So, everyone who has ever raced one told me this would happen. I was going to compete in my first triathlon and get hooked. And they were right. This morning K and I took part in the Power Sprint Triathlon and it was AWESOME! (More on K later!)
I arrived at the race site at 5:30 this morning (the only drawback to the race was the crazy early start) and grabbed myself a prime location on the rack. After setting up my gear for the transitions, I headed over to get body marked. That was the first surprise of the day. I assumed (wrongly) that they wrote your number and age on you with grease sticks. Nope. They were old school. My arms and legs were marked with super huge PERMANENT Sharpie markers. Seriously, I scrubbed and scrubbed and still have the shadows of 145 on my biceps.
Anyway, since this event was time trial (meaning you race against the clock, not the people around you) next came the long wait. My start time - 7:35:45. So I had about an hour and a half to stand around and freak out about how many people were going to pass me in the swim (answer - 4) and what was going to happen if I had to pass someone on the bike and totally screwed it up (I did it unscathed.)
So when 7:35 arrived and I jumped in the pool, I told myself to relax and remember to start my watch. And while I did manage to calm down, I totally blanked on the watch, which ended up being a good thing! (I never obsessed about my pace.) The swim, as I expected, was the most challenging part. I started behind three 12 year olds and directly in front of an 11 year old. I knew I was in trouble. Kids swim crazy fast. So, after just under eight minutes and four passes, I climbed out of the pool (way hard, since it was deep and my arms were tired) and ran to the transition for the bike. Just a side note: I did my one and only pre-race swim in a yards pool and finished in 7:14. This was a meters pool. 300 yards is less that 300 meters. And that would be the second surprise of the day.
Once I was in the transition area, I grabbed some water, ate some jelly beans, switched my gear, and most importantly - took a breather! When I eventually got moving again and mounted my bike, I quickly found my groove, pedaling effortlessly. The 20K bike was scenic, rolling and enjoyable. I felt good (with the exception of my completely numb butt.) And before I knew it, I was back at the transition area. I had hoped to finish the bike in 50 minutes, but to my surprise my official time was just over 41 minutes (surprise number three).
Again I used the transition to refuel and to catch my breath, then I headed out on the run. My legs were SUPER tight and I felt like I was running super slow, despite the fact that I passed 15-20 people. I just kept thinking, "I am going to be so happy if I just average 9:48 miles!" (I was convinced I was running around 11 minute miles.) About a half mile in, my legs were back to normal (mostly) and I just kept telling myself, "Keep going. You're almost done!" When I finally did get back, and crossed the line I was really happy (to be done and with my time). I looked at the clock and figured that I had finished in just under and hour and a half (which was my goal).
Once the results were posted I was even more psyched!!
My 5K split was just over 25 minutes. My fastest 5K ever!! (8:15 miles - surprise number four)
AND ... I finished 5th in my age group with a time of 1:18:48. That would be surprise number five. Just imagine if I had trained! Overall, it was a killer debut.
And speaking of killer debuts, I mentioned that I raced with K, who was also competing in her first tri. And if you were even slightly impressed with my performance, you will be blown away by hers.
K finished 1st in her age group with a time around 1:06:15. She averaged 21.2 mph on the bike and ran 7:05 miles in the 5K!! And the icing on the cake ... K was awarded the Top Rookie Award for best performance by a first-timer. K, I am in awe of you!!