Mom and I have been diligently training for a few months now and the triathlon day was finally here. The night before (Friday) we went to the site, checked in and racked our bikes in their appropriate places. After testing the water and scouting out the competition, we left to partake in a hefty carbo loaded pre-race dinner and an early bed time.
5:15 came early this morning and was for me, the worst part of the day. I can push through any physical pain of racing, but by golly, DON'T wake me up early!!! We arrived in plenty of time to double check air pressure in our bike tires, set out our transition gear, use the porter pottys, and pick up our race timing chips and get marked. As we watched everyone else meander around the athlete area, I was nervous as the "real" pros all seemed to be donning wet suits for the swim. I just knew that the water would be freezing and me in my amateur gear and at my first race would want to quit upon my big toe touching that chilled morning water.
Finally the first waves were ready to begin. They were the faster competitors, doing the half iron man distance. Mom and I were in the last wave (age group women sprint triathlon racers) and had about 50 minutes before we were to start. We moseyed down to the beach area to watch the starts and to try to acclimate ourselves to the 70 degree water as announced.
Much to my delight, upon reaching the beach and testing the water, it was not 70 degrees. There was no need for wetsuits and those who had them on were disappointed, and trying to play it off by telling people that they would just be more buoyant.
Finally it was our turn to start. We were like cattle being herded towards the lake. When the buzzer went off, it was mass chaos as everyone ran towards the lake as if they were running for a treasure. Mom and I just slithered in and started swimming. People were thrashing and kicking and quite frankly, I think we looked like a pod of half dying fish flailing all over the place. I was a little nervous as we started because you CANNOT see in the lake water and many before us had ended up way off course due to the lack of vision.
Between not being able to see and kicking or running into another swimmer every two feet, I decided to forgo my steady free style stroke for a more effective breast stroke pull that would give me clearer vision and a more consistent swim. I know my free style would have been faster, but in all honesty there were so many people ahead of me, I couldn't have passed them anyway, so I just focused on staying on course and keeping my pace. Breast stroke did the trick. Once it opened up later on, I busted out the freestyle.
We finished the swim and made our way to the transition area. Our transitions were SLOW!!! We took our time drying off, eating and sipping water. We weren't in it to win, so it wasn't a big deal just to take our time and be comfortable. I couldn't snap my helmet on either and that seemed to cause problems and slow me down quite a bit.
Finally we took off for the hilly 15 mile bike ride. There isn't much to tell about the ride. It was hilly, but fun and seemed to go by pretty fast. The course was through the countryside around the lake area and was nice and scenic.
We arrived back from the bike, dropped of our rides in the transition area and took off for the 3.2 mile run. My adrenaline was going as it was the last leg of the race and I was feeling pretty good. Mom was planning on run/walking the run portion, so at some point, I bid her farewell and continued on. It was all uphill one way and then you did a U-turn and it was downhill going back. I knew I would see mom on the return and we could high five and check on each other then.
I finished right at 2:15 and change. I wasn't speedy gonzales, however I felt good about the race and actually had a GREAT time doing it. My transitions should have and could have been much faster, however that wasn't that big of a deal, and next time I think my swim will be better now that I know what to expect....did you hear that, NEXT time??! Yep, already planning a few more races for this triathlon season!
Anyway, all in all it was a great experience. I am going to do another post debriefing race day, so look for that soon. I also want to give a shout out to Dad and CT3, our fearless fan club, cheerleaders and photographers. They were very sweet to come and cheer us on and we were thankful they were there!!
Sorry for the long post, enjoy the pictures!
Me setting out all of my gear the night before.
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The night before checking out the swim waters. Pretty, huh??
The night before racking our bikes.
The transition area the morning of.
Our ages marked on the back of our legs.