My first triathlon is in the books! Overall, it was a great experience. A bit more challenging than I expected, but I’m so glad I did it.
I didn’t post goals in advance, as I had no idea what to aim for… but I was hoping for something in this range:
- 500m Swim: Less than 10 minutes
- 16.6 mile Bike: 55ish minutes
- 3.24 mile Run: 23ish minutes
- Total (with 1 minute transitions): Approx 1 hour, 30 minutes
So here’s the recap:
I was able to carpool with a neighbor, so I got up at 5am and rode in with him and his wife arriving by 6am. After a short walk to the start, so I had about fifteen minutes to set up transition before it closed at 6:30am. Then we walked 500m along the water to the start.
I was hoping to warm up in the water, but ran out of time as the first wave took off at 6:45am. My wave left at 7:23am. We treaded the water for a few minutes until the gun went off.
I’m not sure what happened, (maybe I started too fast?) but suddenly my breaths were coming much too quickly to match my 3-stroke breathing pattern. I started panicking a bit and decided to flip to my back to float and calm myself down before swimming more. I had to do this twice before I finally decided to breathe only on one side, after every two strokes, to allow my heart rate to slow down and my breathing to normalize.
Once I finally got in the groove, I felt like I was moving along okay, but I knew I had wasted a lot of time in the water. I now understand how people can have a mini-panic attack in the open swim!
Thankfully, we swam along the shore the whole way, so I always knew where I was. I was thrilled to see those finish buoys.
Transition 1: Thanks to all the advice I got in advance, the transitions went pretty well. I opted out of cycling shoes, as I’m too new to be comfortable getting clipped in. So I threw on socks and sneakers (love those stretchy laces!), buckled my race bib on, clipped the helmet and grabbed my bike- T1: 1:10.
My heart was still racing from my swimming experience, so it took me a mile or so to start to feel better and focus on the bike. I had decided to opt out of a watch and had no idea what pace I was going. I was passed by a few seriously speedy ladies, but also passed my fair share.
It was a two-loop course, so we got to ride past the spectators half way through. My husband and Lil were cheering at every transition and snapped these lovely pictures. It was so nice to hear their voices!
I tried to pick up my pace for the second half, but have no way to prove whether that actually happened. The loop was a “T” so I slowed down a lot at all four of those corners, but overall was happy with my time. 16.6 miles- 50:41 (19.7 MPH)
Transition 2: All I had to do was run in, drop off the bike and helmet, and run out. I also took a second to drink water, as I hadn’t worked up the nerve to grab my water bottle on the bike ride. And I grabbed a few Honey Stinger chews for quick energy. T2- :43
Ahh, finally- I had made it to my favorite part! I ate two chews and tried to find my legs under me. I was not moving very quickly for the first half mile but neither was anyone else. With each mile, I began to find a little more speed, but my legs didn’t have a whole lot left.
Since I was running without my watch, I was guessing that I had run most of the 3.24 miles around an 8 minute pace. Although it wasn’t the pace I had hoped for, this was definitely my strong point of the day. I was finally passing some of those speedy biking women, and didn’t get passed at all.
Amazingly enough, my shin muscle/tendon felt fine! I wore my Tommie Copper compression sleeves the entire race. Stylin, I know. Final time- 24:18 (7:30 pace).
I was so ready to be done at the finish, I stopped over the first line and didn’t realize it was the second line that recorded chip time. I lost some time before I realized everyone was yelling at me to keep going, and I finished the run.
Final overall time- 1:29:36 (6th age group)
I came in just below my estimated time of 1:30:00, but I have plenty of room for improvement (the swim being the obvious one!) It was actually a lot more fun than I expected… the adrenaline that I normally get at the start of a running race was kicking in through each transition period as well. I enjoyed the challenge of something new, and am loving that I can cross this off my bucket list now!
For local runners, I would definitely recommend the Shadow Creek triathlon. It was well-organized, and the swim and bike courses were ideal for a newbie. This was only the second year, and they had about 650 participants. I liked that it was large enough to have action around me at all times, but small enough that it wasn’t overcrowded or overwhelming.
I definitely can’t say I’m “hooked” on triathlons the way I am on running. But I also won’t say it’s my last!