That photo is from my last aquabike in June, but I like it and never posted it. It also conveys how I felt about my most recent race.
We got up at the awful hour of 3am to make the race. The race was only about an hour away from us, but with a 7am start and having to contend with going from Central to Eastern time…yeah. I went to bed at 7pm Friday night. Party animal indeed.
When we left, I thought “Should I wear a sweatshirt?”, and decided against it. You know, it being August in the south. When we got to Peachtree City and got out of the car, we decided it was colder. I was shivering. It was not happy times.
This race seeded us by swim times, so you picked up your cap with your seed number on it. I was 138, and Kenny was somewhere in the 500’s, so we were not going to be racking our bikes next to each other. I found my spot, and discovered the guy next to me apparently thought he was entitled to his bike spot and mine. His bike was in his spot, and his transition stuff was all spread out in mine. Terrific. I moved his crap over as carefully as I could, and went about my business of setting up my area. I talked to another guy next to me, got the scoop on what the bike course was like, and then it was time to head to the water.
By seeding us by our start times, the idea was that you lined up in order, and they did a time trial start where 2 people went off every 5 seconds. An email about the event that had come out a couple days prior said if you wanted to move up a little, you could. I looked at the numbers on the caps of people around me and saw lots of 300’s, 400’s and even some 600’s. Ok. The first guys went off right at 7am. About 7 1/2 minutes later, as I was still edging toward the water, they came out of the water, done with their swim. Wow.
When it was my turn, I got next to some random guy with 481 on his cap, and we ran into the water when they yelled “Go!” I started out very strong and smooth, doing well at making my way around swimmers in front of me. I passed a fair amount of people already in the water, and then I got hung up by a couple people that were doing backstroke, or just kind of hanging out. I saw the downfall of the ‘no accountability with the starting at your seeded time’, because there were definitely people in the water at that point that should have started after me. That was kind of a pain to navigate. I managed to get into one stretch, and I suddenly thought “This is great! No one is around me, I’m swimming well…”. I looked up to sight and realized I was painfully off the course. I think I swam about 100 extra yards trying to get myself back on course. Once I was back where I should be, the rest of the swim went fine, though I thought multiple times “This swim course is way longer than 500 meters.” I figured my time was going to be slow, but it was right where I hoped it would be. I was the 2nd person out of the water in my division, so that was pretty cool. 10:25 for the swim, so considering I swam extra, I’m pleased.
Ran up into transition, and got all set up for the bike. Wheeled my bike out, mounted and took off. About a mile in to the bike, it started to drizzle, then rain a little harder. At mile 2, I took my sunglasses off because they were covered in rain and I couldn’t see. The bike course was a nice course – no major hills, lots of power rollers and some great flats. The best part of the bike course was all of the people along it cheering. The course went through multiple neighborhoods, and the people all came out in their yards, to the end of their streets, and at other points on the course to cheer us on. I’ve never had that before on a bike course, and it was awesome. I heard multiple cowbells, one family had rolled a tree in their front yard, and two girls had made signs. “Worst parade ever!” and “This hill is your bitch!” Those signs made me laugh, which was nice at mile 11. I had fun being out there, and I ended up with a personal best for my bike on that distance. I clocked the course on my bike computer at being just over 13 miles, and my time was 47.22. My computer showed a pace of 16.5 (I did 16.6 on a 12 mile course a few weeks ago), but the results website says I did a pace of 17.7. I think they are wrong.
I find it interesting that the bike distances aren’t all that consistent between the different races. The Tri the Parks series has mostly 14 mile bike courses. The reverse tri was 12.4, and I think the Chattahoocie Challenge was about 12.4 as well. This race was 13.1-ish miles. It makes it hard to set an overall time goal when it’s not consistent.
Anyway. On to the run. I had a small fear that I went too hard on the bike, but I started out the run by walking, and once I got past the first uphill, started to run. I created a specific playlist for the run to try and pace myself. I started running to Green Day’s “Holiday”, which has a nice steady pace. I had to walk up a couple of hills (stupid feet), but for the most part, ran well. My feet were starting to ache, and I hoped they would just stay aching and not get painful. At the first mile, the app told me my pace was 11:46, and I inwardly cringed – that was too fast for my first mile. I was hoping to be able to keep it right around there for the rest of the run, but knew it was probably unlikely. I managed to run the next mile and a half, though I knew I was slowing down. My mile 2 split was a 12:14 pace, and about half a mile from the end, I hit a couple of hills that I had to walk up. My left achilles was super tight at that point. Mile 3 split was 12:20. The last part of the run was up a hill, but there were so many people there cheering that I thought to myself I would be damned if I walked in front of all those people, so I gritted my teeth and ran. I actually sprinted into the finish line. My run time was 38:15, for a pace average of 12:14 min/mile. It’s slow, but it was a PR for racing. I took about 3 minutes off my race time from a few weeks ago. I’ll take it.
My overall time was 1:40:21, making me 6th in my division and 133 overall for females. That puts me solidly in the middle, albeit the bottom of the middle. My transitions are too slow, so that will need work. I realized if I can keep running and improving, I could actually be good at triathlons. If I had been able to run a 30 minute 5K, I would have taken third in my division.
I really loved the race, and I would definitely do it again next year. The crowd support was by far the best part, and made the whole race so much more fun. The course was great.
What was not great was being cold again as soon as I was done. At 8:45am, on August 17th, it was 63 degrees. I turned the heat on when we finally got back to the car. However, I will happily take that any day over racing in the blazing sun and heat.