Two weekends ago I competed in my second sprint triathlon—the Big Shark New Town Triathlon in St. Charles. I did my first one last year during my 12 Races in 12 Months goal. The one I just completed is just short of Olympic distance with a .62 mile open water lake swim, a 20 mile bike ride and a 4 mile run. This was one definitely more tough (tougher?) than the Tour de Kirkwood Triathlon I did last summer. And a lot more competitive, too. I think the average age of participants was in the 35-40 range. As a first timer, I was pretty proud of how I did. I crossed the finish line with a time of 2 hours and 13 minutes.
The race was super well organized in my opinion. Because the swim was in open water, they had lifeguards standing around the lake ready to jump in at any time if needed and there were also people in kayaks in the lake keeping a pretty close eye on us. I grew up being on swim team (thanks mom!), so I wasn’t concerned, but it was still nice knowing that if something were to happen, there were people ready to help. To help offset the open water vs. pool swimming, I almost always swam a full mile in the pool.
We lined up according to our race number and every three seconds the next person in line would enter the lake. For me, the most nerve–racking time is the day before and waiting to get started the day of the event.
I cut the side of my left foot on some rocks getting out of the lake, which I ended up just leaving to bleed through my sock during the bike and run portion. My first transition could have gone a lot smoother, and faster. I also had misstep on some stairs just four days before the race, causing a cut/scrape/injury (a few layers of skin was taken off and a dent put in my heel..ew) on the heel of my right foot. That one, however, did require bandage before moving onto the bike or run. And for some reason, I decided to put on my biking gloves…which I shouldn’t have. So between nixing the need of putting on a bandage, putting on biking gloves and being quicker in general, I know I can improve my T1 time.
Biking is actually my least favorite part of doing a triathlon. I use the Hub’s Specialized road bike, but I never have full confidence with riding it. It’s definitely quite a bit different than the Huffy I grew up using! And even after training for almost three months, my legs still have runner’s muscles and not so much biking muscles. So this is where I really have room for improvement.
Transition #2 could have also been a bit quicker. I’ll just have to practice switching from my bike shoes to my running shoes, which took the most time during this point. I felt like the run itself went really good. After the first mile, my legs had adjusted and I was running a bit faster than my normal pace. A coworker pointed out that I most likely under–paced my biking if I was running faster than normal for the whole distance. It was roughly 80 degrees by this point in the morning, so the sprinkler systems set up along the run route was an added bonus.
I’ve already made up my mind that I want to do this race again next year, with the hopes of doing a full Olympic distance one in a couple of years. There’s another sprint tri at the end of August with much shorter distances that I’m thinking about doing. I want to be able to shave roughly 10 minutes off my time for next year. So that means lots of practice and training before then.