Some people run a race to see who is fastest. I run to see who has the most guts.
– Steve Prefontaine
You know I wouldn’t leave you hanging, right? I did it. The Richmond Tri Club Sprint Triathlon. I did it. I can still hardly believe it, but it’s true:
I finished in well under my 2:30 goal, despite all my angst beforehand when I discovered there was a 2:30 cutoff time on the course. And, I didn’t even come in last! I came in 19th of 22 in my category (Novice Women). My official time was 2:02:19, with this breakdown:
Swim (300 yards): 8:10
T1 (transition from swim to bike): 4:54
Bike (20k/12.4 miles): 58:06
T2 (transition from bike to run): 2:04
Run (5k/3.1 miles): 49:07
The swim situation cracks me up. Remember this post? Where I was worried because my “fastest 300-yard” time was just under 15 minutes? And 15 minutes was the cutoff when I signed up? Two nights before the race, I was lying in bed trying to visualize my race to calm myself. And I was imagining the pool, up and back, up and back, up and back, up and back, up and back, up and back, up and back . . . and I thought to myself, “Wait a second. They sent me a diagram of the pool swim, and there aren’t 12 lanes in it. But 300 yards is 12 laps in a 25-yard pool . . . Isn’t it?” Yeah. Math isn’t my strong suit. Somehow, very early in my training, I got it in my head that 300 yards was 12 laps and so I just trained that every week, and 20 laps on Tuesdays. Really, of course, 300 yards is 12 lengths, and so I was actually doing 600 and sometimes 1000 yards in my training! I have never been so glad to be bad at math in all my life.
This, however, led to another problem: When I signed up, I gave my 100-yard swim time as 4:30. Really, it’s more like 2:30. This meant I’d been seeded with much slower swimmers; in fact, I was slated to start fifth from last. This could cause lots of problems, so I managed to finagle myself a start time 20 minutes earlier, and I still passed two people. Unfortunately, my earlier start coupled with my low expectations for myself caused my cheering section to actually miss me at the finish line – I told them to come around 10, but because I started early (and wasn’t able to tell them because who wants a text at 6:15 in the morning) and did better than I thought on the bike, that was too late. That’s ok, though. They were all super happy for me when they finally got there a few minutes after I finished:
David must have told me a thousand times how proud he was of me, and my sister-in-law called me her hero. Ha.
I’m not going to lie: This was hard. Physically, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. That I did it at my heaviest weight ever boggles my mind. When I got off the bike and had to run to my station to get ready for the run, I nearly fell over. My legs were like jelly. At one point during T2, out loud to no one, I said, “Sweet holy Jesus, this is hard.” I could barely run – my feet were numb from the bike ride. I couldn’t figure out why, but then I realized that the water from my tri suit dripped down into my socks and then the wind from the bike ride made my wet feet super cold (it was not a hot day). My ass was also numb, but that’s to be expected.
Everyone — other racers, volunteers, spectators — was so nice and super encouraging to everyone else. Everyone who passed me on the bike (and there were a lot of them) all said “Great job,” or “Keep it up,” or “You can do it.” And the run was out and back, so everybody I passed on their way in said “Almost done, don’t quit.” There were lots of high fives. As I came down the chute at the end, I was alone, so the whole crowd was cheering for me. I cried, as you can see in the first picture above. They were tears of joy, though, that’s for sure.
All in all, it was a great experience, and I’m so glad I didn’t punk out. I would do another one, and I’d like to improve a lot. I might also like to take on a sprint tri with an open water swim. That’s going to have to wait, though. We’ve got plans.