FORGIVE ME BLOG READERS FOR I HAVE SINNED.
I allowed too much time to pass before posting this recap. Almost a month.
I need to start by thanking the Hartford Marathon Foundation for offering me a complimentary entry into the Women’s Sprint Triathlon in Farmington, Connecticut on September 8th. But as you all know I do not let a complimentary entry sway my thoughts on a race!
It was pretty clear after finishing my first triathlon – Boston Sprint Tri on August 4th – that I was hooked. So I was happy to get another triathlon in before the season came to a close.
Now I registered and got all excited and THEN realized the race would be a good 2.5 hour drive from Boston … on the day of the race.
The race began at 7:30am.
I will let you take a moment to do the math.
If not, that meant a nice 3:30am wakeup that morning.
Okay it wasn’t the ideal pre-race conditions, but we had no other choice. We couldn’t leave the pups the night before so day of travel was our only option.
The alarm went off at 3:30am, I leaped out of bed and immediately the pre-race jitters set in.
Thankfully I am a tad OCD and everything was already packed and ready to go the night before to help make the morning a smooth transition.
We hit Dunkin Donuts for some much-needed caffeine and we were on the road.
Shockingly we hit zero traffic.
We arrived at the Winding Trails in Farmington, CT with plenty of time to pick up my packet, get numbered and set up my transition station.
My transition area worked so well at Boston Triathlon that I decided to duplicate it at the Women’s Triathlon.
The transition area was set up by bib #s, but in each lane you could put your bike wherever you wanted. So I just picked one as close to the front as I could, but I pretty much ended up smack in the middle of my lane.
I did a once over and headed out of the transition area to hang with the wife until it was time to suit up.
It was amazing to walk around and see a race entirely made up of women. It felt great, comforting and welcoming.
There were women of all shapes, sizes and athletic abilities taking part. For many, it was their first triathlon. There were women wearing just bathing suits, women whose bikes had baskets/bells/kickstands and some who were clear Ironman finishers. It was a wide variety, but everyone was cheering each other on.
I also throughly enjoyed that during all the announcements when they talked about spectators they mentioned wives of competitors. Yay for being super supportive of the lesbian racers. It just made me smile.
Before I knew it it was time to head back to the transition area to pick up the wetsuit and head to the beach.
While standing on the beach, a blog reader came over to introduce herself and say hi. It was such an awesome feeling. I love meeting people who actually read these posts.
I decided to take a quick dip into the water before heading to the Start area.
And it was time.
The nerves were high. I was so busy doing Dopey Challenge training that I hadn’t been on the bike in over a month or in the pool all that much so I had no idea what to expect. I just wanted to go out there and give it my all.
Swim – 1/2 Mile
For this race we started IN the water. I was in the first corral of ladies in the water. I tried to put myself farther up in the pack since I learned at the last tri that I needed to do that. I was a stronger swimmer than I gave myself credit for.
The gun went off and we were in.
But from the get go something was wrong. I couldn’t breathe. It felt as if someone was trying to choke me. I tried to loosen the neck area of the wetsuit slightly to see if that would help, but I couldn’t get in a groove.
I felt as if I was swimming in place. I had no idea what was going on so I just kept trying to move forward.
I ended up breathing almost every single stroke, but I figured I would do anything to try and get to the Finish.
Thankfully we were in a calm pond which I can say helped.
I got to the halfway mark and wondered how the heck I would make it the rest of the way. I just thought about my wife on the beach and swam towards her.
I could tell my sighting had gotten much better from the first triathlon to this one. My wife said I was the only swimmer in my group that came straight towards the Finish Line after the halfway point. Woo! I think I was probably the 10 or 12th swimmer out of the water so I guess I was moving faster than I thought.
After coming out of the water, we had to run all the way up the beach, along the outside length of the transition area and THEN entered the transition area. It was a long way to run barefoot, but I did the best I could to get that wetsuit down to my waist as quickly as possible.
There were a good number of volunteers (lifeguards) out in kayaks on the water which put me at ease in case I really couldn’t breathe at any point.
Total Time: 17:42
Overall Place: 44/442
Since I was still trying to catch my breath, I took my time during the transition. I was worrying about that so much that I fell right over while taking off the wetsuit. Yes I need to focus on one thing at a time.
I was able to grab some Gatorade, some pieces of KIND Bar, switch into my Team Refuel singlet and lace up my sneakers. I also made sure to really dry my feet off before putting my socks on since I ended up with very wet feet last time.
(See how we learn something from each race!)
I slapped my helmet on and I was headed out of the transition area.
Yes this should’ve been faster, but I was just happy that my breathing had started to return to normal.
