Saturday, June 28, 2008

First Tri Ever! Five Mile Lake Woman's Tri.

My first triathlon! Impressions: this all-woman tri was very friendly and welcoming. I got tons of support from the experienced athletes around me, and had a great event. This was a sprint, the "easiest" of the triathlons: 400 meter swim, 14 mile bike, 5 km run. My goal was to finish sub 2 hours. I surprised myself, rounding the final leg of the run and seeing 1:29 on the clock. I sprinted to the end, determined to make a sub 1:30, and came in at 1:29:29, placing 12th in the 25-29 age group.

Here's pix of the whole shebang:

We arrived at around 6:30 to a nearly empty field: fast registration lines and a very open racking/transition area were a nice way to ease into things. I snagged the end of the bike rack (premium space, I figured, since everyone who arrived before me was set up on an end) and copied the transition set up of the people around me, adding what I remembered from the very helpful Mary Meyer Tri Info Session.

Then, Nick, Bella and I checked out the swim course, hung around the park area, drank water, ate a power bar and just chilled for awhile, until I decided it was high time to get wetsuited-up. I smeared my ankles and wrists with bodyglide, wriggled into my wetsuit, spent 10 minutes pinching and pulling everything into place, and jumped in the water for a test swim. I swam an out-and-back of the final portion of the U-Shaped swim leg, getting a feel for what it would look like at the swim exit.

The swim was tougher than I thought in terms of catching my breath and getting into a good smooth groove. Frankly, groove just didn't happen, especially since my novice sighting skills had me checking around every four or five strokes for the buoys. But apparently that didn't slow me down too much, since my swim split was faster than the 400 meter practice I did in the pool. And, my totally dorky and never before worn seal goggles proved awesome, giving me leak proof comfort and high visibility for sighting.

My wave was the first to go. Uh, no pressure. They sounded the foghorn, and away we went. The first part was nuts: lots of kicking, grabbing, thrashing and other unladylike behavior as the athletes jockeyed for position and clear water en route for the first buoy. As we rounded the first buoy, the field spread out. I made it to the second buoy, breathing every second stroke for some time to try and calm my adrenaline-pumped breathing (didn't really work but it was a super short swim, so I guess I could muscle through it). I turned towards the exit, but as it turned out, my sighting got wonky at the end, and I stood up about 20 meters right of the exit area and had to do the high-knee run to the actual exit. Running through water is pretty slow. Still, when I crossed the mat and ran for the bike, there were a lot of pink swim caps still out in the water, and most of the bikes were still racked up.

T1 (the first transition) felt pretty smooth. I got my wetsuit off and my feet clean and into socks without too much trouble, snapped on my helmet and glasses, grabbed my bike and headed out. Nick said my mount-up n the bike was really clean. Apparently I passed several people who took a bit longer to get in the saddle and go.

I loved, loved, loved how quick I felt on the bike. Since all my training rides have been with the trailer and Bella, I really didn't know how fast I would be solo. Without the extra 70+ pounds of towage, I averaged 17.5mph, and felt great. Sure, some hills sucked, but in general I felt really on it. I definitely passed more people than passed me, and most of the people who did pass me were on badass tricked out Bianchi's and Cervelo's (bikes that cost--ahem--alot), so I didn't feel too bad.

Another highlight of the bike portion: I rode with a great athlete who acted as my rabbit for much of the ride. We had quite a bit of banter going, and passed each other --back-and-forth-- several times. Having that camaraderie was awesome! One big thing to work on for the bike leg next time: hydration! I had maybe three sips of water, but should definitely have had more.

T2, where I switched out of bike shoes and into running kicks was a bit less smooth. My race belt came unclipped and I had to fiddle with it; my lace locks and trembling fingers combined to tie the worlds stupidest knot, so I had to loop my laces around themselves in this gregorian kluge. It was okay, just not as clean.

I felt painfully slow on the run. Not a shocker, as I'm not naturally quick as a runner, and the first 1/2 mile I could feel the imprint of my bike cleats in the soles of my feet even though I had switched out to running shoes. They (those who have done this before) always say your legs feel like jell-o for the first mile or so. True! I had jell-o legs and despite my best efforts to keep up a quick fore-front cadence, I reverted to a shuffley jog on several occasions. The run was fairly neglected in my training, and it hurt me. I one, I think. But I was passed by quite a few people, even from different, later starting waves. A strong run really can make or break the previous effort on the bike, and my weak leg was pretty apparent.

My goal was to finish sub-2 hours, and for my first tri I thought that was ambitious but doable. Here's how I did, in cold hard numbers:
Rank (Age Group): 12
Rank (Overall): 79
Swim Rank (AG): 8 | Swim Time: 7:25.2 | Swim Pace: 2.02 mph
T1: 2:13.8
Bike Rank (AG): 10 | Bike Time: 47:59.9 | Bike Pace: 17.5 mph
T2: 1:19.7
Run Rank (AG): 15 | Run Time: 30:31.0 | Run Pace: 9:51 mph
Total Time: 1:29:29.6

All in all, an awesome first tri. I loved it, had a great time and can't wait to get out there and do it again!

1 comment:

Just Nick said...

Well done, babe. Proud of you!