My First 2nd Triathlon

(Note: I started this blog entry the afternoon after the triathlon so I'm retro-dating it back to then even though it's now nearly a month later!)

This morning, I completed the Pineapple Man triathlon for the 2nd time. This is my 3rd tri, but it's my first race to have done twice so I actually have previous results to compare. :) Last year, this race was my first triathlon. I haven't been training during the entire year, but I did make a significant improvement in my overall time from 1:57:40 last year to 1:43:05 this year. I improved in swimming (.3 miles, from 14:41 to 12:46) and biking (15 miles, from 1:05:21 to 53:49), but my running time was slightly slower (3.3 miles, from 31:16 to 32:01). I ended up finishing 9th out of 19 in the 30-34 year old females category, while last year I was 12th out of 14.

The .3 Mile Swim
In 2009- 14:41. In 2010- 12:46.
The swim was even more frustrating this year than it was last year! In March, Keith and I took a Triathlon Swimming clinic which really helped me out a lot speed-wise. I learned proper form, got MUCH better on my breathing, and was continually beating my personal bests in the .25 mile and .33 mile distances in the gym pool. I guess the training still helped a lot since I did improve my time by nearly 2 minutes, but at the same time, I felt like all of my training was out the window during the actual race because my form was horrible! I kept bumping into people everywhere I went, and I must have swallowed at least 4 mouthfuls of that nasty river water because there were waves that kept ending up in my mouth when I turned my head to take a breath. In the pool, I'm able to do 4 strokes/breath on average, but in this race I was generally taking a breath every time that my right arm exited the water. I even ended up swimming at least 30 seconds of the race on my back because of the frustration. When I exited the water, I thought for sure that my time this year was slower than my time last year. I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't, but still frustrated at the thought that I could have done even better. I guess the only way to really beat the frustration on this one is to actually be at the front of the pack, so... I guess I'll just have to get over and just keep doing my best.

The 15 Mile Bike Ride (flat road)
In 2009- 1:05:21. In 2010- 53:49.
The bike portion of the race made the biggest difference in my overall time. Last year, my main bike training was to ride the 6 miles to school and back with the kids riding with me on my cruiser bike. While the extra weight of the kids helps with my strength and the 6 miles helps with endurance, the cruiser bike itself and the way that my knees have to stick out to the side to keep from hitting Annabelle seat in front of me aren't the best for training. Last year, I rode on a fat tire bike that I hadn't practiced on too. This year, I bought a new racing/road bike (hybrid) that I LOVE! After last year's race, I bought a used racing bike, but between my carpal tunnel and my lack of being able to control the bike (which resulted in a major crash in my race last fall), I decided that I needed one that I had tried out and felt really comfortable on. On my new bike, I am continuing to get more and more comfortable on the aerobar, which I think makes a huge difference in my overall bike time. I've also figured out the gear shifting and how to determine the ideal settings for the situation. I didn't do a lot of training on the bike, but I feel like the training that I did do, really helped to condition my legs to go faster than last year too. My quads were really sore from the beginning of the race though, so I know that I have a long way to go to conditioning my legs to go faster next time!

