6 days…3 [hard] races. Triangle Sprint.

Yep…another race report. Nope, you’re not mistaken, I have also written about 2 other races this week. I’m not really sure how doing 3 races in 6 days happened, it certainly wasn’t planned and let’s just say I’m not sad they’re all over.

My sister and I planned to do Triangle Triathlon together a few weeks ago. It would be Dawn’s 2nd race with an open water swim and it would be, well, another race for me I guess. My parents are less than an hour from this race so we thought it’d be a nice duel purpose visit. And we were right 🙂

Everything race morning went smoothly other than questioning for the millionth time in my life why triathlons start so freikin early as my alarm blared at 5 o’clock in the morning. Thankfully I hadn’t been asleep for the last 2 hours so the alarm was a simple “time to hop out of bed reminder.” (:: insert sarcasm ::)

Arrived at race site, transition set up, warm up complete, and down to the water we went. Got in a few strokes in the water to adjust to the disgusting clay color before the National Anthem was being played and it was time to get the party started. The Open swim wave still really intimidates me and they probably always will. Being among people who are generally really strong swimmers, many of them collegiate level, its just something that will take time to get used to. Hopefully my swimming will continue to improve to assist the intimidation factor in reducing.

Swim: 17:12 – 42/166 (don’t laugh!)

The gun sounded and we were off. This is my first sprint racing open and boy, these fishes don’t mess around. I felt strong and relaxed during first balls-to-the-wall 150 meters, but obviously wasn’t swimming a speed I could come close to maintaining. At all. I made it to the first turn buoy with 3 girls all around me and even managed to tickle some toes drafting. Progress. We turned the first buoy and I won’t lie, the 2nd / last turn buoy seemed pretty damn far away for a sprint. Something just wasn’t adding up.

Overall, I had what felt like one of my better open water swims…I stayed on course the entire time, I worked on what I’ve gone over in my swim lessons with Sarah, I did a little drafting, and I actually felt like I pushed my pace outside of my comfort zone a bit. That said, by the last turn buoy, I felt like I’d been in the water forever! I could see 3 people about 50 meters ahead of me and was just baffled. To stand up and see 16:53 on my watch was a serious “WTF…I’m quitting triathlon” moment. My goal was to see 13 something. More on this later.

T1: 1:45 – 8th

Confused and pissed, I made the forever long journey into transition and did my thing. I was trying out my “flying transition” that I learned a few weeks ago. I need practice on the mount in motion and I decided to force myself to do it at this race. I opted for no socks, threw on my helmet, glasses (which immediately fogged), grabbed bike, and was out the door.

With glasses 100% fogged up, performing a moving mount proved “interesting” particularly given I have’t really mastered such skill without fogged up glasses. Not to mention, the first 1/4 mile of the bike course is like bike handling skills practice with a billion different cones scattered around. To top it off, JUST as I scooted out of transition, the volunteer yells “don’t forget to strap your helmet”. CRAP.

So by the time I set out on my bike, I had already made a list of things to work on: swimming, mounting my bike in motion with fogged glasses, and riding with no hands on my TT bike. The front end of my new bike is REALLY really loose – it’s almost hard to push it holding just the seat cause the front has quite a mind of its own. I definitely have a fear of letting go with both hands. When the volunteer told me my helmet wasn’t strapped, I knew I’d have no choice but to stop and strap it. At this point, I wasn’t fastened into my shoes yet, I’m weaving within the cone maze, and now I have to stop and strap my helmet. This transition goes down as one of my worst to ever. UGH! Thankfully most of the “mishaps” were after I was through the mat or else I think my transition time would have been last!

Bike: 46:55 – 1st

Despite a pathetic start to this bike ride which probably cost me 10-20 seconds as a whole, it was pretty anticlimactic. Not surprisingly, I had little umpf left in my legs after the week that I had, but I just motored on doing the best I could. I decided not to watch any data after the swim mishap and just go as hard as I could for the 17.5 mile ride. The ride was hilly and I know my legs were fatigued when I was convinced that the whole ride was uphill. When you’re riding downhill and still feeling like you’re working, its a sure sign some recovery is in your future.

A couple miles in, a few of the fast guys from the wave behind mine caught up to me and we jockeyed back and forth for several miles. I’ve ridden with Drew Brashear enough to know I could / should be able to stay with him and I did for 3-4 miles. We hit one of the bigger hills on the course though and he was off and running. At some point, I passed two girls from my wave and it felt good to be making up ground. I rely on my ability to make up ground on my bike. Ideally one day, I’ll be putting time into girls on my bike and not making up ground I’ve lost out of the water.

At least my helmet was straight….

T2: :57 – 4th

Thankfully nothing to report on this transition. Smooth and out the door as quickly as I could given it was quite a run to the exit.

Run: 22:42 – 8th

So this run confirmed to me that Triangle Triathlon is equivalent to Raleigh’s version of Latta. The water is warm and pretty yucky, the bike has some nice hills, and the run is on trails / rocks and has a few hills of its own. I do not run well on trails / rocks. Hence, I did not run that well at this race. The hardest part was thinking the course was a straight out and back. As my watch ticked 1.75, 1.80, 1.9 miles, I was baffled on what the deal was?? Clearly it wasn’t a straight out and back (despite the website) but I had seen the speedy men coming towards me and knew we must turn around somewhere! About 2 minutes before I hit the turn around (mile 2), I saw Chris, the lead female, coming towards me. At that point, I knew I couldn’t catch her and I didn’t see any girls for a minute or two after my turn around so knew I was safe in second. I kept pressing on as fast as my tired legs would take me though because crossing the line in second doesn’t mean someone from the age group wave won’t come through later and slide in front of you!” Press on.

Finish: 1:29:30 -2nd Open / 3rd female

http://www.setupevents.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=event_results&id=3014

Well, my whole philosophy about “someone from the age group wave won’t come through later and slide in in front of you” held true. By 8 SECONDS. GRRRRR. When you think about 8 seconds and how little time that is, it can be frustrating. You think back to “if only I didn’t need to stop and strap my helmet,” “if only I swam 2 more strokes before standing up out of the water,” “if only I didn’t back down quite as much on that one hill”. But it is what it is and that’s racing. My race was my race on this day. Perhaps the 5 girls who finished behind me have a story of their own which cost them 5, 10, 20 sec…maybe even a minute. And that my friends, is why people get hooked on triathlon! There is always room for improvement even at a race when you were the 3rd fastest girl…and a lot of times, it’s improvement in things having nothing to do with swimming, biking or running! Onward and upward!

PS. There was a lot of chatter after the race about the swim course being long and it was later confirmed by looking at the results, that there is no doubt all times were 2:00 – 2:30 slower than previous years. This makes me feel a little better about my atrocious time. A little!

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