Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Danskin Triathlon Race Recap

So I had already planned (based on my training experiences) on titling this post: My First (and Last) Triathlon.  But now I think I might title it: My First (of Many) Triathlons.  :-)

As you all know by now, I did my first triathlon on Sunday!  I was terrified, of the following things, in no particular order:
  • Being eaten by a gigantic carp
  • Being eaten by something worse than a gigantic carp (i.e., shark, the loch ness monster, grindylows, etc.)
  • Being kicked in the head and drowning
  • Or just drowning
  • Falling on the bike
  • Having to walk my bike on the hills
  • Getting a flat tire on the bike
  • Having to walk during the run
And you guys... NONE of these things happened!  Can you believe it?  I was pleased.  And despite Becky constantly hassling me about my negativity - I actually had fun!  I may actually do another tri!  

So Saturday Jordanne, Amy, and I headed out to grab our packets and rack our bikes.  I seriously had no idea what I was doing.  I may have asked 10,000 questions. 

Bike successfully racked - they had a slumber party and told secrets all night

Then I started worrying about getting everything I needed.  And you guys, I ALMOST FORGOT MY GOGGLES!  Good thing I asked others to double-check my stuff:

The course was eerily familiar to the Seattle Rock n' Roll Marathon with trips through Seward Park (on the run) and across I-90 (on the bike).  I was having horrid flashbacks of my death march to the marathon finish!  Let me just say it is WAY MORE enjoyable to bike across I-90 than to run across it.  But now let's go down the nitty gritty.  Buckle your seatbelts folks, this is going to be a long one.

Sunday morning came with a super early wake-up call and we headed down to the park.  There was surprisingly no traffic and no parking issues so we got there with tons of time to spare, and considering our wave didn't start until 45 minutes after the start (start at 6:45am, our wave at 7:28am) there was way too much time to sit around being nervous / worried.  But finally it was our time to get in the water!

Swim: 1/2 mile (860 yards) in 16:31 - 165th place overall (out of 1,529)
Again, at first I left my goggles behind at transition and I had to hustle back there to grab them!  I'm an idiot.  We got in the water with a ton of other ladies, and I tried to start on the outside and near the back to avoid panicking.  This did not work. 

The swim was set-up in a triangle, with about 150 yards to the 1st buoy, 400 yards between the 1st and 2nd buoy, and then 250 yards back to the finish of the swim.

Well the first 150 yards to the first buoy were HORRIBLE.  Oh my, that was a panic attack and a half.  There were just SO MANY PEOPLE.  And they were all climbing all over you and it was just plain miserable.  I swam this whole section with my face out of the water in this awkward crawl that made me exhausted, coupled with the panic attack and my heart was racing - beating out of my chest.  At this point  I was seriously worried that either a) wouldn't be able to finish, or b) I'd have to hang on to a kayak for a long undetermined amount of time.  I really hated this part.

I was seriously feeling really tired by the time we reached the first buoy, and with a long way left to go, that didn't seem like a good sign!  I was seriously questioning my decision and preparation to do this!  But then it started to thin out, I tried really hard to focus on taking big deep breaths and trying to calm my heart rate, and I started actually swimming. 

I tried to stay as close to the kayaks as possible, still had to do quite a bit of weaving around people, but seemed to pass people steadily the whole time.  A red cap girl (started after me) passed me at one point pretty much by climbing over me and I really HATED her.  How rude.  But by the end, I seemed to be one of the only pink caps in site, and that made me feel good.

And then I was getting out of the water!  JMan and everyone missed me because I guess I was just too fast.  :-)  Ha. 

Transition 1: 3:49
My first transition was  a big fat hot mess.  I'm actually surprised it was only 4 minutes because I felt like it was freaking 10 minutes!  First I couldn't get my wetsuit zipper down, so I had to go in search of help for that.  Then I couldn't get the wetsuit off my arms, and pretty much finagled myself into a straight jacket.  It would have been quite comical to see me!  I finally got all set-up and nearly out of the transition area when someone caught me and said I didn't have my helmet on (oops!).  So back to get it, except then I couldn't find my stuff.  And then my bike fell over.  So yeah... not so smooth here. 

