I competed in my fourth triathlon on Sunday, the Tri Fall Creek Falls triathlon hosted by Endurance Sports Management in Fall Creek Falls State Park. You can read about my first triathlon last summer here, & the two I did this summer here & here.
Unlike any of the other triathlons I've done, this one was Olympic distance, which is double the distance of the three sprint tri's I've done. This was also the first race I've done clipped in on the bike. Similar to Old Hickory, this swim was open water & we had to run about 250 yards from the lake to transition.
1500 meters swim (0.93 miles): 41:22
I had been warned that when I got there & saw the swim course, I would freak out. And I did. If you've never looked out on a lake & seen a mile mapped out in orange cones, you will throw up a little in your mouth. Julie, aka Coach Koh Koh, calmed us down by talking us through the swim course & telling us how to sight (what to look at) to get to each of the four cones. She also said to count our strokes for the first 25-50 meters to keep from panicking.
I'm really pleased with my swim time. All of my panic was preemptive. As soon as I got in the water, I was fine & just swam like I did in training. I swam the entire course. I never got tired or had to switch to breast or back stroke. I could stand to get a little faster, but my endurance is there.
I'm actually surprised this transition time is just 7 minutes. In 7 minutes, I got out of the lake, sat down, put my socks & shoes on, talked to John, jogged 250 yards, sat back down, switched socks & shoes, put on sunscreen, put my Garmin on, located satellites & walked my bike out of transition. How I did all of that in 7 minutes, I'll never know. It's a blur.
40K ride (25 miles): 1:42:46
We had been warned that it was going to start raining around 9:00/9:30am & I started the bike probably around 8:30am. I was terrified of racing in the rain on a course I was unfamiliar with, but there was nothing I could do about it. I made it well past the half way mark before it started raining, but I rode through some serious rain on that last leg of the ride.
Thanks to some really good advice from Andy Moss earlier in the summer, my training rides were way harder than the race course, so even with the torrential downpour, I did really well on the bike. My biggest concern was getting disqualified for not being able to clip out in time going into transition. But I did fine! You'd think I'd been clipping in & out my whole life!
This second transition was slow for me, but A) I stopped & talked to Ross, who was already done with the whole race (bastard) & B) I had to change shoes, which I usually don't have to do.
10K run (6 miles): 1:24:54 (13:42 pace)
Oy vey, this run. I started out a little discouraged because most of the men, & some of the women, were already done with the whole race as I was just getting started on the last leg of mine & had at least another hour to go. Meh. But as I started running, I felt better. I was around a lot of people in the beginning & felt great. My pace was even good. But then the course turned off the main road & onto a paved trail in the park & I was totally by myself.
Turns out, I'm a horrible runner when I'm alone. I couldn't pace myself. I could comfortably run a 12 minute mile, but I'd look down at my Garmin & see that I was doing a 14 minute mile. It was a fairly flat course & I should have run it a lot faster than I did. The run was my weakest of the three events & I'm pretty disappointed in myself over it. Also, my knee gave out in the last mile. It hurt pretty bad, but there was no way I was walking that finish chute, so I did the best I could not to visibly limp across the finish line.
P.S. My knee is totally fine now. I have no idea what happened on Sunday. Probably just general joint exhaustion.
Total time: 4:00:06
When I registered for the race, I had no idea how long it would take me & put down a 3:15:00 estimated finish time. Ha! Yeah, it took me four hours. Oops! I probably could have finished about 15 minutes faster if I had gone faster in my transitions & maintained a 12 minute mile on the run, but whatever. I'm always slow the first time I do something new. I'll be faster next time.
Hmmm, what did I learn from this race? Well, I guess the main thing I learned is that my body can endure four consecutive hours of exercise. That's something. I also learned how to fuel, which I've never had to do before. My nutrition plan totally worked. I didn't bonk or cramp during the race. Thanks, salt pills!
Actually, the most important thing I learned is that Andy Moss was right when he said, "Work hard, train hard, race easy." I trained HAM, y'all. And it worked. My training was so hard, that the race was easy in comparison. And, hey, I lost 14 lbs in the process!
I'm REALLY burned out & had planned on this race being my last triathlon of the year. But.... As Heidi Wilson predicted, I may sign up for one more race before the season ends. I'm thinking about doing NashVegas on September 7th. But just the sprint distance, not Olympic. I have until August 30th to decide. I mostly want to do it because I know I'm faster now & will probably beat any of my previous times. Ha!
In closing, I want to give a shout-out to basically everyone I know. Andy Moss, you know what you did & I'm thankful for it. Julie, Coach Koh Koh, thank you for being my fitness inspiration, for teaching me how to ride on roads & for answering my gazillion questions - questions I was asking up until the second I started swimming on Sunday. I want to do every race with you from now on. Lana, thanks for being an awesome training partner. I don't know a lot of people who would willingly spend 9 hours a week working out with me. Mary Katherine, Team Taurus rides again! You just let me know what our next big race is. Katie, I'm mad at how fast you are, but I do love that I've finally met someone who can out-talk me. Team Stoner! Marshall, thanks for all the bike help, moral support & iPhone photography skills. To all my friends & family who haven't seen me all summer, thanks for being patient & I promise, I'll be back to normal soon.
Last, but not least, John. Being married to someone who spends all her free time doing something you don't do is hard, especially when that means needing to be in bed by 9 o'clock every night & spending all day Saturday & Sunday working out. Thanks for giving me a pass on household duties, but more importantly, thanks for actually supporting me, not just going along because you have to. Thanks for understanding this is important to me & for being proud of me. I'll never get tired of over-hearing you explain to someone what I'm training for & how long the distance is. Plus, you're a pretty good pit master.
Full race photostream on Facebook and Flickr.