Saturday was my second triathlon! Here, let me tell you all about it.
- I got to share the experience with wonderful people! My husband and two of my close friends also participated, and it was their first triathlon. The husband of one of those friends was there too, and I made sure he knew that Support Spouses are the unsung but much-appreciated heroes of multi-sport. My Irondad and stepmom came out and cheered us on and took pictures and video. It was so great being there with all these people I love.
- The course was nice! The water temperature in the lake was pleasant, there were pretty wildflowers growing throughout the recreation area, and there was a paved path to run on.
- I made a good decision, asking for late check out at the hotel so we could go back to shower and change after the race. I felt so much more human going out to lunch minus all the sweat, sunscreen and cold wet clothing!
- The weather. It was hard to enjoy the scenery because we couldn’t see it – the whole morning was ridiculously foggy. It was also kind of cold, windy, and drizzly on the bike (this didn’t bother me, but Alex was cursing me, thinking “She SAID it was going to be pretty!”).
- The race was pretty disorganized. There weren’t enough buoys or kayakers on the swim course, especially considering the visibility issues. The volunteers were all kids who didn’t know what was going on or where anything was. The transition area was not arranged by number (which I know is just how it is sometimes, but I’m not a fan). The run was on the honor system – there was no volunteer or timing mat at the sprint turnaround point, just a small sign.
- The religious element. Nowhere in the advertising for this did I see anything about it being a Christian event, yet I stood there uncomfortably while they said a pre-race prayer over the PA, and we are now the not-so-proud owners of Big Rock Triathlon t-shirts with bible verses printed across the front. Not cool.
Now on to the race itself!
It was a Stephen King horrorshow of mist and fog. Triathletes would head out into the water, get about 10 feet away, and completely disappear.
My girlfriends and I were in the very last wave, and I know I’m not a particularly strong swimmer. I worried that everyone would just take off and I wouldn’t be able to see anyone or know which way to go… so I threw everything I know about proper swimming technique out the window. I kept my head above water almost the entire time, and did my bizarre breast-stroke doggie-paddle frog-kick swim as fast as I could. It worked! I followed the half-mile course and finished in 19:01.
I survived! The 20k course took me 47:53, which is just ok (averaged about 15mph). I know I can ride faster, especially with some hill training and some more practice with clipless pedals). My loaner bike was light and fast, but I am still getting used to the different geometry of it, and the clips still terrify me. I mounted and dismounted very slowly and carefully (but didn’t fall!), and I walked a little bit on the big hill at the end because I was going so slow I was afraid I might fall over, clipped in. All in all, I’m ok with my bike leg.
Ugh. Not my best 5k. Lots of walking – my calves were cramping and the cardio endurance just wasn’t there. 37:32.
Overall… I’m so glad I did this one. I’m proud of myself and my loved ones for completing it, and it was a good wake-up call that I have some work to do before my longer triathlons this season. Onward!