I finished my first sprint triathlon on June 1 and it was actually great! The Wednesday before the race, Savannah was kind enough to meet me to do an open water swim. When we first got in the water, I definitely freaked out a little bit, but Savannah stuck right next to me and I got through it after about 20 strokes. We practiced sighting a little bit and she tried to help me learn to breathe on the right, but it was a little difficult for me. Apparently in most triathlons buoys are on the right, but we figured we would practice this more later. We then went over some tips on transition and what I needed to bring on race day. I left feeling much more confident about being able to accomplish the race on Saturday. I really don’t believe that the race would have gone so smoothly if Savannah had not been sweet enough to meet me.
Race day I got up around 5:00 to make sure I could get to Blalock lakes by 6:30. The drive was super easy and I got there much sooner than expected. I quickly got my bike and everything set up in transition. When I got there I looked out to the lake and they were putting the buoys out. I was amazed at how close they were! I truly was expecting the swim to feel very far out. And to my surprise it was a counterclockwise swim so all of the buoys were on the left! It was almost like this race was meant for me!
Start time for the first group was at 8 am. I started with the novice, aqua bike, and relay swimmers at about 8:21. I was very nervous so I stood behind all of the other swimmers at the start. I quickly realized that was a mistake. I had to stop multiple times to let people get ahead and move to the left to keep from running into people. I finally got through and got into a good rhythm. I had in my head that I was going to look for the buoys every 5-10 strokes, but I didn’t because I didn’t like how it took me out of my rhythm. Because of that I swam out of the way a few times and had to swim back. I will not make that mistake next time. I made it out of the water in 16:05. Almost 3 minutes faster than I expected!
Transition was really close and easy and I got in and out of there in 1:08.
My heart rate was really high coming up from the swim and I had a hard time getting it under control on the bike, but I pushed through it as best I could in the bike portion. The ride was very hilly, but I had biked lots of hills around my house so I felt prepared for them. I was able to pass quite a few people and it fueled my desire to push faster. Eating and drinking on the bike was so hard! I need to practice that more. I finished the 14.7 mile bike in 52:12.
Transition was easy here too and I got in and out in 1:04.
The first mile of the run felt really hard. I don’t know how fast I was going, but it really didn’t feel like I was going faster than 9:30-10 min/mile. After the first mile it (finally!) occurred to me that I should practice controlling my breathing (3 in, 2 out) and once I did that I got my breathing under control and was able to pick up the pace. I finished the 5k in 26:22. Slower than I was hoping for, BUT, I finished the race in 1:36:54. 8+ minutes faster than I anticipated!!! To top it all off, I ended up getting 2nd in the novice category. It was pretty amazing.
Next I’m doing the duathalon at Blalock lakes on June 22. I feel very ill prepared for this one because I haven’t given myself (or my coach Savannah) enough preparation time for this race. It’s a 5k, 24 mile bike, and a 10k. It’s going to be much hotter and much tougher. After I get through this, though, I’ll be well prepared for the tanner park intermediate distance!
By Kelly Rothwell ~ TTP Scholarship Winner