This was sprint triathlon #2 for me…and it was a little over a month ago. Right after the race I wasn’t feeling overly excited about how it went (more on that later) so I decided to wait a few days to blog about it. Well those “few days” got away from me, so here I am today to tell you about it – mostly because I have blogged about every race I’ve done to date and I want to keep up the tradition!
The day before the race we had to check our bikes at the transition area…and leave them there overnight. Talk about losing sleep before a race, I kept dreaming I got there and someone had stolen my bike (which is a little ridiculous considering I had the cheapest bike in the entire race – literally). I stayed for a quick race overview from the race director and took a second to look over a couple of the course maps.
It was weird not to have my bike but it was much easier to carry my stuff into the transition area in the morning :) Of course, I forgot to take a photo of my transition area – I have got to remember during my next tri!
One of the main reasons I signed up for this particular race (other than the fact that you get a medal) was that they had a special swim cap color for new triathletes – to help the lifeguards look out for the new swimmers. Cuz if I start drowning I want someone to get to me quickly haha. Since this was my first open water swim, I marked that I was a new triathlete – and got a bright yellow swim cap to prove it.
Once I made my way over to the swim area, I waited for my wave – women from 21 – 39 (huge age group, right?). Just before the start I looked around a realized that like 90% of the women had yellow caps on too. Based on what I’ve heard about the “bloodbath” at the start of tri’s I decided to start as far back as I could. Since this was an in the water start, I waited halfway in the water at the edge of the sand (rather than treading water)until the rest of the group started swimming, then followed behind.
That’s where I made my mistake. You see, I greatly underestimated my swimming abilities. I assumed I was a pretty poor swimmer, but after about 2 strokes I caught up with the group, and was stuck behind some pretty awful swimmers. I was still really shakey and wasn’t really sure how to get around all these people, so I practically doggie paddled behind them for the first 200 meters. After turning and passing the second buoy, I decided I had to swim around all these people if I was going to actually swim at any point. Once I got in my groove I felt much better – and somehow ended up catching up to a few of the slow male swimmers from the wave before mine (not sure how that happened…). So lesson learned. I’m by no means a fabulous swimmer, but I need to be more confident and a bit more aggressive at the start.
Coming out of the water the race photographers took the most unflattering picture of me ever taken in my life. Thank you Zazoosh, just what I wanted to see. And because I know you guys need a good laugh (besides, why would I not post horrific pictures of myself on the internet?). Here it is:
Ugh, I have no words for it…
The transition from swim to bike was interesting. You had to run across a street and up a flight of stairs to enter the transition area (and my bike was on the other end). I actually passed 2 girls who were walking up the stairs, so that rocked! I was able to get ready for the relatively quickly, but I somehow put my shirt on backwards and had to take it off and flip it around so I definitely lost a few seconds there.
The bike portion went ok. That’s really all I can say about it. I felt 100 times more comfortable on my bike for this tri, but I was no match for these intense cyclists. I think I passed about 4 people total (not counting the guy who got a flat tire). So nothing to write home about. The course was also pretty hilly – I’m guessing they picked the only two hills in Arizona and made us bike over them each twice, plus they threw a couple bridges and ride on the freeway during the course. It was a tough course, but overall I enjoyed just cruising along.
I did feel relatively speedy in my bike-run transition. But the start of the run was to go down those stairs I ran up after the swim. Then later in the middle of the run there was another set of stairs to run down – who puts stairs in the middle of a race?!?. Mentally the run was the hardest part for me. At this point it was already really hot out (I think it was in the mid 90’s) and it was starting to get to me. I also started to feel some pain in my right ankle and tried to run it out. It only got worse, so after I passed the 1st mile marker I decided to walk a little, but ended up walking almost the entire second mile. By some miracle almost no one passed me (except a 12 year old kid), so I sucked it up and ran the last mile.
The last 1/8 mile of the course there was a huge hill (or at least it felt huge at that point) but it was so close to the finish line that I decided to push through a run as fast as I could. In the last second I passed the guy in front of me hehe. Passing people at the end always make the last sprint totally worth it.
And I got another medal to add to the collection
Final thoughts: I left this race feeling like I could have done better. Not once did I ever feel like I gave it my all, I felt like I was just going through the motions. I don’t know if it was my mindset that day, the heat or just the fact that I didn’t invest serious hours into my training, but I just didn’t push myself. However, I did have lots of fun – so if that’s not a reason to race, I don’t know what is :)
Here were my overall finish times for the sprint distance:
Swim - 12:11
Bike - 50:29
T2 - 1:13
Run - 33:28
Total Time - 1:40:05
I do want to add that this one one of the best organized races I’ve ever attended. It ran smoothly and the staff was informative and helpful – not to mention I left with some pretty fun swag. In addition to the usual t-shirt I got a reusable bag, a sticker, a big plastic cup and a finisher drink koozie – all with the Tempe International Triathlon logo on it. Kinda fun right?