Last Sunday, I competed in the Carpinteria Triathlon — my 4th triathlon, but my first Olympic Distance which consisted of a 1.5K swim, 40K bike, and 10K run. I wish I could intelligently describe the 3 hour and 3 minute event, but my quads are still sore and are preventing me from thinking straight. But I’ll do my best…
For days before leading up to the triathlon, I was crossing my fingers for cooler temperatures and loads of adrenaline. On race day, my wishes came true. But fog? Did I ask for fog? Because it was damn foggy that morning. The fog started lifting by the time of the swim start; however, we still could not see the swim buoys from the start line on the beach. Luckily, I was in the 2nd wave and of the slower pack, so I simply followed the fast swimmers out to the buoys. Once out there, the bright yellow and beach ball style buoys were highly visible against the grey background. The ocean conditions were excellent and my pleasant swim was complete in 33:48.
After running up the beach and barefoot (OUCH) across the transition area, I stripped off my wetsuit and got ready to bike. The bike portion offered a nice mix of flats and hills. I love climbing hills, but I don’t love going down hills. I found myself passing athletes on the uphill only to be passed by them on the downhill. I could have been more aggressive, but I also wasn’t sure how much I’d have left for the 10K run. The last thing I wanted to do was bonk on the run. So, I played it safe on the bike, though still managed to keep my legs burning throughout the entire 1 hour, 3o minutes and 42 seconds it took me to finish the bike course.
And the run…every triathlete knows that no matter how strong of a runner you are, the first X minutes of the run portion is hell. It takes me about the first 10-15 minutes of shuffling through the run course before my legs actually feel like running. But run they did. Energy and adrenaline got me through the run feeling strong and happy. I finished my 10K run in 52:29.
Total time, including my transitions: 3:03:16.
I was quite proud of my time, given that it was my first Olympic Tri and I expected myself to finish in at least 3.5 hours. I worked all summer on my ocean swimming and swam the course almost 3 minutes faster on race day than I did the week before. I rode the bike portion faster on race day than when F and I rode it just 2 weeks prior to the race. And the run…the fact that I felt strong (after swimming and biking) and finished well under an hour was simply delightful. (Perhaps I have my good pals Gu and Clif to thank for the energy.)
Of course, after the results were posted, I HAD to compare my times to others. So I finished in the bottom half…that doesn’t bother me too much. I mean, there were some elite athletes competing…locals who finished the 1.5K swim in 24 minutes, the 40K bike in just over 1 hour, and the 10K run in 38 minutes. The first place finisher completed the entire triathlon in 2 hours and 11 minutes! That I can never do, but I do know I can do better next season and I’m already thinking about how I can shave minutes off of my times. Under 3 hours would be great…2:45 would be fantastic.
But before I can even work on improvement, I’ve gotta get these quads back to normal. Ouch.