Saturday morning I completed a sprint distance triathlon at Rancho Seco Park called the Tri for Fun. It consisted of a 0.5 mile swim, 16 mile bike, and 3 mile run.
The park is about 45 minutes away for our house, and Ryan and I wanted to be sure to arrive by the time the transition area opened to get a good spot. So we got up at 4:30am, and rolled out by 5:30. There are so many things to pack for a tri that we were both worried we forgot something. Especially because we were also packing for a night of camping. Luckily, we did not. 🙂
Since we arrived early, we got a great spot in transition, right next to the bike in and run out. Also not far from the bike out. We picked up our bib numbers, and got body marked.
The race seemed to start right on time with the first wave of men swimmers at 8:00. Since I hadn’t gotten the chance to do a swim in my wetsuit, and the water felt pretty warm, I decided not to wear it. Women under 30 started in the 4th wave at 8:15.
As the swim started, I did a pretty good job of not getting worked up by the open water or going out too fast. It can feel daunting to see how far away the buoys are. I felt like all the women had surged out ahead of me, and I thought I fell behind right away. I just tried to keep moving, and hoped I could catch up on the bike and run. I did a better job than last year at sighting and staying on course, even though the second buoy was impossible to see in the sun glare! I did not see the clock when I finished the swim, so I’m not totally sure what my time was….but I’d estimate about 19 minutes.
I ran up to transition, and as quickly as I could dried my feet, threw on my shoes, sunglasses , helmet and watch and stuffed some chews in my pocket.
When I got on the bike I saw one girl ahead of me, and decided my goal was to start picking people off. The bike course starts a down hill (to get out of the park) for about 2 miles, then goes down a road for about 6 miles until the turn around and heads straight back. I was able to pass a couple women in the bike. It seemed like there was a little head wind on the way out. The first half the bike was a bit slower than I wanted. As soon as I turned around I was able to pick up the pace a bunch! I think I averaged over 20mph the whole ride back until some of the uphill portion. My bike pace ended up at 18.6mph — half a mile per hour faster than last year.
At this point, in my head I was not doing very well, and was moving slower than last year — I hadn’t looked up my times, but thought I remembered what they were. I hoped I could at least do well on the run. T2 was also pretty quick. It was great that my spot in transition was so close to the bike in and run out. I threw on my sneakers, and grabbed my bib number and visor and head out.
If I had to describe the run in one word it would be HOT. The run is on a clay path, and is kind of rocky with small rolling hills and no shade coverage. I did not pass any women in the run. I tried to just keep pushing as hard as I could even when my quads were burning. I dumped water over my head at the water station to try to stay cool. My legs finally started feeling more normal with one mile to go. My average pace was 8:18/mile, about 30 seconds/mi faster than last year.
Throughout the race I had convinced myself I was so far behind. I thought I was slower than than last year — believing I had swam slower, biked the same, and ran the same. In reality, I swam about the same, transitioned faster, biked faster and ran faster this year. I didn’t realize how well I was doing until I could see the timing clock! It’s amazing how many different aspects there are to work on during a triathlon!
My final time was 1:37:15. Good enough for 3rd in my age group and 8th woman overall. A 5 min PR over last year!
Even though I somehow didn’t think I was doing better than last year for a lot of the race, I didn’t let it defeat me. I just kept telling myself to do the best I could. Just finish the race and enjoy it. I guess I should’ve done a better job of looking up my previous race splits rather than trying to just remember them from a year ago! Haha.
But I had a lot of fun! I’m proud of myself for staying strong and doing my best. And will probably be searching for another triathlon for this summer. 🙂
THANKS to Matt for taking so many great photos!
Wow-Congrats on the AG place! Sometimes it is best to race without knowing your time. I understand why swimming is always first in a tri but it just seems it would be so much more refreshing to have it later.
I am SO GLAD I did not race this past weekend after reading everyone's accounts of the heat. I was out cheering for a race instead.
I must admit… I've been thinking about getting a bike and it's all your fault! I love your stories about bike races and it's inspired me. Look out cyclists, I might be joining you.
Also, your back is awesome. If I swim a lot can I look like that?
Awesome job! I keeping thinking about trying something like a sprint tri but I guess I need to look into where I would practice the open water swim part.
I'm with Yum. Your back and arms look freaking AMAZING in these photos. Give me 'ripped' over 'scrawny' any day. I'm still closer to scrawn, but working on it! 🙂
Good job keeping your head in the game, and prevailing, despite some tough conditions. Sweet AG and overall finish, as a bonus! Looks like somebody's gettin' faster… 🙂
You look fierce in those photos! Congrats on the PR and AG award.
Yeah you go girl! I love your pre-swim stretching picture. You look intense and fierce! Like you're ready to kick some butt 😛
Anyways 🙂 Great job on the PR!
🙂 Thanks! Swimming will get you there… so will pull ups!
I didn't do an open water swim before my first triathlon. You could do some in Folsom Lake, or near the Nimbus Dam.
Thank you! 🙂
Awesome recap and congratulations! I've been wanting to train for a tri someday. My husband is pushing me to buy a tri bike now so I can get motivated to train.
Thanks for sharing your race recap. It's inspiring me. 🙂
Congrats on an awesome race. Great times on the bike and run! I got in the pool for the first time in a month to start ramping up for tri season. My big target race is the Beach2Battleship Half Ironman at the end of October, but I'll probably do some sprint tris and an Olympic before then … possibly one in July (HOT!) Great job and great race! xo
Even if you just buy a road bike, not tri specific, it could be good. You can do it!
Awesome! The swim on a half iron scares me a bit — but I think I will try to train to an Olympic by the end of the summer. Good luck with your training!
CONGRATS!! Awesome race! Way to use your mental toughness and keep going when it got hard and HOT! Sometimes it is nice going into the race without knowing what times you had done before! 🙂 Another podium finish!! U R ON FIRE!!!
So fun that your friend was there to take pics!!!
CONGRATS on a great race!!! Way to push through and make your way to the podium!
This is so awesome! I remember when I did my first, and only triathlon…that swim was vicious, and as long as you remain calm you'll be good to go! Can't wait to read the recap! Triathlon suit