Race Recap: IronGirl Sprint Triathlon

12 Aug

In the midst of my jury trial in July, I decided to do a sprint triathlon. I have no sprint capabilities whatsoever but I knew I wanted to practice before the half Ironman (this upcoming weekend).

My goals were pretty specific:

– Practice swim to bike and bike to run transitions.
– Test out my tri suit and gear.
– Get over my fear of open water swimming surrounded by lots of kicking bodies. If I couldn’t survive a 0.5 mile swim, I knew I couldn’t handle a 1.2 mile swim.
– Get over my fear of biking up and down hills surrounded by lots of other bikes.
– Survive accident free.

Please note there were absolutely no speed goals whatsoever. I had no idea how I would do, never having done one before, and there wasn’t much prep time since I was focusing on a longer endurance race and trying to keep my life together during the trial.

The sprint was long on the swim and a little short on the bike: 0.5 mile swim, 12 mile bike, 3.1 mile run. I had to get up at 3:30 AM to head out for the drive to Webster, MA. It was gorgeous watching the sun rise and I had plenty of time to set up my transition area and eat breakfast.

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The water was bathwater warm (nearly 80 degrees) and we all splashed around/waded in for the half hour beforehand. I talked to a few other women and began to feel calmer. I’m not fast, I knew I wasn’t going to place, so at a certain point you realize there’s no reason to be nervous. Try to have fun. It was fun to cheer each age group as they set off on the swim. Each age group has a different colored swim cap so it was cool to see the different sections of color bobbing up and down in the water, swimming around the course.

Swim: 19:22 (2:25/100 m pace)
Overall Place: 274 out of 632

Age Group Place: 36 out of 77 (smack in the middle)

My swim was rough but I didn’t get plowed over or kicked in the face so my goal was accomplished. I finished knowing that I can do the 1.2 mile swim in my half Ironman, even if I’m terribly slow. I probably swam a lot further than 0.5 miles because I had a hard time swimming straight. I didn’t look up often enough, scout the various buoys, and swim straight towards them. Lesson learned.

At one point, I felt pretty discouraged, that I was the last one in my group to finish. A lot of “orange caps” (girls 1-5 years younger than me) caught up and were passing quickly. At the same time, I was rapidly passing older women towards the end of my swim. In retrospect, I was probably smack between the fast swimmers and the slow swimmers in the light blue swim cap section which is why I didn’t see any other light blue swim caps (I really had myself convinced that I was last).

Swim to Bike Transition: 3:14
Overall Place: 145 out of 632
Age Group Place: 24 out of 77 (not bad)

This didn’t go too badly. It was a long transition but it was a long run up the beach, jumping into a kiddie pool for a second to wash the mud and sand off. Didn’t dry my feet off, just threw on my bike socks and shoes, grabbed my bike helmet, and started running with my bike to the bike route. A traffic jam at the place where you can get on your bike slowed me down a bit but then we were off.

Bike: 46:49 (15.4 mph)
Overall Place: 204 out of 632
Age Group Place: 26 out of 77

I am not a fast biker. Not at all. This was actually a decent speed for me. Could I have raced faster? Yes. But I was pretty happy with my pace considering I have a hard time eating/drinking on the bike. I didn’t really see any others in my age group but I must have passed some since I moved from 36th place to 26th during the biking. I think my one strength was that I biked the hills – including the 3 mile one that just kept going up, turning a corner, going up again. I’d say 85% were walking their bike within a mile but I kept plugging away. It felt good to be passing so many people. According to the results, I passed at least 70 people during this ride and that sounds about right (and yes, there were plenty of people who sped past me).

The route was pretty. I liked seeing the lake for a lot of the time. There were no points where I worried about running into another biker, getting lost, not following the regulations on passing. The last couple of miles were fun but a little scary as there were runners running out on the course and runners running back along the course to avoid.

Bike to Run Transition: 2:38
Overall Place: 448 out of 632
Age Group Place: 60 out of 77 (bad!)

I was the only one who didn’t know to buy a race belt with my race bib attached to it. So while others grabbed their race bib, changed their shoes, and ran, I had to pull off my tri top, throw on a singlet (with the race bib already attached) and change my shoes. It took me a long time. Lesson learned. Buy a race belt.

Run: 22:31 (7:31 min/miles)
Overall Place: 10 out of 632
Age Group Place: 2 out of 77 (I PRed on my run!!!)

I felt so sluggish, as you do after biking. It was hard to run, hard to settle into a rhythm. But fun to see the runners finishing and the bikers biking. The first 1/4 mile was on a trail and of course I tripped over a root and nearly sprained my ankle but I jumped up and kept running.

I don’t know what happened. I guess I was excited to be done soon and enjoyed seeing everyone else running. Because I PRed. I PRed on my run after swimming and biking. It’s enough to make me scratch my head and wonder why I never run this fast on a 5K. I think the answer is that I don’t warm up. I don’t run a few miles to prepare myself (because I think it will make me tired). I’m guessing the biking warmed up my body and I was ready to sprint.

2nd place in my age group is incredible. But 10th out of 632 runners? That might be the best I ever do in a race. I should probably tattoo this on my skin. I thought “Wow! Too bad this race doesn’t care much about just the run, I won’t win a prize for coming in 2nd on the run.” Duh. That’s the point of a triathlon. You have to do well in all 3 events. I need to learn to swim.


Total Time: 1:34:34
Overall Place: 99 out of 632
Division Place: 12 out of 77

I’m happy. I felt I placed very well considering that I didn’t train for this and was going thru a pretty emotional trial and had PRed in my half marathon exactly 7 days beforehand.

I PRed in a half marathon and a 5K within 7 days. For 7 days, I felt like a pretty great runner.

Don’t worry, I’ve come down from my runner’s high and am prepared and sobered for this weekend where I will finish in the bottom 10%. I will be racing the cutoff rather than any other triathletes. And that’s not me being humble and polite, that’s the truth. Out of 100+ runners in my age group last year, I have a prayer of beating 7 of them. My body shape isn’t built for swim speed or running speed and I haven’t put in the training time to bike fast.

When I finish, I will just care that I finished. And I will look down at my “10 out of 632” tattoo (just kidding) and be proud of July – my PR month. You can’t PR every race. But you can finish happy.


2 Responses to “Race Recap: IronGirl Sprint Triathlon”

  1. nicolemkurz August 15, 2013 at 10:27 am #

    Hey, I nominated you for the WordPress Family award! Check it out: http://nicolekurz.wordpress.com/2013/08/15/an-award-me-well-schucks/


  1. An award? ME? Well schucks | Not the fat kid in gym class anymore… - August 15, 2013

    […] The Mind of a Maverick – Some great triathlon training stories, race reports, and general thoughts about life and accomplishment here.  She is always good for a dose of inspiration. […]

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