This year was good. I haven't been running much, but I have been swimming and biking pretty well since June, so I decided I could do the whole thing if I just lowered my expectations during the run. I figured I would swim hard, bike harder and survive the run.
Mitch, Cristina, Adam and Mike were also doing it, and we all got to start at the same time. I wanted to swim 17 minutes in the swim, but when I got out of the water, my watch read 18:34, which is close to my best, but not it. I was the first one out and right as I was leaving Mike ran up out of the water. "Darn you!" I said to him as he asked how long I'd been there.
"Just a minute or two," I said and then took off with my bike. I heard Adam's dad yell, "Mike, you've got to beat Steph." And I heard Mike say something about beating me out of T2. "We'll see about that," I thought as I ran out of the transition. I carried a banana in my mouth and put my gloves on as I biked. It was a good strategy, although I lost half the banana while I was eating it on the road. The banana is my favorite "during workout" fuel. Chocolate milk is the best after.
I hit the bike hard, hoping that I could give Mike a good chase at least. My goal was to make him work to catch me and to not be caught for at least 10 miles. After I ate my banana I settled into a 19miles/hour pace, but whenever anyone passed me I tried to stay with them for at least 30 seconds. Most the people who passed me were in full tri-bike, aero-bar, weird-helmet attire. I've got to get me some of that. I ate most of a small Cliff bar about 30 minutes into it and drank some Powerade. I probably should have drank more Powerade earlier. It might have prevented the slight calf and foot cramping I felt at T2 and at the end of the race.
Mike didn't catch me by 10 miles and I was feeling good, so I kicked it up. I also ran into a group that I couldn't get rid of. It was about 4-5 guys drafting, which is cheating. I rode out to the side, I stood up and sprinted, I dropped back a little, but I could not get out of them. I didn't want to slow down too much, but drafting is cheating and I wanted to ride fair and square, so finally I backed off enough to let them go.
By this time the course was more downhill and the wind was at my back, so I was averaging above 20. It felt awesome to go so fast. I still hadn't seen Mike or Mitch, and I had expected both of them to catch me on the bike. I started to cramp in my calves just a bit the last mile, but made it through and transitioned fairly quickly without seeing anyone else from our group. Woot! Woot! My bike ended up being 1:10.12, a PR.
I tried to kill it during the bike because I didn't want to feel too ashamed of my performance. I knew the run was going to be crappy, so I figured, "Why not kill yourself during the bike?" I think this is a good triathlon philosophy, even if you're not injured: Full effort, every event. No saving for the next one.
I started the run by walking up the hill and then, because I'd lost half my watch band in the T1 transition when I ripped off my wetsuit, I counted to myself and used a run-walk method of run two minutes, walk one minute. Mike caught me before the first mile and quickly thereafter Mitch ran by. Darn it all. I felt competitive about it, but not strong enough to do anything about it. Counting made the miles go by quickly. And the run/walk method was actually pretty awesome for keeping my form together. It was cloudy and a little rainy, so the weather was awesome for a race.
Cristina passed me at about mile 3, maybe a little before. She was in great running shape and had had a good bike too. I finished off the run by running the whole last 800 (had to at least run continuously that far, right?) and then had a nice sprint finish. I felt tired, but my knee held out. Today I'm sore, but my knee is about average. My final run time was a 56:50. Yeah, college running friends, I know. I know.
Overall, it was a good race, considering the most running I had done previously was 30 minutes of run/walking. I reached my biking goal and still managed to be #9 in my age group with a final time of 2:31.26.
Mike did it in 2:27:55. I get to give him crap about beating him in the bike and swim, though. :)
Next year I'm doing the bike in 1:03 and the run is going to be in 46 minutes. I'd like my swim to at least drop into the 17s. I think I'm going to have to make me one of those tri-buckets that people had to carry their stuff in.
Here's my lists of what is needed for each transition in the triathlon, to help me remember what worked for next year.
Outfit: (Mike will make fun of me for calling it an outfit. Oh well.) I wore my Athleta tri tank, which I like about 3 on a scale of 1-5. The rouching on the side was a pain. I need to buy a different tank w/ built in bra, because not changing clothes saves tons of time in the transition. I love my tri Pearl Izumi shorts. They are just the right amount of padding to take the edge off in the bike, but not be bothersome during the run. I had my hair in a bun, which during the swim was painfully digging into my head, so I need to figure something else out for long hair. Braids perhaps?
Starting Line: Wetsuit, ear plugs, googles, flip flops, and of course, the clothes on your back.
T1 (swim to bike): Banana, cliff bar, towel, helmet, bike, bike shoes, socks (almost forgot those this year!), garbage bag with number on it, bike gloves, sunglasses, water bottles already on bike, one with Powerade, one with water.
T2 (bike to run): Hat, running Shoes (in plastic sack if set out night before)