I chose this race because I’ve never done an Olympic distance race before and needed another race as a ‘tune up’ for the half in September. After looking at the race calendar this one seemed to be an ideal one on the perfect weekend. I was going to carpool with my neighbor who does tri’s as well, but last minute he wasn’t able to make it so I made the trek out solo (the boyfriend, JMR, was busy studying for another one of his certification tests on Monday), and made it there with zero incidents this time 🙂
However, when I pulled up, I immediately started panicking. The individuals setting up and getting their gear ready in the parking lot looked like this was most certainly not their first rodeo. At first glance I think my bike was the only one without race wheels or tri bars, not that you need those to be fast, but I started to feel like a newbie again. I went to check-in and get my bib, and then went back to get my bike and gear and headed to the transition area. Yipes. So many people had their bike shoes already on their bikes (more experienced triathletes do that so their transition is faster…. but it’s more tricky) and no one, I mean no one, had socks in their transition area. Once again, usually more of the experienced triathletes don’t mess with or worry about socks, they just wear their cycling shoes and running shoes without. So, after setting up my transition area, I discretely tucked mine in my bike shoes hoping it wasn’t a red flag that I was still new at this sport.
After getting my transition set up, I headed to the start and met up with my friend and her husband. We nervously chit chatted for a bit and then we headed down to the beach near the water to listen to the pre-race instructions and get more nervous. Seriously, the buoys looked ridiculously far away for just .9 miles. Before we knew it, the horn went off and off we went into the water. It took me awhile to get settled into a pace and figure out the general direction I needed to head to (it seems so easy out of water, try swimming in water with zero visibility and sighting only when you breathe…oh and the buoys were on the left and I breathe on the right. I really need to learn how to breathe bilaterally) It wasn’t easy, but I made it and wasn’t out of breath at the end either. I really really need to keep working on swimming, but I was pleased that I wasn’t the last out of the water.
The transition from the swim to the bike was about .2 miles away, so after a quick jaunt I was putting on my bike gear and then was off on the bike. Oh how I love my bike 🙂 The bike course was pretty flat and uneventful. I kept looking at my MPH and kept trying to hit 19, but then I’d feel a burn in my legs every now and then and had to back down (there’s a run after this ride, I had to keep telling myself). Overall the ride still felt great and I felt stronger than I did during my last tri in July, so I was pretty happy.
As I reached the dismount area, I hopped off my bike and had less than the usual wobbly legs as I headed into transition. I was excited and hoping they’d be ready to crush the run, but shortly into it, I realized I wasn’t going to make the 7:45 pace I was hoping for. I really think my nutrition on the bike stunk, I just had half of a gel and two honey stinger chews, and I know I should have eaten more (especially because I don’t take in much more than water during the run). So much for practicing with nutrition for race day. The next few long rides that needs to be as important as the mileage. Anyways, off I went, running on the levee around lake Carlyle (which was beautiful scenery). After the first two miles I passed one person but I realized that most likely that would be the last. I was able to hold my own and not get passed again, but it was so odd running a race (and during the bike too), only seeing one or two people. Not that I enjoy a super crowded race, but camaraderie is more than welcomed.
I finally had less than a half-mile to go and mustered up the last of my energy, mad at myself for pushing it on the bike or neglecting nutrition, not sure which was the culprit, but my legs were not being the awesome legs that they usually are during races. I finally finished it at 2:37, which I was happy with since this was my first olympic, but I wasn’t sure what that time meant competition-wise, since I didn’t have another race to compare it to. All I know is that I had the goal of beating three hours and that mission was more than done. Boom.
I probably won’t do another one this year after my half, but I really really enjoyed this race distance and if half distance race’s don’t work out for me, I would like to say the Olympic tri is equivalent to my love of half marathons 🙂 Overall this race was great, even though it was small, it was well organized and I thought run very well. The volunteers were wonderful and the race director and everyone else running the event were more than helpful and friendly. I would definitely do this race again next year depending on my schedule (and if I gain a tad more speed!)
(I was so nervous for the race, I didn’t take any pictures before or after…..my friend had a camera so stay tuned. But race pics usually stink anways…so maybe not 😉