Don't Be Fooled!!
Triathlons are in fact HARD! To summerize in one word, "UGH!!".
So let me spend a few minutes talking about the good things before it gets u-g-l-y. First of all, I would definitely recommend this race to anyone who feels like they can do a triathlon. The swim was in a pool (thank god), the bike & run courses were flat, and the transition area was *very* easy to get in and out of. I don't have this one to compare to any others, but it was very clear as to what I had to do. I didn't have to ask questions about anything. Even the body marking wasn't that bad!
Luckily the weather was on my side, completely overcast! The sun stayed away for the entire race!! The Shady Grove area just outside of Richmond was nice too. Our hotel was just minutes from the race site and convenient to everything without all the congestion of traffic. We ate at a great restaurant called Capital Ale House on Saturday...probably not the best place for a pre-race dinner. ;-) The drive was easy, maybe that was because I didn't drive. haha! But it wasn't like you had to go off of many roads to get to it. It was straight forward, turn here, turn there, voila! Good stuff.
Now the race.
Swimming - 300m - 7:47
For those of you not familiar, you are ranked based on your estimated swim time. The athletes then start one by one in the pool at 10 second intervals. My estimated time was (supposed to be) 6:30. That put me at 223 overall. So I was the 223rd person to start which put me starting 46 mins after the official start time of 7:00am. The first lap was awesome. I felt good and strong. Kev says that I may have finished the first lap in 52-ish seconds, which would be a record for me if I could keep it up. Well, unfortunately, I could not. By lap 4 I think I went into panic mode. All the good techniques that I was taught and so consistantly practiced during my training went straight down the tubes. My technique sucked just about as much as water that I inhaled. I was passed by a couple of people....ok, maybe like 5...and all I could think was "get me to the end without drowning". I finally make it to the end and heave my body up out of the pool. Most of the athletes were able to do this successfully, by lifting themselves and throwing one of their legs up on the end and pushing themselves up. In all of my pre-race visions, and during my warm-up, this is how I thought I would exit......um, no. I am so tired already that I heaved my self up out of the water and basically layed out like a beached whale. I was NOT going to fall back in the water, that's for darn sure! I finally make it out of the water and run towards the transition area.
Transition 1 - 3:03
It's funny how your mind perceives time. I thought for sure I was out of the transition area in like 1:30....haha, nope! The good thing here is that I was calm and got everything on as smoothly as I thought was possible. I had to remove my cap & goggles and put on my running tank, cycle shorts, socks, shoes & finally my helmet. Again, I thought this was done in minimal time, but apparently not.
Biking - 20k (~12.4 mi) - 39:38
(Sorry it's sideways, Blogger is stupid!)
I think, for this race, that I loved the biking the most. Which is *very* weird. Maybe it was because I actually passed people, and they weren't passing me! haha! I finally passed those darn 12 & 14 year old girls that had faster swim times than me....whew! Although this was the longest event, it felt as though it went by quickly. Since the course was so flat, it did not require me to come out of the saddle, which in turn made my feet numb. Mainly my toes, but that kinda sucked with the run! I feel satisfied with the bike time. :-)
Transition 2 - 0:55
Wow!! Less than a minute! I am happy about this transition. I was ranked 10 out 146 in this....LOL. It's nice to know that I am very good at taking off my helmet and putting on my race number. geesh.....oh well, I will take it!
Running - 5k (~3.1mi) - 27:25
I will admit that I was a little ambitious about estimating a 24-25 min run time. I had it all planned out too! I would just overcome the mental game by repeating "I am a machine! I am a machine!". Well, "I am a machine" went quickly to, "Oh god, just don't walk". I was in so much pain by the time I started running. My body was hating me. I was just so physically exhausted that even all those good runs off the bike during training was not going to happen today. Fortunately, I *didn't* walk and was able to finish strong. My first comment after crossing the line and seeing my husband was, "I am never doing this again. It was the hardest thing I have ever done." To which Kev replied, "Harder than your half-marathon?" And I said, "Yes, harder than my half-marathon.....I would rather run a marathon!!" Seeing as I have never ran a marathon before, I don't know how true that last statement really was. haha! But I definitely think that the 1/2-marathon was easier than this. ;-)
Overall, I finished 56th out of 142 females and 10th out of 25 females in my age group. I suppose that I can call myself a triathlete now. I am glad it's done. I am glad I completed it successfully. I am glad I didn't suffer any major injuries. I am glad I had a coach who tried to keep me in check with reality. I am anxious for my next big race....maybe I can get in that Army Ten Miler! Or perhaps another shot at a triathlon up at Lake Anna??
Thank you Kevin for being so supportive with all this craziness that I put myself through. Oh, and thanks for assisting me with the changing of my flat bike tire!! It's nice to know that you are always there to take care of me. :-)