First, a quick thank you to everyone for your kind words regarding The O-HI-30 Dating Rulebook! Whether you’re currently dating and need advice or in a lifelong marriage and give it, it speaks to us all.
This past weekend, I competed in my first triathlon of the season!
Recall that a couple weeks ago, I posted about my training plans – or lack of – for my fourth summer season of triathlons. I discovered the sport in 2012, and all it took was one race for me to fall in love. Five triathlons later, I’m still in love!
Since the race was Saturday morning, I hurried home from work to prep for the race and make my standard pre-race meal: pasta! I went with spaghetti and meatballs. I made the meatballs from scratch using this recipe / technique – The Kitchn is a great blog for teaching you methods, not specific recipes. Highly recommend! I also prepared all of my race stuff using the checklist I made last year from my gear post, which was super helpful – blogging is coming in handy!
After some couch time with Season Three of GIRLS (thanks to Jackie, who delivered the library DVD!), I hit the sheets. I sometimes have a hard time sleeping the night before a race, but I guess I was tired cuz I slept like a log until my alarm went off at 5:10. I made my breakfast, gathered up all of my stuff, and drove the 25 minutes north to the race, stopping by Karen’s house on the way (bless her heart – she got up early to be my cheering squad of one!). Once we arrived at the race, it was go-go-go; I got my timing chip, body marked, set up my bike and transitions #1 and #2 (in the same location), and then it was time to swim!
The water temp the previous day was just 62 degrees (I stalked the Alum Creek Daily Fisherman’s Report!), so I was worried I would need a wetsuit. I’ve never worn one before, and as any athlete knows, you don’t start something new on race day! So I consulted the Triathlon group I belong to on Facebook, and of the 15 people who gave me advice, not a single one recommended the wetsuit. I did end up borrowing one from a co-worker just in case, but I wasn’t planning on wearing it unless I really needed to. They aren’t easy to remove, and although they supposedly make you faster (more buoyant), I was certain that any time I gained in the water would be negated by the time it took to remove the thing.
On race morning, the race announcers told us the water was a balmy 67 degrees. And you know what? When I put my hand in the water expecting it to feel icy, it actually felt warm – especially compared to the air temp. It was windy, cloudy, and only 60 degrees – brrr. The race started with my wave – 34 & under – women AND men! About 100 of us walked out into the water and lined up, so I made sure to get in front. I’m a good swimmer, and I didn’t want to be fighting through kicking feet to make my way forward. At 7:10, the buzzer went off, and it was go time!
Despite the fact that I always feel off my game during the swim – it’s just so different than being in a pool – I rocked it! I finished the 0.45 miles in 13 and a half minutes – a speedy time for me. Which was followed by a not-so-speedy transition from swim to bike! I clumsily put on a long sleeve shirt over my still-wet skin (and boy am I glad I did – it was cool on the bike), socks, bike shoes, helmet, watch, and finally made my way through transition in almost four minutes. Gotta work on that before my Olympic race!
And then there was the bike. Oh, the bike. If you’ve been reading my blog for some time then you know how I feel about the bike. Let’s just say that spinning does not translate outdoors! By mile 2 of the 17.89 miles, I was already cursing under my breath. It was HARD. At first I thought it was just me – my weak legs, my heavy bike, etc. – but then, when we finally turned directions halfway through – I realized it wasn’t me. It was the WIND! For the first half of the course we were fighting some serious winds, and on the second half, they went in our favor. The other contributing factor were the long, slow inclines – pushing and pulling for what felt like hours! But despite all of this, I somehow pulled off a 16 MPH average and completed the bike in 1:07 – not too shabby for me. I guess all of those 12 MPH were balanced by some 20 MPH!
And then it was on to the third and final section – the run! In my past sprint triathlons, the run has been a highlight for me, and happily, that was the case on this sprint too (this was NOT the case during my Olympic race last summer…). Although we ran on FOUR different terrains – large gravel, trail, pavement, and grass – and then back again – I felt great. These two pictures were taken on the same part of the course – we were running on the flat top of a hill, and these were my views to the right and to the left!
So many people passed me during the bike, but I’m happy to say that I know I passed at least a few of those same people during the run! I ran fast, and I felt great. Before I knew it, I was crossing the finish line with a 27:09 run time – a 9 min mile! Not too shabby for after swimming and biking, if I do say so myself. Karen was an excellent cheering squad of one, capturing this picture of me at the finish, and my friend Mark from my MBA program was also completed the Duathlon – run, bike, run. Congrats, Mark!
Total time: 1:53:48. It’s difficult to compare race to race, as all of the distances and transitions vary. But it’s safe to say that I improved in all three sports! Now about those transitions…. Also, I thought it was cool that you could get a printout of your results almost immediately following the race.
I titled this post Fast(ish), because while I am happy with my times on a personal level, I was surprised to see how poorly they stacked up to my competitors. Typically, a sprint triathlon attracts more amateur athletes – people dabbling in the sport for the first or second time. Well, that did not appear to be the case for this race. These women were FAST! I placed 45/71 women, 5/10 in my age group, and the top ten female finishers were all older than me. In fact, the second place winner was 55! From what I can tell, if you’re over the age of 35 and competing in triathlons – you’re probably pretty serious about it. These women were badasses! Really, quite inspiring.
After a warm shower (sooo good), I met my cousins Katie and Pete and Edward, my First Cousin Once Removed (aka, their son), for brunch! Sadly, the place we had in mind was closed – apparently brunch only applies on Sundays?! I was very sad as I had drippy eggs and a bloody mary in my mind most of the race. Instead, we headed across the street to Acre, a tasty fast-casual restaurant, but one that did not have drippy eggs or bloody marys. I opted for the Mole burrito, and ate it across from this cutie pie!
Adorable. The rest of the wknd was spent drinking beer with friends both old and new, writing the O-HI-30 dating rulebook, stretching it out in yoga, meeting a friends’ new baby, and watching the rest of GIRLS Season 3! It was lovely.
One triathlon down, one more to go this summer! I have some serious training to do before July 26!