This wetsuit was way harder to get off than it looks.

But FINALLY I was off and running on the bike.

Bike: 12 miles in 43:27 (17.1 mph) - 440th place overall (out of 1,529)
The day before we had driven the one scary part of the bike and I was TERRIFIED about this section - there was a super steep super narrow super windy section to get onto I-90.  Talk about a recipe for disaster.  I had kind of decided to just walk my bike here because I was so scared of falling.  But I made it up!  It was scary with people slowing SO much and I had to stand the whole way but luckily I didn't fall over.

Then you were off on I-90 and it was pretty uneventful.  Much hillier of a bike than I'm used to though:

340 feet of elevation gain

Garmin didn't cooperate thanks to the tunnels (just like the maathon) - and in this case I actually enjoyed the out-and-back because I got to see both Amy and Jordanne when I was coming back.

As you came out of the last tunnel on the freeway though - HOLY HEADWIND.  It hit you like a ton of bricks.  Luckily it was only for a few of the miles, but that was rough - especially heading up into the hill to get off the freeway.

And before I knew it - I was all done!  Really not much to report.  I passed people steadily here, but I also got passed a LOT.  The bike is my clear weakness.  I didn't capitalize on many of the downhills either, on most of them I didn't bother gearing up as much as I needed to to actually pedal while going downhill so I just rested. 

Transition 2: 1:42
And then I was coming off the bike!  As poor as my first transition was, I felt like I rocked this one.  I got in I got out.  Changed my shoes, ate some shock blocks, grabbed my Nuun, and I was set. 

Run: 3.1 miles in 23:43 (Average Pace: 7:39 if 5k, 7:54 if 3 miles) - 59th place overall (out of 1,529)
I'm still unsure whether this was a 3 mile run or a 5k run.  Some people say 5k, the website (albeit a poor one at that) says 3 miles, my Garmin says 3 miles, but the results pace is as though it was a 5k. So I'll call it a 5k because that makes me seem faster?!?!  If it really was a 5k then this is only 22 seconds off my PR of 23:21 which is why I'm doubtful it's a true 5k. 

My legs were pretty heavy at first as I feared, but I loved how the short distance made it seem very bearable.  I knew if I only made it to 1.5 miles then I'd be halfway done and at 2 I could do 1 more mile no problem.  So that made it very easy to rationalize in my head.  On the 3rd mile I was cooking along at a sub 7:25 pace feeling good until this MONSTER of a steep hill hit that was not too appreciated.

But I recovered, and then I was sprinting in to the finish, with a clear view of JMan and friends, plus I saw Erika shouting for me (she ROCKED it, oh my gosh, freaking 8th place OVERALL).  And I reached my very ambitious goal of 1:30, which was ambitious and DIDN'T EVEN INCLUDE TRANSITION TIME!  That was a mistake on my part not to include that.  So I'm proud.

Splits per Garmin: 8:08, 7:58, 7:36

Finish:  Sub 1:30 (just barely!) in 1:29:14!  Overall 140th place out of 1,529, 30th place in my age group.

So  you can see - 165th place in the swim, 440th place in the bike, and 59th place for the run.  Who knows what my strength is?  And for the real win - what's my weakness?  And what do I freaking need to do more often (and on HILLS)?!?!?!

Sprinting in to the finish

Final thoughts:
  • For a race where lots of people don't reguarly do triathlons, I found it a bit lacking in information.  The expo had NO information, no maps, no info about where to be places and when to be there, about this so-called shuttle we were supposed to take, etc.
  • Also, they decided not to give us our shirts at the expo, for who knows what reason.  But what this ended up meaning was that we had to wait in a huge line for TWENTY MINUTES just to get a tshirt and a bagel.  Ridiculous and stupid.  Just give us our shirt at the expo people.  
  • I like bagels, don't get me wrong.  But don't make me feel like the food spread is worthy of needing a bag and a humongous line if you're just going to give me half bananas and bagels.  
Whew.  Did you make it this far?  If you did, thanks!  If you didn't - I don't blame you!