Our Group Before the Race
Hi all! Many of you heard I was doing my first triathlon last weekend and I promised a blog post. I was a little slow getting this up here, but better late than never, right?
So for anyone who’s asking or curious:
Lake Marion Sprint Triathlon by the Numbers:
Swim 400m – Bike 17 mi – Run 3.1 mi.
Swim: 10:40 | 14 of 16
T1: 4:11 | 10 of 16
Bike: 1:03:48 | 8 of 16
T2: 2:28 | 14 of 16
Run: 30:25 | 6 of 16
Before the Race:
The day before the race we drove down to Apple Valley to pick up our race packets, and then went for a short swim in Lake Marion to test out the waters. I think this was a good idea because I went into the race with a bit more open-water experience and knew the water wasn’t going to be too cold. I also realized that my ear plugs weren’t working and was able to buy new ones at the last minute (a little risky, I know). I managed to get to bed around 10pm and surprisingly fell asleep faster than I thought I would.
Based on the recommendation of an article I’d read, we woke up at 2:00 AM to have “breakfast”. I had a package of S’mores Poptarts. Not really your typical endurance food, but they work for me. We woke up (again) at 4:30 AM got our bags together, and hit the road. I had a mini Clif bar in the car and sipped on Powerade Zero. I packed in a duffle bag. Lesson learned, next time I’d use a backpack, so it’s easier to carry while walking my bike from the parking area to transition.
Getting in early was nice because we had plenty of time to pick a transition spot and set up our gear as newbies taking in the day. We got our numbers written on our arms and legs and found Josh’s two uncles, Bob and Mark, who were racing with us. We all headed down to the lake for the pre-race meeting and national anthem.
The race managers couldn’t find the national anthem (I’m assuming a CD), so they asked for volunteers. Another woman and I volunteered to sing spur of the moment. I used to do this a lot in high school, but it had been about 5 years since my last national anthem. It was fun; I’d do it again, but it was probably the most nervous I had been, because I was so anxious and excited for the race and I didn’t have a pitch pipe.
Classic Kim, Two Thumbs Up!
The swim was not nearly as scary as I thought it would be. The worst part was waiting for the seven heats that went ahead of me, but once I hit the water my nervousness disappeared and I just focused on swimming. The water was really warm, which I thought was awesome. I was also happy that my new ear plugs didn’t leak, and I didn’t get weeds all over me. I decided to start in the back of the pack because I wasn’t a strong swimmer. Next time I won’t do that. I think all the newbies had the same idea. I couldn’t figure out how to get around people without getting kicked. But about half way through I managed to pass some people and then I had more room. The swim was my worst leg relative to my age group, but probably about average for my ability. I was satisfied with it for my first time and learned some good lessons for next time.
As soon as I got out of the water and started running up to the transition area I was greeted by cheering spectators including Josh’s aunts and cousins holding a “Kick it Kim” sign. How awesome! That made me smile, which was good because I was starting to worry about the pain in my left knee as I ran to get my bike. I was pretty slow in T1. Just over 4 minutes. I used baby powder on my feet to get my socks on which rocked! It made it super easy, and I think saved me time and blisters. I’m not really sure how to improve T1 other than practice. I felt kinda frantic the first time like I didn’t know what to do in which order.
Our cheering squad!
The bike was so fun! It was cool that everyone had their age on their legs so I could see if people were in my group or not. The course was slightly hilly but not too bad. It was great having the road blocked off so I didn’t have to worry about cars. My chain came off at about mile 14 which was my own fault because I forgot which gear I was in, and tried to shift too drastically. That probably cost me about 20 seconds, but even so I was pleased with my time. I averaged about 16 mph, which for me and my non-road bike is fast.
I think I did worse on T2 than T1 relative to the norm. I couldn’t get my shoes on. I had yankz, so I wouldn’t have to tie my shoes, but I think I had them too tight, because I struggled a lot. Other than that nothing too exciting to report about T2.
Oh the run! Yes, that was definitely the worst leg for me, which is ironic because it is the leg I placed the best in relative to my age group. I had tears in my eyes for about the first 400 meters because my knee was hurting so bad. I had to stop twice because it gave out and needed to be rubbed it back into working order. But I was determined to finish! I felt fantastic aerobically, like I had prepared well and could have ran faster. My last brick before the tri I ran around an 8:40 pace, but ended up just over a 10 pace on race day. Pain and all I had a smile on my face and I was glad to be there, and happy to finish.
All and all, it was an awesome first triathlon! I am definitely addicted. I think for the most part I prepared adequately. I didn’t try to eat my weight in pasta the night before or slam 10 gels on the bike. It was awesome to be there with so many people spanning a wide age range all competing. It certainly inspires me to train harder and stay active. And I must admit, I have the best training partner! Josh rocked. He beat me by like 17 minutes, which I expected. Sharing this entire triathlon journey with him has been awesome. It was also a blast to race with Bob and Mark (Josh’s uncles) and have their families there cheering all of us on. It was all four of our first triathlons and we all finished without any catastrophic events. Afterward we went out for Italian. It was at that point that I tried to eat my weight in pasta! OK, maybe not quite… 🙂
A big thanks to everyone out there in the blogosphere and the twittersphere who have encouraged me along the way and share lots of helpful advice!