Sampson County Super Sprint Race Report
250 yard pool sprint, 7 mile bike, 2 mile run
Since this was my very first triathlon, I wanted to document the whole experience. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to look back and see how much I’ve improved ;)
I'm hoping that I will actually document the rest of my journey into the sport of triathlon!
I knew that the week before the race would be a busy one, so I did a lot of pre planning and tried to make it go as smooth as possible. Which of course means that Murphy’s Law was in full effect. Nothing major, just a few extra time sucks and curveballs. Overall I survived, but I did learn a few helpful triathlon tips.
TIP #1: Make sure your race day outfit is complete ahead of time.
When I first decided I would do triathlons I didn’t want to invest a lot of money into it until I was sure it was something that I would stick with. I had done my research and decided I wanted a 2-piece kit. I had ordered a cheap kit on Amazon, and had also gotten a hand me down kit. I had mix matched my kits and did a quick 250y swim 2 weeks ago but didn’t pay much attention. When I was getting ready for my first brick on Sunday (see tip #2), I realized that my top was not going to work. With only 5 days to go, I was kind of short on options. I ended up ordering a top on Amazon Prime and crossing my fingers. It still wasn’t perfect, but it worked. I also ordered a new kit.
TIP #2: Do bricks…like more than 1.
When I did my first brick on Sunday, I realized that bricks are TOUGH. As in really tough. As in, had me questioning if I could actually do this. I only ran 1 mile, but I was actually surprised my pace wasn’t that much slower than normal. Still, I wish I had done more.
TIP #3: Make sure you know EXACTLY where the triathlon is taking place.
The plan was to carpool with my friend Heidi. Neithe of us are from North Carolina, and neither one of us travels much in North Carolina apparently. We had talked about the location last week and thought it was about a 45-minute ride. Well Friday night as we were finalizing what time to leave in the morning we realized it was actually 30 minutes away. Again, we survived, but it just added a small amount of unnecessary stress.
THE NIGHT BEFORE:
In keeping with the theme of the rest of the rest, I worked a little later than I had planned and had to get my husband to meet me at the LBS for a last minute grip adjustment. He drove my bike to the shop on the bike rack on his Jeep, and took my car home. When I got into the Jeep, I realized it had a flat. Luckily we only live around the corner so I was able to get it home safely. The other good thing is I got to test out the bike rack and I love it. With this unexpected time suck, I quickly realized it was 6:30 and I hadn’t even thought about dinner. I grabbed some leftover chicken and rice and again crossed my fingers that it would be a good pre race meal. I had planned on getting in bed around 9, but when I actually went to get into bed at 9:15 I realized that I hadn’t shaved my legs, and decided it was crucial that I did so at that moment. By 9:30 I was back in bed, and asleep by 10.
My alarm was set for 5:15. I woke up at 3:30 and that was that. I stayed in bed until about 5. I keep a tennis ball in my nightstand because VERY rarely, I wake up in the morning with a pain in my right heel that makes me limp like an old lady. Of course this happened Saturday. I rolled my foot with the tennis ball, and also with a water bottle I had in the freezer and I was good to go. I had 2 mini whole-wheat bagels toasted with peanut butter and honey and a cup of coffee and waited for my ride.
We got to the site with no trouble, and laughed on the way about our mistakes during the week. We went to packet pick up, got our timing chips, then made it to the body marking station. One of the hardest parts of the whole day was when they asked what my age was. It was there that I realized that they never actually gave me my packet. So back to packet pick up. We got body marked, then brought all of our stuff to transition. We set up our spots in transition and then looked at them for about 10 minutes to see if we were missing anything. We realized we didn’t have swim caps in our packets, but we figured it wasn’t required for this race. Then we saw everybody else had swim caps so we asked somebody and it turns out they were on the packet pick up table and we didn’t realize we were supposed to grab one. So back to packet pick up. While we made our final transition check I decided that I wasn’t going to wear my bike shoes. I got new shoes a few weeks ago, and even though the cleats are the same they feel a little different clipping in and out. I’ve been wearing them on the trainer, in spin class, and on rides, BUT I’ve only ridden routes that didn’t involve left turns, stop lights, or stopping of any kind. So I haven’t really done any clipping in or out while riding. I was really stressing over it and worried about falling during the ride, so I decided that my piece of mind was worth the small amount of time it could have saved me. (TIP #4: Practice clipping in/out) We gathered around for pre race announcements and then it was time to go.
