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.
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.