As previously mentioned, I decided to forgo my graduation ceremony this past Saturday in order to race the 2nd annual Tri for the Y in Freeport. It’s a small race and apparently smaller than the previous year. The race is a 325 yard pool swim, 13 mile bike, and a 5k run. Much of the bike course follows the Lobsterman bike course except you veer left up Pleasant hill instead of veering right onto Flying Point Rd. It was a beautiful day. Sunny and low 70s! The race started at 9am, but my swim wave didn’t start till 10am.
Normally I would have gotten my race packet the night before, but Friday was a bit hectic and I was driving all over the place so I decided to get it race morning. I’ve always been a bit of a nervous nellie race mornings. My worst fear is being late for a race! However, I wasn’t really nervous about the race as I was just anxious to get it over with. I chose to do this race as my season oper just as a run through for Mooseman and I’m glad I did. I definitely had some cobwebs to get rid of, especially involving my transitions, which were quite pitiful.
I went into the race with very high expectations for myself. I wanted to win my age group and place top 10 women overall. Was it out of the realm of possibility? No, I don’t think so. Was it a bit of a stretch? Yes. I severely underestimated the number of fast women runners, since that’s where I lost yet again! Race morning was different then all my other races previously because a) I picked up my race packet the day of the race, b) didn’t have a wetsuit with me so I kept thinking I was missing important items, and c) had a late start. My coach had me do a quick 10 minute warm-up on the bike, followed by another quick jog, and a few laps in the pool. My warm up was complete by 8:30am. I’m glad I took Azul for a quick ride because my front derailleur was acting up and having a hard time shifting from my small ring to the big one. I played around with it for a bit and got it working, but she was still making a few funny noises and start to make me nervous. There was bike support pre-race, but I’m not a fan of their shop and I only let a few select, trusted people touch my bike. I would have used them if I felt that something was really wrong with my bike though.
Since this race was a pool swim only 12 people could swim at a time. People were put into waves based on their projected time for completing a a 325 yard swim. I gave the time of 6 minutes knowing that I should in reality finish much closer to 5 minutes. When submitting our times we were informed that if we swam over our projected times then we were in danger of being pulled from the pool and thus I decided I’d rather be safe than sorry. The first wave started at 9am. My wave started at 10am.
The first wave of swimmers were people who predicted to take 15 minutes to finish. I ended up watching most of the first wave because it was rather inspiring. A majority of the swimmers were either obese and/or over the age of 65. The best part was watching all their faces as they finished their swims. It was a huge accomplishment for many of them. Personally, for me finishing a 325 yd swim is not even a warm up. Last night I swam a tough 3200 yd swim and still could have handled more. It reminded me that sometimes not everyone’s goal is to win. Sometimes just finishing it enough!
In a nut shell, I had a horrible swim. I’m the type of swimmer that takes a while to warm up. I usually don’t feel good in a swim till after the 1000 yard mark. I’ve discovered that I am either a sprinter (and can sprint up to 150 yards good) or swim distance (0.5 to 1.2 mile) strong. I did a 200 yard warm up around 8:15 and then either sat around or walked around aimlessly till my 10am start (or in the bathroom with some gastro issues, urgh!). By this time I was cooled down. I shared a lane with a tall, first-time triathlete. He asked me before we started what time I aiming for. I told him around 5:15ish. Soon it was time to start. I took off and instantly knew this was going to be a bad swim. I couldn’t find my groove quickly. The guy kept crossing the black line and swimming into me. It was annoying, but I can deal with it since this is what happens in OWS. Just as soon as it was started, it was over. 325 yards goes quickly when you normally swim anywhere between 2500-3200 yards at a time during training. My average pace was 1:45 yd/min, which is absolutely horrible for me. I know a lot of women I have swam with would kill for that average, but I should have been more like a 1:25-1:30 yd/min. I’m still upset with myself about my swim performance. Grr..
