Today I competed in my first Triathlon.
Before I get too far into this I am going to put it all out there:
373rd out of 617
Total time 1:33:38:6
Category Place (female 40-45) 15/37
Gender Place 131/281
750 m Swim 15:00
20 km bike 43:28
5 KM 31:46
So first off–I had a blast! It was sooo much fun! I didn’t expect it to be so enjoyable. My tri coach Vy said, “don’t’ you love the atmosphere of a tri?” and I most certainly agree. There are people of so many different ages and backgrounds and fitness abilities. I am so inspired by them. Several of my Y training group members raced in the Try-a-Tri in the morning and I got all choked up as I watched them. All the Y groups in the sprint yelled out encouragement and high fived each other whether we were passing or being passed!
The Sprint Tri started at 1:00 pm. I was really nervous before it started. I must confess that I much prefer the training to the actual racing and only sign up for races to make sure that I get out there and practice. Well I am so glad that I did this race. I felt like I actually competed instead of just finished. That was also a first for me.
The biggest challenge was to keep my focus on my closest competitor…that would be me. Now, it is obvious from my times that I did not place in this race. I am not a “serious age grouper” as some are blessed to be, but you know what? For most of the race this really didn’t matter as long as I could remember that the only person I was competing against was me. Now, I found there were moments when this was easier said than done. Let me break it down for you.
That is me in the sleeveless, full leg wet suit behind and in from smiling blue goggles!
The swim was spectacular! I enjoyed every minute of it–all 15 of them. So yes I am damn proud of this swim time. Some things I observed during the swim: 40-45 yr old women (purple swim caps) are serious competitors! I got a few elbows and kicks to the head, but I may have been guilty of one or two inadvertent contacts of my own. I kept a really even pace and focused on maintaining a consistent breathing pattern. I boldly started out close to the front on the inside and kept myself there (minus the decision to let a seriously vigorous elbower pass me). The thing you may not know if you have never been to a tri is that the different age groups wear different swim caps. So all the ladies in my group were in purple. I REALLY enjoyed swimming passed pink and blue capped swimmers (younger swimmers, I might add).
My transition to the bike was alright. My clip into my bike was comical. It was not terribly smooth. Somebody was yelling “Don’t stop!” but my feet weren’t clipped in yet and I got flustered and miss them AGAIN! Arg. Some nice person said, “take your time” and that got me refocus and clipped in.
I learned a lot on the bike. I really do not have very much experience on the bike. I decided that I would not push it and just try and figure out how this bike race thing actually worked. What I learned was a) there are a lot of people who know less than me and do things like ride slow on the left side and b) there are a lot of SERIOUS riders who take the ride SERIOUSLY. They bark and bellow “left! left!” and wiz by you at alarming speeds. After the fact, I realized that I could have pushed the bike a lot harder, but I was a wee bit worried about my legs for the run so I really tried to pace it out. Now I did struggle A LOT when someone with a 40-45 written on their calf passed me (your age is written on your calf so you can identify who you are competing against in your own age category). That was when I had to remind myself to focus on my own race and no one else’s
The transition to the run was smoother than the first one. I was really concerned that I wouldn’t have enough left for the run and put my shoes on a wee bit slower than was necessary to take a few deep breaths–then I was off! It was VERY hot, like 32′ hot. I felt like I slogged through the run. My guesstimate was that I was running at a 6:45-7:00 per km pace. I really felt like I was crawling along. My focus for the entire run was to NOT STOP RUNNING. It was hard, but not awful. The volunteers made it all bearable with their cheers and offerings of water. A big Thank You to all of them! I was shocked when I saw my run time. If you remember it was only 2 weeks ago that I cracked the 30 minute ceiling of the 5km. So quite honesty I have no idea how I ran 5km in less than 32 minutes at the end of a tri, but I don’t care!
That is me in the white hat, # 890
I had no idea what my times were until about an hour after the race. To be truthful, I didn’t care. I was just happy to finish. Then I found out that I did better than I expected–and I cared. 🙂
It was a fabulous day. I am so impressed with the amazing people who showed up today to race and cheer and volunteer. One of the women in my tri group placed in her (my) age group, but she wasn’t one of the ones who elbowed me! I would have been clueless without the dedicated coaches in my tri training program especially Vy and Caity. They are relentless and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The encouragement and commraderie of my Y training group team mates. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
So now I am off to ice my oft-mentioned hamstring and glutes. It has been a very good day.