My first triathlon, so of course I was one of the first people to show up. I had the second parking spot, and was ready to go. Nerves definitely play a part, but there was no question in my mind that I could finish, just whether I could finish with a time that would satisfy my own goals.. but then again, for most of us, isn’t that always the case? Working for TBF, I’ve seen enough tris that this part of the race didn’t make me nervous, and I was happy to have scores of other STC racers with me that day to chat with and warm up my body with. Support is always one of the most crucial parts of racing.
I’d swam Lake Natoma before, so the changes in temperature as you swim didn’t shock me. The water goes from pleasantly chilly to cold often. What shocked me is how long this swim felt. I’ve definitely gone this far, in fact, do so on almost every swim I do, but with a slightly leaking set of goggles, very low visibility, and being passed again and again, the swim seemed to drag on.
My performance actually was almost dead-on with Amanda and Josh, all of us came within a couple minutes of each other, which based on our “normal” paces, meant Amanda kicked both Josh’s and my butts… go Amanda!
The FIT route climbed up Iron Point, right by work, across the freeway on Prairie City, then up the hill on White Rock. The ride wasn’t particularly difficult, but I felt quite downhearted at my performance. I was going, and going, and yet my pace was poor (for me), and I kept looking at my odometer, disappointed that I was getting further and further from the ability to make my 2:40 goal, just due to the bike.
When we got to the real climb, I could feel my lack of training kicking in. I run a lot. Swimming, I’d gotten into pretty regularly. Yet in my eight months of having a road bike, I’d only put in 200 miles. I knew I could do 24.8 miles, no problem… but I wasn’t prepared to burn out so quickly moving at a race pace. Only one person to blame for that… me.
All that being said, when I turned around from the hill, and started watching my speed, I noticed that I wasn’t slowing down much. My pace after coming down the big hill was staying 20+. The poor performance that had disheartened me so much was due to one of those “silent” uphills, and my spirits started lifting. I may not be able to make my 2:40 goal, but based on the pacing I was doing now, I could definitely beat my 3:00 “bare minimum.” Had I more cycling under my belt, I would have known all of this. Ah well, live and learn, that’s why we keep doing these!
My best sport.. and here’s the biggest disappointment for me in my performance, my legs were cramped the entire time, not because of my running, but because of my lack of bike prep. Ah, the crux of multi-sport, we can’t rely on our strengths in one sport to overcome weaknesses in the others, but must continue to work on all the sports together! So whereas an 8min/mi shouldn’t be difficult, I was thinking I was running 10s (and actually was running sub-8s). I’m actually surprised at the 8s, based on the amount of cramping and how I felt I was progressing, but this was my best sport. So where I was looking at a 2:40 for a goal, I got what everyone has reassured me is a respectable first tri time, at 2:45.
A serious athlete would probably follow up their performance with a nice recovery drink, some protein, and a chance to reflect and relax. But forget that, a big reason I do this is for the camaraderie and friendship! So off to Sweetwater for bottomless mimosas with the friends and support crew. Cheers! And thanks for coming out to my first tri.
Oh, and a huge shout out to Josh for finishing his first tri, with a bike time matching mine from a guy who had his bike just one month! And to Amanda, who’s time is right behind mine… which means in my opinion, she kicked my arse! And a final one to Gabe, who’s broken rib kept him from partaking. I expect you to be out here with us all next time! And you too, Harry, get back in that pool.