2012 Fleet Feet Supersprint Triathlon recap: My first triathlon

Wow, I completed the Fleet Feet Supersprint Triathlon. Participating in this race has been a goal of mine for over two years. After being mortified about my lack of swimming skills in a swim class a while back, I tried to abandon the idea. But it kept nagging me. Getting involved in triathlons was something I really wanted to do. And now it’s done! This summer spent taking swim lessons in the pool and waking up early Saturday mornings to train in Lake Michigan has paid off. Here’s a recap of my race day experience:

Setting up in transition: Concerned about parking, I arrived about 5:15 am, forty-five minutes before the transition area opened. The parking lot was totally empty when I arrived. I wish I could have gotten that time back to sleep! There was one transition area for the bike and run. I racked my bike, and laid out a towel with everything I would need for the bike and run.

The swim: The start of the race was very relaxed. Participants, spectators, and families stood on the beach while each wave lined up to start. It was in stark contrast to run races where athletes are packed like sardines into corrals standing for 30 minutes to start the race. There were 8 waves ahead of me, so I was able to watch quite of few complete the 375 meter course before I entered the water. I only started to get nervous right before my wave started. I made sure to be the last person to enter the water in my wave. My heart rate was through the roof! So much so, about 25 meters in, I stood up (yes, the water was only about 5 feet deep) to catch my breath and calm down. After that, I just tried to swim slowly and methodically. I really started moving through the water then. I even passed a couple of ladies in my wave. The swim went really fast after I got control of my breathing. Also, wearing a wetsuit was amazing. It really helped with buoyancy and being lighter in the water.

The bike: Transition went fast. It was not nearly as chaotic or stressful as I was lead to believe it would be. I think attending the tri seminars and clinics really helped me get mentally prepared. Getting out of my wetsuit was a breeze. I unzipped and pulled it halfway down on my way to transition. We had to run through the beach to get there, so I wiped all of the sand I could from my feet and put on my socks and shoes. My lips were so dry. I was glad I added lip balm to my bag. I swiped my lips, threw on a bandanna and my helmet and headed out. The bike course was three loops totalling 6 miles. I took it pretty easy on the bike. This is probably where I lost the most time. I was concerned about how my legs would feel for the run, so I held back. I think next time I will focus on reducing my time on the bike to cut down on my overall time.

There were all levels and abilities in the race!

The run: Transition from the bike to run was also quick. Racking my bike bike and removing my helmet and bandanna was no problem. I grabbed some energy chews before headed out for the last leg. I felt a little crappy the first quarter mile. Coming off the bike to run is a similar feeling to coming off of roller skates to walking. I felt slow and heavy. The sun was also getting higher and hotter. I felt most of the participants on the course were equally as drained, which made me feel ok about moving slowly. I only had 1.55 miles to run, which I knew would go quickly. I tried not to think too much and just run. The volunteers on the course were amazing at giving motivation and even other participants gave thumbs up and encouraging words when they passed by.

When I crossed the finished line I was very energized, like I wanted to do it all over again. I sprinted the last 100 meters. That’s how I knew I had a little left in me. I’m definitely ready for the Sprint tri (double the distance) in 2013. My friend Tracy completed the Sprint distance the day after my race. We shared a beer at the finish line to celebrate our training and medals!

I plan to take a swim course during the winter to continue to work on my skills and speed in the water. I have so many triathlons on my radar for 2013 it’s scary! I love that running has lead me to the sport of triathlon!

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