So I think I’ve been signed up for this super sprint tri since like March, based on the idea of my friend Jen. Jen, Kristen and I all signed up (we also did the 3-day walk together a couple years ago). We had other friends who wanted to join but knee surgeries and the race running out of spots kept them from joining us. We had plenty of time to train…. my plan was to do each sport once a week plus 1 – 2 days of other training for a few months, and then as it got closer to start combining the sports. I thought that way I could get to where I could do each phase on its own and then start combining them. Training didn’t go so well. I’d do well for a few weeks and then we’d hit another bought of illness – sometimes me, sometimes a kid – or a bout of no sleep (usually due to a kid)… and I’d skip a few days. I did always get back into working out but I didn’t get to a point where I ever ran 2 miles on its own. The longest bike ride I did on its own was 8 miles (once). The swim I did a couple times – the distance was short – but often it would leave me queasy (we figured out I needed to breathe more – lack of oxygen). So… not quite the training I intended. I did do some inclines in my neighborhood (we have hills!) so I at least had done short distances on inclines and not just all indoor exercise equipment.
I really need to thank a few people that helped out with training. First off, Leslie – she gets thanks for not only helping me with training plans and support – but we stayed with them up in Charlotte and she took care of the details – making sure I had everything I needed, and getting me to the right place in plenty of time. As a first time racer, not having to worry about logistics was really key. Next, my husband – he supported me throughout including getting me the bike I needed for my birthday and showing me what to do with it (I haven’t ridden bikes since I was a kid.) I also have to shout out to the shredheads – I have valued their support since I tried the 30 day shred back in Jan/Feb timeframe. They also have positive tweets and great posts on their blog to help you along the way (Bill & Kristen are the primary shredheads, but there is a whole support group using the #shredheads tag as well – Karen & Laura in particular – thanks!) Also thanks to Shea, who has done this before and offered positive advice and support along the way, including offering me her bike and other supplies if I needed them.
So in this past week leading up to the tri, I had a non-sleeping baby. Like to the point on Thursday where I just burst into tears on the pediatrician and she was really worried about me, not the baby. Thankfully Thursday and Friday were better – but I hadn’t done much of anything I should’ve this past week. I made it to a trail once, baby in stroller, and did 4 miles in an hour so at least that was something.
And our original plan had been a long weekend, without the girls, this weekend – but due to grandparents travel plans (how dare they take vacations, haha) – and CHris’ work travel plans it turned into a drive up Saturday, race Sunday morning, drive back Sunday afternoon weekend. And this is where I have to admit, on Thursday, I almost cancelled. But I have worked at this, even if not according to plan, for months. I was going to do this even if I drove myself. My husband was so supportive and said they were coming along – and they did and I’m so glad. Seeing them along the race path was so helpful and important to me.
Saturday was not a great sleeping night (poor Katherine just isn’t in a great stage – huge mommy-itis and bad sleeping right now). But Sunday I rose at 6, got dressed, ate my healthy pre-race breakfast (bagel with pb & banana), had a small cup of coffee (I drink coffee every morning, didn’t want to risk not having any), and Leslie took me to the race. I have to say it was pretty well organized – I didn’t know what to expect. You got your numbers on Saturday so Sunday you just had to find your spot to put your bike (in # order), lay out your towel & gear (I knew what to have thanks to Leslie), get marked (they use market to put numbers on your upper arms, thighs, and then your age on your calf – so if you are trying to win a prize you can see who is in your age group), and get your chip. They even had neoprene chip holders which were great, no chaffing or anything around your ankle. This event had 1250 women participating – that is just huge. I was #302 (based on a 1:55 100m swim time I entered – I was honest, not sure many others were). So the event started at 8:00 and I had an 8:30 start time in the pool. [Oh if you are a beginner – pool swim was so nice – indoor even! Really really nice to have a pool swim] The weather forecast had been very…. scary – storms, cooler weather, etc. But it was 70 and gorgeous Sunday morning for the race. After I setup I found my friends Kristen and Jen and we hung out together catching up. At 7:45 a.m. we gathered together for pre-race announcements (there is a loop on the run, the gates are here, no ear phones, blah blah…). We sang the National Anthem. And then we went inside awaiting our swim times. Probably the only hard thing was the race started about 10 -15 minutes late … so a few more minutes waiting, but it wasn’t bad – we were inside in our swimsuits and nothing else since everything else was in transition area, where you weren’t allowed to be in anymore… there were restrooms for those pre-race jitters. There was water, and I had a GU gel that I did half of before my swim.
