August 29, 2012

Race Recap: Girls Tri It On Triathlon

Buckle up, folks, this is going to take you the rest of the afternoon to read.

I competed in my first triathlon a little over a week ago.  The day before the race was possibly the most nervous I've ever been, aside from my wedding day.  I was so nervous, I was almost sick to my stomach.  But oddly, when I got to the race on Saturday, I was totally fine.  I knew what was going to happen, I knew what I had to do & I just went into action mode.

The race started at 7:00 & we had to be there at 6:00, so I got up at 4:30, guzzled some coffee, ate breakfast & hit the road.  I had dropped my bike off the night before, so all I had to bring was myself & all my gear, which I had laid out & packed the night before.  Smart.

200 meter swim:  5:56 (2:58 per 100/m pace)

Quick back-story on the swim.  When I registered for the race, I stupidly put down 30 minutes as my estimated swim time (for 200 meters), so I got placed in the very back of the pack.  The week of the race, I changed my swim time, but didn't make the cut-off, so I didn't get moved up like I should have.  To put this in perspective, out of a little over 200 participants, I was number 197.

I'm amazingly a natural swimmer & got pretty fast between all the drills & practices I did.  Unfortunately, I was unable to actually swim much in the race because I was surrounded by non-swimmers & pool walkers.  No one was using the pool etiquette we had been taught.  I couldn't get around anybody; no one would move.  It was incredibly frustrating.  But through all of this, I still managed to score a pretty sweet swim time:  5:56.

T1:  3:09

Out of the pool, & barefoot, I had to run a pretty good uphill distance from the pool to my bike.  I got to my bike, sat down, dried off my feet, put my socks & shoes on, put my helmet & sunglasses on & took off. I thought I did all of this pretty fast, but I didn't.  My transition time was a full minute slower than all of my friends:  3:09.

5 mile bike ride:  20:52 (14.4 mph pace)

The bike was my weakest event.  I really should have practiced riding more.  Once I took off, I couldn't get my feet in the toe cages & lost a lot of time.  I was riding as fast as I could, but my legs were screaming & I was trying not to completely wear them out as I still had to run after this.  John said every time he saw me, I was in the wrong gear, so that probably didn't help.  

When I got to the first turn around, it was a sharper turn than I had practiced & I didn't make it.  I jumped the curb, went up into the grass, then fell trying to get back down on the course.  So again, I spent way too much time trying to get my feet back into the stupid toe cages.  Apparently I was taking so long to come back around that John thought I was hurt, so he was trying to find me on the course, when I came pedaling back by, assuredly in the wrong gear.  The second lap was totally fine.  I made the turn & was able to pick up some speed.  But!  The volunteer who was supposed to flag me off the course & back into the transition area was talking to someone & didn't flag me, so I kept going & rode a whole extra half lap trying to get back to the finish.  Ugh.  Bike time:  20:52.

T2:  1:20

All I had to do in this transition was put my bike back on the rack, throw my helmet down, strap on my race number belt & take off running.  Much faster:  1:20.

2k mile run:  11:23

This was my strongest event of the three.  Being a runner obviously helped, but so did all that brick practice.  I knew what to expect & I pushed through.  Most of the women around me were walking, but there was one woman ahead of me plowing through & I kept up with her.  We ran two laps around a trail & then down Maryland Farms Way to the finish.  When I got off the trail  & back to the street, I sprinted to the finish.  I couldn't feel my legs, but I felt strong & I was definitely faster than everyone around me at that point.  Run time:  11:23.

Total time:  43:40

As soon as we crossed the finish, volunteers handed us a bottle of water in a Girls Tri It On Finisher coozie & a flower, then we were escorted to a tent with bagels, bananas, etc.  It was nice.  I chugged as much water as I could get my hands on & ate a banana & I was fine.  I could tell I was starting to get sunburned, but what else is new.  My overall time was 43:40.  I placed 41st in my age group.

I had a blast doing this & it's just about the proudest I've ever been of myself.  I definitely plan on doing more.  In fact, I'm already planning on doing the Cedars Of Lebanon triathlon on May 19th (who's with me?).

Indulge my inner Oprah as I take a moment to get sappy & gush over how awesome my friends, family & training partners are.  Y'all, this race was EARLY, & you still came & cheered me on.  And!  You made signs!  Thank you.  Thank you to everyone who knew I was doing this & sent me texts, emails, FB comments, Instagram comments, etc.  It really meant a lot that so many people acknowledged this huge, ridiculous thing I did.  HUGE thanks to my dad, Jenn, Jonell & Julie who helped me in the pool.  I assuredly would have drowned without all of your help (& by "drowned", I mean pool walked since apparently that's allowed?!).

Lastly, I want to thank everyone who rallied around me last week when I went a little bit cra after the race.  Long story short - a run volunteer messed up & none of us ran the correct course, so at first, we didn't have run times, which resulted in an incomplete overall/finish time.  I got inconsolably worked up over this & spiraled into a scary, neurotic place where I refused to acknowledge any level of achievement on my part.  Dark days.  Thank you to Heidi, MHG, Marne, Jonell & basically everyone who saw me last week & talked me down off the ledge.  I'm totes fine now & have gone back to strutting around like the badass triathlete that I am.  I have the best friends in the world.  Thank you!

More pictures & full triathlon photostream here.


Cat Lorenzo said...

Your AWESOME! So glad you were one of my coaches through the Potato to Tomato training! you are an inspiration!!! YOU GO GIRL!!

Panda Parables said...

the first time i went out on my road bike, i pretty much had a panic attack b/c i couldn't deal with the toe cages. we went back home and rollum put the regular pedals back on it (which i still have! i should probably give the toe clips/straps another shot now). we went back to square one, because we realized i didn't even know how to properly start/stop, and as soon as i felt solid with that, i felt way more comfortable. he made me read this page & watch the video: apparently this guy's site has a lot of great info. anyway, sorry to hear of some of your woes. seems like you learned a lot of valuable lessons for next time and it's awesome you want to keep doing them. YAY!

The Blonde Mule said...

Awww, thank you, Cat!! And right back at you. YOU are awesome!

The Blonde Mule said...

Katie -- thanks! Hopefully we can ride together soon!


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