I’m having a hard time trying to decide where to start. My mind is jumping all over the place so bear with me if I go off on tangents. I’m just going to start at the logical place: the beginning. About 5 weeks ago, I decided I wanted to do a triathlon. If you don’t know this wasn’t just some random decision that I made. Before having Brice I did several triathlons but stopped training as soon as I found out I was pregnant. I continued to swim and run but biking was out of the questions. (not because the doctor said so but I had an irrational fear I would fall and break the baby) I always knew that I would do a triathlon again, I just didn’t think it would be this summer. With Colin training for Ironman Chattanooga, my training time was limited so I just focused on running and that is also how this blog got its name! However, when I got my new job and was working fewer hours that made it possible for me to fit in that extra cycling and swimming that would be needed to train. I set my sights on the Jax Tri Series #3 which would give me 8 weeks to train. After seeing my current fitness levels Colin convinced me that I should do the second race of the series also. As soon as we figured out we would have someone to watch Brice during the race, I made the jump and signed up for them both! Now on to the recap…. just FYI it’s going to be long!
The Thursday night before the race I laid out all of my tri stuff and went over it about 50 times to make sure I had everything. I then got a horrible night’s sleep and woke up Friday not feeling too great. I figured I was just tired and went on with the day. I went in to work for a few hours and when I got home, Colin had the bikes all loaded up and the car was ready to go. We headed down to Jacksonville (FL) and went straight to packet pickup. Packet pickup is held at a local running store and I had arranged through Chris AKA the best Zoot rep ever 🙂 to have two different styles of tri shorts there for me to try out. I’m working on a review of all my new gear, but my new clothes worked perfectly! When I looked in my packet and saw that my race number was 317 I knew it had to be a good sign. I like making some kind of connection between numbers and 317 = 3/17 = St. Patrick’s Day = Luck of the Irish! 🙂 Weird I know. When then made our way up to Fernandina Beach, where the race actually started. Before bed Friday night I wasn’t feeling all that great so I took some Advil and hoped that I would feel race ready in the morning. Other than the fact that Brice did not want to go to sleep, I slept well.
Sleeping well does not mean sleeping long! It was 5:15 before I knew it and Colin was waking me up. I got up and ate a few bites of peanut butter and banana bagel with a few sips of coffee. Thankfully I felt great once I woke up that morning. One thing I like about this race is that they supply you with TriTats so you can skip the body marking line (although they are a bit of a pin to take off) so I put on my temporary tats like I was back in elementary school. Colin and I then took our bikes and gear down to the transition area that opened up at 5:45. As soon as we walked outside we were hit by the humidity! The bike racks are set up with Olympic distance on the left and sprint on the right. They are then broken down into numerical order with about 6 bikes per rack. The thing is, you don’t have to be in numerical order on the rack so that’s why we wanted to be down there first thing so we could claim the end spot on making transition easier! We racked our bikes and laid out our transition mats but did not lay out all of our gear, and then headed back up to the condo to finish getting ready. I ate the rest of my breakfast, had a few more sips of coffee, and drank some Gatorade. At about 6:45 we headed back down to transition to lay out our gear and get ready. I got all of my gear laid out, had Colin pump my tires, took some group pics and then it was time to head down to the beach. I was having some tightness in my right IT band so I did some dynamic stretches to try to work out whatever kink was going on.
