Sunday, August 8, 2010

First triathlon!

I did it! It's been exactly one year since my very first race when I did the CLT as a relay. Since then, I've learned a lot about racing and training, and things went really smoothly. I made a list of triathlon items all week, packed the night before (never pack the morning of a big race!), set out exactly what to wear in the morning down to my sunglasses and watch, got out of bed at 5:45AM and was at the park by 7:10AM. That gave me a comfortable amount of time to set up my station before my 8:20AM start time although more time wouldn't have hurt. I had neatly divided my swim, bike, and run stuff into different baggies, so I pulled them out one by one and had everything set up on top of a towel with the appropriate footwear (3 pairs of shoes for one race!). I talked myself through each of my transitions and felt unusually organized and calm. I had some extra time to visit with my friends, get my number marked all over my body (hands, arms, calves, and thighs), and pick up my timing chip.

Food/water/etc: I had cereal and lots of coffee before leaving home. I was pretty well hydrated at the start and ate half a Clif bar before the race. I had a few sips of water during the swim-bike transition and I should have drank more because I was severely dehydrated the entire first half of the bike. If I ever do another bike race, I'll need to figure out a better way of hydrating: either a Camelback (yuck) or installing a water bottle near the handlebars. The water bottles along the down tube are just too awkward to be reached easily. I taped one pack of goo to my bike and had another in my bike jersey. I consumed those along with gatorade and water on the bike ride. I had too much to eat because it took my stomach a little time to settle down when I started running.

Clothes (and there were a lot of them): SWIM: swimsuit with a sports bra underneath, full body wetsuit, goggles and swim cap. BIKE: bike shorts pulled over the swimsuit (stylish!), bike jersey top, sunglasses, helmet, socks, and biking shoes. RUN: tank top (pre-pinned with race number), running shorts, and running shoes. It's really hard to change clothing while soaking wet, so next time I'd consider wearing bathing suit bottoms and a tank top so I'd only have to pull on shorts. They've cleverly made the number tags waterproof so those can be pinned on before the race.

Weather: Perfect! A cool 60-70F and overcast without rain.


Swim: I got clobbered in the face twice and nearly had a panic attack before the 5 minute mark. Impressively, this was the only time in the entire race I seriously considered quitting. I guess practice is the only way to get used to open water swimming, but it still freaks me out *every single time*. I managed to stave off a full blown panic attack by keeping pace with the girl next to me. I swam at a slower than comfortable pace for half the distance because I didn't want to move away from the buoys. I felt much better on the return trip and made up some time. Swim time: 1.5K in 35:04.

Transition: Shaky. I took is slow or else I would have crashed my bike. Luckily it only took a mile or two to regain my equilibrium.

Bike: I should be a faster biker but I only seem to have one speed. I think I lack a regular training partner so I don't push myself to improve. It was disheartening to continuously get passed the entire trip, although it did make me realize how many people I had beaten out of the water. I love being on my bike so much that I just sat back and enjoyed the ride. Bike time: 24.6 miles in 1:35:55 (down from 1:40 during the practice a few weeks back), 15.3 mph.

Transition: Painful. My legs and my stomach were not happy for the first mile. After that, my pace picked up nicely.

Run: This hurt the entire time. I really wish that we didn't have to do two loops of the same course. The first time was wonderful. The run takes you right to the base of Taughannock Falls and couldn't be more picturesque. The second loop was slower than the first and only the thought of being able to lie down got me to the finish line. Run time: 1:06:14 for 10K, 10:41 min/mile pace.

Total time: 3:24:31. I won my first and last medal for an athletic event: #2 out of the 4 females aged 25-29 in the intermediate race. It felt stupid to accept the medal but as my friends and my adviser put it, '#2 out of more than two is good.' In the individual events, my rankings reflected the amount of time I spent training on each sport. My swim time was AWESOME and it's because I've been swimming regularly. I've been running short distances lately so I was undertrained for 6 miles, and I can count the number of times I've been road biking this year on two hands. But it's over and I have no complaints whatsoever about the way things turned out. I have no regrets about signing up for the intermediate. I would not have enjoyed the sprint distance nearly as much.

What's next for me? I'm done with training for the season. My next race is the one to graduate. I do have one more physical goal for the year though. I would really like to be able to do a pullup because I've never been able to do one. Yup, that's right: I'm aiming to do one pullup. I think that means lots of quality time at the climbing wall and with my shiny new pullup bar.

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