It's hard to believe that over 3 years ago I started this blog to train for my first sprint triathlon. It has certainly evolved since then, but it's been fun to track the many adventures of the last 3 years and I plan to continue it for awhile, even if it's not always consistent. It's also hard to believe that I went almost 3 years before doing another sprint tri, since I really enjoyed doing my first one! I'm glad I decided to jump back into it with a little bit shorter of a tri than last time. It was still hard at times!
Before the Tri
We picked up our race packets on Saturday. Prior to that, I had planned to wait for my friends after the swim and do at least the biking portion of the race with them. As you can probably tell I'm not a super competitive person, and I'd rather do a race with someone than make a faster time. Unfortunately, I found out on Saturday the pool swim staggered start meant that I was actually starting the entire race 30 and 45 minutes ahead of them. Clearly I was not going to wait 30 minutes after the swim, so I realized I was going to be alone the whole race. This wouldn't be a big deal since Caroline and I started at different times in our last tri, but I immediately started putting pressure on myself to beat my last times and I think this really took away from some of my enjoyment of the race. I really had not trained for a fast race, so in hindsight deciding the night before to have time goals was maybe not the best. Oh well!
1/4 mile, 7:36
Leading up to the race, I was feeling pretty good about the swim, and the fact that it was in a pool. This training round, my swimming was my strongest area and I loved not worrying about ocean currents or waves. However, there were some things I did not love. We had to give an estimated swim time when we registered, so I put 8 minutes which I knew was probably a little bit of an overestimate but I wasn't very far into training so it was hard to know. It was clear immediately that most people guessed their swim time because there were definitely different paces in the pool. I ended up passing a couple of people, which takes some concentration. We also started on one end of the pool and ended on another, so we had to switch lanes every other lap. This was also tiring, and took some of my breath and interrupted my flow. On the other hand, I did not get kicked one single time in this race, which was a big step up from the last one where I was definitely kicked a few times. I was pretty happy with my swim time, but I think if I did more speed practice I could improve on this next time.
7 miles, 30:58
Yes, I put my helmet on backwards and no one felt the need to inform me of this, ha ha! Oh well. I was not a fan of the biking portion this race, which was really disappointing to me considering last time it was BY FAR my favorite part of the race. The swimming start times made this race significantly more spread out than my last tri, and I found myself completely by myself (as in I could not see ANY bikers in front of or behind me) for most of the biking part. It's hard to mentally gear up to go faster when you feel like you are just out for a leisurely bike ride! I also did not bike enough and/or prepare for hills so I blame myself for that. I had a hard time getting my breath back after the swim and I was feeling kind of yucky for this entire ride. Good thing it was not long! The good thing about the bike was that it was a loop and we did it twice so I got to see my cheering section at the beginning, middle and the end- which I definitely appreciated! Also I should mention my Garmin had my bike ride at 7 minutes, so I think my 30 minutes includes transition times possibly before the bike but I'm not sure how it works.
2.3 miles, 23.03
I was definitely happier during the run, although a bit confused about why they mentioned it was on a dirt running path when I did not see dirt for even one minute. Oh well! My legs felt fine and I did a lot better cardio-wise than my last race where it was hot during the run and I was not well trained. Don't get me wrong, it was still hard to catch my breath and there was some real mental battles especially at the beginning when I felt like the 2 mile mark would never come. There were a couple of cute little kid spectators that definitely perked me up and although there were still not a lot of people running with me, I did at least see a few people that reassured me I was on the right path. I felt strong enough to sprint into the finish line so I feel like that is a good sign!
I think my real success in this race was convincing two friends from work to do it with me. We all had a lot of fun training and freaking out before the race together. Plus, they have both already said they want to do another one very soon. The teacher in me is more proud about that success than anything I physically accomplished. Even if they were pretty easy to convince! But that's not to say I'm disappointed in my body either, I'm proud of a lot of what happened in this race. I'm proud of my swim time. I'm proud of myself for maintaining a 10 minute mile run even after swimming and biking. I'm a little disappointed that despite better training (at least in swimming and running), I still was not able to beat my old times (I adjusted for different distances). I really have NO idea how I busted out my swim in the last one!
I also have to give a huge shout out to my cheerleaders at this race. My sister, mom, dad and mother in law all came to cheer me on and I really truly appreciate that they woke up early, drove quite a distance and stood in the not-so-warm weather all to support me. I think everyone who does races can understand what a huge difference it makes to have people cheering just when you are starting "why the heck do I do this to myself again?!" I especially appreciate the fact that Caroline understands my need for the perfect pictures and not only understands but is so good at photography that she can actually make it happen. As someone who has attempted to take good pictures of others during races I can say, it is NOT easy!
Mark my words, I will NOT let 3 years go by before I do another triathlon. Lots of weddings and trips this summer mean it might be a little longer than I would like but I'm hoping to do another one in September. I also have my eye on an aquathon, which would be a mile swim and a 5K. The only problem is I can't really swim a mile right now, and apparently in this particular race you have to be able to swim it in less than 30 minutes which I will JUST meet if I keep up my current pace. So, Ill need to practice a bit, but I love swimming right now so I'm okay with it. Really though, my goal for my next race is to have more fun. During my rough moments this past race, I was taking myself way too seriously. The reality is when it comes to sprint triathlons, most adults will be impressed that I even did any kind of triathlon, and most kids will never be impressed until I WIN the race... which leaves me at only really needing to impress myself. So I will.