Yesterday was the Tri-to-Win sprint in Carroll County, MD. I had practiced the bike course a few times last summer and this summer. I also had a good memory of swimming in the pool at a meet in my childhood, but a pool is a pool.

The course was well managed, the chip-timed starts meant that we went into the pool one at a time (I was 49th) did our laps and went along.

My swim was fairly good. It was 400m of laps in a cool pool. I shared my lane with one other swimmer who I barely noticed. Due to the struggles lingering from my long bike ride I had a hard time keeping a nice “fin” with my right hand, but tried to compensate as best as I can. I’m proud that I did flip turns as I felt like it was important when racing in a pool. They showed me the red dot which indicated my last lap and I hopped out on the other side and crossed the mat. 6:34 (including jogging in/out)

T1 was just a short walk away and I was definitely up in heart rate so I just kept breathing to get it done. I chose not to wear socks in the bike, which I think was a good choice for my foot numbness issues. I was able to make it through in 1:56, not terribly and seemed to be average amongst the top 100 finishers.

I knew the bike would be hard. It has a lot of rolling hills and is very open to the sun. Luckily, the air was cool and fresh and there was a breeze (ok, it was a head wind, but I’m trying to be positive). I tried to keep my cadence up on the straightaways or small inclines, but did have to granny out several times. I was pleased with the way I was moving and just tried to stay steady. I had guessed it would take 1-1:10 to finish this course and was absolutely thrilled when I came in at 54:43. While it is only 14 miles, it is hilly and I just suck on the bike, so this was a great time.

T2 took a little bit longer than usual because after my last sockless 5k blister debacle I knew socks were going on. 1:32.

The run started out on a cross-country type of course that traversed the perimeter of the swim club along the corn before trotting down a farmers stone/dirt driveway and heading out onto Rt. 26. The cross-country surface was tough on my brick legs and I couldn’t pick up speed because I was afraid I would fall down. Finally, when I reached 26, there it was the big big hill. I knew it was there but didn’t know what was after it, alas, it was another hill. Blacktop, cars rushing by, sunshine and running. I got up the hill and a bit further when I crossed the mile 1 line at8:22, about a minute of my typical 5k pace. I tried to muster over and over again, but didn’t have legs underneath me until about mile 2.2 when I crossed that point I saw that my time was dwindling close to 1:30 overall. I thought it would be so cool to come in at 1:30 so I turned up the heat as best as I could passing a gentleman (who had passed me on the bike) and made the final turn up the .2 drive way which was straight up-hill. I heard my name pushed a little more through the grassy finish and clicked the watch. 1:30:02 (official chip: 1:30:03)

84/281 (OA)  5/25 (F 25-29) S-6:34 T1-1:56 B-54:43 T2-1:25 R-25:25 1:30:03

The best part of all, my sister was at the transition every time cheering and at the finish for a hug. I don’t think I really “race” triathlons but yesterday was as close as I think I’ll get and it was such a joy to have my sister at the finish. It totally made the effort worthwhile to know that someone was there for me.

I have made a lot of progress on my bike confidence, now I just need to balance the effort I make there with my natural sport of running. I have one more tri on my season on July 12, but may add one more just for fun. This one is an Olympic distance, my first and I think it is going to be very hard. Time to put in the miles…..

Happy Exercising today reader.

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