The Connection Runners + [triathlon]

A Tri Virgin No More

DONE!

After many weeks of training and dealing with anticipatory nerves, I'm finally done with my first triathlon.

Here are my splits:
Swim 13:35
T1 3:44
Bike 48:15
T2 1:25
Run 31:08
TOTAL 1:38:05

My times were good enough for these finishes:
7/12 25-29 age division
59/117 gender
159/239 overall sprint distance

Not too shabby, if I do say so myself. I was shooting for at least a 1:45 finish, and I beat that by 7 minutes. Perfectly average times for a perfectly average athlete. Very happy with my overall performance, and perhaps even happier that I DID NOT die in the swim. Thank you, Aquaman wetsuit.

The rest of our group did awesome as well. Kev, Savoie, and Sprague completed the Olympic distance amid ridiculously hot temps and unexpected rolling hills on the 10k. Savoie and Kev broke the 3-hour mark while Sprague came in just behind in the early 3's. Kim and Liz killed it on the Sprint, with Kim finishing a few minutes before me and Liz a minute or two after me.

3 Disciplines did a fab job putting the race together. The swim was pretty clean; the nasty weeds at the start/finish buoys had been cut down and the water was populated by plenty of large course markers and friendly lifeguards on paddle boards. My fears of drowning were almost instantly qualmed by a) said lifeguards; b) the rule that allowed athletes to hang on to buoys without penalty if needed; and c) the added buoyancy from the wetsuit. Still, the swim was not a cake walk - with the sun glaring and my lungs heaving, I completed the majority of it by backstroking.

Coming out the swim, my mind turned to the transition. Though my legs were dead, I skipped up the hill to the transition area and got down to business. Transitioning should be considered a sport in itself - holy moly! Ripping off a wetsuit, throwing on a dri-fit tank, and trying to remember socks, bike shoes, helmet and sunglasses was quite the challenge in just a few minutes. Even worse, just as I was ready to cross the mat to the bike, I realized my chip had gotten stuck in the wetsuit. As I uttered several curse words, I ran back and luckily found it.

The 12.8 mile bike was pretty good. Despite my earlier disposition to take it easy on the way out, I hammered through the first hills and clipped along. I was tired, but knowing I was nearly half done made it easy to keep my quads pumping. On the way back, I knew I had to face "The Monster" hill, so I tried to keep my motivation going by talking to myself. I usually despite perky pep talks during races, but that hill is a bitch so I gave in to the perkiness. ("You can do this, girl!" and "F you hill! I'm beating you!") And it worked! I stayed on the bike through the whole hill, even though I only hit 5.7 mph at the peak. (Note: I was never so happy to see a sign that read "Horse Camp") The downhill afterward was awesome, and I cruised into the park at 21 mph.

Transition 2 went much smoother than the first, and I was out on the run before I knew it. Again, my legs were dead weight, but somehow I kept them shuffling along. Some mild cramps were eased at mile 2 with a sip of Gatorade. It was hot, I was tired, but at that point I didn't care because I knew I was nearly done. I sang the Golden Girls theme song in my head for the last mile or so (no MP3 players allowed) and for some reason, it worked. (A special shout out goes to Dorothy, Blanche, Rose, and Sophia for getting me through that last bit of back country road!)

In the final half mile, I tried to pick off athletes coming in, but my legs were so beat. Eventually, an older woman in a horrifically pattern running dress got me in the chute (and I hate running dresses about as much as perkiness), but in the end, the excitement of finishing overwhelmed me and I forgot about Patterned Dress Lady. Kim greeted me at the end of the chute where we shared a huge high five and hug before going to find our parents/groupies to watch the others come in.

Though I had some initial concerns about drowning, dying, and the like, I'm pretty sure I've been bitten by the Tri Bug. Running regular road races will always be my first love, but the challenge of multi-sport racing is pretty awesome, too. Our group is already looking to do another in August.

Today's Point Two: "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns 'N Roses. I'm nearly positive that this was the song playing as I exited the swim course. I can't be completely sure because I was dizzy, exhausted, and nearly blacking out, but I do know Axel's voice when I hear it. Plus, this song is fitting for any race, but especially works for the "Jungle" that is the tri.