This past Sunday I participated in my first triathlon. It was a local sprint distance race here in Ukiah. Since it was happening on September 11, it was named Tri & Remember in honor of the September 11, 2001 tragedy that happened 15 years prior. I thought this was a nice way to remember and honor those we lost that day and how it changed our nation.
My Initial Thoughts on Triathlon
When I first thought about doing this triathlon months ago, I was a little nervous and scared. It’s intimidating to do something new and something you have never done before. I really have no problem swimming, I taught swim lessons and lifeguarded for 6+ years, so I wasn’t worried about that. The run is right in my comfort zone, but the bike is a different story.
I just got my road bike this last fall, but haven’t really ridden it much. I finally went to the local bike shop just two weeks before the race to get clip-in shoes for my pedals. I practiced a bit clipping in and out and then had to get use to the new gears and skinny tires. It is a much sleeker, faster bike, but a far cry from my beach cruiser! I only went on about 4 rides with my bike before race day. So the bike was definitely my weakest area.
To say I trained much for this race would be a lie. I swam in the local pool at the health club 3 times the week before the race, biked 4 times and continued my regular run training. So it was anybody’s guess how I would do come race day!
Sunday, September 11th was race day. I woke up around 5:45, got my gear together, had a little breakfast and then headed to the start area. Luckily for me, I live minutes away from the lake and the start line, so travel to the race was a breeze.
I set up my transition area, had a few gummies, used the bathrooms and chatted with some friends. It was a bit chilly with the wind blowing, but that turned out to be a blessing. The 73 degree water felt warm when I jumped in for the swim.
The swim was a half mile. Not bad at all actually. Based on my lack of training, I estimated I would complete the swim in about 20 minutes. I completed the swim in 20:37, so not far off my estimate. I felt pretty good, got a few kicks from other swimmers and strayed away from the buoys a few times, but all in all a decent time. I can see improving by 3-5 minutes for my next triathlon.
After the swim I ran up the boat ramp, to the transition area. The transition took me 3:24. Way too long! I spent too much time getting my socks on, running up the ramp, grabbing gummies for energy and getting my bike jersey on. I can definitely trim this down to 1:30 in the future. I also spent a few seconds getting my shoes clipped in. But all in all, I was happy with my transition.
The bike was definitely my weakest. It wasn’t bad by any means, but I can see huge room for improvement. I could probably cut 15 minutes off my time fairly easily by training on my bike more. I found myself watching other bikers to see where their gears were to try to increase speed and I was a little tentative on the downhills. All in all, I passed quite a few riders and that made me feel great! My finish time for the bike was 1:17:19.
I want to give a special shout out to Rudy Project Helmets for letting me test their Sterling helmet as well! It arrived Friday before the race and I am so glad I had it during the race. It kept me visible on the road and fit my head much better than my old cruiser bike helmet from 15 years ago! If you are looking for a new helmet you can save 25% off their models by visiting this site. They made my bike ride so much easier and safer!
The second transition was way better than the first. I took 1:43 to transition from the bike to the run. If I hadn’t changed shirts to represent my husband’s work, I could have saved a few extra seconds. Live and learn!
Defintiely my strongest, but not my fastest 5k ever. I ran the run in 26:28. It was a course I knew well from previous training runs, but my legs were tired. The transition from bike to run definitely makes your legs feel jello-like. After the first mile I eased into the run. My hamstring was acting up a bit, but I pushed through.
I finished the race in 2:09:34. I was 9:34 off from my secret goal of under two hours, but overall very proud of my time, especially since my training was not what it should have been. I can definitely say that another triathlon will be in my future. It was a lot of fun to do three different things during a race and I felt so accomplished when I was done!
If you have been thinking of doing a triathlon. Do it! You won’t regret it. And thanks Nuun for the awesome tri-shorts and bike jersey!