Man oh man, bring on the races! I’m not ready! But I still love it. This was surprisingly the biggest field I’ve raced in (my age group) for a sprint race. There were 71 of us 30-34yr olds! I placed 15th, which I wasn’t too impressed with until I saw how close the final numbers were. I was just a few minutes away from 2nd place—so that gives you an idea of how close we all were.
My race was much more solid than a couple of weeks ago. I was feeling good (though no more prepared for the swim than I was 2 weeks ago!) & ready to really race this time. We were swimming in a bay–we all just started off in the water, so we were just treading for a good 5 minutes before our heat went. I for some reason placed myself right at the very front, as if I was some speed demon swimmer & couldn’t be bothered with all the “newbies” behind me. About a minute before the race, I contemplated just swimming to the back of the pack–but it was too late. And I figured I could use all the head start I could get. No one warned me about the seaweed. It was everywhere! Ewwwww! It was grabbing onto my arms, ruining my attempt at a pretty stroke, and just making me feel gross. I kept thinking it would end, and eventually it did–but I felt coming out of the water I was going to be looking like a swamp woman (you know how those swamp women look!). Also, there is no doubt about it that my swim is not up to par. It’s a fairly short distance (450 meters or so), but my shoulders/arms had enough about 200m into it. I could feel people passing me, but there isn’t much to do other than to keep going. I was surrounded by girls the entire time, so I never had a moment to just relax and really focus on my stroke. I was just trying to keep forward momentum.
I was really focused getting on the bike & I’m sure my transition times were much better this race. I paid an extra $20 to be VIP–so I wouldn’t have to attend the pre-race expo the day before–but it meant my bike placement was on a rack labeled VIP. I have never been VIP in my life, so this was by far the most thrilling part of the race: “Excuse me guys, VIP coming through!” The bike was short (9 miles), so I really tried to push it. I was speedy on the way out (22 mph) & it felt amazingly easy. I should’ve known this meant the wind was helping me out–because making the loop, ugh, it got progressively harder. I passed a few ladies right away–and there was one girl in my age group right in front of me through much of the race that I finally passed in the last mile. It was really strange having a short, fairly flat bike race. I remember back to San Fran last year–how PAINFUL those hills were & how much it slowed me down. It’s something I love about triathlons–each one is its own race.
I was feeling really great coming off of the bike–my breathing was controlled & I was looking forward to the run. The run was 2 loops–which is weird for such a short run (3 miles). My basic problem with the run is the first 15 minutes of it. I still can’t quite figure out how to pace myself. So much can go wrong so fast on a run–sudden side stitches/cramps being the worst…that will have me walking. But by the last mile or so, I felt “safe” & like I could really pick it up–and man, I passed at least 4 or so people in my age group–sweet! I finished strong with a sprint–and two guys ruined my photo finish by chasing each other down to get to the mat first–I said, “really?!” as they pushed me aside. I wanted to comment on how my swim started after theirs & I beat them both, but I refrained.
It sucked to see that after I ran a pretty smooth race, I was 15th–I haven’t been that low in a sprint race ever, but again–with such a large field (70), –and once I looked at times online, I saw how close we all were. And that’s the biggest joy/frustration–knowing I’m just a few minutes away from being on top. But of course, those are the kind of small improvements that take the most time/effort. I was really happy to see my swim was just a couple minutes off–not ridiculously slow like it felt. I feel like if I could finish in the top 10 during the swim, though, I would be racing alongside the best folks for the bike/run & that would drive me to be faster.
I used to think, “why work on the swim? it’s just a couple of minutes difference,” but now I really do want to be a triple threat (since I can’t sing or dance, let’s try this instead). It means I should probably get in the pool instead of just showing up at the race & trying to all of a sudden will myself to be a great swimmer (I’ll be starting at the front, guys, excuse me, thanks, did I mention VIP??).
The race itself was really well organized. There was parking onsite, the course was well labeled, started on time, etc–it was at a park, so the views were either the bay or dirt…not amazing, but always fun being outside. It was cool and cloudy, which is perfect for race day. Well, there’s race #2 for the year. The third is coming up way too soon–in 2 weeks!–and it’s a long one (1000 m swim…huh? wha?)…but after that, I only have 3 more scheduled for the entire year–so you won’t be reading these posts EVERY WEEK, I promise. But thanks for reading this one.
AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM! I LOVE YOU!