Tri This: Race Day

Yesterday was race day, my first sprint length triathlon. A half mile open water swim, followed by a 10 mile bike ride and a 5k run. I chose this race in particular for its smaller size (limited to 450 entrants in both the sprint and shorter super sprint events) and because it was a women’s event, figuring that these factors would make my move to a longer distance and open water a bit less intimidating.  Good call. The event was well-organized and at the same time relaxed and friendly.

So how did it go?  Well. The swim was interesting, as while I’d done a few open water swims for practice, I hadn’t done one with a crowd of swimmers. There were 40-45 people in each swim wave. Not a lot by some standards, but it certainly makes for some turbulence in the water and it was easy to bump into people. The buoys to swim around were bright fluorescent yellow and orange, which made staying on course much easier than at my practice swims. My time was much faster than anticipated, just over 15 minutes for the half mile, which makes me think the course was short, as I’ve never swum that fast; 20 minutes is a good 800 meters time for me in the pool.

race results

On my bike, things went well. I was passed by the folks riding a true racing bike while I moved steadily along on my hybrid. I’ve had enough bike crashes in my life that I don’t want to switch to a road bike, and so I accept that limitation.

Last, but hardly least was the run. This is my biggest challenge, as when I started training for triathlon a year ago, I hadn’t run for more than 30 years. So being able to run a 5k relatively comfortably and even passing a few folks going up the hills felt good. I’m surprised at my time, as it was nearly two minutes per mile faster than anticipated. Again I don’t know whether the course was short, or if I was just pushing a bit harder with the incentive of a race.

At any rate, my total time of 1:35:56 was well under my fantasy time of 1:40, so I’m delighted with that. It was fun to finish feeling relatively strong–hot and tired, sure, but not exhausted, enjoying the support of my sister and niece along with the folks along the way who supported all the athletes. I also enjoyed the camaraderie of the competitors supporting each other as well, cheering ourselves on.

Overall, I’m happy with how things went. I set a goal a year ago to do a sprint triathlon, and I did it. I appreciate my increased strength and fitness. When I started this triathlon project, I asked myself these questions at the end of each month: Am I having fun? Is this a worthwhile use of my time and energy? Do I want to continue.  Right now the answer to all of these  remains yes, although I am going to enjoy a bit more flexibility in my training for a while, as there are other things I want and need to do in my life, including cleaning up after last weeks hailstorm.

So I’ll keep training, maybe I’ll do another race this summer, maybe not. I’ll see how I feel.

Happy after
Happy to be done!

 

 

35 thoughts on “Tri This: Race Day

      1. I know how to swim. I just don’t like it except in moving water like a stream or the ocean; maybe I think I just find it boring and I can’t see anything. I wish I did like it — there are dozens of lovely hot-springs pools around here and if I liked to swim (laps) it would be really good for me, but… You didn’t have to tell me you were 7 out of 8 😉

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      2. I finish where I finish. Its interesting to me the my relative slowest event is bike, largely because I don’t ride a road bike. Finished 3rd in swimming, 7th in bike and a close 6th in running. Its sort of a good discipline for me to know that that’s just how its going to be.

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    1. Every time I go over 5 miles I end up hurting, Jeff. I’m not sure my body will take the impact of longer distance running. That’s part of the appeal of triathlon for me, that things are mixed up. And, for my two or three hours on a morning, I’d rather go for a hike, mountain person that I am.

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  1. Ah lady, you totally KICKED ASS! I am so proud of you, congrats! You blew your “fantasy” goal out of the water, that is so amazing. Also just so great that you ended feeling strong and happy and mentally in a good place. Sounds like such a great experience, very happy for you! x

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  2. Great work Steph! Smashing your target time is fantastic, and still being able to answer three yes’s makes it all worthwhile. Great to hear that the run went well as it was your biggest challenge among the three disciplines: its such a mental boost when you’re able to pass others in the latter stages, shows you’re pacing yourself well and finishing strong. We actually had a triathlon going on down my way today: I caught a little bit of it during my own run, really cool to see participants on the bike and run legs.

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      1. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hold some allure 😛 The problem is my (literal) inability to ride a bike and almost non-existent swimming ability. If the stars align in the future where I’m in a position to pay for lessons in both disciplines/find a patient friend with a knack for teaching, I wouldn’t rule it out (and having access to lower impact cross training sports would be a huge benefit). But as it stands, most of my focus is going into running (and today was a big milestone as I completed a 50KM-plus run).

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      2. wow, 50K, that’s amazing to me. You do seem to have the gift of a body well suited to long distances. I don’t particularly (or maybe it was 40 years ago, but not now), so mixing it up is good for me. Not too much of anything,.

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      3. I’ve definitely gravitated towards long distances since taking up running about five years ago. But even still, mixing it up is always good and in most cases helps a lot in keeping you fresh and varying the stresses on the body. I’m still searching for something that I can incorporate alongside running: I do lots of walking which is great, but again its still impact (although a lot lower). I think the reality is if I really, truly wanted to incorporate swimming and/or biking into my training, I would of. That’s not to say I never will, but I’ll need to have a moment of clarity when that allure turns into action.

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      4. I think yoga is the one most likely to do it. Although I know it is separate from meditation, it seems like there are some parallels that make it attractive to me. But if I do end up doing the flying trapeze, I know who to go to for tips 😁

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  3. GREAT JOB!!!! I’m so happy that it went so well and that your training really paid off. I love that feeling of finishing and knowing that you finished strong, with energy because you were ready for it! Hooooooooray for you! I can’t wait to see what the next fitness adventure for you brings. 🙂 🙂 🙂

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    1. It did feel good to complete the event, and any time I meet my “fantasy” time I’m thrilled. Although at this point in my life, its the showing up that matters most. thanks for your support–I bet its feeling good to be back swimming again.

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      1. You have to start somewhere. After my shoulder surgery, I spent a lot of time with a kick board. After I swam my first 25 freestyle, the guard met me at the end of my lane to make sure I was okay. The fun part–that guard and another from the rec center where I swim were both doing the mini version of the triathlon on Saturday–I’ve come a long way in 3 years. You’ll get there, quite likely faster than I did, as knees generally rehab more quickly than shoulders.

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