Second place in my age group!!
Actually there were only two women in my age group, but I'm still proud of my hat (which is embroidered with "age group 2nd place" on the back) and I had a good race. This was the Hartsville Sprint: swim 750 meters, bike 14 miles (actually 15.5 miles), run 5 K. My total time was a few seconds under 2 hours 5 min. Times on my watch were 22:39 swim, 1:00:44 bike, 36.41 run. In my first triathlon in May the swim and run distances were the same (bike was shorter) and my times were swim 25:02 and run 40:27.
Considering I got injured in July and spent half of August not able to swim, bike, or run, I'm very happy with that. Only in the last two weeks have I been able to swim freestyle without my shoulder hurting. I had requested my money back for this race back in July but when a friend contacted me last week and said she saw my name on the participant list I decided to do it after all (my cancellation hadn't been processed).
My son was home for the weekend, so my daughter and I had an early dinner at home and then hit the road. The only trouble was that I had misguessed the scale of the map showing where the race was and what I thought would be about a two hour and 15 minute drive took three hours, plus we learned it would take us at least half an hour to get from our motel to the race site in the morning.
We got up at 5:15 and got to the race site in good time, in fact it was still completely dark. I picked up my packet and my chip then unloaded my bike and started to set up in transition. No running shoes in my transition backpack! I went back to the car, hoping they had fallen out. No. I've driven all this way and gotten up at 5:15 on a Sunday morning and now what? I know I packed them, but I must have taken them out to pack something else and not put them back in. I began to contemplate whether it would work to run in the custom-orthotic sandals I was wearing. Then my daughter suggested I wear the shoes she was wearing. She wears a full size bigger than me, but my running shoes are larger than my regular shoes. I had recently bought her running shoes with a lot of arch support so I thought that might work, but it was nowhere near enough arch support for me. She suggested I add the arch supports I use in my bicycling shoes, and amazingly enough that worked very well.
We had planned a picnic breakfast, but by that point it was hard to think about eating. Still, I did eat grapes and cheese and a cracker with peanut butter (and then a banana just before the start). I went back to transition and put my eyeglasses in my helmet and put on my prescription goggles, and then we headed to the beach for announcements. There was both an international distance and a sprint distance race. For the bike, the international distance race was twice around the sprint loop (after an out and back section). They announced the international distance route was 27 miles instead of 25 as had been posted (I just checked the sprint route on Google Pedometer and got 15.5 miles).
As of two days before the race there were 90 registered for the sprint and 116 for the international distance so it wasn't a big race. I didn't go in the water before the swim, but the international distance waves went off first so watching them I realized the water stayed shallow for a long time. When my wave started I ended up running fairly far out--I watched the people around me who started swimming and I was keeping up with them. But then I was out of breath when I started to swim and it took me a while to settle down. The water was amazingly black and murky, except every now and then I could see a can on the bottom. When I finally settled down I had a comfortable swim and even passed someone.
I got happily onto my bike, but it seemed like the first five miles was all uphill, though not steep. With a fair number of international distance people finishing the swim behind me I probably passed and was passed about equally. I realized it was much hotter than I expected and one water bottle wasn't going to be enough, so I was very grateful that because of the international distance there was a water bottle handoff. I felt I kept up my level of effort, but I haven't gotten back to working on my speed on the bike.
My rack was near the edge of the transition area and my daughter talked me through the second transition to make sure I didn't forget to change the orthotics from one pair of shoes to the other or to put on my race belt. I did forget to take an electrolyte capsule, which I usually do if I drink two bottles of water. The run was gently uphill for the first mile and it felt really hard. I walked the water station. There was a downhill and then a steeper uphill to the turnaround, which I walked. But then suddenly it felt easy and I enjoyed running, though I did walk one more hill. On the first downhill on the way back I told everyone I passed who was behind me in the sprint that it felt much easier after the turn around. I pushed to catch up with a friend I saw ahead of me, but it wasn't easy to gain ground on her. We did talk as we ran for a little while and then I moved ahead a little. I ran the last bit to the finish enthusiastically, though I was a little disappointed I hadn't broken two hours (less so now when I adjust for the different length bike course--1 hour for 15.5 miles is about the same as 43 minutes for 11 miles).
My daughter and I decided to wait around for the awards and I was glad we did--I was excited about getting an age group award and my friend left after the race so I picked up her second place Athena hat for her. But it was terribly hot--the high today in that area was 96.6. We had a long drive home but it was good to be in an air conditioned car.
overall time 2:04:56
23rd out of 28 women and ahead of 5 men
Swim 750 meters 22.14
Bike 15 miles 1:00:46
Run 5 K 36:02