I finally finished a sprint triathlon! Well, kinda.
Nation’s Triathlon offered a Sprint option this year and I signed up on the day registration opened. It has a good reputation and I was eager to do something local and iconic. It was supposed to be a warm-up for SavageMan 30.0 but it wound up being my “A” race for the year.
On Friday, I walked up to the host hotel in Dupont Circle from my office for packet pickup and to visit the expo. Normally, this would be a pleasant 1.3 mile walk but I failed to account for the fact that we were suddenly in the tropics. By the time I arrived, I was an absolute mess and a bit stressed but the event was very smooth and easy to navigate. I received my race band (which a volunteer kindly attached to my wrist), my nice race “premium” of a mesh back pack, my shirt, swim cap, bib, and stickers. We had to dig through a bin of stinky neoprene bands that we then attached our race chips to. I think I will buy my own band for the next race. They literally stunk.
The expo was a bit small but I did pick up a jar of Hammer Endurolytes because I was worried about how much I was already sweating.
Saturday, we had to rack our bikes in transition and be marked. They had a new “transition clinic” at 2:30 but I missed it due to traffic. We parked in the Lot A, as instructed, but saw tons of people parking on Ohio Drive, much closer to transition. Lesson for next time, park closer!
After the long and hot walk, I was quickly marked (but it didn’t last long since I was so sweaty) and racked my bike.
We then checked out the swim course and headed for home.
Sunday I awoke to the good news that the weather had, indeed, broke and the bad news that there was a sewage overflow in the Potomac so the swim was canceled. Nargs! A canceled swim is disappointing but I will gladly take that over cholera!
I decided to park in the Reagan Building ($13 for the full day, easy and ample parking) and walk the mile to transition. It allowed me to take in the monuments at night, something I never tire of seeing. Transition for both races closed at 6:55 so I got all set up and then cooled my heels.
My family joined me around 8 AM and we waited for my wave to start. The race organizers had us start in our wave corrals as if we had just come from the swim so we had to be barefoot, no helmet, etc. One of the women racked near me started freaking out that they wouldn’t allow glasses (“since you don’t wear those to swim!”) so I hunted down an official who laughed and said to keep them on. The legally blind girl (me) says “Thank you!”
We grouped up in bunches of 9 and were off when our whistle blew. After all of the waiting, I wasn’t sure if I would be ready to race but as soon as we started running down the chute, it was ON!
T1 – swim to bike 3:28
This was a bit slow due to the long run along the length of transition and I was being careful of my foot/ankle situation.
Bike – 26.5 km, 16.1 mph – 25/54 for my division
It was a (mostly) flat and fast course. This was, by far, my fastest bike race. I really did well on the hills (going up, not down) and any time the wind was against us. I like having something to push against. I really slowed down on the descents and turns. Like, A LOT. Need to work on that! The fastest I could go was 22 mph but others were whizzing by like I was standing still. There was a funky U-turn in Georgetown that had us go up a ramp, across the median, and then down a ramp and turn sharp to the left – all at the top of a hill! I thought I would go down there but I did not. There were two bridges and I never realized how horrible bridge joints are. By the end of the second one, I was swearing with every bump! I was a bit thankful that I wasn’t doing the longer distance which required two loops!
The course was a bit congested at times and I saw some bad manners on display, especially in the no-passing zones, but mostly everyone behaved appropriately. Except the woman who illegally cut a corner to pass on my right as we were in a “slow zone” for a turn. You can bet I picked it up and beat the pants off her ;)
I did not fall at the dismount but it was a close one! I caught it at the last second and everyone cheered :)
T2 – bike to run 3:09
Eh, I don’t know. I sat down to put on my shoes and I also drank quite a bit and popped a couple of electrolyte tabs. It is what it is.
Run – 5 km. 10.24 minutes/mile – 33/54 in my division
My legs were definitely jell-o at the start. Knowing that my family was waiting about a half a mile in was the only thing that prevented me from walking.
It was heating up by then and I was thankful that I had brought my water bottle but wished I had brought my coconut water instead of plain water. I was also missing my visor :( I ran behind a group from Team RWB who was carrying the flag and I just paced off from them until almost the end. Right when I was finding my stride, we were at the finish and it was over!
I received my sweet metal, found my family, and went to the finish festival. There was plenty of food and water available even though the International distance racers were almost all done by the time the sprinters hit the finish. They even had turkey sandwiches! :)
We collected all of my stuff and made the slow walk back to the Reagan Building. My feet were not happy, I was out of water, but I was very pleased with my race.
I still can’t say that I’ve finished a Sprint triathlon, though! Good thing I have another at the end of the month :)
Overall – I would give this race an A-
Since it was the first year for the sprint, things weren’t very well communicated and there were a lot of questions that weren’t answered. I also didn’t like the fact that I wouldn’t have known about the swim being canceled if I hadn’t seen it on Facebook. They have everyone’s email and I can’t think of any better use for an email blast than that!
The shirt and swag was great, the food was plentiful, the finish festival was nice (they even had tables and chairs!), the port-a-johns were more than adequate. Communication was the only strike.
I would happily do this race again.