlon championship or something like that.  Makes me glad I already have 2 under my belt!  Wooo, get ready!


  1. Yay! Great recap. Sounds like a fun race, even with the hills. Oh crap, you linked to me while I have a random/crappy post up. I should write something useful or interesting, quick! :P

  2. That sounds pretty crazy swimming with all of those people One of the things that would deter me for sure. I hate being conjested in a swimming lane in a pool, and really that's nothing compared to a hundred people trying to get to one spot first.
    Awesome job!

  3. Nice job! You are a much faster swimmer than me so I admire that. I need to work on my swimming this winter :-)

  4. This is awesome. Must feel great!