Well, I ended up doing the triathlon. Travis convinced me that it would be more fun if I did it with him than if I just watched. And I went on a short run Friday after work and felt almost normal, although a little bit more tired. So I went for it.
We got up around 5 and left the house by 5:30. We arrived at the race site a little after 6 and rode our bikes from the parking area down to the transition area, where packet pickup was. After we racked our bikes and put our stuff down, we picked up our packets and got body-marked.
The morning started off very pretty.
Travis and I had plenty of time before the race to get our stuff set up, go to the bathroom several times, survey the swim course, note all of the transition exits (there was a different chute for each entrance/exit!), and run a decent warmup (me feeling very tired and sluggish!). I loved the feeling of not being rushed. I also had purposefully drank hardly anything that morning so that I would not have a repeat of Steamboat (in having to pee a lot). I had hydrated well the week before the race and figured the distance was short enough that I’d be fine.
Right after we got back from our last bathroom break, we took off our sweatshirts and sweatpants and headed down to the swim. Travis was in the first wave so he got in the water to warm up and pretty soon, he was off. I tried to keep track of him but lost him pretty quickly in the sea of yellow caps. I prayed for him to have a good swim, since I knew how nervous/unsure he had been about it.
After two more waves took off, I got in the water to warm up. I didn’t wear my wetsuit again but wished I had. Man, the water was cold! They said it was 69 degrees, 1 degree warmer than Steamboat. Well, someone measured wrong either at Cherry Creek or Steamboat because there is no way that Steamboat was colder than Cherry Creek. It probably didn’t help that it was only in the mid-5os outside. But I forced myself to put my head in and swim around a bit. It wasn’t enjoyable but I’d live.
As soon as the wave before mine left, I got out of the water and stood in line. Brrrr! I tried to control my flailing limbs while counting the seconds down until I could get back into the water and get moving.
Finally, it was time to go. It was a beach start and they had positioned a small buoy about 40 feet from shore that you had to keep on your right, to prevent people from running down the beach instead of actually swimming. The gung-ho swimmers in the front did the whole Baywatch thing into the water. I ran a bit, then walked to give the women ahead of me a chance to move out a bit before I started swimming. I’ was in no rush.
I made sure to settle into my swim pace right off the bat and breathe calmly – and it worked. The 750 meter swim was very uneventful. But I was glad to see the finish flags and finally be out of the water.
My feet were like ice cubes as I ran the long stretch up to transition. But I was pleasantly surprised that I had energy. When Travis and I had walked that section earlier in the morning, it had felt very hard to breathe. I had decided that I didn’t have to run up to transition. But after the swim, running up that part didn’t feel too hard.
Official Swim Time (including run to TA): 24:59
Unofficial Swim Time (not including run): 22:30
Once in transition, I noticed Travis’ bike was gone. He had survived the swim! I rinsed off my feet, got my socks and shoes on and then took a little extra time to dry off and put on a long sleeve shirt. With the clouds, cool weather and being wet, I didn’t want to be cold on the bike. I grabbed my helmet, sunglasses and bike and off I went.
Official T1 Time: 2:56
I had been expecting my legs to feel weird like they had at Steamboat but they didn’t. I started off the bike feeling good. Around mile 1.5, I took a drink of my water and missed the bottle cage as I was attempting to replace it. So I had to get off my bike and go back to get my water bottle. There were no aid stations on the bike and I wanted my water bottle. Bah.
Back on the bike, I passed some people, a lot of people passed me. I pushed it up the biggest hill and decided that from there on out, I would take it easy. I didn’t want to ruin my legs for the run, like I have a habit of doing. So I took it easy. And it definitely showed in my time!
Right at the turnaround, I decided to eat my Shotbloks. I had eaten 2 and was going for my third when I dropped them on the ground. What was wrong with me? I was dropping things like it was my job! I looked around for a USAT official who would ping me for abandoned equipment. All I saw was a dude on a motorcycle and he was not USAT so I left my Shotbloks, feeling stupid and bummed.
The road through Cherry Creek that we biked on is so ridiculously bumpy that I will never do a triathlon there again (unless they repave it). It was just not fun to be on it so by the time I got back to the transition area, I was so ready to be done.
I glanced at my bike computer as I was re-racking my bike and it read 12.2 miles, instead 11.5 miles, like the race officials said.
Official Bike Time: 46:12 (14.9 mph)
By this time, the sun had started peeking out of the clouds and warming things up nicely so I ditched my long sleeve shirt, grabbed my hat and sunglasses, and left.
