On this past Saturday, August 27, 2011, I raced in my first sprint triathlon in over two years. It was tons of fun and a great break from all the long distance workouts, especially with my second, half iron distance triathlon just 11 days away!
Friday night five other Grunt Girls and I traveled to Erie, PA to spend the night before the Presque Isle Triathlon. We arrived at the race site Saturday around 7 am, set up our gear, listened to race instructions, and then headed to the starting line at 8 am.
Around 400 participants were divided into 3 start times / swim waves. This made for a very crowded swim start! Plus, we weren't grouped by ability or age group, but by race #, which was mostly alphabetical. I was in the first wave and quickly found myself half covered in seaweed and with foggy goggles, and I was trapped in the middle of a mob of swimmers. Once I was around the first buoy, it seemed to thin out and I was able to finally swim at a comfortable pace. Since we were in the bay, and not on the Lake Erie side, the water was at least very calm. After the second buoy, as we were headed to the swim exit, I got hit in the head with a man's arm, and then as he did the breaststroke, he kicked me. Ouch! I tried to stay away from him for those last few yards!
616 yard swim - 13:50.35
With Diana there to hurry me along through T1, I did my best to be fast.
T1 - 1:33.15
Just like the swim, the bike course was pretty crowded. I was happy to be in the first wave though. I passed quite a few people on the bike, and only had a few of the really fast men from wave #2 catch up to me. For a good bit of the time, I was stuck in a group of 4 or 5 people and felt like we were playing a game of cat and mouse. At one point I did my best to sprint and break away from them, but they still caught back up to me a few miles before the end of the bike. If you haven't been to Presque Isle, then you may not know that this bike course is completely FLAT. This was a perfect venue for me. There was only even one turn, because the course just loops around Presque Isle. Around the half way point I was averaging around 20.5 miles per hour. Once done, I ended up with a 20.2 mph average! That is the fastest I've ever averaged on my bike!
12.6 mile bike - 36:30.45
I again hurried through T2. This is a sprint after all.
T2 - :51.80
On the run course I was lost without my Garmin. Being a sprint, I decided to go without it to save time, but it would have been nice to know my average / current pace. I used my watch to try to determine my pace with the mile markers, but I didn't know if they were placed correctly. At the out and back turn-around, I was happy to realize that there weren't too many women in front of me. But, then I remembered that we didn't all start together. That was another bummer with the waves set up in this manner. It can really help to push me by having others in my age group around me. Well, I still tried my best and ran hard.
3.5 mile run - 32:09.00, 9:27 pace
TOTAL RACE TIME - 1:24:54.7
Females 35 to 39 - #9 out of 18
Overall - #146 out of 348 (not including relay teams)
GRUNT GIRL RACING finish line photo:
NOW, I have just 11 days until the Revolution3 Half-Iron triathlon at Cedar Point. Just as I did last year, I will swim 1.2 miles, bike 56 miles and then run 13.1 miles. Last year I completed this in 6 hrs, 49 minutes, and 19 seconds. As my training began this year, my goal was 6 hr 30 min. I don't think I've trained as much this summer, so I'm altering my goal to 6 hrs 44 mins. I really want to beat my time from last year. I think I can cut those 4 minutes off just with a faster transition time!
Swim goal: 44 min (That would be 31 seconds faster than last year.)
Bike goal: 3 hr 23 min 35 sec, for an average of 16.5 mph (Equaling 2 minutes faster than last year.)
Run goal: 2 hr 30 min (This would be 54 seconds slower than last year, but I'll be happy with that!)
T1 plus T2 goal: 6 min 25 sec (Four minutes faster than last year.)
Grand Total (realistic) Goal = 6 hours 44 minutes
But of course, 6 hrs and 30 mins would be really nice. To cut out another 14 minutes:
Lake Erie would have to be perfectly calm (minus 2 min = 42 min swim)
The wind would have to be at my back on the whole bike course (minus 6 min = 3:17:35 bike / 17 mph avg)
I'd have to run without walk breaks at a 10:59 min per mile pace (minus 6 min = 2 hr 24 min)
Let's just hope we have a beautiful day for this experience again this year, and that it's filled with fun, joy, and smiles.