I knew from the previous year's results that this was a small race so going into it my goal was to place in my age group if I could but the age group was 20-29 and there were some fast girls that did it last year so I wasn't going to be too bummed if it didn't happen. One nice thing about this race was the pre-race meeting they had. It was pretty long but athletes were allowed to ask whatever they wanted and the race directors covered a lot of details. The meeting did put us behind schedule though and with an already late start of 10:00 I was ready to get started.
The men started in their own wave with the women following behind about 2-3 minutes later. We noticed that the current was taking the men off course a little so I made sure to not make that mistake myself. I was hoping to find a faster swimmer to draft off of during the swim but within the first few minutes I found myself ahead of the group and swimming alone. Since I was going to be on my own for the swim I went more like conservatively hard so I could save enough energy for the bike and the run.
Right around the turn around buoy I started catching the men. I ended up running a few people over so I moved a bit wide to avoid running more over and to avoid crashing into the swimmers that hadn't turned around yet. I had trouble sighting because there weren't really buoys to tell you were to go on the way back and at that point the water had gotten pretty choppy from so many people swimming towards each other. I definitely slowed down at the end because I was actually starting to get a bit seasick from all the chop.
Swim: 13:46 / 1:34 pace / 1st AG / 1st female
Once I got out of the water I was greeted with lots of cheers for being the first female. I made the long trek over to the transition area, grabbed my bike and was quickly on my way. I could tell my heart rate was high so I tried to settle into the bike and relax for a few minutes. Since this was a very small race I hardly saw anybody during the whole bike course. I passed one guy and was able to keep one guy in my line of sight for 95% of the ride but that was it.
I didn't know how hilly the course was going to be so I tried to stay cautious and not go too hard early on but I think the adrenaline of being in first place got the best of me. There were a few parts of the course where the road was covered in gravel that caused my bike to feel like it was going to slide out from under me, and there was one big downhill with a big hump in the road that caused me to be air born for a quick second, which was pretty scary as I was sure I was going down.
As I was entering the park I was shocked that none of the other females had caught me. I knew I had a fast bike split but I didn't ride with my pace being displayed so I really didn't know how well I had done. Once off the bike I tried to ease into the run but between already racing for almost an hour and the heat of running at 11 was starting to get to me. I knew with how little I had been running that I was surely going to suffer a bit.
Bike: 38:05 / 17.5 pace / 1st AG / 3rd female
Not long after starting the run I saw another girl coming in on the bike and knew she would be passing me quickly. I loved being in first for so long but I knew I was not going to win this race so I wasn't devastated when I finally did get passed. I was hoping to be able to hold on and get third but those girls were just running too fast for me. Although the run was definitely a challenge for me I was expecting to feel worse.
The run course seemed to drag on and on and I was becoming quite irritable about not being done yet. Soon enough, though, the finish line was in sight. The last half of the run was on trails so returning to paved roads felt really nice for the last minute or so. I ended up finishing 13th overall, 4th female and first in my age group. So many people came up to me after the race asking if I had won and as frustrating as it was to keep answering "no," I knew I wasn't going to win and I'm thrilled with this race.
Run: 30:05 / 9:42 pace / 2nd AG / 6th female
Finish Time: 1:24:09
I loved getting out there and actually competing, not just participating. I am doing another sprint triathlon this coming weekend where I'm hoping to fix some of the mistakes I made.