It was almost exactly this time last Saturday that I heard the "go,go,go" to start my first triathlon. I've been reliving different details in my mind since then and I can't wait to do it again. Here's the whole story.
We got up there Friday afternoon and went for a quick swim in the lake before driving the bike course. The water felt great- I could live in the water. Driving the bike course completely freaked me out. All along I have felt that my swimming would be the strongest, followed by my run and finally the bike. I was not prepared for the hilly New Hampshire course. The first 1 mile out of transition is up a hill. I was sure I'd end up walking my bike somewhere along the way. But the run was supposed to be flat so I figured all I had to do was survive the 15 miles on the bike and hope for no flat tires.
We went out to eat and didn't get back to the hotel until after 9pm. I usually don't eat that late, I ate fried eggplant with pasta so it was heavy and the air conditioner in our musty hotel room didn't work so it wasn't going to be a good night. Surprisingly I fell asleep almost immediately after we turned out the lights about 10pm. Then about 1am I woke up and didn't get back to sleep until somewhere around 3:45am. Then the alarm went off at 4:20am and we were off. The team met in the lobby at 5am so we could all drive over together.
Saturday morning I was practically in a panic and sure that signing up for a triathlon was the dumbest thing I have ever done. I was pretty convinced that I can't actually swim as well as I initially thought, there was no way I'd survive that bike course and maybe I can jog three miles- but after the bike and run- no way. We got to the park about 5:30am to set up transition. As we were hanging around I saw Sarah Reinertsen (www.Iamsarah.org)! She's the female amputee triathlon that finished Ironman Kona in 2005. I got my picture taken with her and I ended up chatting with her before the start. That was amazing and she is incredibly nice. After the race she saw me and actually came over to see how I did!
Anyway, I was in the final wave for first timers. The race was supposed to start at 7:30am but about 7:15am they announced there was a truck out on the bike course that needed to be towed so we would be delayed. A lot of people were really cold waiting around the starting area. Being a well insulated Athena I didn't have that problem. The first timers wave went off 30 minutes after the start, 5 minutes after the athena/clydesdale/relay wave. As soon as I heard "Go" the race felt great. There was some initial bumping and jostling but I had no major problems or panic. I felt so strong in the water and the swim was perfect. I ended up swimming quite wide left to avoid the crowd so I think I swam a little farther than necessary. I never looked back but I think I was near the front end of my wave coming out of the water. I passed a few people from the wave in front of me and my time (10:17) put me in the top 1/3 of the racers! I was psyched at that point even though I had to get on my bike.
Transition was awesome and before I knew it I was on my bike. It was the best I have EVER felt on a bike. Even up the hills I felt great. I actually passed people, which I never thought I would do. The course was beautiful and I came in just under my goal time of 1 hour with a 59:43, 15.1 mph. I liked being towards the back of the race, there were many nice racers out there and I exchanged smalle conversation with a few. It usually consisted of "are we almost at the top of this hill?", and most people were nice and just happy to be out there. I saw a few grumpies, but that's their problem. When I got off the bike I looked down and realized I had forgotten to drink anything or eat my Gu as I had planned to do at the half way point. I took a swig of water and left because I still felt great.
I made it through the transition area out to the run course and then I hit the wall. I think the lack of hydration/ nutrition caught up with me. I managed to run (uphill!) to the first mile marker and then between 1 and 2 I ended up doing some walking. I jogged it in from mile 2 to the end and still came in under my goal of 30 minutes with a 29:45, I was happy with that considering I had walked a little way.
Initially I thought I'd take 2 hours but I told my coach my dream time would be 1:45. My total time: 1:45:52. Overall I was very happy and I learned some valuable lessons for next time. I came in 745 out of 949 finishers and 9/13 athenas. My next sprint is August 30th and the bike and swim and slightly shorter so I'm hoping for under 1:30. We'll see.
Swim- Time: 10:17 Rank: 313
Bike- Time: 59:43, 15.1 mph Rank: 741
Run- Time: 29:45, 9:55 pace Rank: 820
9/13 Athena division