Yesterday, I ran, I biked, I swam, and I became a triathlete! It took me over year to get there, but I finally made it!
I decided that my first would be a super, super sprint that was also a reverse tri. The group, Tri It Now, actively recruits newbies and has a very friendly and laid-back vibe. I attended their clinic last March and was favorably impressed. I knew that this super sprint would be just enough to get a taste but not so much that I would totally blow up if something went south – 1.5 mile run, 4 mile bike, 200 yard pool swim.
Packet Pick Up
I picked up my packet at the race venue on Saturday. I also stuck around for the 45 minute information meeting where the director, Ina, reviewed the course step-by-step, demonstrated how to use their bike racks, how to lay out transition, and answered any questions. This was extremely helpful! I didn’t really learn anything new but it definitely helped calm my (considerable) nerves.
In my packet was the normal three numbers (bib, helmet, bike) plus some samples from Hammer (one of the sponsors), Advil, and various leaflets. The pick-up and meeting was super easy.
I woke early to pounding rain and cold temps. Delightful! We were hoping that the rain would lessen but didn’t have high hopes. When we arrived, I set up my transition area right away. The wind was so high that it was knocking over some bikes with the racks (the racks are short and only fit 4 bikes). I chose a rack with another bike already there and set up at the other side/end. I put my stuff in a white plastic garbage bag, in the hopes of keeping things semi-dry. I didn’t worry about keeping the bike dry. In the bag was my helmet, a jacket for the bike (didn’t use), gloves for the bike (didn’t use), a water bottle, my swim cap, and goggles. I decided to run and bike in the same shoes since it was such a short race and I didn’t want to lose time.
After that, I went inside to obtain my chip and get marked with my numbers. I was also able to leave a dry bag in the pool bleachers. We then proceeded to the main gym for a review of some last minute course changes (the wind was knocking down signs and the rain made one part of the run a mud pit), the Pledge of Allegiance (they didn’t have the Star Spangle Banner with them that morning), and then we were off to the start!
I was in wave 1 which included ages 11 (10?)-39. There were 4 waves set at five minute intervals. I took off a bit fast but quickly slowed when we turned into the crazy strong headwind for almost half the run. At various points, I could hardly catch my breath! I was so thankful for the turn-around! Also, the rain had lessened to a drizzle so that part wasn’t too horrible. There were a lot of puddles, though, and many runners were trying to mince their way through or around. I plowed through. We were going to be wet soon enough, what is a bit more?
Expected time/Actual time: 15:00/14:27
I put on my helmet as soon as I entered my area, decided to skip the jacket/gloves, swung my number around to the back of my race belt, and was off!
Actual time: 0:52
The course was pretty flat but there were 5 U-turns and several right turns. That made me nervous. There was also the wind! At some points, we had about 30 mph gusting side/head/tail wind. It was definitely challenging! The decision to wear my running shoes was almost tragic as my left foot slipped twice because it was wet. Luckily, I recovered! There were all kinds of bikes on the course – from fancy racing wheels to commuter bikes with bins on the back! I did well when there was a bit of a hill to push against or some headwind but the flats/down hills scared me so I braked and coasted way too much. I need to work on my fear of speed!
Expected time/Actual time: 20:00/21:23
I dismounted at the proper place (they had a great volunteer working the mount/dismount line) and ran into transition. I couldn’t easily spot my area as there were several white garbage bags flapping in the wind. Once I found it, I racked my bike, took off my helmet, stripped off my shoes, socks, race belt, and shirt. One of the my worries for the day was my hair. It’s not long enough for a regular ponytail or braid but I need to contain it some way to get the swim cap on. I wound up wearing my Moms Run This Town headband and then pulled it back into a low pony (elastic in the pocket of my shorts) before yanking on the cap. It worked vary well! I lost a few more seconds because I was confused as to where the swim exit was. Thankfully, the boy working it saw my confused face and started yelling and waving his flag! I then grabbed my goggles and was off to the pool!
Actual time: 1:26
We entered the pool by a side door and my glasses immediately fogged over. I tossed them into a nearby window sill while walking to the other end of the pool where our start was. Unfortunately, my prescription goggles also fogged over so I had to douse them with water as soon as I got to the start so I could even see. I carefully slid in (I have been surprised by the depth in this pool before!) and started my laps. It was a snake swim so we all swam in one direction to the end of the lane, touched, went under the divider, touched again and went back the other way. Twice there were bottle necks where I had to wait for the lane I was entering to clear up a bit because there was literally no room for me to push off. I was kicked a few times but it wasn’t too bad.
Estimated time/Actual time: 6:00/6:46
Total time: 44:53
After the race, there were complimentary massages (I passed) and some food – bread, clementines, fruit snacks, Power Bars, and Rice Krispie Treats. I just grabbed a clementine and my finisher shirt and then hit the locker room to clean up. Overall, it was a very fun race!
I wore my Orca two piece tri suit, a long sleeve tech shirt for the run and bike, wool socks, and Asic shoes. My legs were cold during the run but I soon became numb. I have a monster bruise on my leg now (must have been from the bike) that can attest to that fact!
Things were organized and started on time. Even with the bad weather, there were plenty of volunteers to keep us on course and I never worried about being lost (a real possibility for me!). I wish everyone received a finisher medal but that just means I’ll need to work harder next time to place 🙂 Overall, I give this race an A! I signed up for the next race in the series when I got home!
- Wear your bike shoes, even if it’s a short course.
- Make sure your transition spot is readily identifiable. I had a bright yellow towel that I was going to use but the rain nixed that. I saw some people packing up later that had used big Home Depot buckets to carry their gear and act as a stool for the shoe change. I’m doing that next time!
- Make sure you are 100% clear as to where the various exits and entrances are for transition. They may not be the same!
- Open your water bottle or at least loosen the cap before you leave transition set-up. I could not get my bottle open because my hands were so cold and my body was hopped up on adrenaline. I wound up prying it off with my teeth.
- There is absolutely no mental coasting in a super sprint! I had to be constantly on and thinking about the next phase at every step of the way. It was almost more exhausting than a longer race where you are able to mental check out for a bit.