The 3.3 Mile Run (flat roads)
In 2009- 31:16. In 2010- 32:01.
Of the 3 triathlon sports, running is definitely my sport. This running season, I have broken my personal best records in two 5K races (I have finished under 26:00 in both races this year) and I did really well when I practiced this course about 6 weeks ago, so I really had high hopes of finishing in under 30 minutes for the run. However, life got in the way. :( It seems like we've been traveling for vacations for the past 6 weeks, which makes it hard to keep up with training. I was really proud of myself though because even on the days when we spent MANY HOURS walking all over the Disney World parks, I still got out and ran 3-4 miles a few times during that week. Then on the cruise, I did go running about 3 miles at a time the first few days of the cruise. About half way through the cruise, the only way that I was going to be able to run was to get up extra early (like 6am early!) and do it (because of the super-long days at port), and that just wasn't happenin' while I was on vacation in the Mediterranean. :) I was hoping that all of the miles of walking, stroller pushing, and 35-40 pound child carrying would help to keep me in shape, but it ended up doing the opposite. During the last couple of days of the trip, my lower back started hurting really bad (I'm sure the crazy night of breakdancing with my siblings didn't help!). By the time that I came home, I was in major pain and had 2 rounds of acupuncture to try to help it. I could barely walk normal, so I certainly wasn't able to do any training (this was just 2.5 weeks ago). As I started feeling a little better, I got back in the pool, and, just a week ago I got back on the bike for the first time in over a month. Then on Monday of this past week, I ran again for the first time in nearly 3 weeks. I was definitely slower than usual, but at least I knew I wasn't going to have to back out of the race! I ran one other time this week (only 2 miles though since my back still wasn't 100%), so... I guess considering all of that, I can't be too upset with myself for my run time.

By the way, I TOTALLY wanted to stop during the run because I felt like I was spent, but another racer heard my music on my iPhone and asked if she could run with me for a while to listen along with me (yes, I ignored USAT rule about not running with music and used the speaker on my iPhone to listen to music as I used my GPS app during the run). This was about 1 mile into the run, and she stayed with me for about a mile. I wasn't going to stop while she was there, and by the time she dropped back, I only had a little over a mile to go so I wasn't about to stop then! I love how God puts people right there for you at the times that you need them most!

Transitions In 2009- T1 (Swim to Bike) 3:51, T2 (Bike to Run) 2:31. In 2010- T1 3:28, T2 1:03)
Despite all of my pre-planning, my first transition (T1) was not as much as an improvement as I was hoping, but my second transition (T2) was. I think what slowed me down during T1 was trying to get my clothes on my wet body, but I did that last year too in addition to untying my shoes and putting the numbers on my clothes and bike (which I did pre-race this year) so I'm not quite sure why my time didn't improve more. The only additional thing that I did during T1 this year was pop a piece of gum and put a packet of Gu into my top (to take during the bike)... neither of which took more than a couple of seconds. The only thing that I can figure is that I thought that I had everything so together that I took my time more rather than rushing. Who knows!?! I did buy lace locks the other day, but since I haven't run with them before (and I didn't want to push it with my back pain before the race), I opted to stick with the good 'ole double-knot for the run. Maybe if I get trishorts, use lace locks, and just put on a shirt, I can knock some more time off?

General Observations 1. When I went to look at my results for the race, I compared my time in my race category to the next category up (since I'll be moving up next year) and could not believe what I saw! Like I mentioned earlier, in the 30-34 women category, my time of 01:43:05.90 put me at 9th out of the 19 in my age group. If I had competed in the 35-39 age group, I would have been 28th out of 37! That's nearly double the entrants and I would slip from being in the 52nd percentile to the 25th percentile! That's a MAJOR drop! The 40-44 age group doesn't get much better either... I would have been 16th out of 28. Crazy! I'll just look at the bright side and say that this means that I will continue to get better with time! ;)
2. If I had competed in the Athena category, I would have received a prize for finishing 3rd! Athena is the "big women" category, so I didn't even think about that until it was pointed out to me that "Athena" is defined as 150 pounds and over, regardless of height! That alone blows my mind. I guess if you're really in it to win prizes, and you aren't a skinny minnie (who, let's face it, is the typical figure that's going to win these things), then entering Athena might make sense. I may change my tune later, but I will probably stick with the age groups for now.
3. I thought it was interesting that both my primary care physician and my OB were competing in this same race. It's good to know that my doctors are athletic people too. :)

This certainly will not be my last triathlon. I'm looking forward to doing many more of these in the future, and hope to someday be one of those women who races by a young 30-something and makes her think "Wow... I hope I'm still able to do this when I'm her age!"


Libby said...

after reading this I just want to say great job!! and, consider getting a tri suit. that will make T1 considerably faster. especially if you are only doing sprints

Anonymous said...