Official T2 Time: 1:06
Since the first triathlon I ever did was at this same venue, I was familiar with the run course – it was almost exactly the same one. The first .5 mile is all uphill, then it flattens out for .5 mile, then the last 2 miles are rolling hills. My legs actually felt great for the first mile. I pushed up the hill and when I reached the first mile marker, I calculated a 10:00/mile pace. Sweet!
The 2nd mile was at a 11:00/mile pace but then the bottom fell out in the 3rd mile. I like to think it’s because I was sick and wasn’t at 100% capacity but I stopped and walked a few times because my legs just felt tired. Finally, I was almost to the finish line. I saw Travis watching for me and encouraged him to run with me a little, which he did.
Official Run Time: 34:18 (11:04/mile)
Official Overall Time: 1:49:30
My goal going in to the race was to hit 1:45, but really I would have been satisfied with anything under 2 hours. So I made it. Woohoo! Since the bike was longer and made this race closer to being the same distance as the Oktoberfest tri I back in 2009, I was interested to compare my 2 times. My times from before were:
I finished that race in 1:43:59. Ah well. I don’t really care all that much.
Travis, of course, beat me (I knew he would). It’s funny though – I did the swim and transitions faster, he did the bike (on a mountain bike!) and run faster. He creamed me on the run. Here are his splits:
Bike: 44:09 (15.6 mph)
Run: 24:58 (8:03/mile)
So he did great! I think he had a very positive experience and even talked about doing another triathlon next year. I am very proud of him and had a lot fun doing a race with him. It’s kind of funny – we both placed 180th in our sex! (There were a total of 470 finishers – 233 male and 242 females).
And with that, Triathlon Season 2011 is in the books. I did 3 Sprints and 1 Oly this year. I am satisfied and ready to not ride my bike again until I get it professionally fitted. Our half marathon relay is in 3 weeks and then Race Season 2011 is over. Have I mentioned how ready I am?
As far as the race itself went, this event was put on by Racing Underground – a pretty well-known group in Denver. I’ve done several races that they’ve timed but this was the first I had done that they’ve put on. I think they did a lot of things well – their website is informative with course maps, they sent out a pre-race email, their packet pickup was very organized and the goodie bags were stuffed. They also had plenty of porta-potties and their music/microphones were loud enough to hear.
Some things they can improve on: when I heard that we would get sweatshirts instead of t-shirts, I was excited. But while I will wear the navy blue sweatshirt sans hood and enjoy it, I can’t see Travis – or really any other guy – wearing it. I mean, guys don’t really wear sweatshirts without hoods, unless they’re playing basketball or over 40. So that’s a bummer.
Plus, it looked like they spent more money on the sweatshirts and got rid of the finishers medals. I know there’s some debate about whether finishers medals are cool or just unnecessary. Those who do oodles of races (and win!) don’t really care. Well, I care. And my husband who just did his first race cares. I want a medal because I will never win an award!
The last thing I was bummed about was that they didn’t have any finish line food like bagels, bananas, etc. The only food they offered was the post-race meal – BBQ – and while I was pumped that it was something that sounded good and that I could probably eat without getting sick after the race (my stomach won’t tolerate anything too sweet), the line was 200 people long. It stretched across the parking lot. Granted, it was a pleasant day and the food looked good but we just didn’t feel like waiting in line. I wished I could have just grabbed a bagel and been done with it.
So Travis and I went home, showered and went to BWW instead. Mmmm… I tried the new Soft Pretzels. AMAZING! I will definitely get those again. They just hit the spot. I also got 8 Honey BBQ boneless wings but only ate 4 because I ate too much of the pretzels. Then we rented Thor (great movie – looking forward to the sequel!) and Your Highness (would NOT recommend because of all the dirty, disgusting humor) and laid on the couch for the rest of the day. Glorious.
I’m glad that I did the race but my body is not. I felt increasingly sick yesterday and today, my whole head is congested, I have a runny nose and am coughing/sneezing a lot. So I’m forced again today to take things easy and relax. I guess this is good – I always like the idea of resting in theory but when it comes down to actually doing it, being productive always sounds more appealing. So I am going to take the dogs on a walk, go buy some tomato soup to go with grilled cheese for dinner, and then I’m going to plop my rump on the sofa for the rest of the evening.
The only bummer about being sick while relaxing is that I feel too tired/groggy to read so I end up watching copious amounts of TV. (There’s me trying to sneak in productivity again!) Oh well – I’ll enjoy being a bum!
How was your weekend?
Have you ever done a race while sick/not feeling your best?