My aunt's neighborhood has a sprint triathlon every August and for years I've been meaning to do it. I finally remembered to sign up this year before registration closed AND Sarah signed up too and I was excited the two of us would get to race together. Another bonus - I got to spend the weekend at my aunt's house and getting to the race site was super easy because it was so close. She spoiled Sarah and I with homemade gnocchi and THREE pints of Ben and Jerry's ice cream for dessert (extra, extra, extra good luck right there).
I was really excited to race - I haven't toed the line since IM Lake Placid and while these short races hurt they are also over quickly and don't require over the top prep in terms of nutrition, gear, pacing, etc. Basically - bring a bottle of water on the bike, stick a Gu under your bathing suit shoulder strap, swim, pedal, and run as hard as you can, and - THIS IS KEY - don't screw around in transition.
The swim: 400m pool snake swim - 6:24, 6th fastest female swim split:
The race organizers did a bang up job of setting up a smooth swim - everyone had to submit a swim time and they seeded you based on that. Over the summer they held a bunch of swim time trials at the pool and you could attend and they would base your time on that. Or you could submit a time from a previous race with a 400m swim. They sent swimmers into the water every 15 seconds and everyone had strict instructions to tap the foot of the person in front of them if they caught up and to pass at the wall and there were course marshals at the wall to help facilitate this. I swam completely unimpeded and was only passed by the guy behind me, though I almost caught back up to him by the end. I felt like it took about half the swim for me to get into a rhythm, but I felt much stronger in the water than I've felt lately. According to my watch, I finished just a hair under 6:40, but accidentally stopped by watch in T1 so I don't know what my true transition time was. But according to the results:
T1: 1:50 (seriously? in a sprint? this would come back to haunt me).
I think some of my swim time must've been added to my transition time. But I do remember drying my feet off before putting my bike shoes on. Really? I guess I forgot the whole mantra of "every second counts" in a sprint triathlon, even those seconds in transition.
The bike: 12 miles - 32:50, fastest female bike split
The bike course was mostly flat with just a few rollers. It went all through the wide, nicely-paved neighborhood streets and with it being 7:30am on a Sunday morning, those streets were pretty quiet too. I saw lots of neighbors out in front of their homes cheering on the races and my aunt had chalked up the road in front of her house with cheers for Sarah and I. Because of my predicted swim time, I had started towards the front of the group and it was pretty quiet on the bike course. I passed a few people early on but during the middle miles, didn't see a soul. Towards the end I caught up to a few more racers and even though the course was very well-marked and I drove it the night before, when I was in those middle miles and not seeing anyone, I was worried I had missed a turn (I hadn't). I didn't wear my HR monitor so I have no idea what HR zone I was in, but it felt like I was working hard the whole time. I stayed in aero for most of the time and focused on my pedal stroke. The ride went by quickly and besides taking in a few sips of water with Skratch, I had no other plan but to work as hard as I could.
T2: 1:02 - better, but not great. Every second counts.
The run: 3.1 miles - 20:29, 3rd fastest female run split
I didn't preview the run the day before the race because much of it was on bike trails and I didn't have time. It was a little hillier than I expected, just rolling, but nothing terrible. The sun was just starting to get warm when I started the run. My plan was to go as hard as I could, try to catch people in front of me, and hold off any fast runners that were on my heels. There weren't any mile markers on the run course so I was glad I had my Garmin, but even so, the miles did NOT tick by quickly. There was alot of mental talk going on inside my head - just another 2.5 miles, that's fine. You've already done 1.5 miles, halfway done. You only have a mile left, so you've already run double that, etc. For the first mile, I stayed on one guy's shoulder, it was taking awhile to catch my breath and I sounded like a wheezing steam train rolling down the trail. I found my stride in the second mile and was able to pick up the pace a little bit. It was around this time I saw the first girl looping back towards the finish. She had started a few minutes before me because her predicted swim time was faster, and I thought she still looked strong, so I felt like there was probably no way I'd catch up to her time. I didn't see Sarah on the course, as it does a lollipop loop and we probably passed each other then as she was heading back to the finish line. I didn't take in any water from the aid stations - it's just three miles and I wanted to get to the finish as quickly as possible and I felt like I was working too hard to take in any water anyway. I finally made it to the turn for the finish and there was someone right behind me in those final meters so I picked it up to hold him off, but I really didn't feel like I had much else left in the tank. I saw my aunt and Xander cheering from the sidelines as well as Sarah and Dan.
Final time: 1:02:34, 3rd OA.
So that whole bit about how every second counts? 52 seconds separated the top three places and I missed out on 2nd by 4 seconds. Both of those girls had transition times SO MUCH faster than me. I need to work on this. Next time I need to not screw around in T1 and T2 and just get a move in instead. Sarah had a great race, winning the 30-34 AG and coming in 4th overall. I got to catch up with a number of Team Zers which was really nice. They did the awards after the last person crossed the finish line, but it was worth the wait because I got a pint glass AND a $100 gift card. I would definitely do this race again, it was well organized and that gift card for 3rd place was a really nice surprise bonus to the day.
Thanks Tri360, Skratch Labs, and Blue Seventy for keeping my bike running well, for keeping me hydrated, and for the comfy goggles!