This Sunday marked the start of triathlon season! Whoot whoot! My first race of the year was the Greendale Sprint Triathlon. This was a particular fun race, because it was held at my gym. In the lake that I do most of my open water practice in. With all my friends. Overall a great day, with results I was not at all expecting.
The week leading up to the race was not spectacular from a training perspective. I got a cortisone shot in my hip last Thursday and was on enforced rest since. So aside from some yoga, mostly rest. By rest, of course, I also mean my crazy life schedule of kid activities and work commitments. I just wrote a post on pre-race jitters - needless to say I didn't have any time to even get nervous about this race. Moreover the doctor had told me to take it easy on the race (no PRs, please), and I had already switched my entry to a relay, with my friend Spark's wicked fast sister taking over the running leg for me. My biggest goal was just to have fun!
Most of my concern was logistical. My runner was also watching Spark's 3 year old son at the race, which meant that I need to bring my gang and the Jedi along to take over childcare for Spark Jr. once I came into T2. Can you have children in transition? Not sure.... While I love having my family there to cheer for me, the little circus that is my kiddos does invariably make things more complicated.
I also had never done a triathlon as a relay before, and wasn't quite sure how all that worked. Plus packing with weird, and setting up my prep transition felt funny as well, since I didn't have anything running-related to remember.
|Night before transition setup/packing. Kitty mandatory|
Morning of, I needn't have worried. The Jedi's packing and prep is thorough that he had the kids dressed and in the car as I was still blinking sleep out of my eyes. He even brewed my coffee and then put it in the car to get me to hurry up and get a good transition spot (which turned out to not be necessary since they were assigned by bib number). I got set up, got drawn on, and had a good amount of time to take photos with friends. Plus a random stranger wearing a "Running Sucks" tshirt that I just HAD to document.
|Spark, me and Hummingbird ready to go!|
|Running does suck.....|
The Swim: 1/2 mile in 17:31
I was very excited to test out my new Total Immersion skills in a race for open water. I even used my tempo trainer (it's like a metronome in your cap) to keep me calm and focused, with steady pacing. One of the common drills I do in the pool is to vary the pace on my tempo trainer, while making sure to maintain my stroke per length count. Faster tempo with same SPL = faster swimmer.
My TI skills did not disappoint. I was calm and steady the entire swim. My only complaint was that one leg of the "square" we were swimming was stright into the sun, and for the life of me I couldn't even see the buoy. So I just kind of followed along. I also had the new experience of bumping into several swimmers as I passed them. I definitely hit a few feet and even a couple of bums - it's hard to apologize while swimming. I exited the water feeling great and like I could have swam quite a bit longer.
Coming out of the swim was my favorite moment of the whole race. My kids were right there at the swim exit. From there you have to run up a short ramp and into the transition area. My kids ran the whole length with me, yelling "Go Mommy Go!!!" while several other spectators said "Aww! Look at that!" and similar expressions of cuteness. I loved having my little cheerleaders to run me up!
Transition 1: 1:52
Transition was uneventful. I had a bit of a wardrobe change from my usual trikit - choosing to race in a sports bra and then throw over my favorite cycling jersey for the bike leg. I can only attribute my relatively quick transition time to practice and getting more comfortable with racing.
The Bike: 16.5 in 1:00:32
I'd ridden the bike course a week prior (again, the advantages of a home-town race!) and was pretty familiar with it. Moreover, a big portion of the course overlaps the Monday night group rides I often do as training, so I was feeling good. Despite the doctor's admonitions to take it easy, my hip felt great. There were a lot of turns on the course, but they were all very well manned, so I was able to keep my speed well above 16 mph for most sections. The course was more or less a gradual climb up for the first half, then a nice fun downhill and some rollers at the end. I was flying. It was gorgeous weather, I felt great. I went for it. Towards the end I realized I might be about to bring it in under an hour, so I sprinted. I came in so fast that my husband barely got a picture of me. I came into T2 about 5-10 minutes before I'd told my runner to expect me, and yelled for her as I crossed the timing mat, since she was down the far end chatting. Turns out I missed the hour mark by a few seconds. But still. I walked over to where my husband and kids were, and he told me that I was one of the first 10-20 women in on the bike. Really?
|Coming in hot|
T2: 19 seconds. Much faster for a relay! Chest bump and go!
The Run (not me): 2.5 miles in 19:10
Before the race my swim coach Gil, who was racked near me, asked if I was feeling disappointed about not running. I answered honestly no - not even a little bit. Especially since my runner did a lightening-fast 7:40/mile pace! She was back before I missed her. I ran with her the last 1/2 mile or so to the finish. She still left me in the dust, but I was happy to run with no pain!
Total time for our Relay Team: 1:39:25
While they don't mix your scores in with the age groupers when you do a relay, if I had been, I would have been 3rd in my AG for the swim and 4th for the bike leg. I was also the 12th female overall on the bike leg. That feels pretty darn good.
All my friends did well, with my swim coach Gill winning the relay division, friend and coach Jill taking 1st for her age group, and Hummingbird and Spark putting in excellent times as well.
|At the finish - Hummingbird, me, Gill, and Jill|
I feel like this was an excellent start to the tri season. That truthfully came out of nowhere, since I've had a lot of health issues and life conflicts in the last month. I'm looking forward now to the New England TriFest Olympic distance triathlon at the end of the month. Just keep swimming, try to keep my bike legs strong, and even maybe get my running legs back a bit. I've started the Galloway-style run/walk intervals to get moving again. Ironically, the day after the race (yesterday), I ran/walked 2.5 for myself. So who knows how the next one will go?
My coach Sheriff asked me what I attributed my performance to. In the swim - definitely the hours in the pool and the Total Immersion training. On the bike... honestly those few days of rest! I know that many taper while still working out... I seem to do the best with a few days completely off in the days before a race. More rest! Magical.....
|Irony - 2.5 miles day after race!|
This race definitely stands out as one of the most fun I've ever done. Good clean tri fun with all my buddies. What more can you ask for??