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Loving to Tri

I’m a Triathlete!

Yesterday’s triathlon at the Caine Halter Y was a success! I did not drown in the pool, nor did I crash on my bike or get lost on the run! It was a great experience, and I learned a lot about what I need to improve on for my upcoming races. Sorry for the lack of pics! I’ll do better next time 🙂
Getting Set Up
I got up at about 5:00 am. After a quick cup of coffee and a Clif bar, I loaded my bike onto my car and headed off for the Y. When I got there, I noticed that I had somehow come across some fishing line, and it was all tangled up in my bike. No clue how that happened! It took a few minutes to get it untangled and get my bike off my car so I could head to the transition area.
After some searching, I found my designated rack, but it was already full because some people had racked their bikes in the wrong spot. Luckily, there was an open spot right next to my rack, so I used it. 
My little spot in transition

There were a good number of people at this event
After arranging all my gear, I headed off for body marking and chip pick up. The volunteers wrote my race number (#97) on both my arms and both my legs and wrote my triathlon age (which is not the same as my actual age) on the back of my right calf. After several showers and vigorous scrubbing, the faint outline of the numbers is still visible!
I then headed up to the pool for the pre-race meeting. When I got there, I realized that I still had my glasses on, so I had to race back to the transition area to leave my glasses before they closed the transition. By this time, my feet were pretty well covered with a mixture of red clay and grass clippings. Yuck!
After the National Anthem, the swim started. Because this triathlon had a pool swim, we started one at a time, with about 10 seconds between athletes. In theory, we were seeded based on our expected swim times, but no one really lined up in the right order, and no race officials were making sure we were in line.
Once it was our turn to start, we had to run down the timing mat and jump feet first into the water to start the swim. Then, we had to snake our way through the pool – down one side of the lane, back on the other side, then switch to the next lane until we finished. I got off to a good start, and my goggles didn’t slip or leak when I jumped in. After about 50 yards, I caught up with the swimmer in front of me, tapped her on the foot, and easily passed her.
After another 75 yards or so, I caught up with the next swimmer, tapped her on the foot, swam around her, and got to the wall just in front of her. Instead of letting me pass, though, she pushed me under the water and swam over me! I muttered some choice phrases under the water and just kept swimming. It really wasn’t worth expending extra energy to try to pass her again, so I just drafted off her the rest of the way.
After the swim, we had to run down an asphalt path, on a bit of the sidewalk, and down a grassy hill to cross the timing mat and get back to the transition. I was kind of wary about running barefoot, so I went pretty slowly and got passed by a couple of people. Next time, I’ll just power through it… Even with my inability to pass the swimmer in front of me and the slow run at the end of the swim, I still came in 21st place for the women, and my swimming pace definitely met my goal!
My transition times definitely need some work! I spent too much time wiping grass clippings from my feet, trying to get my ponytail through the designated hole in my helmet, and putting on my cycling gloves. Next time, I’ll deal with some dirt on my feet, wear a lower ponytail, and forego the gloves.
The bike course was short (only 9 miles) but challenging. There wasn’t a single flat part on the course! There were some really fast people out there! On one of the downhills, I looked at my speedometer, and I was going about 30 mph. Even with this speed, there were people passing me like I was standing still! I managed to pass some people on the uphills, though.
In my training rides, I always drink water when I get to a flat, straight part of the course. Because I’d never practiced grabbing my water bottle in any other conditions, I didn’t feel comfortable with it on the race course. By the time I finished, I was really thirsty and could definitely feel the effects of not drinking. Got to work on that! I ended up placing 43rdon the bike and averaged over 15 mph, so I’m happy with that.
The bike-run transition went pretty smoothly. I spent some time trying to drink some water in the transition area before deciding to just take the bottle with me on the run. Good decision!
The run was a nice, pretty flat course on the Swamp Rabbit trail. I was more tired than I expected to be after the swim and the bike, and my legs felt a little dead at the beginning. After about ten minutes (and a full bottle of water and a gel), they loosened up and felt much better. I was able to pick up the pace a bit, but not as much as I would have liked to. Once I saw the finish line, I managed to sprint to the end! What was really cool about this race is that the announcer looked up everyone’s name from their bib numbers and congratulated each of us by name as we crossed the line!
The finish line’s in sight
I finished 40th, with a pace that wasn’t anywhere near my ideal goal L

Overall, I was really happy with the experience. I learned so much and had a great time. Can’t wait for the next one!
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