Strathmore is about 50 minutes from my house so I woke up at 5:30am to get ready, eat breakfast and hit the road at 6:15am. I only had a yogurt cup for breakfast which ended up being a mistake. I really should have made a smoothie or something since my approximate heat start time was 10:30am.
I left the house right on time- I already had my bike on the bike rack so that I wouldn’t have to fiddle with it. I did have to tighten the straps a lot since they came loose overnight. I was a little worried that my bike would fall off on the highway because this was my first time putting the bike rack on the car (usually hubby does it) but he wasn’t around to do it. Luckily I had no issues there.
I arrived in Strathmore just after 7:00am. I took my bag to transition right away to reserve a spot (2nd row!!) and took my bike over to the bike inspection to have my tires pumped up. I put my bike into transition and headed inside to be body marked and get my timing chip. Once I was done that, I headed back to transition to set up my stuff.
BlueBelle (bike) and Tweety (towel) in transition
My helmet is under my towels.
It was now 7:45am and the waiting begins! My heat time is approximately 10:35am so I have plenty of time to sit around and get nervous! Unfortunately I didn't know anyone at this race (other than 1 volunteer who is a friend of my sis') so I chatted with a few people around me after the pre-race meeting. There is no viewing areas in the pool so I just sat close to transition to cheer on the racers before me.
The relay teams started first. This is the 1st year they have had relay teams. I definitely want to do a relay some day. My mom asked me if I was to do a relay which sport would I like to do and I said bike. I would honestly do any of the 3 but the bike seems to be my strength.
While I was waiting I ate most of a Power Bar and drank a couple bottles of water. It was warming up outside so I didn't want to be dehydrated. Around 9:45am I went to change into my tri suit and get myself organized for my heat. It was supposed to start at 10:35, but the race started about 30 minutes late so I didn't end up getting into the pool until 11:00am.
Luckily my family found me before I went into the pool so they knew when to keep an eye out for me in transition. They are practically professional triathlon cheerleaders since this is the 3rd time they have watched me do this race. They are awesome and it definitely helps to know you have your people cheering you on.
This year was a continuous feed system, meaning that there are 4 swimmers in a lane at all times. When one person gets out, another one gets in. Works fairly well and it goes by quicker than if you have 4 people start at the same time, and the next 4 don't get in until the previous 4 are all out.
When it was my time to start I had to wait a few seconds until 2 of the people in the lane were out of the way. Then they started doing backstroke... they let me pass at the wall right away which is nice. I just went nice and easy and didn't push too hard. It felt like one of my best swims actually. I was calm, didn't breath in any water, and my heart wasn't pounding. It went by really fast!!
When I got out my watch said 13:03 minutes which I am super happy with considering I didn't spend much time in the pool this year.
My official swim time was 13:35 (includes waiting to get into my lane, and walking to the far side of the pool to the next timing mat before T1)
I felt great coming out of the pool and once I got outside I ran to my spot in transition. Since my Garmin isn't water proof (well it says it is but I don't think you are supposed to swim with it) I wore my pink HR watch. I had to switch watches in transition and get my Garmin started so I think I spent a couple extra seconds there that I normally wouldn't have to worry about. Since it was really warming up, all I did was towel off my feet and didn't bother drying off any of my body. Love my tri suit (other than the fact that it makes me look really unattractive) and it's quick-drying abilities! I threw on my helmet, sunglasses, socks, bike shoes, quick spray of sunscreen and had a couple sips of water. Don't know my transition time for sure but I think it was about 2 minutes?
Earlier in the morning it seemed like the wind was picking up so I was very happy to get out on the highway and there was barely any wind. It is a 20k out and back course, with a slight downhill the first 10k and what goes down must come up so the last 10k are uphill. I was feeling fantastic so I just started passing people like no bodies business. I ate a couple Gu Chomps and drank some water. I knew the hard part was coming up so I needed to fuel.
At the turnaround I immediately passed 3 more cyclists. I did the 1st 10k in about 18:30 minutes but I knew I would not have a negative split with the slight uphill and couple big hills to go up to get back to transition.
Then the games began. I started playing cat and mouse with a girl I passed around 9k. She would get ahead of me and then I would catch up and pass her. She seemed to be a better climber and I am better on the flats and downhills. We did this about 3 times and I finally passed her for good just before we reached transition. That felt good! I owe my massive push in the last 10k to her.
Official bike time (includes T1 & T2) was 46:14. I took about 3.5 minutes off from last year!
No split available (I tried to use the lap button on my watch but I don't think it worked...). It was pretty quick- rack bike, take off the helmet, put on the hat, take a sip of water, take off bike shoes, put on running shoes and GO! Looking back I should have taken some Gu Chomps with me.
My legs immediately felt like lead as soon as I started running. I knew this was going to be interesting. It was warm out and I started to feel hungry! Great! My plan was to use my Virtual Partner on my Garmin to keep me on pace. What I forgot is that it gets messed up when I use it on the bike before my run... it was telling me I was waaayyyy ahead of my VP because obviously I am a lot quicker on the bike. Next time I will have to fiddle around with the settings. I might have to take the time to set up the VP when I start my run.
The 5k course changed from last year so it was mostly on pathways. My only issue was this year they didn't have a water station right at the beginning of the run. They only had one station (that you ran past twice) and it wasn't until 2k.
I didn't have any mental struggles during this run but I definitely didn't feel like pushing my happy pace. I knew I would be happy just beating my overall time from last year and I could do that at this pace. I think if I had some Gu Chomps it would have given me the energy to go faster so I will know for next race to bring some even if I don't feel like it right off the bike.
My family was cheering me on at the finish line and I did push myself for the last 100m or so. Sweet relief to be done!
My official run time was 34:43 (average pace 6:56 min/km) Darn- almost a minute slower than last year!! Oh well- as hubby said I haven't done any speed training this year, just endurance.
I was not kidding about the unattractive tri suit!
Also I have no idea why the clock is so wrong...
the race didn't start 12 hours ago. Maybe I can pretend
I was going Ironman!!
There is always a good meal served inside the school after the race. Last couple of years it has been lasagna, this year it was chicken breast, potatoes, and salad. Yum!!
The way the door prizes work at this race is every racers gets 10 tickets and all the prizes are at the front of the room on the stage. Each prize has a paper bag where you put your tickets into, depending on which prizes you are interested it. The grand prize is a road bike donated by a local bike shop so it's highly coveted.
Since I knew the chances of me winning it were slim, plus I don't really need a new bike, I put most of my tickets into different bags.
I won big time!!
I won a balance ball (which is good since hubby needs one for his physio), balance board, arm warmers, compression socks, and shoes!!! Awesome!! Makes up for all the races that I didn't win anything!
After the awards and prizes I packed up and headed home. I pretty much went to bed as soon as I got home!!
Shoes and Compression socks are gift certificates.
Race shirt (I didn't get the technical one since they always fit weird)
and finisher's medal!!
Medal close up
- My lack of nutrition intake before my heat started certainly affected my performance. I don't know why I thought a yogurt and Power Bar would tide me over for 5.5 hours.
- I am disappointed that my 5k wasn't faster but that just means that I need to train more for a faster 5k next time. I hoped that running more and training for a half marathon would mean a faster 5k but I guess that isn't true (this time).
- More bike-run brick workouts probably would have helped the lead leg feeling.