Just got back from my first triathlon!
It was a very beautiful area, nice calm lake, lots of space for spectators. In fact it's a fantastic race to be a spectator, the participants go by several times on the run, and the run and swim are right next to each other.
I got there early enough to get into the lake, which was really important... the cold water made my lungs feel like they shrunk! It took some getting used to... the first time I got a little tired, I instinctively put my feet down expecting to feel the floor of the pool. :) But nothing, just water. All these little things your don't realize you rely on.
I'd also never swam with a swimming cap, which is mandatory. This made my goggles fit looser, so fortunately I found that problem and was able to tight them up before the race.
My swim didn't go that well... I couldn't see anything, and it was just too different from the pool for me to get comfortable. I found I couldn't focus enough on my form, I was too busy concentrating on breathing and other really basic things. Bilateral breathing went out the window and I'm sure my body position wasn't good. I need to get into open water more to practice, it's a lot different than a pool.
Swim time: 13:14, a dismal 89/111 (3:19/100m, but that seems a bit off, as the time included the run from the water to the transition area)
Transition went fine. Glasses on, race bib clicked, helmet on, socks, shoes and out.
T1 time: 1:28
I hit the bike with a vengeance, but within the first 100m or so I realized my race number had half ripped off that race belt! They were really crappy, made of thin paper... next time I'll reinforce it somehow. I ripped it off entirely and tucked it into my jersey. That's probably grounds for disqualification or something, but nobody noticed or said anything.
Once I dealt with that drama, I started picking people off one by one... pick a target, get by them, hit the next one. It was a really fun, and I felt like I was flying. That's one advantage of coming out of the water near last I guess!
Bike time: 18:42, 9/111 (tied for 8th actually ;)) at 32.1km/h average.
Transition went fine again, racked the bike, tossed off the helmet and swapped shoes.
T2 time: 0:42
The run is where it alllll came apart... I was just so bagged, the floundering swim and strong bike pace all caught up to me. I had a brutal stomach cramp as I started the run and had to walk for a little almost right out of the transition area. I managed to get going but never found any pace, I was too far into the red to recover. It was a slow plodding run, not at all the pace I'm used to being able to keep.
The run course was also quite challenging, mostly on grass and gravel, with a few hills thrown in. Beautiful, though, in the trees and along the lake. I wish I could have done it justice!
Run time: 16:59 63/111 (a nasty 6:48/km)
Overall time: 51:02 35/111
As proud as I am to have finished my first triathlon, I am pretty disappointed at the same time... I can understand my swim being slow, I'm still a beginner and all, and this was my first real lake swim... but my run pace was off my usual. I wasn't even close to even my 1/2 marathon, slower by over a minute a kilometer! This was a shorter event so I really expected to be able to keep a better pace, even with the tricky course... but ultimately I just spent too much time in the red in the swim and bike. The swim didn't go well so I put a lot of pressure on myself to set a good bike time... and I did! :) But it didn't leave enough in the tank for the run.
Every race is a learning experience, I'm going to take what I can away from this one and move on. I'm certainly not ready for the swim portion of a Sprint Tri, so I'm going to back off of that plan for this year. Maybe in 2009. I'll likely do another Try-a-Tri before the year is over, and maybe a longer distance of duathlon. I want to keep progressing the running and will work like a dog on the swimming over the winter especially!