I am very happy overall with completing my first triathlon. This is something I don’t think I could have done 5 years ago, but I set my sights on doing a triathlon, and doing well. I had no preconceived notions about “crushing it”, but did want to excel at the parts I am more experienced with (biking). Lots of time put in at RBR Wednesdays helped me get my transitions time competitive (hey, this is FREE time) and get the legs moving better coming off the bike. Could I have done better? I think we all look back at a race and know where we could improve, and my story is no different.
Arrived at Centennial Park at 5:15: How nice to have a local race. No strange hotel and all the “unknowns” that go along with it. I set up and chatted with fellow racers in transition. As usual, I was fortunate to meet some new (to me) MMTC'ers and talk with the many friends I have made in the club. It is always nice to have friendly faces to be with while waiting to start. My wait wasn’t long since I was put into the first swim wave.
Swim .62 mile - (28:31, 430/599 overall, 13/20 AG) Ugh. So disappointed in the swim, but it was my first open water swim, and while I expected contact, I was not ready for full contact swimming. I tried to find a spot near the back, but I must have taken too long getting in because the horn sounded and I was mid-pack to the right. Within the first 10 yards I got kicked, had been bumped from either side about a half dozen times, and then someone swam right over the top of me. YIKES! I had a pretty severe panic attack and remembered someone telling me “Something will go wrong. Get over it and relax so that you enjoy the day.” So I switched to breast stroke until I settled down and then tried to go back to freestyle. I must have been somewhere mid pack because I was still getting all sorts of contact. The panic started to come back so I resigned myself to “getting through the swim”. I set my “just finish the swim” goal at 30 minutes (AKA – my backup goal), which I beat, and I exited the water thankful to be back on dry land.
T1 - (2:34, 129/599 overall, 2/20 AG) Thanks to RBR and all the work on transition, this is where my race started to come back to me. My legs were a bit unsure coming out of the swim, and I was feeling a bit drained from the panic attacks, but I felt strong heading out to the bike.
Bike. 16 miles. (48:53, 68/599 overall, 4/20 AG). Ahhh... Back into my element. Felt strong going out on the bike and focused on keeping my cadence high on the hills and pedaling hard on the downhill sections. I was passing people that I know swam by me in the swim, so it was good to know I was making up for that miserable performance in the water. Here comes that voice again telling me “Something will go wrong. Get over it and relax so that you enjoy the day.” I was enjoying my ride and realized I had indeed put the swim behind me, in more ways than one. I still seem to struggle keeping my speed on the uphill sections, and once more found myself getting passed by a rider or two, but all 20 years younger, so I just shouted encouragement and dug deep for more leg. Homewood hill has been my nemesis, but found myself fresh and picking off a rider or two as I slugged my way to the top. Spin out the legs on the rollers heading back to the park. I ended up with an average of 19.6 mph, so now my confidence is back.
T2 – (1:07, 178/599 overall, 2/20 AG). Missed 1st in my AG by 10 seconds, but I am more than happy with a consistent 2/20 in AG and my transitions overall. Thanks again to RBR for the opportunity to work on this.
Run. 3.4 miles. (29:47, 178/599 overall, 5/20 AG). It took a while to get my legs under me for the run. I started getting some lower back pain, so I shortened my stride, increased my cadence, and focused on a slight lean. By the time I hit the first water stop all was better, so I shifted my stride and focused on breathing. Made the turn to start up Gatorade Hill and felt strong, but not confident how much was left in the tank. Knowing there was a return trip back up and over caused me to hold back a little too much. On the return trip, I knew I had only one mile left to the finish line and the major obstacles of the day were all behind me. So I decided to let it go, stretch out the legs, and savor the last few minutes of the race. I looked at my splits and see 9:32 for mile 1, 9:03 for mile 2, 8:14 for mile 3, and the final push of 2:52 for the last .4 mile. I think I held back on the mile 1 and 2, but still OK with my run. I was at least putting in negative splits!
So I take away lots of things from my first triathlon. My first goal was to enjoy the day. Check. Next was to finish. Check. I set a target goal of 1:50:00 for the total time. Nearly checked – only 49 seconds off. I think I’ll take a Mulligan and round down. Changed from a competitive swim of 22-24 minutes to survive the swim and beat 30 minutes. Hmmm small check? Do well on the bike. Check. Do well in both transitions. Check. Run the entire course, even Gatorade Hill. Check – Although I have to walk for water until I figure out how not to choke while running. The take away from the race – More open water swim and I can move up a position, maybe two. These old guys are Super Competitive!
And now my shout out to my MMTC family. You guys totally rock! I cannot begin to count the number of times I heard “Go MMTC!”. To the crew at Gatorade Hill – Awesome as always! We all need that extra encouragement to not loose focus when the end of the race is so near. To all the tent volunteers – How do people do these races without all the support you provide?! Both before the race and after. The friendly “Hello. Are you excited?” and the “How did you do?” and “Congratulations”, Its nice to see my enthusiasm and happiness reflected in so many other like-minded, crazy people. But that’s what family is.