Really Long Rehash of This Weekend's Triathlon... you've been warned.
Saturday was the Endurance Challenge sprint triathlon. I have posted some pictures along with running narrative here. View the slideshow to see the captions.
This was my first race in reasonably warm water and in a pool. And since the swim has cost me SO much time on other races, I had high hopes that the pool would make everything better. And to make it even better, I had a cheering SQUAD this time instead of a cheering GUY (but I really love my cheering guy-- SNG, you're the best cheerleader EVAH!). Our friend Marc showed up to watch the race (I think he was most interested in all the super-fit women in swimsuits, but he's way too polite to admit that to me). That was more motivating than I had expected it to be. SNG's boss was there, too. He's an Ironman triathlete, so that lent a little bit of gravity to the race. Um, I think he finished the race before I even got into the pool...
I made the mistake of seeding myself in a slower swim class than I should have, and spent most of the swim trying (unsuccussfully) to pass people. Funny, I didn't think anyone was a slower swimmer than me. Well, there was that one guy who died in the lake last time...he was pretty slow. Anyway, I lost a few minutes there. I'll know better next time. Finished the 500M swim in 13:49, 94th out of 110 overall. I know I could have done it in 11 minutes without the no-passing issues.
(apologies for the gallows humor, but if that kind of thing bothers you, then you probably found this blog by accident)
It was really fun and invigorating to be able to swim properly, since the last 2 races (in cold open water) I had to make do with either backstroke or a wierd hybrid dogpaddle-breaststroke thing in a miserably tight wetsuit. And since there was no wetsuit this time (and since my start time was around dinnertime), I was also able to warm up properly before the race. I am sure that it helped.
The only complaint I have about the bike was that they added the first transition time to the bike time. Grr. I am a slow transitioner. Nonetheless, my bike time was 11th overall and 3rd in my age group. It was a 16-mile route with continuous hills, averaged about 19.5mph, and the bike computer said 48 minutes (not including transition time). On the entire ride, only one person passed me. He was kitted out in full TT regalia, complete with $5000 racing bike and foil helmet. I passed a few dozen people on everything from racing bikes to mountain bikes, some in tennis shoes with toeclips and t-shirts. But I'll take my downward social comparison wherever I can get it, dabnabbit!
The 5K run course was gently hilly (nothing steep) and took two figure-8 loops around the sportsplex. My time was not as good as I'd hoped: 31 minutes, but my goal is 30 minutes so it was close. There's no way to finesse it: I run slowly. It's OK, the run is kind of a recovery from the bike. If a tiger were chasing me, I'd probably have run a little bit faster.
Since the bike is the only part of a triathlon that is at all ego-tied, I was really happy with the race. It was lots of fun, and sprint distance is definitely the way to go. It just feels like a fantastic workout. Any longer and it starts to feel like work...