Swim time: 5:40 Pace: 1:45 yd/min Swim Overall Place: 26/123
The bike course follows most of the beginning parts of the Lobsterman course. It’s a rolling hill course with a lovely climb up Pleasant Hill, around a neighborhood and back down and head back towards the Y. My coach told me to hammer it. My legs felt pretty good coming out of the swim. My transition time wasn’t bad. I didn’t have to worry about a wetsuit. However, my bike got stuck on one of the old-school road bikes in my rack so I had to untangle her to get her out. Once out of transition I put Azul in her big ring and went for it. I’ve been working on my cadence so I concentrated on spinning my legs compared to mashing the pedals. I passed one women who was doing exactly that and burning herself out. I yelled at her to just spin her legs, but I have no clue if she even heard me or just said “screw you lady” under her breathe. She never passed me. I was only passed by a couple of people on the course. I passed a few of course too. The course was pretty empty due to the small size of the race. I averaged 18.3mph on the bike. I was really hoping to be closer to 19.5mph, which indicated to me that I’m not exactly where I want and feel I should be bike fitness wise. However, I did have a few good things occur during my ride: a) I pushed it on the downhill parts and stayed in aero position without wanting to cry or piss myself, and b) I cornered in aero position on several occasions again without wanting to cry or piss myself. Azul kept making a weird “rubbing” noise during my ride so I was slightly worried that sometime might happen, but I was pretty confident that she would be fine. At one point a boat with boat trailer pulled out as I was descending a hill near the boat yard and made me a bit nervous due to the fact he was hugging the white line, but I survived!
Bike Time: 42:42 Pace: 18.3 mph Bike Overall Place: 30/123
My transition from bike to run was dreadfully horrible and this is clearly where I lost third place. Bike went into the rack no problem. Bike shoes off and running shoes on, no problem. Garmin watch on, big problem. I was stupid and couldn’t get my watch on and stood there for about a good 45 seconds trying to latch my watch on my wrist. STUPID MISTAKE! Should have grabbed the watch and run. The only watch that matters is the official time clock! Grr… legs felt great coming out of T2! I quickly was able to find my pace. My garmin was telling me I was running about my 5k pace, but I felt like I was running sooo slow. I saw bike shop boy out on the course and he yelled at me to run faster. Typical. I just kept moving forward. The first aid station came after mile 1. I grabbed some water and ran through the station. I was able to throw a few drops down my throat, half of it up my nose, and then the rest over my head. It was starting to get a bit hot on the course. Then came the hill. It was a gradual incline for about 0.25 mile, turn around, and then back down. I passed a few people on the hill and was passed by a couple fast running men. I passed at least one girl in my age group! I was starting to slow at this point due to the climb, but I made sure to push it on the downhill to make up some time. Then it was a right hand turn down a small incline to the turn around and then up a slight incline and about a mile to go to the finish. I passed a few people here, but I was starting to slow a bit, but still sub-9:00/mile according to the Garmin. Once I could see the finish I picked up my speed to finish strong. I had a very good run, but I do believe that I could (and should have) pushed it more. And, the awesome announcer guy called me Catherine. Sorry buddy, not quite!
Run Time: 27:24 Pace: 9:08/mile Run Overall Place: 46/123
Total Time: 1:19:43 Overall Place: 35/123 Women Place: 16/80 AG (W20-29): 4/12
Was it a bad race? No. But I’m still disappointed. I realized several things from the race though:
- Pool races are really not great for me due to the fact I need more time to warm up for swimming. Will I do another? Most likely. It was fun.
- Don’t dick around in transition! Grab the watch and run!
- I don’t like not knowing who was in my age group. In most triathlons you start your swim wave in your age group. In a pool swim you usually don’t due to the swim times. I had no clue who was in my age group really even though we all had our ages on our legs. I’m very competitive so I need a target to really bring out my inner speed demon!
- My run has become much stronger and hiring a coach was the best decision I have made in regards to all my training.
- I’m still not happy with my bike fitness at the moment but I know it will come and I will be a much stronger and more efficient rider. Two good things about my bike leg occured: I pushed it hard on the downhills and also cornered in aero position!
Mooseman is in 10 days. I got my race plan from my coach earlier this week and got strangely excited about it. Race season has officially begun!