Bike – 12 miles
Now for some reason I thought this was going to be a flat course. Not sure where I got that impression but boy was I WRONG!!! Holy hill Batman. I am a weak biker anyway, but throw in hills and I wasn’t sure what I was doing.
I definitely know I will be getting some clips for my bike so I can wear my Spin shoes before my next race because I was losing some force having my sneakers on.
All I could do was push forward though. I had the cyclometer on my bike and my goal was to try and stay between 17-19 mph the best I could.
I pushed faster than I had before and tried to use the downhills to my benefit. The roads were open to traffic so we had to stay as close to the right of the road as we could.
I was actually able to pass some people, but was definitely passed my more.
It was one amazing experience coming back towards the transition area as both sides of the course were lined with spectators. The cheering was loud and the faces made my smile grow. I felt like a freakin’ rock star. All these people were cheering for lil old me. It was awesome!
Plus just as I was about to dismount the bike, I caught a glimpse of the wife – just what I needed to see since I hadn’t seen her when I left the water earlier.
I know that the bike is the portion I need to work on the most, but I was pretty pleased with how I handled my first hilly bike course.
I didn’t really see too many volunteers out on the course itself for some stretches, but they were there at key turns and when we exited and entered the lanes near the transition area.
Total Time: 40:09
Overall Place: 88/442 (can we tell it’s my weakest area)
Much more respectable transition time the second time around. But really all I had to do here was ditch the bike/bike helmet, throw on my visor/sunglasses and put on my race belt with bib.
Run – 5k
As I left the transition area, I ran by the wife and said “I can’t breathe.” Not sure what was going on with me that day, but as I headed out for the run – I once again just tried to focus on my breathing.
Since triathlons don’t allow headphones, it was really easy to tune into my breathing and correct it.
I had just a 5k between me and the end of my second triathlon.
Now again I somehow was under the impression that this would be a flat easy run.
As I rounded the second turn, there was a large trail incline in front of me.
It is at that point, that I realized I was in for a rough terrain trail 5k rather than an easy run.
I stopped to retie my sneakers, buckled down and focused on trying to pass any runners I could pass in front of me.
I got my breathing under control and just tried to enjoy the scenery around me. We were in one glorious forest.
Every volunteer I passed, I said “I was lied to about this being a flat course” and all they could do was laugh.
Thankfully my GPS was pretty spot on and before I knew it we were less than 1/2 a mile to the Finish.
I tried to speed the body up as best I could.
With a few hundred yards to go we emerged from the trees and there was the Finish Line.
I gave it the rest I had and it was over. The 5k was done.
Water stops were well covered, but other than that it was really just the runners on the trail. Not sure what I would’ve done had I gone down with a cramp or injury while in the woods since I didn’t know where the next water stop or volunteer would be.
Total Time: 24:45
Overall Place: 15/442
I’M A TRIATHLETE … AGAIN!
I completed the course in 1:25:48 and couldn’t have been happier.
As soon as I crossed the Finish Line, they announced my name (Ahhh I love when races do this) and was given a gorgeous wooden medal.
I found the wife and she presented me with an actual cycling jersey for me to use next year during training rides.
Can I pull it off?
We then headed over to refuel with some chocolate milk. It was like they knew I was coming!
After my chocolate milk and water, it was obviously time to grab a celebratory beer courtesy of Old Burnside Brewing Company! I love when races are sponsored by local craft breweries. Drink local friends!
As I walked away from the beer area, I noticed a massage tent with no wait. YES!! Whenever these are at races by the time I finish there is a huge line so I had to jump on this opportunity.
It was GREAT to get stretched out by a professional! I wish I could have this treatment after every workout.
Thank you Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine Centers for providing this service!
Before I go any further I want to thank my wife for being my #1 supporter, calming me down along the course, getting up at 3:30am, driving hours to the race and being an overall wonderful sport in this crazy racing world I am in. I couldn’t do this without her.
We had planned on meeting up with my friend Martinus from 300PoundsAndRunning.com for lunch so we headed back to the transition area to get my stuff and headed back to the car.
I wouldn’t find out until hours later that I had actually placed in my division. Whaaa??? I KNOW!!
I had finished 31st overall out of 442 and 3rd in my division.
How cool is that? I was shocked and amazed. Since I had left, I missed receiving my prize. A prize? Yay!
So I actually sent $8 to the Hartford Marathon Foundation and they sent me the prize. An amazing hand-painted marvel.
Overall, I was extremely happy with how the race turned out. Do I know exactly what happened with my breathing during the swimming portion? No, but that is something I will work through on my training in case it happens again.
I really loved the Women’s Triathlon atmosphere and would highly recommend this race to any of my friends.
I hope to return next year to take on those rolling hills of Connecticut again!
So when can I do my next triathlon?