What a way to start the season!!
My first triathlon of the season and I must admit I showed up with some reservations. I got out of work, headed home to grab my gear, and got on the road. I quickly learned my lesson - get to the east side of Hartford before 4:30pm. Oh-well.
Starting that morning, I had been having a back/neck pain that caused pain when I lifted my head. I had been working it out, but at this point just accepted that the swim was going to S-U-C-K!! Lucky for me, I saw that they had massage tables set up. What? A free massage?! Don't mind if I do! One of the therapists - Tara - gave me a "magic potion" and OMG it felt amazing!
As I stepped up to the water for the start, I couldn't even feel a twinge of pain; it was great!
I was in the second wave, so I got to see the first 100 people head off. Three minutes later, I heard "three, two, one... Go!" The season had started.
The swim was only a 500, so I pushed the pace. This was just as much a test for Sunday with the wetsuit as it was a race to see where I stood. I ended up veering a bit left, or everyone went right. Either way I was on my own despite planning on drafting the swim. I made it out to the turn buoy and thought "Hmmm... this is a bit far." On the way back, I again ended up left of everyone, but seemed to be headed straight for shore. I picked the pace up a bit and when I was able to touch the sand with my fingertips, I popped up and ran to transition. Looking down at my watch, I saw 11:xx.
The times for the Lake T Sprints include transition and I'm used to having an 11-12 minute first leg Did I just swim really slow? Turns out they had an 800 yd swim instead of 500; the director just really likes the swim.
I got the my bike, sat down, and immediately ripped off my wetsuit. It was surprisingly easier than it had been before. I tossed it with my stuff, slipped on the shoes, grabbed my sunglasses and clipped on the helmet. I grabbed my bike and ran to the road.
SWIM + T1 - 12:33
With a flying mount, I headed out on the 12-mile bike course and pushed it from the start. I only had 12 miles and I've ridden that plenty of times, so I felt I had no reason to let up. Down the first hill, I noticed that my bike computer wasn't reading. Greeeeeat! I'm blind. I also noticed that I was breathing rather heavy. Oh-well. My body can handle it. I kept drinking my double concentrated Gatorade and water (in hindsight, I got a LOT of liquid in on the bike) and kept passing other riders. I only had a couple people pass me and it was in leap frog fashion; overall I didn't get passed on the bike and that was a mental boost for sure.
On the second loop, I felt my breathing calm down - awesome! I kept pushing the pace. At this point, the computer started reading and I got an idea of what my pace was - around 21 mph. I was used to hitting 19 mph on this course and the excitement let me push harder. I rounded last turn into transition and hopped off the bike. I ran towards transition with the computer reading just over 22mph.
BIKE - 31:07
(~ 23 mph)
As I crossed the timing mat into transition, I noticed two things. First, the few people I saw ahead of me were quickly getting out on the run course. Second, there were only half a dozen bikes in transition. After a great bike, I was pumped that I was so close to the front. Extra motivation!! I racked the bike, switched shoes, threw off the helmet, grabbed my hat, and took off after the guys in front of me.
I headed out a bit faster than I might normally since I had three guys in my view. After the first 0.1 mile, I tried to keep myself in check 'till I got up the first hill. I passed one guy before the hill and stayed in place to the top. I passed another on the downhill and decided to attempt maintaining my pace. I felt like I might be hitting 7:00 minute miles, but felt great either way. Up ahead, I saw a blue tri jersey; a friend of mine from grad school. I won't lie that seeing him up ahead helped me push myself. What can I say, I'm competitive!
I thought I might hold my place and take him on the last downhill. I'm not a sprinter! If I'm going to get ahead, I have to go NOW. I clicked the pace back up and kept pushing. I passed my friend in blue and made it to the final downhill. One mile to go.
I hadn't been hitting my watch for splits, but with one mile to go, I had 57 minutes. If I was hitting 7 minutes, 1:05 was well within reason. Yet again, I gritted down and pushed it. I passed two more runners before I hit the finish line.
T2 + RUN - 19:45
FINISH - 1:03:25
1st in age group
I think it's safe to say, I was quite happy with myself. My test of the Rev3 race day gear worked very well. Transitions went smoothly. I had a killer bike! I surpassed my expected run time. The overall winner had a time of 58:01, so I have roughly 5 minutes to cut down somewhere. I have my work cut out for me this summer - only 5 races left. Maybe a minute per race? We shall see.
Onto Rev3 Quassy. Bring it!
Questions1. Is there a better way to start the season than with crushing a PR?
If there is, I want to know about it.
2. Do you get competitive with others in a race or are you out there solely for yourself?
I'm super competitive!
Swim fast. Bike smart. Run hard.