Monday, September 16, 2013

Race Report

I'm back from participating in the Spa Girl Tri in Bastrop, TX!

There were some snafus with the organization of the race.  It seemed as though it was put together by people without much race directing experience.  Mainly, there were some issues with things not being quite as advertised.  Some people reported problems with timing, but aside from chips showing up a little later than expected, I didn't have any problems with getting my times accurately recorded (I remembered to start my watch this time, so I know!).  Overall, it was a fun race though.  It was nice to do an all female race.  I found my fellow racers incredibly supportive and fun to be with.   The camaraderie and conversation while we waited for the start was simply different than my experience at the last tri, which was co-ed.  On the bike portion, in particular, there were constant shouts of encouragement to other competitors.  At the end of the race, we were treated to mimosas (where they did not skimp on the champagne...I went back and asked for the bartender to "water" mine down with more OJ), and more food than I've ever received at the end of a race.  I was told at the end of the race that we had a choice between getting a medal or a racing hat.  I'm not sure if this was part of the plan, or if it was a poor planning choice of not ordering enough.  I took a hat because I don't have one yet and was considering buying one before my marathon anyway.  We are supposed to get charms and a bracelet as well, but they said when they received them, they looked cheap, so they returned them, ordered a better product and will mail them to us. I have to update here.  It turns out the medals offered were leftovers from the last spa girl tri, only the hats were specific to this tri.  Some of the participants complained (quite rudely in some cases) and we've been informed that the race organizers have designed and ordered finisher medals that are being mailed to us!  I have to really respect their actions there.  We've all gone home, they've got our money, there's no reason for them to do this other than they feel it's necessary to make things right.

On to my experience in the race!  The swim went way better than I expected.  My times had really sped up recently, so I knew it'd go better than last time.  The first 50m or so were a struggle.  I haven't done any open water swimming and this was in a lazy river with the jets turned off.  It was still a lot easier than open water, but having to sight and stay on course was new.  I inhaled way too much water at first while I got my technique down.

About halfway through, I heard the girls screaming "go momma!!"  They get SOOO excited to see Josh or I in races.  So here's me waving to them while swimming
 And then I continued on my way because I was working on passing a lady who was doing breast stroke the whole way (definitely someone you don't want to be right behind or beside in a race...much too easy to get a hard kick to the face).   I was very happy with my swim.  My time was artificially fast because even with all the jets off, the swimmers created a current you could definitely feel.  I did make it the entire way without stopping or rolling onto my back for a rest though, which was my main goal.  My pace ended up being 1:41/100m, which is about 0:30/100m faster than my best practice time so far.
 The jog to transition was interesting.  Transition was one long chute with swim in and run out at one end and bike in/out at the other end.  I chose to set up at the bike in/out end because I did not want to walk far in bike shoes.  The left me doing a good 1/4 mile jog from swim to T1 (I'm in blue)
 And then the bike.  I wanted to drive the bike route the day before, but it just never happened.  I'm very glad I never got around to it, because it would have completely psyched me out.  We were told the bike course would have rolling hills.  Throughout the entire course, you heard women saying, "they call this rolling hills?!  Really?"  My goal prior to the race was to be able to handle minor mechanical issues on my own.  Just to really put that to the test, my chain came off in the first mile.  I'm happy to report, I hopped off, snapped it back into place, and caught right back up to where I had been in the pack.  On the first uphill climb, I saw some ladies walking their bikes to the top, so I told myself, "New goal.  I am not getting off this bike."   Man, was it rough.  Way more steep and longer uphill slogs than I've ever done before.  On the downhills, I'm sure I was breaking the speed limit at times.  It definitely gave me practice with more technical cycling.  I ended up keeping up a 13.5 mph pace despite the climbs, which I was really happy with.  (I'm in the green shirt)

 After the bike, the run was almost a nice break.  The only downside was the 1 mile marker being in the wrong spot.  I spent a few moments wondering how in the world I had managed to spend 18 minutes on the first mile when I had been running, but thankfully some ladies with a GPS clued me in that we were actually at 1.31 miles.
 The last bit to the finish was also downhill.  No doubt this race was in the Texas hill country!
My goal for the run was just to do 14 minute miles because of the hilly bike course.  I surprised myself with 12:24/mile even after the bike was so much tougher than I expected.  Overall, I was 34th out of 67 for my age group and 233 out of 429 overall.  The big shocker was the swim ranking...97th overall! I went into triathlon training earlier this year unable to swim more than 25m and certainly unable to do it fast.  I never would have expected the swim to be my strong leg in a race.  Right now, it's my running I need to improve.  It's the part I like the least and it shows in how slow my improvement has been!

This should be the end of triathlons for this year since the marathon is coming up, but I'm definitely on the lookout for a race (or three) to do in the spring. 

1 comment:

Marti Kubena said...

Congratulations! I've never been much of a swimmer so that part of a tri would intimidate the crap out of me.


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