I’ve done this race once before, five years ago when it was on the north side of the lake in Clear Lake Park. Since then, they’ve moved to South Shore Harbour on the other side of the lake and tweaked the course and distances so that you now have the option of sprint or olympic distance. I chose the sprint and boy was I glad — in fact, when I found out at packet pickup that the run was only 2.1 miles (instead of 3 as I’d been thinking), I did a little happy dance. For some reason I really wasn’t into this race, and even when I woke up on Saturday morning I wasn’t really looking forward to it. I mean, it’s the middle of August and hot as heck outside. Why did I sign up for a triathlon in this weather?
But off I went, and once I got to the race site and started setting up, I felt better.
500 m swim – 8:00
T1 – 2:07
14.3 mi bike – 48:49
T2 – 2:03
2.1 mi run – 25:18
Total – 1:26:17
I had estimated ahead of time that I should finish just under 1:30, so I was pretty happy with my finish time. There was no Athena category so I was racing with my age group, and it only occurred to me this weekend that I moved up to a new age group this year — because there were only two waves of women in the sprint and I was in the OLDER wave with women 35 and up.
(That got me thinking about when I started triathlon and I realized I did my first triathlon in 2003. A full decade ago! And the only year that went by without doing a tri I think was last year, since I was pregnant. Pretty cool!)
(The images that go with that post from my first triathlon appear to have been lost in the many blog software changes over the years. Sad.)
Anyway, I had a pretty respectable showing within my age group except for the run. Out of 25 women aged 35-39, I was 7th in the swim, 6th in T1, 10th on the bike, 7th in T2…and 23rd on the run for a final placing of 15th out of 25. I totally can’t expect better than that with my fitness level these days, so I”ll take it.
Overall, this is an ok race, but I’m on the fence about whether to do it again. I probably will just because it’s the closest race to home, but as courses go I don’t really like this one. The swim is in South Shore Marina and while scenic above the surface, the water itself is murky and both smelled and tasted disgusting. (Though I’ve heard it’s better than a few years ago when the swim was on the other side of the marina.) Sighting is easy because the route is fairly narrow and L-shaped, but to exit the swim involves climbing one of several 8-10 foot ladders from the water up to the sidewalk and parking lot.
I wasn’t prepared for that kind of climb and felt a little shaky trying to make sure I didn’t slip on the metal ladder and go plunging back into the water. There were volunteers at the top of the ladders, but they weren’t providing any assistance (or at least they didn’t offer any to me). That was actually the scariest part of the whole race for me — climbing that darn wet ladder! Ironically, my swim time was faster than I anticipated — guess I was ready to get out of that nastiness!
The transition area for this race was narrow and long so there was a lot of ground to cover while getting through T1 and T2. That’s probably obvious from the fact that my transition time was over 2:00 each time — and that was still the 6th and 7th best times in my age group. I did get lucky in having a spot close to the bike exit, so while everyone had to do the same amount of running in transition, I didn’t have to do much of it in bike shoes.
The bike course is one that I’ve ridden dozens of times before, but in a race context, the amount of traffic simultaneously on the road makes it a little harrowing. Although they block off the outer lane for the race, there’s no way to block every outlet into or out of a gas station or fast food place or strip mall, so as a racer you still have to stay very alert. I expect to do this when I’m riding on my own, but for a race I prefer something slightly more isolated. Jose brought Emma to see me at the end, and he said he saw multiple bikers nearly get hit by cars, which is scary.
This race provided “tri tats” for our arms instead of writing our number in sharpie, which I thought was really cool until I got in the shower after the race and tried to scrub it off. A sharpie scrubs right off your skin pretty easily, but this tattoo took some serious scrubbing and I ended up with black flecks all over the shower. Boo.
Still, any race day where I finish is a good race day!