This was my second-ever sprint triathlon. Keep in mind, I am a relative newbie to this sport, having only done one mini (2015), one sprint and one half Ironman (2016), and a couple of indoor triathlons. My other sprint tri was done on a super-long bike course--we went almost 22 miles! That's almost the bike distance for Olympic triathlons! So, I knew this would be a PR, but that wasn't my goal going into the race. I had a C goal of finishing, a B goal of under 1:35, and an A goal of under 1:30. I felt that my A goal was very attainable... until I tripped and fell during my 13-mile long run two days before the race! My poor palms took the brunt of the fall. Of course, my very first thought was "Oh NO, I have a triathlon in two days!" I had no idea how I would be able to swim in the dirty water of Alum Creek with my hands all torn up the way they were. Fortunately, the land of Facebook friends exists, and I got tons of advice on how to patch myself up. Overall, my injured limbs ended up being a non-issue. I hated how the "waterproof" tape flapped around during the swim, and I did have a little pain when I would transition from aero to the horns on the bike, but otherwise things were fine, thank goodness.
I suppose that focusing on my hands did allow me to forget about being too nervous for the actual race! I showed up at the beach pretty early, at around 6:20. I hate to be late to anything!
|Favorite part of races... the sunrise.|
|Pre-race selfie with some of the MRTT gals!|
|There is an art to setting up transition...|
The swim portion went all right. I never really got into a good rhythm. It was an out-and-back, and while I had a relatively clear lane on the way out, I felt crowded on the way back (likely because I was catching up to the Olympic tri athletes who had started before us). I also swam right into someone who was on their first length but had become lost in the water. Oops! It happens. I only got swam over top of one time (a huge guy doing the Olympic), and best of all, no panic attacks. This used to be an issue for me. Now that I've told myself I don't have all-out race the swim, it's much easier for me to relax on the opening leg. I do think that I need to learn how to start pushing the swim a bit more, though. I have a ton of pool speed, and it's just not translating the way I'd like for it to in the open water. My split was a 17:52 (which includes the 30-ish seconds that it took me to run out of the water and up to the transition area. I had a pretty fast transition (no socks helped!), and was out on the bike in 1:24.
I am happy to report that I had no issues clipping or unclipping from my bike, which is a huge victory for me! I was able to ride in aero for almost all of the ride, which is also a big win in my book--not only because it's faster, but because it allowed me to not put weight on my hands (which I had to do when I was braking or turning). I felt great on the bike overall. The only negative was the fact that the roads were not closed for the race. This was a problem on the way out, and even more so on the way back, as I encountered lines of cars at intersections and had no choice but to slow down, or in one case basically stop! Talk about annoying, and losing momentum... I tried to not let the traffic affect me mentally, and just did what I could during the race. No female riders passed me, although several males doing the sprint distance did (no surprise). My average pace was 19.1 mph, which is good, but not great. I definitely feel I am capable of averaging 20 mph, especially on a closed course. Heart rate, for some reason, was higher than it usually is on the bike (average 157). Transition two went seamlessly, and was even faster than T1 (:58).
Then, the run... oh, the run. I am trying to think of something good to say about the 5K that ended this race. I honestly can't think of anything. It was over 50% trail, which as pretty much everyone knows, I just don't do. The race started running through a grassy meadow (dirt path), and then up the side of a
I was pretty sure I wouldn't be able to hold off Jenni, and I was right. As we ran down the hill, with about a half-mile left, I heard her behind me. I asked myself if I had anything more to give. My brain and body gave me a resounding "Heck, NO!", and I told her to go ahead and pass me, that I had nothing left. I was so happy to see the parking lot leading back to the finish! Paved road! I ended up finishing the 5K with a 27:13 (average pace of 8:47). Sounds better than it actually was... definitely not the most stellar run in the world, as I'd hoped for around a 25-26. At least the course wasn't long (I had 3.09 on my Garmin). Heart rate was 161, which was expected due to the humidity. Overall time was a 1:31:27 by my Garmin.
|Shortly after we finished... me, Jen, Jenni and Melanie.|
The total time difference between the four of us was less than 45 seconds!
Four of the top five overall females in the race.
I recovered pretty quickly once I got my medal around my race, and happily got a hamburger and chips--yes, even though it was only 9:30 AM, I was all about the food! My friends and I chatted about the race, and I contemplated leaving before the awards ceremony. After all, Jenni had definitely won our age group. Why stay? Tracey said I should hang out for a bit longer, and so I ended up being present when I heard "Women's sprint, 3rd overall, Marcie Hatfield." What the...?!! I was totally shocked but super thrilled.
|This picture says it all...|
|Beth and I staged this because I was so unprepared during the actual ceremony!|
I had no idea that I was in the hunt for an overall award! Jenni of course was 2nd, but then my friend Danielle was announced as 1st overall. The problem? Danielle had done the duathlon! The du athletes had finished ahead of us. I knew she'd transferred from the tri to the du, and informed the race director as such. It was an easy switch, and all of a sudden I was 2nd overall. WOW! There were a ton of other issues with the results (including another duathlete being in the tri results, the times for the 39-under women being 1.5 minutes slower than what they actually were, and the times for the 40-over women being a good 9+ minutes slower than what they actually were). Things are actually still up in the air. My friends and I have been trying to figure out how the results will shake out once they figure out the timing error. It looks like I might end up 3rd overall again (a 40+ year old *may* have beat me by 3 seconds). I've decided not to let it bug me... especially since I expected nothing at all from this race!
|Awards! Tracey (1st 35-39), Jen (1st 30-34), Melanie (1st 40-44), and me|
My #1 take-away: I need more bike-run bricks. That run was horrible. I have an Olympic tri in less than three weeks, meaning I will be running a 10K after swimming just under a mile and biking almost 25 miles. I need to be ready for that 10K!