Sunday, July 11, 2010

I Tri'd

For some inexplicable reason I decided to participate in a triathlon this summer. I found an all women's super sprint in Federal Way 1/4 mile swim (410 yards), 8 Mile bike (13K), and a 2 mile run (3.3K). I've always stayed away from triathlons because of the run, I'm not a big runner but I figured I could easily walk 2 miles so I decided to go for it. The worst part about the race was having to get up at 5:15 on a Sunday morning to be in Federal Way by 6:15.
To prepare for the open water swim I did a trial swim a few weeks ago. Turns out the wet suit I bought was not good for swimming, too much restriction in the arms so for this race I decided to rent a proper racing wetsuit. This made a huge difference and I am very thankful I had.

Open water swimming is definitely different than swimming in a pool. You can't see much and there are no markers to make sure you're swimming in a straight line. On a couple of occasions today I had to look at where I was going and correct my course. I'm sure the more open water swims I do the better I'll get at this. When I first looked at the time for my swim split I was a little surprised as I thought I would do better than 10:35 for the 1/4 mile, but then I remembered that there was a bit of distance between getting out of the water and the mat for the timing. The distance between the lake and the bikes was probably between 300-400 yards. There were a couple of mats along here and I'm not sure which one captured the time for the swim but I know it wasn't anywhere near the water.

The first transition took some time and I figured it would as I had to get out of the wetsuit get my clothes on and un-rack the bike. Had a few problems getting the bike off the rack with all the personal belongings underneath but I got it off and I was on my way. Just as I was nearing the point where I needed to mount my bike the headlight fell off my bike. I stopped to pick it up and tried to get it back on, I quickly decided it wasn't worth the time and handed it to a volunteer and said I would pick it up after the race. Surprisingly after the race there was no sign of my headlight. I've left my name and number and hopefully if it shows up I'll get it back.

I figured the bike would be relatively easy and I would do between 4.5 and 5 minute miles. My split for the bike was 39:31 not too far off my estimate. My maximum speed on the bike was 30 MPH - I love going downhill. The minimum speed was 6 MPH - I do not like going uphill. It was a nice course with not too many hills. There was a rather steep uphill right at the end which wasn't easy. I saw many people walking their bikes up the hill but I was determined to beat the hill and I did!

Had a much better second transition than first which was to be expected. The course starts with a steep switchback up a gravel path out of the park to the street. I knew I was going to be walking most of the course I did job for a bit but I was rather tired at this point. At one point when I switched from jogging to walking another woman said "Good idea, I'll join you." It turns out I was walking beside another Dawn Marie. I was anticipating completing the 2 miles in slightly over 30 minutes, so I was rather surprised when I saw my split was 27:28.

The course, atmosphere, and encouragement were great, especially on that dreaded last hill on the bike. The start of the run goes down that hill so as the runners go by they shout out encouragement to those biking up. The encouragement from the volunteers and other competitors definitely helps. I would also like to thank all my friends and family that have offered me words of encouragement and support as I trained for my first tri.

Me after the race sporting my ink.

Total time: 1:25:45 (8:12 in transition)