Better late than never. I finally raced! I completed The Niantic Bay Sprint Tri on Sunday August 7th!
I woke up in the morning after barely sleeping the night before. I don't think I was nervous, but who knows what was up. It was POURING rain. Ugh! This was the first race that Tom was coming just to spectate and support me. He's brought the kids to a couple of races, but I usually just go by myself. After a 'discussion' a bit ago we both decided that it would be 'nice' if he was more involved in my racing.... so he decided to come with. Bet he was especially happy that it rained the ENTIRE time! Way to jump in sweety!
We rolled hoping that the rain would subside. It was absolutely pouring the entire drive there... I was going through my mental check list as to whether or not it was worth it to race in this awesome weather. You know I was nervous about riding my bike in the rain after my awesome crash last summer. (okay.. so I only had some road rash.. no breaks or anything, but it was still traumatic to me.)
By the time we got there it was just misting and I felt like I would be a total P.... ansy if I didn't race. I started sipping my First Endurance EFS Grape mixed with PreRace. I only did a little bit of pre-race because it was my first time using it and it was 'just a sprint'.. gave me a bit of an edge and helped with my lack of sleep for sure!
The chop in the water was pretty bad and we would be swimming out against the current then across it then with it (for what seemed like 5 feet) and we were warned it was going to be rough. Ultimately they shortened the swim. (you know I'm ALWAYS down with that.) Strangely I wasn't worried about the swim at all. Perhaps because all of my attention was on how I was going to get through the bike without crashing. :)
As we lined up for the swim I must have been in a daze because as the announcer said "10 seconds" I "woke up" and realized I was standing right in the front.. uh, what am I doing up here? I backed up a few rows (in hind site I should have stayed right where I was). We were off. The chop was BAD. We couldn't see a thing, but I just kept swimming. My VERY FIRST triathlon was Super choppy - even choppier than this one - and I wasn't able to freestyle the whole way. Sunday I just put my head down, stayed calm and swam the whole way. I felt really bad for people who were doing their first triathlon ... but they got through it just as I did. By the time we got to the middle of the swim I would site and not see very many women in front of me. At first I thought 'wow I am way behind.' then I realized that maybe I wasn't. I'm not sure what the reality was, but I was proud of myself for not indulging my negative thoughts. I'm proud of my swim for not going to the dark (negative) side and for swimming (freestyle)the entire race in the choppy choppy water.
T1 was uneventful. The transition area was like a huge puddle in a parking lot so at least the sand got washed off my feet. I opted to not wear socks on the bike because it was recommended that we take our bike shoes off to run our bikes in because it was a steep downhill into transition and is very slippery on cleats... so my socks would just get soaked.
The ride starts uphill so I was in a nice easy gear to start... surprisingly most others were not. Weird. So I cruised right out of there. The ride was rolling for the most part ... bc NO part of CT is FLAT. I felt I put in a solid effort... though my hill climbing still needs a bit of work. I went back and forth with a woman (not in my age group) for most of the ride. I usually try to run down women in my age group, but didn't see too many of them out there. There was one I was almost certain was in my age group, but I couldn't catch her.
Coming up on T2 I decided that since I was to take my bike shoes off I would try the whole take your shoes off before dismounting thing. Why the hell not? Well it was a lot easier than I thought it would be. My shoes did bang on the ground as I ran my bike in.... it was a long run. Seemed to be much more efficient though. I think I will continue to do this. Nothing like particular race circumstances taking you out of your comfort zone.
T2: I rolled in and the girl in the spot next to me was still there getting her stuff on. She had wracked her bike in my spot. I'm too damn nice. I should have said something to her, but I waited until she was done and moved her bike into her spot (after moving what I assume was her wetsuit hanging on the wrack where HER bike went). And off I went.
As always the run felt HARD. The whole can't breathe thing. I could feel my left hamstring on every single foot strike. I just tried to keep my steps light and the cadence up. I felt like I was probably right about my normal pace... which was slower than I had wanted to run, but it was all I could push for. Triathlon is so funny that way. According to the run split (if the course was actually 3.5 miles as it was advertised) I ran sub 7 minute miles... um almost a full 2 minutes FASTER than my 'normal pace' that I thought I was running. I suppose I'll never really know if the course was legit unless I drive an hour and 40 mins to drive it! I didn't wear my Garmin. Oh.. maybe I'll ask my buddy if he wore his. I have a hard time believing I ran that fast off the bike having not been working on my running. Maybe I'll lift more and run less if it makes me that much faster. ha (kidding)
All in all it was a good race. I came in 7/21 in my age group and 134/474 overall.
1:18:26 14:02 swim, 1:57 T1, 37:20 Bike, 1:09 T2, 24:01 run... I'll take it.