Update: now with photos!
I raced the Silverlake Sprint Tri for the 3rd time yesterday. I won’t keep you waiting for the highlights — I finished as 2nd place Athena, and improved my time by more than 2 minutes over my last outing at this race!
The race advertises itself as a 10 mile bike and 3 mile run, but the actual distances are a 9.9 mile bike and 2.9 mile run, measured by my Garmin and verified on Google Maps pedometer. (I know, they just rounded, but I like to be accurate so I can correctly calculate my pace!) They changed the bike course this year and I think it used to be more like 9.7 miles — so the fact that I improved my overall time is even more awesome since I’m pretty sure I covered slightly more mileage! Here’s the breakdown.
Swim – 8:59.2
T1 – 1:31.3
Bike – 30:34.5 (19.4 mph)
T2 – 1:17.4
Run – 29:24.7 (10:09 min/mile)
Finish – 1:11:47.2
I got to the parking lot just after 6:00 a.m. and knew I was running a little behind schedule since transition closed at 6:30. The parking area is almost a mile away from the race site, so I’m glad I could hop on my bike and scoot over there. I had about 20 minutes to spare to get body-marked and set up my transition. The racks were labeled by race number, but they didn’t limit you to a specific spot on your rack — which is nice, since it lets you pick a good spot close to the exit, but is bad because it means people spread their stuff out ALL OVER the freaking place. Since I arrived kind of late, it was tricky to find a good spot for my bike on the rack without having to move somebody else’s stuff, but I managed. After setting up, I went over to pick up my chip and then had a bunch of time to just sit. Transition closed at 6:30, the race started at 7:00, and I was in the very last wave at 7:27 so I just sat around for almost an hour. Fortunately there were a bunch of people from my tri club to talk to!
I had an ok swim, but DANG, I need to start swimming regularly again. My speed is decent, but I’m just not comfortable in the water right now. I did way too much breaststroke for only a 400 meter swim. Instead of following the slightly curved line of the intermediary buoys, I made a beeline for the big yellow turn buoy, but that line took me close to the shore and I ran aground in a shallow part of the lake. So much for trying to swim the straight line!
I ran into transition and quickly got ready for the bike. The transition area was in the grass, which was soaked from all the rain we had on Friday and Saturday, and it was not very fun to run through mucky grass with bike shoes on! The run out to the bike mount line was also kinda far, which was annoying. Maybe I need to learn how to put my shoes in the pedals and then put them on once I’m on the bike? I dunno.
The bike went well. The new course doesn’t have quite as many twists and turns as the old course, which is probably another reason I was able to improve my time despite going a few tenths of a mile farther. There was a slight headwind on a few parts, and a slight tailwind on a few other sections, but overall I maintained a pretty steady speed. I saw something between 19 and 20 mph almost every time I looked down at my watch, and I’m happy with my 19.4 mph average speed. There were still more turns on this course than most, even with the updated route, so I hope to top 20 mph at a race sometime later this season.
I had a little hangup in T2 when I couldn’t get my bike back on the rack. The racks were short, and on top of that had sunk into the wet, mucky grass, and it was impossible to just roll my bike back under the rack because the bar was lower than my bike seat. So imagine me trying to lean my bike to the side so I can slide it under the bar and hang it back up, but I don’t have enough room because there are bikes on either side of my spot, and I’m trying not to knock over the whole rack full of bikes in the process. (Since I’d started in the last wave, almost everyone else on my rack was already out on the run.) Thankfully, a quick-thinking volunteer saw me struggling and ran over to help. He wiggled my bike onto the rack while I grabbed my running stuff and took off.
I knew the run was less than 3 miles, and I wanted to really knock it out. My legs didn’t actually feel too bad and I was able to start off at a good pace. Halfway through the run, another woman in the Athena category passed me! I had been pretty sure I was in first place in the category at that point, and I didn’t want to lose it. I picked up my pace…and she just kept slowly pulling ahead. I was really pushing myself, but I still watched her get farther ahead of me. By the time she made the final turn towards the finish, she was a couple hundreds yards ahead of me, and I knew I’d never catch her. I could see her the entire time, but just couldn’t stay with her — SO FRUSTRATING!
Nonetheless, I had a great run and finished strong. She did indeed take 1st place Athena and knocked me into 2nd place. Her finish time was an infuriating 43 seconds faster than me. 43 seconds! And yet making that up would have required me to run 15 seconds/mile faster than I did. I ran that much faster at the Summer Kick-off Run last weekend, but I just couldn’t quite get there yesterday with the run coming after a swim and a bike. I beat her by a bit on both the swim and the bike, but her run was almost 3 full minutes faster than mine. Impressive. She didn’t look like she should be able to run that much faster, but it just goes to show that you can’t always judge someone’s speed by their appearance! I had the fastest swim and bike of all the Athenas, but only the 5th fastest run in the group. Even with my recent speed improvement, I’ve still got work to do.
One other interesting note: if I’d competed in my age group yesterday, I would have finished in 4th place! Wow! If I can gain just a little more speed on the run, maybe it’s time to do a couple races in my age group instead of Athena and see how it goes.
All in all, it was another fun day at the races! I haven’t decided what my next race will be, but it will probably be either the Sylvan Beach Tri on June 13 or the Y Freedom Tri on June 27. Sylvan Beach is longer than a sprint but shorter than an olympic, which could be fun. But I will be missing almost 10 days of training with our upcoming vacation. Hmm.