I ran my first ever triathlon this morning. It was a perfectly beautiful day.
Here is a bunch of randomness about my experience:
* Confession: I only rode my bike that one time that I posted about it on facebook. I know I ended that post with, "I can't wait to do it again on Saturday!" Well, I didn't. I bought the bike over two years ago, and today was the second time I rode the dang thing.
* I am a swimmer first, runner second, and a biker never. Is it right to say biker? That sounds like a motorcycle dude. Anyway, biker/cyclist/rider/peddler? I am going to go with peddler...and I am not one.
* Training for a bike race on a stationary bike at the YMCA, even with the resistance set at 13, is not comparable to hitting the road on a craptastic bike. Also the YMCA needs to get some head winds up in there to help prepare me better for my next race.
* 98% of participants were wearing wetsuits. I had checked online last night for the water temperature around Coronado and the internet told me that it was 63 degrees yesterday. I thought that didn't sound too bad, but I started to get pretty nervous about freezing in the water when I saw nearly everyone wearing one. The water was delightful! If it had been any warmer, I would have thought it was uncomfortable. All those people were needlessly wearing wetsuits, in my opinion.
* I botched the swim. I did about 800m instead of 500m. The sprint swim was marked by a green buoy at the start, then two yellow buoys, then a red one at the finish. The Olympic swim was marked with orange buoys between the start and finish. After I passed yellow buoy #2 my purple tinted goggles made one of the orange buoys appear red...and I went significantly out of the way to get to it. Some guy on a surf board had to paddle to me and say, "Where do you think you're going? Have you not noticed there is nobody in front of you? What do you think, you are faster than everybody?" Yeah, I did think that I was faster than everybody...and I was moving pretty quick in the wrong direction for a couple minutes! I felt like such a dummy! I was really sad that I messed up the swim, because that was supposed to be my strongest leg, and I was in the front of the pack until I got lost. :(
*Okay...back to bike. Why so serious biker/cylist/peddler people? Looking back, I could have gone quite a bit faster during the bike portion, but I took it slow because I was afraid of burning out before the run. There were no mile markers on the bike course, so I had no clue how far I had gone, or how far I had to go. I amused myself by taking selfies and sending them to Brad, also offering high fives to at least half the people who passed me going in the other direction. I got a bunch of mean looks. I smiled at everybody going the other way, and most of them just looked down to avoid eye contact with me. The few big smiles I got back were awesome. I got three total people who tried to accept my high fives, but only one made contact. Thank God for that guy because I had almost concluded that all people on bicycles were just jerks. He really tried to make it work, and boosted my morale for the rest of the bike portion.
*Another morale boost: At the second bike turn around, I started belting out Total Eclipse of the Heart, and my performance was met with cheering and applause. Yeah, I know the volunteers cheer for everyone that goes by...but this was SPECIAL cheering! "Turn around, Bright Eyes....turn around, Bright eyes...every now and then I fall apart!"
*I met a sweet girl, Krystal, at the starting line. This was also her first triathlon. We chatted for a bit before our wave was up. She made the same swim mistake as me, so I didn't feel to silly about it. She is a much faster cyclist than I am, so even though I transitioned out of the water before she did, she caught me and passed me on the bike right after the second turn around. We exchanged a couple quick words as she went by, then she turned around to tell me she'd wait for me at the finish...which caused her to veer into the other lane a bit. So, OF COURSE, I started singing, "Don't turn around, cause your gonna see my heart breaking. Don't turn around, I don't want you seeing me cry!" (Ace of base for those of you who might not know).
*I like to sing while I am on my bike...loud enough for everyone to hear. My voice is now suffering for that.
* They write your gender and your age on the back of your right calf with fat permanent marker. I am so not in favor of this. Like I really need know that the fat guy passing me on the left is 63 years old. Not good for morale.
*So....the first two miles of the run were on SAND! Lovely. Freaking lovely.
* Somewhere after the first mile of the run I connected with a girl named Jen who looked like she was in some pain, so I asked if she was alright. It turned out she is just a bad ass Crossfitter who did some dead lifts on Friday and was feeling the affects of that today (you all know how the second day is always worse, right?) We finished the race together. She is in the Air Force and works on C-17s. She was really nice and let me tell her my life story for that last two and a half miles. It was super great because this was the first race I have ever done by myself. I am used to talking to someone. It makes the time seem to pass so much faster! And, the time didn't just seem to go faster...we were actually going pretty fast, faster than my normal pace anyway.
*Kori woke up super early to come with me. I missed her at the finish, but she got a couple good pictures.
*Oh, my chain on my bike must have gotten knocked off when I took it out of the van...I noticed as I was mounting my bike to start the bike leg. Thank God Brad showed me how easy it was to fix it. It only took me about 3 seconds. Kori said she saw some guy trying to fix his for a couple minutes, and he had grease all over his hands when he finally got it. That totally could have been me!
*I took Kori home and went home to get ready for church. We walked in late, but still caught most of the sermon which was all about pressing on toward the goal and getting up every time you fall. Pastor used at least a dozen race analogies...and it made me happy. :)
(This should have been closer to 13 minutes--it only takes me 9ish minutes in the pool, GRRRR)
(pretty much the longest that it took anyone to get on their bike because I had to fix my swim cap hair into bike helmet hair)
(I wasn't taking this portion seriously at all, I was singing and taking selfies/texting and such, so I know I can improve on this time quite a but one hour was my original goal, and I beat that....barely)
(also longer than most transitions. I racked my bike and headed for the "run out" and just as I was getting to the chip mat, I realized I forgot to put on my shirt that had the bib attached to it. Then, when I went back to get it, I couldn't find my bag)
(I killed this run, especially because the first half was on sand. It was a 6k, not a 5k...so 3.73mi. I was expecting 35-40 minutes because I didn't know how tired I would be after the other two legs. But, I maintained a 8:20/mile pace for nearly 4 miles after swimming and biking, and that's pretty amazing for me)
Total time: 1:54:22
(11th out of 14 women in the F30-34 division...and 274th out of 320 overall, meh)
If I could do it again next weekend, I am sure I could make my goal of 1:45 or under if I hit the bike a little harder, cleaned up my transitions a little, and swam the correct course!
All in all, it felt really good, and I would absolutely do it again next weekend. I feel crappy about not meeting my 1:45 goal...but okay about still making it under 2 hours (which was my original goal). I think my goal for the Olympic distance at Bass Lake in May will be just to finish, and my goal for the 70.3 in Santa Cruz in September will be to just not die (55 miles on the bike--holy crap, how will I survive?). I could swim 1.2 miles and run 13.1 miles right now, but the bike is not my friend....yet.
Oh, and my other goal for my next race is to look a little better in my trisuit, and be able to zip it up without feeling like I am going to break the zipper!
Oh, and my other, other goal is to complete a minimum of three solid high fives on the bike course. Haha!