I did the 5th annual Y Freedom Tri in Pearland on Sunday morning. I felt really antsy and unsettled on Saturday night for some reason. I even looked a little uneasy as I was waiting in line for the swim start, as seen in this photo taken stealthily by Sandy (a BAMmer who was volunteering at the race). I think I was a bit nervous about the race, although I don’t know why. My only real goal was to beat my time from last year, which I knew was achievable as long as I put in a solid effort.
Every year I put down the same 6:10 swim time (because as I wrote about last week, my swim time seems to remain constant no matter how much swimming — or lack of swimming — I do) and every year I’m seeded farther back in the pack. Either triathletes as a whole are getting faster in the water, or there are just more people doing this race these days. On Sunday I was #198 so I had about 15 minutes to wait before getting into the water, which I spent chatting with the two girls behind me.
The swim went really well. For the first time ever at this race, I and everyone around me submitted correct swim times! No one passed me or even nipped at my feet, and I only had to pass one person at the 250 meter mark. He had started at least four or five people ahead of me, because I’d noticed his cool swim cap. Not sure if he seeded himself wrong or was just having trouble. When he felt me tag his feet, instead of just moving as far to the right as possible to let me pass, he actually stopped and stood up in the pool. I thought that was weird, but I just pulled past him and kept going. My swim time got recorded as 6:41. That time always includes the seconds it takes to climb out of the pool and run into transition, so I was probably just over the 6:10 I predicted by only a few seconds. Sweet.
My T1 was crazy fast. 46 seconds! The results at the moment still have me ranked in the 30-34 age group instead of Athena, and even with that my T1 time is the fastest of the 40 women in that age group. I don’t even know what I did, but I hope I do it again sometime.
The first half of the bike went really well, but the second half got a little rough. I felt like I was pedaling into a lot of wind, but a quick glance at the trees and flags around me showed that while there was a breeze, it wasn’t that strong. I wondered if my brake was rubbing, but I didn’t think it was (and it wasn’t). I haven’t replaced the Garmin that broke in mid-May at the Silverlake Tri, so for the last month I haven’t been able to see my speed on the bike at all. It’s definitely a different feeling to be racing without insight into speed, but it’s a nice change to base things on perceived effort. In the end, I finished in the 11.3-mile bike in 35:13 for an average speed of ~19.2 mph. That’s just over a minute slower than last year. I’ll never know for sure, but I think I slowed down on the second half of the bike — still, I ended up happy with a 19+ mph average!
My T2 was 1:08 — not quite as quick since I had to stop and pull on socks.
My biggest goal for this race was to manage a solid run despite the heat. At 33:53 or ~11:00 per mile, my run time wasn’t what I was hoping for, but I did put in a solid effort and was pleased with that part at least. I ran the entire 3.1 miles, pausing only for a drink at the water stops. I felt good and strong and really expected to see an average pace in the 10s. But given how miserable my second run was during the duathlon two weeks ago, an 11:00 pace in which I didn’t stop to walk is an improvement. If only all triathlons had the great weather that Silverlake did…
I finished in 1:17:42 for 2nd place Athena. The woman who won Athena finished a minute ahead of me. I had a faster swim and bike but she managed a 9:57 pace on the run. I recognized her when they gave out awards, and wondered why I hadn’t seen her during the race. But the results show she started 100 people after me so she was behind me the whole time. That’s always the catch of a pool swim! Someone can start behind you but still beat you. I know I’m capable of 10:00 pace in a triathlon because I’ve done it before — but only early in the season. I’ve never done it in a race once the heat of summer arrives.
All in all, it was another fun year at the Y Tri. I bettered my time from last year which was my primary goal. (Previous years aren’t comparable because the bike course changed, although this is also my fastest time ever at this race since the bike course got shorter.)
My next race will probably be a July 4th running event somewhere. There’s a new/old (“revived”) 5-mile race in Baytown that looks good.