Having a mid-week evening race is weird. I am so used to waking up, shoving something down my throat, and heading to the race. During the day I tried to pace myself with food, making sure I ate enough before the race to feel fueled but I also wanted to avoid any stomach upsets or feeling too full.
I decided to eat an early lunch and had a salad with a mahi mahi burger and hummus around 11.
I also enjoyed some of these Go Raw crackers and a huge fig.
And then around 3:30 (about 2.5 hours out from the race and right before we left) I had a slice of brown rice bread with strawberries and chia seeds. This ended up putting me over the edge fullness-wise. Oh well, live and learn!
I also packed the protein shake I’ve been drinking as part of my food allergy recovery diet to have right before the race.
My mom and I got to the park really early because I wanted to make sure I set everything up and was comfortable with the transition area. After getting my new bike out of the car and over to the transition area, I got marked up!
Bib number on my arms and then age on my left calf. Note: this was the worst possible top to wear for a tri. Learn from me and don’t wear anything too long or loose!
Then I started setting up my transition area. I put my bike on the rack and laid my shoes, socks, and bike gloves on the towel. I stuffed my Garmin in one shoe and eye drops and a date (for fuel) in one of the gloves. I hung my race belt on the handlebars of my bike and set out my helmet upside down with my sunglasses inside.
Worked for me!
Then we sat. We had about an hour and a half until race time which could have been killer but both the people watching and the live music kept us entertained. I also took advantage of the time to go to the bathroom (twice) and to scope out the course.
With about 20 minutes to go until the first wave of the swim, I started to get nervous and put my swim cap on. Blue cap= wave 3 (although age-wise I should have been in wave 2!).
And then it was time to go to the water to start the swim. Waves were going off every 5 minutes starting with an elite wave (sub- 1:12 for men and sub-1:24 for women). I watched the two waves go off with butterflies in my stomach and before I knew it, I was standing waist deep in water.
The first thing I did was put my goggles on and test if they were leaking. I raced in my contacts and I knew that a leaky goggle could cause me to lose a lens. After my goggles were secure, I tried to pump myself up for the race by moving around in the water. I totally sold myself out as a runner too by jumping to get my legs ready. What, swimmers don’t do that?
The swim course was shaped like a triangle and marked by three large buoys with smaller dinosaur shaped buoys between them. I situated myself in the back on the outside so the fast swimmers would be in front of me. I figured it would be better for my morale that way. Before I knew it we were all swimming and kicking and clawing at one another. My heart rate shot up and I took off in a full-out sprint. I started to panic, I knew I couldn’t keep up the pace I was swimming and I was nervous that I was going to have to DQ. Somehow I calmed my mind and switched over to breast stroke. After about a minute my breathing was back to normal, I switched back to freestyle, and found a rhythm. Crisis averted!
Swimming in the lake was fun and after I hit the first buoy I started to pick up the pace. I was swimming in a pack the entire and was dealing with miscellaneous hands, feet, and seaweed grabbing at my ankles. I also switched into breast stroke every once in a while to “spot” and make sure I was swimming in the course and to look for the shore. Before I knew it, my hand hit the lake bottom, I stood up, tried to pull my swim cap off before my goggles (whoops) and was running into the transition area.
.5 mile swim: 15:46 (3 of 5 in my age group, 123/439 overall)
I ran over to my bike and immediately went for my shoes and socks and then remembered I had decided to put them on last. Instead, I put on my sunglasses and helmet, buckled my race belt around my waist, and put on my Garmin (I wanted to have it for the run).
Lastly I put my socks and shoes on, grabbed my bike, and headed out!
T1: 1:30 <– Need to practice this next time!
I ran my bike up to the “mount bike sign” and hopped on. I should have watched the more seasoned triathletes though who were running up the grass and mounting on the concrete. I’m sure that was easier than gaining speed on the grass!
My new bike felt awesome but will definitely take some time getting used to. My new pedals have shoe cages and I’m not quite used to them. I started off with my feet on top of the cages and pedaled until I gained enough speed to coast, then I leaned down and tried to slip my feet in. My right foot went in easily but my the cage on my left foot has jammed down so hard that I couldn’t pull it up. I ended up biking about half the course with my foot on top of the pedal before somehow I managed to slip in my foot.
The course was an out and back through a very pretty park. There were lots of hills and scenic views of lakes and fields. I really enjoyed it. I also started to really get the hang of my bike gears. I pedaled hard and fast for me but was still passed by quite a few men. I also did a fair amount of passing myself.
One of my big mistakes on the bike was not drinking enough water. Even though I had my bottle attached to my bike, I only drank from it once or twice. I took water at the water station on the bike path but I don’t think I even drank the whole cup. For a 94 degree day, this was not enough fluid!
12.4 mile ride: 39:59 (18.0 mph, 3 of 5 in my age group, 290 out of 439 overall) <– my weak spot
I had told my mom that I thought the bike ride would take me 50 minutes so she missed the transition entirely. Whoops, my fault. Even so, the transition wasn’t very exciting. I placed my bike on the rack, took off my helmet & sunglasses, tried to sync my Garmin, and grabbed the date.
My legs felt like lead when I first started running. My Garmin wouldn’t sync and my mouth and stomach were disagreeing with the date I force-fed myself. I felt like I was hardly moving but I was passing other people and when my watch finally synced it said I was running 7:07′s. I couldn’t believe it!
This is when my dehydration + the high temps (still in the 90′s) really started to get to me. A lot of the run was on pavement in the sun and I could tell that my body hated me for making it run. My legs wanted to run faster but I could feel that my body was no longer sweating and I felt dizzy. I kept my pace short and kept telling myself I only had to run for 3 miles. I stopped at the second water station and poured water over my head. I also grabbed a cold towel and placed it on the back of my neck. Cold water has never felt so good!
I forced myself to keep moving, I did not want to walk, and finally after what seemed like an eternity, I crossed the finish line!
3.1 mile run: 22:38 (7:18 min/mile, 2 of 5 in my age group, 7 of 146 females, and 72 of 439 overall)
When I crossed the line and saw 1:30:55 I was ecstatic. I had started 10 minutes behind the elite and had finished with an elite-caliber time! Considering the circumstances: first tri ever, new bike, bad choice of outfit, I could not stop smiling!
Official time: 1:20:55 (3 of 5 in my age group, 22 of 146 females, and 151 of 439 overall).
I drank A LOT of water after the race and we hung around (couldn’t get my stuff out of the transition zone yet). I ended up winning an age group award, a bike chain with a beer opener on top. I’m sure Ian will get more use out of it than me but it was pretty cool.
I had such an awesome time at the triathlon and I CAN’T wait to do another one! You can bet I’ll be researching some this weekend and registering soon! Any suggestions?
We didn’t end up getting to my mom’s until around 9:00 so I showered quickly and then ate some food. My appetite was finally back, the heat must have sucked it out of me!
I made a strawberry-banana smoothie using rice milk, frozen banana, strawberries, and raw oats and also had some nuts & a mini almond butter toast.
I also had a plate of veggies and hummus. My hunger was raging!
Despite feeling revved up from the race, I ended up crashing early.
I guess I was worn out!