Monday, June 20, 2011
My First TRIATHLON!
Hello again, friends! So I decided the day before the race to sign up for the OCCC SuperSprint Triathlon on Saturday, June 11th! Talk about last minute! Thankfully, they still let me register. The reasons why I waited so long? Excuses. Money, time, and likely fear. So on a whim, I decided to register. Boy, am I glad that I did! I picked up my registration Friday afternoon at OCCC.
Here's a picture of the 50 meter Olympic pool for the race. A big thanks to Mike and Marlene Shugart of the OCCC Triathlon Club for showing me around the course and explaining how to transition! I had no idea! I guess I am not alone. Mike says 80% of the 200 people or so participating in the event are new to triathlons! For some reason that made me feel better.
I had no clue what I was supposed to eat the night before, so I went with a chicken sandwich...I figured protein and carbs is a good idea. Next, I made myself go to bed at 9:30pm knowing I had to wake up 7 hours later. I made some tea, coffee, eggs, and toast, packed my bag, grabbed my bike and headed out the door. Thankfully the thunderstorms from overnight were long gone.
The transition area opened at 5:30am. I arrived around that time to find several bikes already in place. Thanks to Mike's coaching the day before, I knew where to park my bike.
Mike also helped me set up that morning. I placed my bright pink towel next to my bike to locate my spot. I laid out my helmet, sunglasses, socks, running shoes, and headband. Marlene lent me her tri shorts and race belt. I need to get both of those things. I bought a Team In Training tri shirt to wear over my sports bra. Again, all of this is new to me!
Next, I went to the marking station to have someone write my number on my legs and arms in sharpie. Race volunteers also mark the age of the racer on his/her calf so that officials and correlate racer with his/her age group. This also made me feel like crap later when I had racers 20 to 30 years older than me passing by...haha. Next I picked up my race chip that goes on my ankle for the entire race. We run/cycle over race mats to monitor our times.
The OCCC SuperSprint is a Team in Training event so a bunch of TNT participants were there as well for race day. It was nice to have a bunch of team mates around to support each other...even though I didn't really train with these people. I guess that's the great thing about Team in Training!
After a quick warm up in the pool, we all sat down in the bleachers and waited for our numbers to be called in increments of 10. Once on deck, we lined up in order and were released into the water 15 seconds apart. When I registered for the race, the coordinator asked my 500 meter swim time. I haven't timed myself lately, so I guessed 10 minutes. Either I am much faster or other people lied...because I passed 6 people! Then again, swimming is my strong suit and I think my swim team mentality kicked in as soon as I slid into the pool. To calm my nerves and keep a pace, I like to play a song in my head. For most of the race it was "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele.
Once I finished the snake swim (up and down the lanes from right to left until you've done a 500), I ran out via the wheelchair ramp and outside. All the while I threw on my shirt over my sports bra since I decided in warm up that it was too big and would add too much drag.
The mat led us outside, up a hill, to the transition area. From there I quickly rolled my socks on, put my shoes, sunglasses, and helmet on and ran to the mount area with my bike. It was a bit wobbly getting on Michael Jackson (the name of my black and white bike) but I made it through. We did 2 laps around side streets near the OCCC campus. The streets were well marked and protected by police officers. There were a few community members out to cheer us on...that made me smile. The conditions were great with the exception of a breezy spot and a section of terrible roadway.
Cycling is my week point right now. I tried to push through but several people passed me. This put me back in check after feeling great from the swim. The people passing me were 40 or 50 years old and very friendly. Almost every time someone passed me they said something encouraging like "way to go TEAM!" or "looking strong!" It made it hard to believe it was a competition. Apparently triathletes are very friendly! It's also hard to gauge where you are at considering people start at all different times during the race...but you can guess by looking at their number.
Once I finished the 2 loops and went over the electronic mat twice, it was time to transition to running. I had a bit of trouble trying to re-rack my bike but eventually got it. I threw off the helmet and sunglasses and threw on my race belt. At first it felt like my legs weren't working. I literally asked one of the officials as I was running, "I feel like I'm not moving!" and he said, "Yes, you are! Just give your legs a chance to loosen up!" He was right. After the first mile my legs didn't feel like bricks any more. I was starting to get hot and it as only 9AM. It makes me wonder how I will fare running in the middle of the afternoon for the Redman. I'm hoping the Oklahoma summer heat will prepare me.
I started getting tired towards the end and noticed a few people slowing down or stopping. I made sure not to stop. I like to use the trick of staring at the clouds or trees to calm my nerves and keep my mind off of how tired I am. I'm sure I will use this for the Redman.
What a nutty bunch! These guys are ready to party! Too bad I had to go back to work :) But first, I changed and headed up to the awards ceremony where I won an hour long message and placed second in my age group (out of 4 people)! I placed 51st out of about 200 participants.