The boy’s were the first wave to start and they were in the water at 7:36, so a few minutes later than scheduled but not bad. There were two other Olympic waves after theirs and then they come down to start the sprint waves. When Colin and I had brought our bikes down at 5:45 the waves were not looking very nice. Fortunately the wind died down as the sun came up and the ocean calmed down. There were still some small waves but they weren’t big enough to scare me. I was nervous because it was my first open water swim in over two years though!! I got in the water for a little bit just to get used to the waves and swam around for maybe 3 minutes. I then found Kathryn and Laura and hung with them until it was my turn to start!! Kathryn was starting in the Novice category which was 2 or 3 waves after me. My goal was to do the swim in under 8 minutes. In the pool, I had been swimming right at or under 2 minutes per/100 yards, but I knew I could go faster and that the current would help me out some. The swim went out about 50 yards, took a left at the first buoy, swim parallel to the beach and with the current for 300+ yards, then one last left at the buoy and you’re heading to shore. One thing I am terrible about is swimming straight. I never really found my groove between going over the waves, sighting for the buoys, trying to avoid feet in my face and trying to keep my heart rate down. I got really excited though after turning at the second buoy and I was in the middle of some green swim caps which meant I caught some of the men that started in the wave before me! When I got out of the water I checked my watch and it said 7:39 (that’s minutes and seconds not the time of day 🙂 )!! The downfall is that your official swim time includes the run up the beach, down a sidewalk and stops when you get into transition. I’m happy with my swim for the work that I put into it, but know that this is one area I can improve on in the next race. I probably swam closer to 500 yards by staying on the outside of everyone.
Thanks Chris for the photo!! As I got out of the water I could see that Colin was right in front of me! The week before the race we were trying to figure out where and when we would see each other on the course but we weren’t sure how the swim would go. We kind of thought I would finish first and then he would pass me on the bike but he killed the swim and was in front of me! He was too far up for me to get his attention though. On the run up the beach and getting into transition I tried to control my heart rate and go over what I needed to do in transition. I first put on my shoes, then put on my race belt, stuck my Gu in my mouth (I had torn it open before the start of the race knowing that my hands would have been slippery and wet when I needed to open it), put on my helmet and grabbed my bike off the rack. I didn’t have any problems getting started on my bike and clipped in smoothly.
Coming out of transition you make an immediate left then a quick right and then it’s all open from there. There was a camera man within the first quarter mile and of course I was trying to eat my Gu when I saw him! I quickly grabbed the Gu out of my mouth in hopes that my pictures wouldn’t have me eating in them. It was right before this point too where I went to grab my sunglasses that I had tucked in my watch (I put my Garmin on the handlebars so that I could turn it on when I was a couple of miles out so that it could locate satellites and be ready for my run) and as I was pulling my sunglasses out they slipped right out of my hands and fell. My hands were still all wet from the swim so there wasn’t much I could have done about that. They were cheap sunglasses from Target so I don’t feel too bad, but as you learned yesterday– I hate losing things!! I even went back after the race was over to see if I could find them but I guess someone picked them up. I had been mentally preparing myself to push myself on the bike and average as close to 20 mph as possible. The course is a pretty flat, out and back 16 mile course but there were 3 roundabouts that required you to slow down for (we circled all away around the 3rd roundabout to head back) I was feeling good at the turn around and was happy with my time so far. At the turn around I was just at 25 minutes. I tried to focus on keeping my cadence up and taking sips of water every 5 minutes. The one thing that I did not like was that is was not a closed course, meaning there were lots of cars on the road. There were police officers at the roundabouts to help control traffic, but on the way back in I had to come to an almost complete stop because of the cars and how close they were to the curb left me very little room. Other than that one spot I did not have any problems with cars, but Colin did say that he actually knocked on the side of one car because it was driving so close to them. There are several states where the law requires you to stay 3 feet away from cyclists when passing. Florida is included in those states, but these drivers just didn’t seem to care. Coming back in on the bike I was still feeling good but that IT band pain was there and it felt like it was creeping up into my hip and down towards my knee. For the last mile and a half I kept my cadence very high and eased back a little bit so that my legs could get used to a high turnover and hopefully that IT pain wouldn’t be there when I started the run. I took a few last sips of water and then got ready to dismount.
My transitions were slow. I know part of the problem was that I had to run pretty far in my bike shoes pushing my bike and I’m not very coordinated when I do that. I’m really going to practice taking my feet out of my bike shoes while still on the bike so that I don’t have to run in them. In T2, I racked my bike, took off my helmet, put on my socks and shoes, slipped on my headband, and then grabbed my watch off of my bike. I’m not really sure of anything else I could have done differently in T2 to make it faster.
