Did my first tri yesterday. It was a pool sprint triathlon, which means that a) the swim took place in a pool, and b) the distances were relatively short: 500 yards swim, 12 mile bike, 5k run. It went better than I’d expected it would (I thought I’d be around two hours), better than I’d hoped (I hoped for 1:45)–in the end, I finished just under 1:40. After several people advised me not to hurry in the transitions (the parts where you are switching from one thing to the next–T1 is swim-to-bike, T2 is bike-to-swim–I did them slowly, drank some water, had some sport beans, made sure the helmet was adjusted properly, double-checked the shoes….
I followed additional advice: just do each event as it comes, without stressing about the next one. The swim was pretty much just like practice: doing laps, stay to the right of the lane. It was nice to have someone else count, though, and the last length came up one lap earlier than I expected, confirming my hunch that I forget to count sometimes.
I really enjoyed the bike segment! I don’t think I’ve ever been able to ride 12 miles without stopping at all. Having traffic stopped for me was hugely fun. A world without stop signs and traffic lights! I was much faster than I’ve ever been in training. I’d ridden the course before, so I knew about the hills, which was helpful, but I hadn’t thought about how nice it would be to roll fast through all those intersections.
The run was both like a race–timing pressure! other runners!–and really unlike. Because the only time you start with a group is the swim, by the time I got to the run, I was pretty much running alone. (Small event, 200 people.) I was pleasantly surprised to be able to run at all after I got off the bike–and then again surprised by decent mile splits. I was utterly unable to muster my usual finishing kick, however.
I checked my results as soon as I finished. First in my age group! Yay! But I hadn’t understood that the results constantly changed as other people finished; two very fast women in the last group of swimmers moved in ahead of me and I ended up third in my age group. Of three.
The triathlon was sponsored by a physical therapist group in the area and one of them approached me to compliment me on finishing “with that knee” (pointing at my scars). I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that a high point of my morning was explaining that it wasn’t a knee replacement but a bone cancer cure. Nine years ago now!
Not DFL, however. Somewhere around 2/3rds of the participants finished ahead of me. I’m good with that.