Yesterday, I participated in the UNC Wellness Super Sprint Triathlon. I had some good advantages coming in to this tri. UNC Wellness is my home gym, so I am very familiar with the pool and surrounding area. It is also just a few minutes from my house, so no 4:15 am wake up call (we got to sleep in until 5:45)! I also have my brand new bike. It turned out that all of those things did work in my favor.
I was very excited for the pool swim. I really lucked out with a 2 minute break right in front of me. There were no people in the lanes in front of me when I started. I got extra lucky that the person behind me was missing, so there was a 20 second gap between me and the next swimmer. I spoke to the guy before we got started. He said he was new to the sport and that this was his first tri. I thought that would also benefit me, but it didn't. He did catch me in about the 4th lap. I let him go around, but then he slowed (I think he went out too fast - rookie mistake). I wound up literally on his heels for the rest of the swim. It did help with my breathing and energy, but I may have been able to go a bit faster. Still, I finished the 250 meter swim in a new personal record - 6:23.
T1 is usually a breeze for me. This time, it was a little bit different. I had to get on my bike shoes, then run with the cleats on my feet to the mount line. I was right at what I thought I would do - 2:22.
The new bike and the clipless pedals made all the difference in the world. You start the bike on a flat section for less than 1/4 mile, then turn right and straight up a big hill. I was a bit tired getting up the hill, but once I scaled it, I started to fly. I really felt strong on the bike. I was going so fast, I passed the guy who had passed me on the hill. I actually got past more people than those who passed me. I was very excited about that. I even got to pass the guy who held me up in the pool. By the end of the 14K (about 9 miles) ride, I was feeling tired. I did have to slow a bit at times to catch my breath and straighten my back, but I will get better the more I ride. I was very proud of my bike time - 37:28 - which ranked 97 out of the 193 female competitors. It was clearly my best stage of the day.
T2 used to be easy for me. I would not have to change shoes. This time, I did have to change from bike shoes to running shoes. The great time also took its toll on my legs. I was more wobbly than usual coming off the bike. I had to walk out of transition. It was a bit longer than T1 at 2:32.
I headed out to run the neighborhood of Meadowmont. It is a lovely place, but has a lot of hills. We had a pretty quick ascent that was soon followed by a nice downhill. All of the folks around me were very glad for the downhill, but we soon remembered we would have to see this same road from the other direction. The volunteers on the course were wonderful. They were so supportive and kind (one lady took my empty water cup without my having to ask). I was able to run quite a bit, but did stop to run when I felt the need. I felt very strong at the finish (the downhill helped), and finished the run in 37:43. The 5K was a new PR for me. I was shocked to get a PR in the third leg of a tri, but very happy. My overall time was 1:26:25, well under my goal of 1:30.
I did try something different for this race. My friend, Judy, told me that she had her best times at triathlons when she ran the day before the race. So, on Saturday, I met my running group for our regular run. I did the 9.82 miles with the group, and still felt great for the tri. Guess I will have to run on 10/10 before my final triathlon of the season!
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