I took off out of transition and was feeling great. I didn’t feel any pain in my right leg at all so I was prepared to leave every ounce of energy out there on the course. It’s always a weird feeling to start running after getting off of the bike, and this time was no exception. Since your legs have been moving at a high cadence for a while on the bike, they want to keep moving at that same cadence. My goal going into the triathlon was to average 8 minutes per mile over the 3 miles. I checked my watch about a quarter mile in and it said 7:45 which made me VERY happy to see. The run was a very nice out and back course. This helped because you were surrounded by runners and never alone. It was in a shaded park which was great so the sun wasn’t beaming down on us, but it was almost like a tunnel so there was no breeze at all. I just kept running along and when my watch beeped at mile 1 it said I ran a 8:06. I just kept pushing along and passed the water station but decided not to get any water then. The second mile felt like it was a slight uphill and things slowed down a little but I knew if it felt uphill then at the turn around it should feel downhill!! I was still feeling good at the turn around and decided to grab a cup of water when I passed back by. I took a tiny sip but then dumped the rest of it over my head. Shortly after, my watched beeped again and I ran the second mile in 8:12. With one mile to go I knew I had to leave everything out there on the course. This is when I started paying attention to the age of people on their calf. I saw a girl whose calf said 26 and pushed to pass her. It was right about now that I saw Colin running towards me starting his 10k. This gave me an extra little boost and I picked things up another notch. We exchanged some words of encouragement (or maybe I just said ‘hey good lookin!’) and a high five. I then saw another girl in my age group and aimed to pass her. I then saw we were coming up on the exit to the park (majority of the run was in a State Park then you take a left when you get out, another left about 100 yards down a sidewalk and that’s the final stretch) and knew I had to push harder. On the last stretch (maybe 250 yards or so?) I passed one more girl in my age group and passed a guy who made the comment “you aren’t going to take it easy on me are you?” and I told him nope that he needed to push it to the finish!! By this point I was pretty much running all out but in the last 20 yards the guy I just mentioned started yelling go! go! go! So I hightailed it across the finish line. The girl I had just passed had picked things up and was sprinting too and if that guy had not yelled it’s possible that she would have passed me!
I had no idea what my overall time was because I didn’t have the same watch on the whole time. I wore my small Timex for the swim, had my Garmin bike computer for the bike, and then had my Garmin 620 on for the run. I was trying to do the math in my head to get an estimate and knew I reached my goal of coming in under 1:30. I was so happy about that time! It wasn’t until about 15 minutes later that I saw the preliminary results posted and my time was listed as 1:24:59 !! I was over the moon!! This time was good enough to get me 4th in my age group which I was excited because they were doing awards for the Top 5! My official swim time ended up being 9:09 (so it took me a minute and a half to run up the beach and into transition), T1 was 1:21, my bike time was 49:31 (I averaged 19.4 mph), T2 was 1:39, and my run time was 23:18. My watch says the run course was only 2.96 miles, but this means I ran the last .96 at a 7:07 pace! Holy moly did I get excited when I saw that!! I was 6th in my age group for both my swim and bike times but I had the 2nd fastest run in my age group! You can’t really compare triathlons the way you can a 5k or half marathon because the distance are always different, but even so, I am considering this my PR race. My best time before this race was a 1:25:03 and that was on a bike course about 2.5 miles shorter. I’m not trying to sound boastful, I’m just pretty darn proud of myself.
I don’t have any actions shots other than coming out of the swim but my in-laws might have some so I’ll get those this weekend and share them if they have them. If you want you can go check out my race photos here: http://www2.backprint.com/bbactionphoto/126834/317 . I know this is insanely long but I need to mention a few things before I finish. 1. Colin took 5 whole minutes off of his previous race time! That is ridiculous, but what is even more ridiculous is that with him taking 5 minutes off he actually ranked lower in his age group than he did in the first race. Those boys weren’t playing. 2. Matt took something crazy like 20 minutes off of his previous race. The recap from their first race can be read here. 3. Kathryn got 3rd place in the Novice women category!! She did sooo well and I’m very proud of her! 4. Our friend Angie was the 2nd overall female and this was her first race back after having knee surgery!! She’s a super star!
What is a recent accomplishment that you are proud of?