Saturday, May 13, 2006

Clemson sprint triathlon

Short version:
total time 1:39:02, which is 14% faster than last year. I'm happy.
Sixth out of six in my age group, but 4th and 5th were less than a minute ahead of me
91st out of 116 women and ahead of 25 of 313 men
Watch times:
750 meter swim 20:55 (improved from 24:16 last year)
11 mile bike 40:58 (averaged 16.1 mph)
5 k run 30:48 (averaged 9:54 minutes per mile)

Long version:
I went to sleep just after 9 pm, so I didn't worry when I woke up a little after 5. I ate eggs for breakfast, which seemed more than I wanted but I am glad I did because it was a long time until the race start. I rode my bike to the race site, which was a nice feeling. It was cold, about 51 degrees, and the lake and the area around it were in a deep fog. I wore a jacket and was glad to have it for the waiting around time. I had picked up my packet yesterday afternoon--that was the long line this morning, chip pick up and body marking went quickly. I had planned to do a swimming warmup but I lost my nerve because of the cold and so I ran as a warmup, but less than a mile. I talked to some people I knew, made several bathroom stops, ate a Larabar, and finally put on my wetsuit and ate my banana.

The race started a little late, but sun came out and the fog cleared off about 8 am and they quickly put the buoys out. The water temperature was 69 degrees. The start was 450 people in three main waves (plus a small number of novices in a fourth wave), so each wave was fairly large and crowded into a fairly narrow area by a dock. I had a really hard time getting settled into the swim. I didn't notice the cold water being a shock, but I stopped a couple of times because I was out of breath and a little panicky. Not quite disoriented but not feeling comfortable in the water, which I usually do. I treaded water briefly or swam breaststroke with my head out of the water a couple of times to calm myself. I think it was lack of open water swim practice. Once I saw the first turn buoy wasn't too far away I settled down and swam steadily, though I kept having to adjust to people around me who would stop or start swimming breaststroke or cut in on me. I also had my goggles kicked completely off my eyes once, though luckily not off my head (they are expensive prescription goggles) I lost a little time at the end when I swam into the dock at one side of the swim finish and had to stop and turn 90 degrees, but I didn't actually bang into it.

The run to transition is uphill and fairly long, but I felt ok once I got the top half of my wetsuit down. I need to speed up my transitions. I wasn't quick taking my wetsuit off, but I think it was more putting on a shirt (I swim in my sports bra and tri shorts) and sitting down to wipe off my feet and put on shoes and socks. I did skip the gloves when they seemed hard to put on.

Getting on the bike I felt a little unsteady but within a minute or two I felt good. My peanut butter sandwich was just what I wanted. I ate more than I drank at first but I ended up drinking about 3/4 of my water bottle. The weather was so cold that the ice I had put in it a 6 am hadn't fully melted. I passed a lot of people the first couple of miles then fell in with several people whom I kept passing and being passed by. I was happy with the level of effort I kept up and my ability to power up some of the smaller hills. I got passed by an ambulance; apparently someone wiped out on the turn at the bottom of the biggest downhill and broke his collar bone. Bike plus transition I only saw a 2 minute improvement, though some of that was that I didn't wear a wetsuit last year. Bicycling was the only sport in which I had any base of serious experience (and even that was only touring) when I started on this adventure two years ago, and I focused on it more last year than this.

T2 was smoother--change shoes and hat. My legs felt maybe a little awkward the first 100 yards, but I quickly was able to focus on keeping up my pace. I felt like if I ran any faster I would run out of breath, though the few times I spoke to people I could do so fairly easily so I may be too conservative on that. My legs felt fine. Around mile 2, two women in my age group passed me and I tried to keep up with them hoping to pass them again at the end. I kept up with one fairly well, but couldn't gain on her. Still, I'm very happy with my run time--faster than my last stand-alone 5k and less than a minute off my fastest. And that is comparing the run at the end of a triathlon with doing a 5k by itself.

I was pushing hard enough that I didn't look at the clock at the finish and didn't think to stop my watch for a minute or so. I knew I hadn't made my dream time, but I was happy with my improvement on last year. Several people asked me how I did and I said 10 minutes faster than last year. Actually it was 16 minutes faster. I stuck around for the awards ceremony even though I knew there were at least three ahead of me in my age group (actually there were 5--women 50-55 is a pretty competitive age group). One of the people I swim with won the age group, even though she was disappointed she wasn't as fast as last year. I was able to get my official time after the results ceremony, though I hadn't been included in the first group of results posted. My husband left earlier and carried my day pack and wetsuit for me. I had a leisurely bike ride home--I even stopped to pick up a penny in the road.
Official times:
are down a little ways--I got Blogger to accept my table but it puts in a bunch of white space.

swim 22:4525:02
T1 3:06

bike 40:41 47:38 (with T1)
T2 1:17 1:56
run 31:1540:27


Isis said...

Fantastic improvements over last year and an impressive finish. Way to go--especially with that cold water and weather.

(I was thinking about you during the race, btw.)

Lara said...

I have to admit that this triathlon notion is still quite scary to me but so I especially appreciate reading about your experiences.

Well done on your race!