Sunday, August 16, 2009

YWCA Sprint Triathlon

Today I raced in the YWCA Women's Triathlon. This race is for women only and is held at Baker Park which is only 5 minutes from my house. I do a lot of my training at this park, so I signed up early for this one. The race sold out quickly so I'm glad that I did. About 450 women showed up after early morning hours of pouring rain and lightning. Just as I left my house, the rain stopped and conditions were fine for the race.

About half of the racers were doing their first tri and this was just my third. It's amazing to me that after just two races, a lot of the nervousness I felt at my first tri was gone. I got to the race, got marked, set up my transition area and hit the porta-potty. I signed up for this race with a friend and we have been training together this summer. It was great to have a friend there as support and company. As I came out of the porta-potty for the second time, who did I see?

My husband taking my picture! It was so humid the camera lens fogged up. Thanks, honey, for that great shot. It's just what every girl wants, a picture of herself coming out of the bathroom. Really, though, it was great to see him and our daughter before we headed down to the beach for the pre-race meeting. I was ready to go!

The Swim

It's been warm here the last week, so I decided to swim without my wetsuit. I got in the water and swam around a lot before my wave. The water was a little cold, but once the race started I was fine. The start was crowded with some jostling and I swallowed a little water, but it wasn't too bad. After rounding the last buoy, I ran into a lot of swimmers doing breast stroke and back stroke. I switched to breast stroke so that I could see better around them. I can do breast stroke just about as fast as I can freestyle swim, so I don't think it slowed me down. The swim course was for sure longer than 500 yards. Winning times were about 3 minutes slower than last year's times. I came in about 3 minutes slower than I had expected at 13:09. I finished 30th out of 99 in my division for the swim.

The Bike

I had biked the course before the race, so I knew it was going to be hilly. I decided to push myself as hard as I could on the bike. Looking at my results, I was ranked 16th for the first transition, so I gained a little going into the bike on the faster swimmers. Quite a few had worn wetsuits so that slowed them down. I think I then held my place throughout the bike. About 12 miles into the 15.5 mile ride, 3 over 50 women passed me. They were amazing but I was surprised that more older women didn't pass me. There is no denying that the bike is just a heck of a lot of fun. My average speed was 17 mph, which on the hilly course was a little faster than I had expected. In my division I was 16th out of 99 at 55:01 for the 15.5 mile course. Again, this was longer than the advertised 15 miles.

The Run

The most shocking thing to me this triathlon season has been that the run, which I thought was my biggest strength, has turned out to be my biggest weakness. I don't mean that I'm markedly slower than I thought I would be. I've always been a slow runner and I knew going into it that it would drag my time down. The surprise has been how difficult it has been just to complete the distances and how hard it is to run after the bike. By the time the run rolled around, the sun was out and it was warm and humid. The leg started on an uphill and I had to walk right away to catch my breath. I did better the second mile, and the third mile brought more walking up a hill. I walked more than I had hoped and my time was slower than I would have liked. The course was actually 3.2 miles instead of 3.1, so my time of 30:40 gave me an average pace of 9:30. I finished 28th out of 99 in my division for the run.

In the end...

Overall I finished in 1:44:49 which was 17th out of 99 in my division. I'm pleased with that and felt like I had a good day in general. The Sprint Distance is a good fit for me right now. I feel like I've learned a lot this summer and I particularly feel more comfortable on the bike. I can see that the run is where I really need to improve. I have one more triathlon this season, Square Lake Short Course on September 12th. The course is quite a bit longer than the Sprint, but it's shorter than the Olympic (thank goodness). I have almost a month to get ready for it. After today, I'm looking forward to getting back to training.


Mark said...

Yay!! I'm cheering you on!! I hope you realize how great you did! That is a great finish and you looked great,too!! Congratulations!!

Porkchopwi said...

Congrats on a great event! Looks like your bike average picked up 2 MPH this event.

(Did the bike course do a big square around Baker and pass through Hamel?)

I gotta hand big props to you for apparently going into the john with bare feet (judging by the photo) that takes some real guts!

Beth said...

I know, barefoot was gross! I actually joked about this with the other barefoot women in line. Of course, it was a women's only event, so the porta-potty was cleaner than your average one, or at least that is what I am telling myself!

Mel-2nd Chances said...

Amazing job on the tri! Reading your report gave me goosebumps, I'm getting more excited for mine by looking at your pics!! You did great!

Jean said...

Way to go, Beth! What a great performance you had, and on such a warm, humid morning, too. Excellent job, and keep up the great work!

If that Square Lake is the one I am thinking of, that is where the Lumberjack Days 10 miler starts. A pretty setting...should be a really nice area to race!

I Run for Fun said...

Awesome job! Those are great results. I am sure running after swimming and biking must make it plenty tough! Sweet pics, too.

B.o.B. said...

Wow! That was a great race! Go you!!! You should be very proud of yourself. Next time tell hubs to wait until after you have left the potties for a photo op. LOL!

Velma said...

Great race and placement!!! I think running off the bike just takes a lot of practice. You are going to rock the next race. It was nice of hubby to take pictures - the tri suit looks great.

Chad said...

Nice job! Glad you're fired up to get back to training for Square Lake.

AZ said...

I did a June triathlon out near Baker Park and it was definitely hilly. Great job.

I enjoyed reading your blog. I`m in the Twin Cities area too and like reading about other bloggers and their races in the area.