Friday, June 21, 2013

Big Bear Sprint Triathlon

While I was peacefully skiing on a vacation in early April,  I got a text with something about doing a triathlon in June.  I wasn't sure what I thought.  It was a .47 mile swim, a 16.6 mile bike ride and a 3.1 mile run.   I like swimming and don't mind running although I am not fast at all.  I didn't have very much experience with the biking part but the idea seemed like fun and I said I'd see.  When I got back I started riding my old mountain bike.  The gears were hard to shift and I was slow but it was pretty fun.  I continued to ride with friends and also ran on my treadmill a little more regularly.

Slowly the training started to be a part of my regular life.  I enjoyed it.  But still I hadn't decided whether I really wanted to pay to enter a race.  In my mind it seemed a waste of money since I had ridden around Big Bear without paying anything and could swim or run whenever I wanted to too.  

Mother's Day came and Cameron brought home a lovely Specialized Rode Bike that was gently used and beautiful. The bike was amazing and it sealed the deal.    I paid my entry fee.  

I borrowed a wet suit and one cold 55 degree morning I went to Lake Arrowhead to start my swimming training.  As we walked into the Lake I knew I was crazy.  In fact I could hardly contemplate anything more crazy but I needed to practice my swimming.  I swam with Amanda that cold day and my brain hurt when I put my head under the water but somehow it was still fun and I liked feeling the muscles strengthen with each training.  

Fast Forward to Race Day... June 15th 2013

We woke early and met to go up to Big Bear as contestants.  Cameron and family were coming later to cheer me on.  It was a cold morning but it warmed up quickly as we put on our wet suits and got our numbers written on our body for the swim. There was quite a bit of intimidation as we saw people with stickers claiming they had done the ironman and participated in marathons. We tried to set everything out so we would be ready to transition.  We met on the lake and got our instructions.  The olympic distance men left and then the women left.  Soon the sprint distance men left and it was our turn to line up.  I felt nervous but ready because I had been training.  A poor man started drowning right in front of us and we had to delay our start while they rescued him.  Then it was our turn and I was in the water.  

I love to swim and my goal was to swim every stroke in the free style style.  I had trained and done this in training and I wasn't worried.  The swim was fun and the water seemed warm and refreshing.  The only difficulty lay in the seaweed that was supposed to be cleaned out of the lake but seemed to linger with many of the strokes.  Our heat was small and there were not a ton of women to get in the way or to worry about kicking me.  I swam as fast and I could and tried to work on my breathing as I alternated between swimming  under the water and breathing right and also just swimming with my head up. As I ended the swim I could hear all my family cheering and they gave me the energy to swim faster.   When the swim was done I ended up right behind Tracy who I had been right behind.  It took me 00:22:42.795

 In transition I had some difficulties.  Everything was going well until I tried to put on my jersey.  I had accidently pinned the number to not just the front of the shirt but also the back.  I couldn't put it on and kept trying different approaches until I finally figured it out and re-pinned it.  Transition took 00:04:35.260

I had trained at Big Bear lots of times and the bike ride seemed to come very naturally to me.  I felt like my energy was low and I had forgotten to drink or eat anything in the mess of my transition but after grabbing a couple energy chews and some water I felt good and really started to ride.  When I started there were lots of other riders.  Some passed me and I passed others and we started to thin out.  I was grateful for all the traffic control and I just concentrated on riding.  

One thing that seemed to help me a lot for riding is that I stood up on a lot of the hills and didn't have to shift down gears.   I had not practiced this a lot but it seemed to give me a little edge on the ride.  Part way through I found Tracy who had lost her chain and had to put it back on.  I passed her for a bit and then she passed me again.  Other than Tracy I never saw another biker after the dam.  On the backside of the lake a line of jeeps that seemed to pass me one after another and visions of splattered Melissa on the side of the rode seemed to slow me down.    
As I finished the bike I had to be yelled at to stop riding and walk my bike to transition.  Once again my cheering section was yelling and it was fun to hear them!  My bike time was 01:02:44.295.  I was still a little slow transitioning because as I walked my bike I was drinking water the whole time. My transition time was 00:01:09.119.

 I  ran out of the transition on Jelly legs and tried to get my running legs but they hurt and it was hard to find the energy.  The first part of the race was up a hill and it took until the top of it to feel my legs again.  I kept trying to speed up my run as much as possible and passed a couple of fellow runners.  One other woman was in front of me and she kept alternating between running and walking and I kept constant with my slow run.   Eventually  I caught up to her on a hill and passed her too.   The last hill was difficult but I kept trying to run faster excited for the end of the race.  Finally I saw the finish line and was excited to think I had completed the whole thing.  My run was 00:36:06.099.

My total time was 02:07:17.568.  They gave us a medal and a drink and we were finished!  I appreciate my big cheering section who included Cameron, Ali, Ashling, Annika, Sue, Denali, Torrey, and Whitney.  Also the "M" family and the "W" family were there cheering me on  when I finished.   They had great signs and bells and loud cheers that helped me to do better and I know I was a little faster because they were there.  

I thought the triathlon was fun and I would like to do another one sometime.  I completed most of my goals for the race.  I wanted to swim freestyle the entire way and I did that.  I wanted to do the bike in 2 hours and 5 minutes and I was able to go faster getting my PR for around the lake on the bike.  I wanted to run the whole run in 34 minutes.  I am not sure what the distance was and that was my goal for a 3.1 mile run but when we measured the course it was more than that.  Perhaps if it was more I did get my goal time anyway.   I am going to try harder on my running to try to get a little faster by the next one.