So, initially I was telling a few friends about the Strathmore Triathlon as a perfect race for someone who wanted to give this sport a try in a friendly race atmosphere with like minded women. And then, registration opened, and a couple people I knew even registered. I tried registering one night at work, but it didn't work, and then I sort of forgot, and by the time I remembered, it was sold out. So there I was, convincing other people to do the race, but didn't even get signed up myself. I tried winning an entry at the tri diva tri event by bringing in old bras, but my ten, was nothing compared to the girl who brought in 200. And then, I also tried winning an entry, and even emailed the race director, but nothing. Finally, in about May, there was a chance to sign up again, once they knew who had dropped from the race. And so, my awesome husband got me all signed up. Yippee!!
Fast forward to Sunday, August 15th. Race day had arrived. I was ready, I was excited and although I might have trained a little harder, I knew I would finish. Two days before, I bought clip shoes and pedals. I didn't like the shoes and clips Jeremy had, and knew I wanted something different, something more rugged. Jeremy installed the new pedals and also changed out the water bottle holder as I didn't really want to use his fancy aerodynamic one. The day before, I decided that it wasn't clip shoes I wanted, but clip sandals. So, I went to MEC and bought the Keen biking sandals. The souls were a lot stiffer than regular keens, but they fit, and I knew it was the right choice for me. Of course I had to return the shoes, and then I actually needed to try them out. So I did, in the backyard. Oh, and keep in mind, I was deciding between using my mountain bike, and borrowing my husband's triathlon bike. The shifters are all different on a triathlon bike, so if I wanted to use it, I needed to make sure I could go between gears. So, I headed out into the neighbourhood, and rode about 2km, practicing shifting and getting the pedals clipped in and released. And, it went okay, so I made the decision to use Jeremy's bike for the race.
I got all my stuff together the night before. There's a lot of stuff you need. It's not nearly as simple as running. You need an outfit for the pool, ideally something you'd also bike and run in. You need goggles. And a towel to dry your feet off before putting on your bike shoes (or sandals in my case), a helmet, sunglasses (have no desire to get a rock in the eye), bike jersey, bike gloves (yes, I'm a bit of a princess), and of course your race number and belt. Then, there's the running shoes, and a hat, and let's not forget some fuel. For me, it was some gels (clif ones I think), and some water with Jeremy's magical nuun stuff or whatever it was. Here's what my transition area sort of looked like:
Race morning, Jody picked me up and off we went to Strathmore. First hurdle was the bike rack. The bars were too far apart on the bike rack for the bike to fit, so it got thrown inside (and Jeremy, if you are reading this, by thrown, I mean very gently placed with loving care inside the back of the vehicle). We get there and get our stuff set up in transition. It's a bit of a process. You lay everything out, thinking of how you can do so, so that you are in and out of transition as quickly as possible. After that, it was time to get body marked. This is the process where they use a permanent marker to write your number on your arms and legs, thus ensuring that nobody else could secretly take your place or do a part of the race for you. Then, the race meeting and finally things got underway.
One of the interesting things about pool triathlons is how athletes are ranked for their position. It's all based on swim time. And the slowest swimmers are first. This is nice for them as it is reassuring to know that you likely won't finish last. Faster swimmers, on the other hand swim last. This is a bit daunting to those people who are proficient at swimming, yet not as good at biking or running. Because now, you start last, and the feeling is that everyone around you is even faster, and you just might finish last. Jody was in the first heat, I was in heat J, so it took over two hours before I even started the race!! You really are on your own, with no idea of where you stand because of this. You might be near someone on the bike, or pass someone on the run, but they may have been faster elsewhere, and unless you know them personally, you likely won't remember their number to know how you placed in relation to them.
My swim went well. I was happy with it. I passed a person twice, and another person once. But, for the most part, was totally on my own. In transition I got to give my boys a kiss and then headed out on the bike. I worked hard. I pedalled hard, and passed about 7 people over the course of my bike. Then back to transition, chatted with Jody, who by this time, was done. Then off on the run. It was slow. I felt sluggish and I was hot and tired. Even though I had an energy gel at both transitions, I just wasn't all there for the run. And, I got passed by about 5 people. I hate getting passed. I had managed to avoid it on the swim and the bike, but was just too tired on the run. Plus, the people who started swimming after me were faster and it made sense that at some point some of them should catch up to me!! I did run the whole thing though, only breaking at the water stations.
And, how did I do, you might be wondering? Well, it goes a little something like this. My finishing time was 1hour 37minutes and 56seconds. What did that time get me? Well 1:37:56.4 was good enough for 131st place out of 281. In my age group, I was 25th out of 52. And to break it down a little further, my swim time was 13:26 (ranked 128th in the swim), my bike time with both transitions was 50:03 (ranked 122nd in the bike), and my sluggish run was 34:29 (ranked 159th in the run). So, my run wasn't my strong suit that day!! Guess those clip sandals and triathlon bike really helped (last year in my first triathlon, my bike was the weakest of the three disciplines, on the mountain bike). So, I am a solid middle of the pack triathlete. I'm happy with that.
Super Team Awesome... we both finished!! Here's us showing off our body marking... cause that's what it's all about ya know!!
I'd like to get better, but I need to put more time into training and eating better. And that is next up... stay tuned, for the moment of truth, part 2, since I've taken a few steps back since last fall....