Yesterday I went up to Lake Houston with Erin and Lisa for the TriGirl Super Sprint! It was my first tri post-baby — and really my first since June 2011, since I missed the entire 2012 season being pregnant. I’ve done TriGirl’s August race but never this one, which is a short 200 yard swim, 8 mile bike and 2 mile run. The short distances were perfect given my complete lack of training.
200 yd swim – 5:12
T1 – 1:48
8 mile bike – 25:43
T2 – 0:57
2 mi run – 23:50
TOTAL – 57:31
I can’t remember the last time I went swimming for workout or race-related purposes. It was probably the swim portion of that June 2011 tri. This was a really short swim that I expected to finish in around 5 minutes, and sure enough, I did exactly that. There was a breeze up by the lake so we had to deal with some minor swells and choppiness. I made the mistake of starting toward the back of the pack, forgetting that my swim times over short distances are always consistent no matter how long it’s been since my last time in the water. I had to make my way through a lot of thrashing arms and legs in the first 50 yards, but by the time I reached the first turn buoy, I had broken free of the main pack. At that point, the swells became a bit more troublesome so I switched to breaststroke for the rest of the swim.
So let’s recap: I started at the back of the pack, and did breaststroke instead of freestyle for 2/3 of the distance. Despite this, my 5:12 swim time was still good enough for 6th out of 59 people in my age group (and thus my swim wave). And this is why it makes little sense for me to spend time training for the swim in a sprint distance tri.
T1 was pretty standard. I had a bit of ground to cover since we had to run from the swim exit all the way down to the other end of transition. I took a little more time than usual to make sure everything was in order — my brain was kinda foggy on the whole transition sequence! I also had to dry my feet enough to be able to pull on socks. But soon enough I was on my way. (And despite me really taking my time, I still was 12/59 in my age group for T1.)
The bike felt GREAT. I love the course, which is nice and shady with lots of pretty trees and a few nice downhills but only one climb of any significance. I passed a lot of people too, which also gave me a boost. (The duathlon had started at the same time as my swim wave and the first run was only a 1/2 mile, so there were a lot of duathlon people already out on the bike course since the run only took most of them 3-5 minutes and a run-bike transition is usually quicker than swim-bike.) It felt good to be flying along the course even though I knew it would probably trash my legs for the run. The bike was advertised as 8 miles but was really ~7.5, so I averaged ~17.5 mph. I had been on my bike exactly ONCE post-baby prior to yesterday, so I am TOTALLY happy with a 17.5 mph average. In fact, that’s about 2.5 mph better than I thought I would do!
T2 was pretty unremarkable and I was on to the run.
For the first mile, my legs were basically numb. It’s been so long since I did the bike-run transition that I think my body had completely forgotten what it was like! I felt like I was barely sustaining a shuffle, but with a few short walk breaks thrown in, I managed to reach the turnaround right at 12:00. On the way back to the finish, the numbness in my legs finally went away but it was replaced with burning in both calves. Fun! Somehow I continued my shuffle, and finished right under 12:00 pace — although I had to keep walking for a few minutes after crossing the line until the burning went away. I was worried both calf muscles were about to cramp up, but fortunately the feeling subsided.
Lisa passed somewhere around the 1.25-mile mark on the run, so she beat me by a couple minutes. Erin finished a couple minutes behind me, but her swim wave started 4 minutes after mine, so her total time was actually a minute faster than mine.
When I was telling Jose my estimates of how I’d do (and he was telling me to not push myself too hard!), I said something along the lines of: “Well in the past, I would expect to finish this race well under an hour, given the distances. That’s probably a long shot for me right now, but hopefully I’ll only be a minute or two over an hour.” Needless to say, I was pretty pumped to see 57:31 as my final time. My run was spot on what I’d planned, but the swim and bike both went better than expected.
It felt really good to be back out there, and I’m already looking forward to my next race, which will probably be the Y Freedom Tri in Pearland on June 30. Erin and Lisa are both signed up for the Galveston 5150 at the end of September but I’m not quite ready to commit to an olympic distance yet. We’ll see…