I competed in my fifth triathlon on Saturday, the Riverbluff NashVegas Triathlon in Ashland City, hosted by Start 2 Finish Event Management Nashville. You could choose between three distances: sprint, Olympic, or half Iron. I opted for sprint distance: 400 meter open water swim (in the Cumberland), 14 mile bike ride & 3.4 mile run.
Hilarious side note: I thought the bike course was 12 miles & didn't realize it was 14 until I finished the race. Same for the run. Um, prepare much?
400 meter swim: 10:43 (2:40/100m pace)
Ah, sweet, sweet, short swim. I'd love to go back in time & tell 2012 Kim, who could barely swim 25m, that in a year, a 400m open water swim would be easy.
I need a name for my race persona. Sasha HAM? Well, Sasha HAM went a little too HAM at the beginning of the swim. I started too fast & had to switch to breast stroke for a minute to catch my breath. I gave myself to the first buoy to get it together & then I HAM-ed out the rest of the swim.
There were only six other Athenas in my age group & one of them was in front of me. I gave myself to the second buoy to catch her & pass her. And I did! One Athena down, five to go.
I had to run (barefoot) up the boat ramp to transition, put on my bike shoes, helmet & Garmin & take off. Not a bad transition time.
Also, I used sidewalk chalk for the first time & it really helped! I made a big pink arrow pointing towards my bike & then I made an asterisk in front of my row so I'd know where to turn. Sidewalk chalk, for the win!
14 mile bike ride: 56:54 (14.76 mph pace)
Again, zero preparedness for this race. All I knew was that the bike course was a flat, 12 mile out & back. Which was true. LAST YEAR. They changed the bike course this year. Oops. But it was fine. There was one monster hill, but the rest of course was flat. Speaking of, there must have been a lot of beginners in this race because hardly anyone rode their bike up that hill. Everyone I passed was walking. Weird.
My one complaint about this race is that it wasn't a closed course. Meaning - there were cars on the course. Which was a NIGHTMARE. I spent the first few miles behind a woman driving in the middle of the road, with a lit cigarette in her hand, & the window down. Every time someone rode up to her, she slowed down to a stop & waved them, with her cigarette hand, around her car. There were cyclists in both lanes, so it was a complete shit show. Everyone who past her, yelled at her, but she was clueless. Basically, the entire 14 miles was like that, plus some awesome major intersections with semi trucks & cars hauling boats. I actually just learned that someone got hit by a car on Saturday & is still in the hospital. Yikes!
This transition is always fast for me. I just switch shoes & take off. I actually got a little stalled this time because the girl in front of me fell off her bike at dismount & I almost hit her, then I paused & asked if she was okay before I ran my bike into transition. (She wasn't hurt & she passed me on the run.)
3.4 mile run: 41:09 (12:06/mile pace)
I did something during this race that you're not supposed to do. I took new nutrition. You're not supposed to take anything in a race that you haven't practiced taking in training. Luckily, I lived. I took a caffeinated salt pill on the bike so I wouldn't cramp on the run. A) I didn't cramp. B) That shock of caffeine kind of really worked for me. I ran a lot faster than I usually do during triathlons. And my heart didn't explode! Bonus!
Total time: 1:52
This race felt really good ("I feel good!"). I actually think this is my new favorite race. I liked how close it was to my house, I liked the later start time (9am) & I liked the course. Unlike Tri Fall Creek Falls, I was 100% surrounded by other racers the entire time. I get energy by being around other people, plus I'm competitive & race better surrounded by people I can either pace myself with or try & pass. That, plus the caffeine, made for a pretty good finish time.
I loved this race. There were a lot of things Start 2 Finish did that I appreciated. It was well organized, the volunteers knew what they were doing, the transition area was great, the swim start was close to transition, the iPad results system is awesome. My two complaints are that the bike course wasn't closed & that they only awarded the top two Athenas (I was third). But I'll definitely make a point to register for more of their races.
I race better when I think I'm winning. I remember at Tri Fall Creek Falls, as soon as the race started, I was all too aware of the fact that I was in the back of the pack. Everyone was faster than me, so my race strategy was finish, not win. In contrast, at NashVegas, I knew there were six other Athenas in my age group & I was determined to beat them all. I beat four. The two that beat me, beat me by 13 & 18 minutes, respectively. My swim was great, but they beat me on the bike & the run. If I can get up to 16 or 17 mph on the bike & closer to a 10-minute mile on the run, I'll be more aligned with my competition next year.
Triathlon season ends in October & I'm out of town next week, so I'm basically done for the year, which makes me sad. I'm thinking about doing a Half Iron next year. Maybe Gulf Coast or Augusta (probably Augusta). If I do that, which, of course I will, then I'll probably start training with a coach. Also, on that note, should I join Nashville Tri Club? I should, right?
I guess for now I'll go back to running. I'll probably run the Blvd Bolt in November & then maybe start training for another half marathon. And then transition into Half Iron training? I don't know.
To be continued...
Full race photostream on Flickr.