First off this was not a USAT sanctioned event so no points to be gained from it but it’s a break from my early season training so it’s worth the 2 hour drive to get to. I did it last year and had fun so I signed up again. I was considering driving down the day before and getting a room so I didn’t have to get up early but I had already had a long day from Opening day for Greater Utica Girls Softball (I’m not coaching but I was there as a board member supporting the teams) and then taking my daughter to practice for her softball in another league. I tried to get to bed a little earlier and I knew it was going to throw me off but I had to give it a shot. Unfortunately I woke up just after 3am. I was able to fall back to sleep about a half hour later but was back up again at 4:30am. Oh well might as well get up! So with about 5 hours sleep I was on the road.
Rain rain rain…the entire trip to the venue. I watched the temperature hoping it would warm up a bit more but it never got above 47 degrees. You’re probably thinking it’s an indoor triathlon, why do you care about the outside temperature. Well the run portion is outside and I didn’t put anything in my bag other than a T-shirt and shorts to run in and by the time I realized it, it was too late to go back and get something warmer. I guess I was thinking about how beautiful and warm this race was last year and how we had such a beautiful sunny day for our softball opening day.
I arrived at the venue and signed in at about 8:25am. My start time for my wave wasn’t until 9:50am so I had a little time to chill. While I was sitting there I could feel that I needed more sleep but I had to just shake it off and get ready to go. The race is short in that it’s a 15 minute pool swim (as many laps in a 25 yard pool that you can do). Then 15 minutes on a stationary bike (as far as you can go). Then a 2 mile run (as fast as you can complete it). There is a 5 minute transition period between the events. They use a scoring system to tally overall points.
After a quick warm up I went over to get my lane assignment. You pick a chip to determine what lane you get in the pool and as luck would have it I picked the same lane I got last year…the outside wall. Grrr, I hate swimming next to the wall. The only good thing was our wave was so small we got lanes to ourselves. Last year I shared a lane with a guy that I lapped several times so I had to constantly be aware of where he was. Off the start I could tell I was going to be the fast one in the wave. It didn’t take me long to pull ahead of everyone. The unfortunate part was I could only get a glance at the clock from where I was after I made my turn. When I did my finale turn I thought I saw 54 seconds on the clock so I took off to try and get that last lap in. When I got back in the guy counting my laps said 17.5, I said are you sure? I looked down at my watch and it read 900 yards (that equates to 18 laps) however last 25 didn’t count. He said just as I hit the wall on the other end the time ended. That meant 25 yards of wasted effort…that clock must have been at 24 seconds. I was probably going to pay for that little burst at the end on the bike! So I didn’t have any improvement on my swim from last year as I did 17.5 then also.
I made sure I got the bike seat and bars setup to the heights I needed (I had done a run though earlier) and tightened them securely because my seat dropped down on me last year. Last year they used the average cadence to determine the distance so less tension and fast pedaling was the key. They had new stationary bikes this year but I was hoping they calculated the distance the same way. On the horn I was spinning at a high cadence, not really paying too much attention to my power output. But about 4 minutes in a lady walked over with a board and showed me what the top distance for males was. It was 5.9 miles. Oh no, they can’t be using cadence for that. So I clicked up the gear from 11 to 12. I kept my cadence the same but my power went up. At about 8 minutes in I could tell that I wasn’t even going to hit 5 miles. I was going to come in at about 4.8 so I moved it to gear 13 and got a better power output. I probably should have been at 13 all along. With about 10 seconds to go I hit 5 miles. I knew I had just made a big mistake but there was nothing I could do about it…chalk it up as a lesson learned! I couldn’t tell you if I improved on the bike or not but the numbers don’t look inflated the way they did last year.
I had asked a guy who finished in one of the earlier waves how the run was. He said it was cold (he ran in his no sleeve tri suit. I had my jacket with me (nothing I would normally run in) and was trying to decide if I was going to wear it. He thought that I should wear it but if I got to hot I could drop it along the course and go back and get it. So as I was walking out for the run I brought it with me. It was certainly a major difference after coming from the hot pool area and then sweating on the bike to walking out in the rain. As I was walking to the start line I asked another guy coming from the run how he felt. He said he was fine. So I gave him my jacket to take inside as I would just tough it out without it. On the horn I was off with another guy. We were stride for stride in the beginning. About a 5:30 pace (this was too fast too early for me but I decided to see what he was going to do). I moved over to the side of him as if I was going to pass and that’s when I felt the coldness of the wind. I decided to move back behind him to let him take the brunt of the wind. As we rounded the next corner I looked at my watch and saw we were on a 6 minute pace. I decided nope, too fast, let him go and run your pace I said to myself. We were told at the start 2 loops around and we’re done. As I passed on the first loop the guy yelled out my time “6:14”. I thought to myself whoa, that’s fast for me in a cold wet run…that other guy must be moving! That second lap felt even colder than the first, probably because I didn’t have that guy to draft off of through the windy section. I really felt like I was going slower because that guy had opened a huge gap on me. I looked down at my watch a few times and saw 7:30 pace. I didn’t think I was going to get a good time at that point but I still managed a sprint to the finish. As I crossed the line the guy yelled out 12:28. I had run the second lap the same speed as the first, hmm, go figure. My time was faster than last year so this was an improvement!
After showering I went and sighed up for a free chair massage that they were doing. I figured I had time to kill until the final waves came in after which they would post the results. At some point I fell asleep in the chair but I gotta tell ya, that felt awesome! After waiting around for about an hour they still hadn’t posted the results. I know I wasn’t in the running for overall but I think I might have won my age group. They said they wouldn’t have the results right away but they would have them posted on the website on Monday. I was tired and didn’t feel like hanging around so I just got on the road. Once I got home I promptly passed out on the couch for a few hours. I knew I still had to do my post-race run (only 40 minutes) so I got it in early so I could sit back and relax and write my race recap. I need to start training myself how to sleep…lol
Looking forward to my first sanctioned race in a few weeks and getting out on my bike!!!