Wednesday, October 8, 2014

race recap: title 9 sprint triathlon (hint: i didn't drown)

So, I guess I should probably write about that triathlon that I did a month ago.. right? Here you go --

Months and months ago, I decided that I was bored of long distance running. Two straight summers of marathon training was tough. It's hard to do all of the fun outdoorsy things such as cycling and climbing when you're upping your mileage every week. So I had the brilliant idea of signing up for a sprint triathlon. I kept thinking "man, I have so much time to train for this! It'll be great!" And then all of a sudden it was seven weeks before race day and I had done nothing in the way of training.

Luckily, I have Julia, my amazingly talented athlete friend who came up with a really manageable training program for me. Obviously I didn't need much help or training with the run portion. I'm comfortable enough on the bike, but definitely needed some practice. And without a doubt, I needed the most help with swimming. I won't go into the nitty gritty of the training program, but the first four weeks consisted of 3 runs, 2 rides, and 1 swim workout. I also did short runs after one of my bike rides. As I got closer to race day it skewed more towards swimming and brick workouts.

As race day approached, I was feeling more comfortable on the bike, and definitely more at ease in the pool. Unfortunately, I was dealing with some niggling shoulder and back pain. I'm not sure where it came from, but it got pretty bad -- to the point where I went to the doctor and got an x-ray (and almost an MRI). Swimming felt okay, biking didn't feel great and running felt awful. After chatting with some people and doing a little research, I figured out that it seemed to be coming from my levator scapula area.  Stupid, stupid scapula. Anyway, I pretty much decided that I was going to do the race regardless of the shoulder pain.

I woke up on race day feeling pretty good - shoulder pain was minimal and I was excited and beyond nervous! Having run so many races, I am used to bringing very little with me. Triathlons require so. much. stuff. J2 helped me pack up the car (which was packed to the brim) and we made our way to Hopkinton. Let me tell you, having a fantastic sherpa REALLY comes in handy on race day:

Swim: .25 mile in 14:45 (3:21/100 yards) 
I set up my bike and made the last minute call to go without a wet suit. The water was really warm and, never having practiced with one before, I thought that I'd have a smoother transition without it. I left my little cheering crew (J2, France, and Julia) as I made my way into the water to start my wave. Being my first race, I opted for the newbie wave - a decision that I regretted as soon as the gun went off. I am by no means the strongest swimmer, but getting stuck behind and around people who are doing the backstroke or doggy paddle for a quarter of a mile was frustrating at times. I knew that the swim would be tough for me, and I was right. Every time I looked up, I felt as though I hadn't made any progress towards the big buoy (and the turn). At one point, I did get a little panicky because I was worried I'd get too tired before I even finished. After a quick internal pep talk, I calmed down and before I knew it, I was out of the water!

T1: 3:37
T1 was really slow -- which isn't all that surprising since I had to get my wet feet into socks and sneakers. I was also a little shaky from nerves and I needed some time to calm myself down. 

Bike: 10 miles in 43:02 (13.9 mph) 
It took me a little while to settle in on the bike. That niggling pain in my shoulder appeared somewhere in the middle of transition. I said a little prayer that it wouldn't hurt too badly for the entire 10 miles. Luckily, it's a pretty short ride! The bike course felt really hilly to me. Again, being in the newbie wave was a bit of a detriment for me. I spent a lot of the course trying to get around people who did things such as stop in the middle of the road, get off their bike, and walk it up the hill. F'real? Anyway, if/when I do another tri, I would definitely enter in my age group. Lesson learned! All in all, I was a little disappointed with my time in this leg -- I felt as though I could have sped it up juuust a bit, but I wasn't quite sure of the course, or what I was capable of, to be honest.

Coming into transition was great because I got to see my little cheering squad, and it gave me a boost of energy for the third leg.

T2: 1:54
Other than someone putting their bike on top of my belongings, this was a pretty uneventful transition. I don't clip in, so I didn't have to deal with a footwear change. Before I knew it, I was heading out onto the run -- my favorite part!

Run: 3.1 miles in 30:45 (9:56/mile)
It seems silly - but I was worried about running without music. Unless I'm running with friends, I am always listening to some tunes or a podcast. I can honestly say that I didn't think about it at all. My legs felt a little tired, but that's something I'm very used to (marathon training, anyone?). I had decided that I didn't need to push the pace, and that I wouldn't even look at my watch until I crossed the finish line. I don't remember too much about the run leg specifically, except that I was really enjoying myself  (who would've guessed?). I crossed the finish line as my cheering squad yelled my name and had a huge smile on my face.

Final Time: 1:34:02 

So - that's it! I completed a triathlon, something I never thought would have been in the cards for me. And more than that, I think I'd even do another! The sprint distance was fun, but shockingly enough, I think I'd like to try my hand at the olympic distance. I'm as surprised to type that as you probably are to read it.

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