My First Triathlon (Race Report + Training)

Today I competed in my first triathlon. Two years ago this month, I was scheduled to do my first Tri, in our town in Germany. That same month, we found out we were having Gabriel, so I did not compete for fear of overheating (and the marathon training + being prego was kicking my booty… I didn’t compete in the Berlin Marathon either). It took me two years to summon the energy and dedication needed to race the triathlon.  I started small, with the Ramblin’ Rose, which I heard from friends VM and TM is a great starter Tri.  The lengths: 225 yard swim (nine 25 yard lengths or 4.5 laps), 8 mile bike, and 2 mile run.  Very doable, especially with the 8+ weeks of training I’ve done.  I say “+” because I’ve been back to serious running for 18 weeks, but I didn’t do much biking until the past month or two.  I’ve been swimming for months because I like it as a recovery from running.  Anyways… The training has gone really well, and I felt very ready except for a *big* minor hiccup on Thursday night.

It started like this–a dress rehearsal for the transition from the swim (so I hosed myself off), to the bike to the run.  My plan was an easy 4 mile bike and a 1-2 mile run.  I set up my stuff like this:

I was at the 2 mile mark at a blind spot in the road, so I turned onto a residential dead-end street.  As I was turning, I had slowed way down, but I hit a big patch of gravel and went down.  Hard.  Unfortunately 😦  I had have a very scraped-up palm and elbow, and some road rash on my leg and a dark bruise on my hip.  My back and body ached Fri. and Sat., and I pulled my tricep yesterday morning trying to restrain Gabe.  So, I was fortunate that I could put all that out of my mind today and just go out and do my best!

Packet pick-up got me really excited yesterday:

I love when the bib is pretty and has your name on it 🙂  After some strange dreams last night (where did that gila monster come from?!) I woke up ready to go!  One small issue: it rained last night.  Lots and lots of rain.  And when my friend KK picked me up this morning, MORE rain.  Neither of us brought plastic bags or any kind of rain gear, so wet clothing and shoes were the only option.  Not that it would have helped.  It rained and stopped, rained and stopped.  And then kept raining and didn’t stop til this afternoon!  So we got wet, and it was fun!

KK and I did our set-up, worrying, bathroom stops, pre-race snack, and worked out our jitters, and soon it was time for: The swim started at 8 so I did a quick down and back lap to warm up at 7:30.  Felt fine–*whew*!  (I had been worrying about my hand and tricep).  They had us rank ourselves as a swimmer from 1 to 10, with corresponding times.  Based on my time, I was a 9.  Unfortunately, not everyone ranked themselves accurately, so I swam up on 3 ladies, which slowed me down by at least 20 seconds.  If I do this again, I will be a 10 or at least at the front of the 9’s.  But I did get in the nearer pool of the two, so I was up the ladder and shot out of the door like a bat outta hell!  [Pic coming whenever the official race pics are up]

Transition 1: I bolted to my bike, which was easy to find by a drain in the ground, and my Terrible Towel to mark it.  Swim stuff down, shoes on, gloves on (to save my hand from rubbing on the handlebars, otherwise I would have skipped the gloves), and helmet on (no need for sunglasses today).  Not fast, but not too slow either.  Then I was off again!

The bike went well, considering the rain.  I took all turns easy, so that probably slowed me down.  But I didn’t brake on the downhills, so I was flying!  By the way, I rented that awesome Trek Madone that I rode today from Trek Bikes in Greensboro.  What a huge (and amazing) difference from my Cannondale hybrid!  The bike practically rides itself, and has electronic shifters which is so fun and easy.  LOVE it and now I want one!

All smiles–my boys were there cheering me on!

After a quick 8 miles came Transition 2.  All I had to do was rack the bike, take off the gloves and helmet, and grab my race #.  Too easy!  I sprinted to the run start and my water-logged shoes and tired legs immediately got my attention.  Luckily the run was an out and back course that had a slight uphill going out, so it was all downhill going to the finish.  I kicked it in at the end and had a glorious yet rainy finish (so my eyes are shut in all pics, LOL).  Everyone was so nice at the end, I was smiling the whole time, but it looks pained since I was in pain from the exertion 😉

With all the training, the hard work really paid off.  I was 13th of 360 ladies, and 1st in my age group!  Total time: 50:54.  And every second counted–the girl next to me was only 5 seconds behind!

I met my goal, and it feels absolutely amazing.  My only regret has nothing to do with the race: I didn’t get any pics with Javi or Gabe!  This is what happens when you are so used to being behind the camera, plus I got so wrapped up in what my time was and if I was going to medal.  Big bummer… next time I’ll know better!  A new Gabe update is coming soon, since he’s been using new words like crazy!

Til next time 🙂

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8 Responses to My First Triathlon (Race Report + Training)

  1. ralph cosme says:

    very nice Vanesa awesome job!!!

  2. Jimmy says:

    Great job winning your age group. I love how you used your Terrible Towel at your transition station! I may try that in my 1st race coming up soon. It should make finding things much easier!

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