We lined up – evens on my side of the pool – odds across the way. Kristen was in the 200s so I saw her go off and got to see what to expect. About 10 of you are in the pool at one time waiting along the wall and every ten seconds they tell someone to go. I weaved with the line…. then it was my time to jump in. It was a colder pool than I expected so that was a shock. But I got my googles on and crawled a long the wall to the start (it was deep so I couldn’t really touch the bottom.) The girl in front of me went… and then there was a 1 minute break. I told the girl behind me don’t worry if she needed to pass me I didn’t mind. So I waited what seemed like 5 minutes before he said 3 – 2 – 1 – go. And off I went.
I mostly do freestyle – I breathe every stroke. I found that was the cure to my queasiness after swimming. After two laps (of 10) the girl behind me passed me – I was okay with that. I occasionally did breast stroke to really catch my breathe. We zig zagged lane to lane with each lap. Probably the only time I was annoyed the whole race – the girl who passed me then started having trouble, and kind of made it difficult for me to pass her… I am okay if you are faster than me, but don’t pass me then cause me trouble… I did end up passing her again with about 2 laps to go – and I reached the wall and got out. The swim was done. I was shaky but ready to move on. Swimming has turned out to be the hardest part for me so I was so happy to be done with that segment – I jogged barefoot to my bike and did my transition – cap/googles off. Dry feet. Socks on, shoes on. Biker shorts on. I couldn’t tell you what order, its all kind of fuzzy. Bike helmet on. Half a GU gel with water. Walk bike to bike start, go through gate, mount and go…. started off downhill and I saw my family – that was so awesome I can’t even tell you. IT really made a difference for me. Course right after that I had to go up a big long hill. Yes up. Ugh…. felt like a rough start but it wasn’t too steep just a long uphill. After that I got into a really good groove. Plenty of people passed me – I’m okay with that – I am not known for speed on my bike. Slow & steady. I am still learning how to shift gears and get a pace. Downhills were fun – I got lots of speed! I felt really good on the bike ride – and I had a pretty good idea of how many turns we needed to make so that helped me figure out about how far we had to go (though to the helper telling us it wasn’t far now with a couple miles left – booo!) Towards the end I actually started to pass others – I finally had a stride. My only issue was that I wasn’t comfortable enough getting the bottle out to drink while biking – I did it a few times and was unstable – so I didn’t drink nearly enough on the bike ride. Now I know, and will practice that more. Finally at the end…. and there was a big freakin’ uphill! That was kind of cruel. Slow and steady – I made it up and saw my family again – I passed two women who had to walk their bike up. A few weeks ago that would’ve been me – I did that on the neighborhood hills a couple times. As it was I was in too high of a gear, but I was so slow if I switched I was afraid I’d pop a gear – something I did at home on a hill. So I just kept pushing and I made it…. wow, I wanted to kind of throw up after that hill. Back into transition, walk the bike back (I think my area was one of the furthest from all the gates by the way) – helmet off. More GU & water. Hat on. Numbers on (I was told there are penalties if you don’t wear your race numbers – I was wearing it on a belt thanks to Leslie). Walk/jog shakily to the gate. Wow didn’t feel well at that point. It took me a couple minutes to get my feet back under me to start jogging (I run a 11 – 12 minute mile typically so I call it jogging not running.) I had to do little walk breaks along the way. About 1/2 mile in I saw Leslie & family and Leslie actually ran alongside me for a good part of the run – that was really helpful pusing – I probably would not have run as much without that encouragement. I still had to walk occasionally – I kept getting lightheaded and my thighs were burning (my biggest issues really) – I think the lightheaded was the not drinking enough while biking. But I did jog and I jogged a good bit. There was a loop, then up a hill, then down a hill, loop again and finish line. With maybe 1/4 mile left Leslie told me just to find someone ahead of me and follow her in. Don’t stop. I really wasn’t sure I could do that – I was really at the end of my everything at that point. But I did… I followed – I kept after her… and then there was my family again, and the finish! And they say your name as you are coming in (that’s cool) – and you are there. I got emotional – I started to tear up as I got to the finish and my throat wanted to close up – but I did it! I ran through the finish – and they took my chip and handed me a bottle with water and a really cool little necklace on a pink string that said swim, bike, run on one side and Rambling Rose 2010 on the other. I then saw my friend Kristine – we hugged, we were done. I kind of wanted to throw up… but I walked around and found my family…. and there were hugs and pictures… and then a banana nad more water and I felt pretty good. I even held 25 lb Katherine for awhile (adrenaline I think haha.) Jen finished a few minutes later (she started 10 mins after me) – and we got our picture. Wow. That was an experience.
The 3-day walk is still the hardest thing I’ve ever done because it was 3 days of walking – nearly 60 miles – and I got injured training and injured during the walk.
But this was difficult, and I did it – and its one of the best feelings in the world… it really is. I feel so proud of what I did, and I want to do another one. Not sure I would’ve said that a couple months ago.
So results. Well first I will tell you my goals. My goal was to finish, especially considering my lack of training compared to where I wanted to be…
But I thought I could do ~6 min swim, ~45 min bike (I was doing a 5 min mile when I did the 8 mile bike ride training), ~27 minute walk/run (if I run fully its ~23 min). Plus transitions. So I was going for a total time in the 1 hr 20 min – 1 hr 30 min range.
And I just checked – here are my official results from online.
Overall place: 672
Swim rank: 501 Swim time: 00:06:39 Transition 1 time: 00:03:03
Bike rank: 743 Bike time: 00:35:17 Transition 2 time: 00:03:20
Run rank: 602 Run time: 00:22:06
Total time: 01:10:23
Yes, I beat my goal by 10 minutes!!! I have no idea how I did the run in 22 considering I thought I walked a decent bit of it… guess my running was quite a bit faster than my 12 minute pace on a treadmill. The bike – that was 10 minutes faster than my 5 minute miles – though my husband said part of that could be I was riding with really low tires – so adding air in pre-race training helped out and made it ‘right’. Since I wasn’t going to ‘win’ just to finish, I’m okay that I spent 6+ minutes in transition – but next time I will work on that. And the swim – I really think I would’ve been right at 6 minutes if the girl in front of me hadn’t kind of messed me up. But still I did it in just over 6.
So there you go. I tri’d – and I did well!!!
I think next year I’ll pick a race in Atlanta – anyone know of a good super sprint tri here? [And if you are interested, I highly recommend the Rambling Rose – it was very well run, and a great overall event – I really like the super spring distances]
And of course – pictures.
Setting up in transition pre-race…
(I should note – I don’t really have the right ‘gear’ – so I’m wearing my pink sports bra under my blue bathing suit, and then later black biker shorts – but hey, its about finishing right? Haha.)
Lots of support during the race!
Look at me go.
Lots of post race love.
We did it!
The girls had fun playing with my gear later.
Thanks again to everyone who helped me out in my prep for this – I feel so proud and I’m so glad I can show my girls about being healthy and exercising and attaining a goal!
Edited to add: Thank you to West Stride as well – they fitted me for a pair of shoes that wasn’t working out (knee pain), exchanged them for a new pair without receipt – and the new pair is working out great! Thanks West Stride!