Triathlon report (or….how not to freeze to death)

Check out the slide show for more race pics. Get ready for a long blog post.
The Littlefoot Tri was a lot of fun! It was a sprint distance, so 1/2 mile swim, 15 mile bike, and 5K (3.2? mile) run. I picked this for my first race because it was small and local.
We got there bright and early and I set up my transition area. I always forget my water bottle so we had to go back to the car and grab that, then we spent the remaining time trying to get warm and putting me in my rented wetsuit and my special neoprene swim cap. The water was 55 degrees.
My friend Sonja ran up and gave me some wax to put in my ears right before the start. It was exciting and surreal all at the same time as we all jumped in the water (me in the back) and started swimming. For a few minutes, it felt great! Then I got a mouth FULL of water and I wasn’t mentally ready for that. I started doing breaststroke and then began panicking. I was so scared. My body was numb from the neck down and I couldn’t feel the bottom. I remembered that I never used my inhaler which scared me too. When I stopped for a minute I heard all these women behind me screaming, which didn’t help with the panicking! I flipped on my back and started froggy-kicking. I yelled at the other scared women to do the same, and oddly enough, they did it and stopped screaming. Phew. Then I calmed down and tried to get away by side stroking, then breast stroke, then finally back to front crawl just as I rounded the first buoy. Pretty soon, the men that started behind us caught up but it wasn’t scary at all. I realized the swim wasn’t as far as it looked and I was determined to do it. By the time I rounded the second buoy and headed for the beach, I finally had a rhythm going. 4 strokes, sight, long, calm pulls just like Liz talked to me about. Then it was time to get out. I was so happy to have done the swim but delirious at the same time! Swim time: 19 minutes.
When I ran up out of the water I was so numb I couldn’t get my wetsuit off. It seemed like it took forever to transition, but it was only 2:15. On to the bike.
I got on the bike and into aero position. I felt heavy in the legs and it took me a few minutes to get settled. I never got that good strong TT feeling that I am used to, probably because of where I’m at in training. I only averaged 16.7 mph for a time of 53 minutes on the bike. The bike was pretty much a breather for me, and a way to warm back up, and I did pass a few people which helped my mental state! Not sure why the slow average, but I’m not upset about it. I actually felt super strong on the little hills, it was the flat areas giving me the trouble. That is a first! This just gives me a baseline from which to work on.
Transition 2 went smoothly, all that Chilly Cheeks practice helped a lot. Had to take off a jersey, which added some time. 57 seconds later I’m off running.
I start running and my legs feel super heavy again. I try to just keep a quick cadence to compensate until I can open up my stride a little. I don’t know that I ever got to do that! I started remembering the gallon of pond water I swallowed, mostly because it was threatening to come back up. I had to slow down a lot twice to keep my breakfast where it belonged. Strangely enough, thinking about the strawberries I just planted in my garden helped me not puke – that and all the times I had to pass Wes and the Wiecks, I didn’t want to barf in front of them. On the last mile, I felt stronger and I think I picked up the pace a bit. My run time was 27:44 and my pace was 8:50. Considering all the tummy troubles I am pretty happy with that!
So my total time was 1:44, I was 2nd of 5 in my age group, and 18th of 53 women. Most of all, I had a great time and met all my goals. And I learned A LOT. This was nothing like a duathlon!
In the line of what I’m learning, if you have any suggestions for how to improve my bike, I’m all ears. Having been a cyclist for 10 years I’d have to say this is a whole different sport. I’m thinking some LT intervals might do the trick, and some VO2 intervals for the XTerras.
The next race is Buffalo Creek XTerra in June, and it’s a toughy!

7 responses to “Triathlon report (or….how not to freeze to death)

  1. Great Job, Laura!! You are already pretty tough in my book…I think Granddad would agree. You have always been in the “tough club”
    The rest are all just little (and fun) challenges for you, Superwoman!

  2. You crack me up. My favorite picture is the one of you still mounted on your bike about 1.5 feet past the “dismount” line. Let’s not show that one to the officials!
    Great job in your first tri, I never knew you were about to puke!
    All I can say about the bike is that you are strong and I think you are probably stronger than that average is making you feel. The numbers will come.

  3. Yeah, I need to pay more attention to that dismount line thing. I thought the timing mat was the line. Ooops!

  4. Way to go Laura! Tell me, were your lips blue from the cold water? It looks really c-c-c-c-cold!

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