Yesterday I competed in my very first Olympic Distance Triathlon. I had a blast.
The race was the Pacific Crest Olympic Triathlon, held in Sunriver, Oregon. Going into the race, I was very, very excited. This was my first race of the year, and my first Oly. The previous day, I watched the Long Course racers, and that got me very excited.
The night before the race, I started calculating my goals. I expected to do the swim in 28 minutes, the bike in 1 hour 20 minutes and the run in 45 minutes. I set my goal for the race at 2 hours, 45 mins.
I have not been training very consistently leading up to this race, so I knew there was a possibility that I would implode on the course. I knew I could make it through the swim, and the bike, but figured there was a real chance of hitting a wall on the run.
I arrived on race morning and suited up. Entering the water, the nerves hit me just a bit. These were the good kind of nerves though. The countdown began, and when the horn sounded, I was off. My strategy for the swim was to pick a line that not many swimmers were in. I did not want to fight others the first 100 yards. I had 1 swimmer that kept bumping me, but nothing to bad. I just moved over a couple feet, and let him swim on by.
I was probably 200 yards in, and I couldn’t get my normal rhythm going. I became very aware that I was breathing way to often, and that my heart rate was through the roof! I had gone out way, way to hard. Fortunately, I realized this, and I slowed my cadence down. When my heart rate settled, I found my rhythm and settled in. My arms were a bit sore, but considering I have only done one swim session in the previous 2 months, I expected that. Once I was warmed up though, the pain went away, and it was smooth sailing from there. I started catching and passing other swimmers in the previous waves, and I felt like I was flying.
I exited the water, and hit the lap button on my new Garmin, 29:56 ! “not bad” I thought. I instantly thought the course must be a little longer than listed, because I knew I had a pretty good swim, and my sighting was good. Turns out I swam 1 mile which is almost 1 tenth of a mile longer than the 1500 meters I based my goal on. I hit my number on the head! Great start.
I hit transition one, and did ok. I was a little under 5 minutes on the transition. Since I don’t have tri shoes and I don’t wear my jersey under my wetsuit, I expected around 5 minutes to strip down, dry off and put on my shoes, gloves, helmet, and jersey. In the future, I plan on buying a tri suit to speed up my transitions.
I set out on the bike, and felt great. I ate a power bar and drank a bit of water within the first couple of miles. This was my plan, and even though I didn’t feel hungry, I stuck to it. The bike course was on very scenic mountain roads. The downside to this is that the road was not real smooth, so there was a lot of vibration for nearly the entire route. No big deal for me though, I train on very similar roads all the time. About 5 miles into the ride, I regretted drinking water before my swim and not using the restroom before heading out on the bike. I HAD TO PEE!
At approximately mile 11, there was a port a potty, so I pulled over to use it. This killed my average pace. Right after the port a potty was the only real significant climb. It’s approximately 3 miles. It wasn’t as bad as I expected though, and I made it through no problem. I maintained double digit speeds all the way up. The reward was the decent. Lot’s of flats and downhills after that climb. Almost no more climbing.
I had a goal of 20 mph average for this ride. With my potty break, I hit 19.4. The ride was 28.75 mile and I finished it in 1:29:50. Not bad – and very close to my goal! I enjoyed this ride very, very much.
I transitioned in 3:48 and headed out for the 10K. The run was BRUTAL!
It was 95 degrees out, and we were at about 5,000 feet of elevation. I train in much milder weather, and at sea level. About 1 mile in, I thought, no way I can run this entire 10K (I haven’t been training very consistently). As I was mulling over my new strategy, I saw the marker for mile 2 and thought “I might be able to run this entire thing”. I felt like I was crawling, but I kept chugging along with my new goal of not walking. About 1/2 mile later, I got my running legs and then I knew I would make it to the finish line. I almost didn’t! The last 1/2 mile was fricking brutal. There were people standing along the path saying “almost there”, which to me meant the finish was around the next corner. When I turned the corner and didn’t see it, it was a huge let down. This happened with the last 5 corners.
Finally, I saw the finish line. I crossed with a total time of 3:00:12. I missed cracking 3 hours by 13 seconds. Oh well. I had a blast, and I felt very accomplished. I was very close to all my pre race goals, and considering the heat, elevation, and lack of consistent training, I’m very pleased with how I did. I can’t wait until my next race.