It's been three weeks since I started official training for triathlons. Switching from running full time and adding some biking and swimming in. One of the goals this year is my first Olympic distance, so my running and biking is focusing some on speed, but more geared toward ramping up on the distance. Also, if you recall, I had said I was going into this race with more swimming than probably all of my races last year... that didn't work out as planned. I just cannot get excited about training for a 400 meter swim.
Packet Pickup / Race Morning
There was early packet pickup, it sort of sucked because they only had it from noon - four the day before the race. I could have waited till the morning of the race, but that doesn't fit well into my desire to not do anything on race morning.
My sister came and picked me up and we drove up there together. I woke up at 3:45 and just stayed up, grabbed a bite to eat and before I knew it were were driving. The place was easy enough to find, and had more traffic control than probably any event than I've been too in more than a year. I mean there was only 500 participants, which probably amounted to 300 cars, it struck me as funny.
We had a lot of time to kill, which was nice. I like milling around, we ran into some friends of mine from my local triathlon group and shot the breeze, that was nice.
Quick Note: I must remember flip flops for the morning. I didn't have any, and the transition area had a fair amount of small gravel. And I can safely say that going to the porto-potty with no shoes on... I don't want to do that again.
The start was interesting, there wasn't a lot of "here's what time it is, you have 10 minutes." I feel like maybe they announced it once. It's not like it's a huge deal, but it's just something that has been at other events, and this event could have used.
The entry to the swim was amusing to me, we were swimming in lake with plenty of "No swimming" signs, and the entry was just some random hill with a start gate near it. We all filed over the mat, jockeyed for position, and then headed out.
My wave was men under 39, so the group headed out pretty fast, I have learned that I need to jump out to the front, which is usually just getting a good start and settling into a nice pace. Just to avoid getting stuck behind what is usually a zig-zagging mess of fists and feet. So I did that, but I was surprised how long the group kept up a fast pace. We were probably half way done before people really started dropping off.
The swim was a straight shot, and the only thing I felt like was missing were some buoys. I mean I swim in a pretty straight line, but every once and a while I'd see someone like 25 yards away to the right or left and wonder "where the heck am I." Re-sighting on the fly to a brown arch against a green background isn't all that easy :)
I actually felt pretty good coming out of the water - which honestly is a first. While I didn't end up meeting my swimming training goals, my overall conditioning must be pretty decent.
The bike course was two 5 mile loops, I can remember thinking how it would be nice to have a half way point to gauge the distance. When I got to the first loop I remember thinking...really this is just five miles... Overall I felt good, but I wonder now if I could have taken it harder, I'm not a huge fan of changing the game plan mid race, so I stuck with what I planned on.
The bike loops are not my favorite. People clump up, and you're constantly passing and being passed, sometimes at the same time. It happened once to me, where I was passing and someone was trying to pass me. And it happened to someone else where they were passing and I was trying to pass them.
The bike course hot lots of tight turns, places where you'd go from 3 or 4 across to single file, sometimes two turns in a row.
This is me just after dismounting. My kids and wife were cheering me on!
The run was also a two loop course to cover three miles. The course was decent, there was sufficient and well manned water stations, and while it didn't really work at all, there were mileage markers up. The mileage markers didn't work because the 2 mile marker is before the one mile marker, and you see them both two times. So I'll give them credit for the effort, but not much since the execution was lacking :)
I did not fair the run as well as I was hoping. I felt good going into it, but by the time I saw the first two mile marker (who knows how far that was) I was extremely tired. My body was telling me ... just a little break ... I fought that for as long as I could. I ended up taking two 30 second walk breaks, I was disappointed, but I don't think my family would let me live down another ambulance event.
When I was rolling into the finish I really felt like I had nothing else. A guy I knew passed me probably around half way through the run, I tried to keep up, but just couldn't find the speed. It was especially frustrating to me because I had seen him come into T1 as I was leaving, and come into T2 as I was leaving, so I knew he was just behind me. Kudos to him though, he whipped me on the run, so good for him. The finish line area was pretty small, but overall it worked. I had some nice cold water in my hands before I stopped running, I stopped and picked up some good snacks, and went to go see my family and see my sister and some friends come across the line.
Overall I came in under my goal by 10 minutes, so I'm happy about that. It really comes down to a much faster bike leg than I expected, and faster transition times. I feel fine about the swim leg, I mean seriously, with no serious training there, I am happy with it. The bike and leg run though... well I'm going to put most of my energy into the bike training for the next two months and just try to maintain my run pace - that is, the pace that I run when I haven't just done 2/3 of a triathlon. I feel like the bike really took it out of me, and I bit me it on the run.
Overall, I guess for the first triathlon this year I did well. It's a new personal best, but it's probably the shortest sprint ever, but still it's nice. It is definitely a lot of fun to race with people you know. My wife and kids came out and cheered, and I my sister and I went together. We met a few people we knew there, and overall the race was a great experience. I've settled on biking as the discipline of choice this season, and know that some flip flops will improve the morning routine a little :)
This event was put on by multirace.com, and I have to admit they do a pretty good job of putting on races. They give you your race splits as soon as you're done, and they have a predictable fairly well done layout. That aside, I didn't dig the course. People seem to love the Tradewinds course, they do a bunch of races there. I could take it or leave it, I'd take a single loop course over a two loop course any day.
Next up, another sprint around Easter. More on that later.