Today, my friend Heather and I finished our second triathlon. I had high hopes that I’d do better this time, for a few reasons.
- It’s September, not July.
- I spent a week in the mountains doing a 5k, a 20 mile bike ride, a Crossfit class, a Barre Method class, and hiking. (Fine. Eating and drinking too.)
- I knew what to expect.
- I knew what to do and what not to do, based on what I learned last time.
Alas, in some regards I did do better, and in others, I did worse.
My official results:
So, the swim was further, the bike was shorter, and the run was the same length as the Rocketchix triathlon.
I picked up Heather at 6 am, and we headed across town to the UNO campus where the race was being held. We’d been keeping an eye on the weather, and the chance of rain was hovering around 50% for the morning. I was glad for the clouds, but nervous that it would start pouring.
We got there, got our bikes set up (with a tote bag this time, not a crate) and set up everything in the transition area. I appreciated that this race had specific spots for each of us, not just “find a spot on the rack.” Made things a lot more organized.
Soon enough it was time to go inside to the aquatic center. Just like at Rocketchix, we were self-seeded. I thought I might be able to finish the swim in about 9 minutes, based on my previous time. So basically, I headed to the back of the line. There were about six women behind me and 340 in front of me. Yeah, it took a while to get in the pool. Heather went in very early, so I was able to watch her swim, which was nice. Forty-five minutes, later, it was my turn. This pool was 50 meters long, not at all what I was used to. And let’s face it, it’s not like I’d done much swimming before this race. But I got in, and since the timing chip around my ankle wasn’t too tight, my foot didn’t cramp up.
I had plenty of room, and I even passed some women without too much trouble. I did a lot of backstroke, though, which probably explains why my time was a bit slower. But I felt so much stronger and less panicky, so I’ll take it.
Funny aside…Heather and I were really dismayed by our swim times. We were comparing our pace to the last race, and it just seemed way off. Turns out, the first race was 200 yards, and this one was 300 meters. Whew. In the end, I figured out that for Rocketchix I swam 1 yard every 1.63 seconds, and this one was 1 yard every 1.89 seconds. I think I did the math right. Hmm.
After the swim, I got out of the pool and walked to transition. It had started sprinkling, so the concrete was very slick. No biggie. I don’t care that much about transition times. Nevertheless, I shaved a couple of minutes off. Got my damp socks and damp shoes on, threw on my helmet, and off I went on the bike. Right up a hill and into the wind. Fantastic.
The bike course went along the lakefront, and remember, it was a cloudy day. A storm was rolling in. The wind was fierce. The course was a lopsided T shape. We turned right onto Lakeshore Drive for about a mile (into the wind), then we turned around with the wind at our backs for about 5 miles. Ahhh, that was nice. But every foot I rode I knew it was going to be hellish coming back. And so it was. At the turnaround, the wall of wind hit me like…a wall of wind. I mean, no point in being poetic about it. It sucked. Oh, and there were hills. I mean, technically they were levees and overpasses, but hills nonetheless. Going up a hill with the wind pushing you back is pretty sucky.
Since we couldn’t have music or anything, I spent the time making up songs about how much the wind and hills sucked. I wonder how many people were singing “Against the Wind” to themselves? Probably a lot. I also made up songs like, “Stupid Hill,” sung to the tune of Garbage’s “Stupid Girl.”
But eventually it ended. (Not until the person in front of me took a wrong turn and led me UP A HILL WE DIDN’T HAVE TO GO UP. That was suboptimal.)
When I got to transition, there were people all over the place who had already finished, getting their bikes and generally being in the way. I don’t think they realized that the swimmers from the back of the pack were only just then getting back from their bike ride. A little crappy, but whatever. I chucked my helmet off, racked the bike, and off I went for a very slow run/walk.
Well, I say very slow, but it was really faster than at Rocketchix. I managed to finish the run with faster than 12 minute miles, which surprised me. I felt like I was running through sludge. Anyway, before too long (the run was only two miles, after all), I was done! My friend Robin (who sang the national anthem at the beginning, beautifully) was there at the finish with her husband and their triplets, cheering me on. That was nice. And Heather was there too, of course. She had finished about an hour earlier, so I’m sure she was glad to see me finally cross the finish line. Ha!
Next up I have a four mile race in November, and I might try to find some 5Ks to do in the meantime. I just rejoined Weight Watchers so hopefully by next spring I’ll be better shape for another sprint tri. We’ll see…