This weekend marked my first Triathlon of the season, and my first full triathlon in about 3 years (several abortive attempts were made in other races, but things just didn’t go as planned). I was lucky enough to have a friend who lives in the Richmond area, who also does Triathlons and I was able to crash at her place for the night.
Saturday had to be by far, one of the best days so far this year – it was a little bit chilly in the morning when I showed up at the transition area (after getting lost because the place wasn’t in my GPS)…but it soon warmed up. My place in the transition area, was about 6 bike racks back from the entrance to the bike course – which I thought was good placement (of course, I was also slow enough on the swim that most people were already out there by the time I got on my bike…).
The pool swim was unique and weird at the same time. It was an open water pool swim – so there were buoys at the each end of the pool marking the turn points -so no touching the walls (or you were DQ’d). They also started people off in groups of 10. I was in the 8:10:30 group – which meant that I was about 21 groups in from the beginning, and there were still several hundred people behind me. I can’t say that I was a fan of the group start – it took a while to get past the thrashing feet (and several kicks in the head) and before I knew it, the next group (30 seconds later) were on my heels. I also got stuck behind a guy who for some reason decided to do backstroke…and everytime I zigged to get around him, he zagged into my path. However, the swim was soon done and I finished up the 400m in 8:15. This was a tad over my predicted time for 7:50 – but I was still still happy with it. Then it was onto the transition.
Thankfully, since I was blind as a bat at this stage, I didn’t lose my bike…and I was out of the first transition in 2:54. One of my goals for the rest of the season is to get this time down – would love a sub-2:30.
The bike ride was really well done. There were some slight rolling hills through-out, but nothing that would ultimately kill you on the ride. I was able to get down into the aerobars a bit and it was smooth sailing. Thankfully, I wasn’t one of the people who ended up with a flat on the side of the road (and hopefully, this won’t jinx me for future events). I was totally in the zone, and then I was at the 5 mile point (just shy of the half-way), then the 10 mile and before long, I was making the last turn back into the transition area. My overall time on the bike was 44:11 for 20km. When I got home and did the math – that came out to an average of 16.8mph. I would love to see that number creep a little higher and maybe hit 17-17.5 at some point during the season and get my time down to a sub-40.
Transition 2 was definately a bit easier – ditch the bike, throw on the shoes, snarffle some water and a GU (mmm, chocolate) and then out onto the run. My T2 time was 2:15 – but i think I should be able to get that down to below 2.
Then came the run. Oh how I loathed the run. In the lead up to the race, I hadn’t been able to train like I wanted because of the stupid Planter Faciitis that I have been dealing with – so this was really my first long-ish running in a while (and by long-ish, I mean more than 2.5 miles). And to make matters worse, it was a 2 loop course – I’m personally not a fan of courses where you double up (mostly because I get distracted)…but I was out there huffing and puffing away – by the time I hit the second lap, my foot had really started to bug me, so I switched to a run/jog, then walk routine – which seemed to help and I managed to do that for the remainder of the course. But pretty soon I was hitting that last downhill heading towards the finish line (and damned if I was going to let the girl in front of me beat me as she had just passed me less than a 1/4 mile before). So we sprinted it out. I had no idea what my run time was, I had been hoping for a sub-30, but I wasn’t sure (it was 34:10 in the end). The time on the clock when I passed was 1:42 (and some undetermined amount of seconds)…but when you factor in the staggered swim start time, that put me at 1:31:44.
I was really happy with that overall time and my performance. Of course, there are a few things I need to work on. My transition times; remembering to drink lots of water on the bike (I tend to get distracted and forget), and work on the run and dealing with my foot. But overall for a first race of the season, I thought it was a good start.
Now to figure out what race I am going to do next…