This was my very first triathlon. Since I'm new to the group, I wanted to give some background...
2 years ago, I was a Mommy of 3 little boys 5 & under, completely out-of-shape and 70lbs overweight. I'd finally had enough and began a 15-month long journey to lose the weight. Six months after I started the diet, I started moving. At first it was difficult to run more than a few blocks... but I kept at it and things slowly got easier. A year ago, my baby started walking and finally decided that KidSpace isn't torture = so I was able to start taking classes in the gym. I've spent the last year working on increasing my cardio fitness and strength through Group Fitness classes. In June, I bought my first road bike. Not having ridden a bike in MANY years - and never having ridden a road bike, there definitely was a learning curve.
Many years ago (20?), inspired by a Danskin Women's Triathlon ad, I told myself that I'd like to do a triathlon someday. Unfortunately, life and many excuses got in the way, and too many years passed by. Over the past year or so my husband, in-laws, & new friends have renewed my interest in triathlon. This past weekend, I finally completed my first triathlon.
October 1, 2011
I'd fallen asleep the night before listening to a rain storm. Thankfully, it went away in the early morning hours and we awoke to a cool fall morning. We stayed in a house on Sunset Island in Ocean City. This meant we had a 45-minute drive to get to the race start but that wasn't a problem because the race didn't start until 9AM! Osprey is a VERY casual non-USAT race. Packet pickup is the night before or the morning of the race. Racers are give just a few reminders - not really any rules. Racers get to pick their own spot in transition and rack however they want. We got to transition over an hour before the start but there were already a lot of people there, so we didn't get the best spot but found a rack in the middle that had a unique marking on the aisle which made it easy to find. I was racing with my husband Kevin and his brother Joe. Turns out just about every guy in our row was named Joe (other than Kevin). I quickly learned one of the reasons why triathlon is so great - the fellow athletes! People around me were very kind and helpful to newbie me. The Joe I racked next to was clearly a very experienced Ironman triathlete but even he was very friendly and gave good advice. The advice I got the most that morning was "go easy on the swim".
About 20 minutes before the race start, there was a pre-race meeting (a few announcements) at transition and then everyone walked over to the swim start. The air was cool, but as we were walking over, the sun came out and warmed everyone. I'd brought an old pair of flip flops and a large long-sleeved t-shirt from the Goodwill pile at home to wear over my sleeveless wetsuit. I was happy I did that because it kept my feet and my body comfortable up until the time for my wave to enter the water.
SWIM 16:10 (184/328 OA)
I took everyone's advice and just swam the swim instead of racing. Unfortunately, I learned that I can't swim in a straight line and found myself swimming in the direction of out-to-sea instead of towards the buoys like all the other women in my wave were. This meant I didn't have to worry about jostling with other swimmers - but I ended up having to alternate often between free and breaststroke (I never learned how to properly site while swimming and I also only know how to breathe on my left... and all the buoys were to my right). I was most worried about the swim portion since I'd never done an OWS before and had only even practiced in the OW with a wetsuit 2 days before the race. I felt very relieved climbing up the steps to the pier at the end of the swim. Then it was a slow jog down the long pier to T1.
T1 3:33 (216/328 OA)
Embarrassingly slow. I had way too much trouble getting my wetsuit off. The extra huge chip that they required us to wear on the outside of our wetsuit didn't help matters either. I also decided to wear a jacket over my tri-top to keep me warm on the bike. That was harder to get on than I'd imagined since my skin was wet. In hindsight, I probably should have skipped the jacket. I looked at race photos and most people didn't wear anything over their tri clothes. Since the sun came out, things were warming up nicely.
BIKE 52:23 (137/328 OA)
I'd averaged 18mph on the rolling course in HoCo around our neighborhood, so I was looking forward to seeing how fast I could go on flat land. Unfortunately, I didn't realize how hard it would be to pedal into headwinds! It felt like most of the bike course was extremely windy - especially the 1st leg. I probably got too frustrated and lost my focus a bit because I only ended up averaging 17.7 (on my bike computer) by the end. I definitely want to get aero bars on my bike (and a bike fit) before next year. Riding in the drops for all that time got a bit uncomfortable.
I had purchased a Bento box before the race and found that handy to keep my nutrition in. In a preview of trouble to come... I decided to borrow my SIL's Garmin 405 to help me pace my run. I had it on the bike and the goal was to get it on my wrist during the bike. Well, my SIL has more of a petite frame, and I'm a large framed girl. I never was able to get it on my wrist right during the bike. In the end, I was holding the watch (in fear of dropping it!) while riding my bike (not ideal!)
T2 1:48 (225/328 OA)
Again - embarrassingly slow. I got the jacket off, race belt & hat on, and got the Garmin on my wrist as best it could get on. Then I tried to turn it on. No matter what I did I couldn't get the darn thing to get past the battery life screen. I finally took off and was still messing with it during the 1st half mile of the run.
Run 27:20 (131/328 OA)
I finally gave up on the watch and just ran... or I should say shuffled. I'd only run once in September due to a hip injury. I had an MRI the week before the race that ruled out a stress fracture so I was cleared to race - just doped up on Aleve. The run is an out and back along one long road with a turn right at the finish. The first half seemed to fly by - the second half seemed to never end. I enjoyed passing a few women in my AG (and remember passing one on the bike) so at least I knew I wouldn't be last.
I use time goals to motivate me. My goal for this race was to be Kevin & Joe's time from last year (Osprey was their 1st tri last year and the both finished at 1:44 and change). I was very happy when I crossed the finish line and realized that I beat their time by 3 minutes! An even sweeter surprise was that I placed in the top 1/3 of my AG!
There was not a race announcer and there wasn't anything given to finishers (other than food & drinks) There were plenty of cold drinks (Gatorade, water, soda) and snacks for the racers. Lunch was provided (wraps, fruit... and to all the racer's delight - a huge bin of Halloween candy!) Finish times were posted VERY quickly. Awards were given to the top 3 OA finishers as well as the top 3 finishers in each AG. I believe all the awards were nice engraved medals. We stayed for the awards ceremony. It was a treat to meet the Jardeleza's and cheer for Tim as he won his age group.