This race has a wonderful start time of 10 am, so we were able to wake up at a reasonable time, have breakfast, casually get ready, and then head to the start. The start/transition area is less than a mile from my house, so we considered just riding our bikes there, but we had our bags of stuff (towels, water bottles, sunglasses, shoes, etc), and we were going to lunch afterwards, so we loaded up the car and drove over there.
We were there about a half hour before the start of the race, but they were making it seem as if the race was about to start. They kept saying the transition area was closing soon, and in general were making me very nervous! It was funny because I had my HR monitor on, so I could see that as I got more anxious about being late, my heart rate kept rising. 🙂 It turned out just fine though, and we got our numbers written on us and headed to the swimming area.
I was a swimmer in high school, so I am very comfortable in the water, and I always feel like the swimming part of a tri is my best area. This tri is in a pool and the swim follows a snaking pattern, which is nice (no scary open water swim), but also makes it very tough to pass people if you are faster than them. I passed about 5 people who were clumped together and realized there was a huge gap in front of them, which meant that once I was past them, it was easy going.
The bike portion of the tri is probably my weakest portion. The very first triathlon I did was at the end of my freshman year of college, and I didn’t even know what a road bike was. I had a “mountain” bike from Walmart, which I didn’t even know how to shift gears with hahaha! Now that I look back, that is so embarrassing, but at the time I didn’t even know it was strange. I remember being one of the first people out of the pool and then I think every single person passed me on the bike! ha. I am a bit better than that now. 🙂 I still feel like I could improve a lot through more consistent cycle training. When I did the Purdue tri back in 2013, there was this megahill which was very intimidating! They have since changed the course, so although there are several decent hills (to me, I’m sure to someone who lives in a hilly place, this course is very flat haha), it is very doable. I felt very strong through the entire bike course, which helped me a lot mentally. I look very happy in the picture below because the guy was at the very top of the last hill, and I was amused that he chose to be there where everyone was pretty tired/slow. I said to him, “Why did you choose to be right here?!” and started laughing, which made the pictures he took of me turn out pretty well. 🙂
After the bike ended, I was very nervous to start running. The last time I participated in triathlons was in 2013, and at the time I was definitely not a runner. I remember running after biking being so painful/awful. I was hoping that since I have made running my primary activity in the past two years, I would be more comfortable, and I definitely was! It was still hard, no doubt, but I took about 5 minutes off of my 5k time from the previous tri! The course went through campus, and was very similar to one of my normal running routes, so I think again I had a nice mental advantage. Here is a picture of me during the running portion.
Overall, this was the first triathlon that I have ever done that I didn’t feel like I was suffering the entire time. 🙂 I think this race made me more confident in triathlon racing and in running! I am so happy that I did it, and I am excited to continue to train and get even better. When I did this race in 2013, I finished in 1:31:49 (swim (300 m): 6:36, bike (20k): 48:28, and run (5k): 33:33), and this year I finished in 1:22:02 (swim (300 m); 6:33, bike (20k): 44:24, and run (5k): 28:30). I hope that all of you runners consider doing a Sprint Triathlon at some point! They are fun to train for, and it is a very different experience than running races. 🙂