We were seeded by 250y time, but were encouraged to self-seed. I really liked the fact that I could watch a whole bunch of people so that I really understood how to snake up and down the pool. I also like that we all rearranged ourselves so that calmed my fear of being passed/passing people. During the week I had thought about my plan for the swim and decided that I should be able to swim 100 y, rest, swim 100y, rest, then swim 50. On the way there, I remembered I’ve heard people mention aqua jogging. While waiting to start I watched tons of people walking through the pool, so I decided I would swim as much as I could, walk whenever I needed a break, but never stop at the wall. Overall the swim went well, except for 2 guys in front of me who would slow down, but never really gave me room to get in front of them. Finally at around lap 8 I just went for it and overtook them. I typically swim pretty relaxed, so I was really surprised to climb out of the pool and realize that my heart was racing. I decided to walk from the pool to the transition area instead of passing out on the way. My watch said 6 something when I got out of the pool, but my official time was 7:19. I don’t think I ever thought about form at any point. For the first 3 laps I swam a sloppy freestyle, and then swam/flopped/jogged my way down the other 7 laps.
I put my helmet on first, and then slipped on my socks and running shoes. Another silly worry…I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get my socks on my wet feet. I stepped on my towel quickly, but it honestly wasn’t a problem at all. Took a sip of water, grabbed my bike, and off I went.
The bike was an out and back course. It started off on an awesome downhill. I was thrilled to see 26MPH on my watch!!!! I had a big smile on my face, and as I watched the people who were on their way back, I realized they were ending the course by climbing up my awesome downhill. I decided I would worry about that later. The bike course was uneventful. Made it to the turnaround (which was at a prison apparently, but I was more worried about not falling), and as I started heading back I was passed for the first time. By a 16 year old girl. And then by Heidi J I slowly but surely made my way up the big hill and back into transition.
Helmet off, bike racked. I took a sip of Gatorade then grabbed my visor, race belt, and a couple Swedish fish J I decided to try running out of transition and was surprised that it didn’t feel as bad as I thought it would.
That feeling didn’t last long. The run sucked. Not surprisingly, because running always sucks. I started out with 30 seconds of running and 2 minutes of walking. After about the first half mile, I started feeling some pain in my ankles. This happens occasionally during training runs, and always during races. (Meaning this race, and my last 5K, which was the first one, I ever tried to run). I honestly think it boils down to inconsistent training, specifically running. I walked (slowly) the rest of the time. About halfway through, a woman caught up to me. She said “I don’t know if you’ve realized this, but you’ve been pulling me forward this whole race.” I was honestly shocked. But I’m pretty sure that was the moment that made me realize there’s no way I could give this up. She passed me, and I told her that it was her turn to pull me forward. I continued my walk, and as I rounded the last corner I heard a lot of commotion behind me. There was a man in a banana costume, some little kids, and some other people. The banana passed me just as I noticed Heidi was a few feet ahead waiting to cheer me on. (Side note: I love having Heidi as a training/racing partner. First because she’s a cool person to be around. And secondly because she is super encouraging to me. At the last 5K she finished way ahead of me, and then came back to find me and finished the last half mile with me. As we were coming up to the final turn she told me to start running, and said that all I had to do was just make sure that I didn’t let the people with the stroller beat me. ) So as I came up to Heidi I pointed out that she never warned me not to let bananas beat me. She walked with me around the final turn and pushed me to start running to the end. A little kid sprinted past me towards the end, but I finished, and there were still 2 people to cross after me so I reached my goal of not being the last one over the finish line J
Overall time: 1:17:11
We cleaned up our transition areas and decided to watch the awards ceremony to cheer on the winners. Turns out, I was 2nd in my age group….out of 2 J We changed into dry clothes, got all packed up, and set out in search of lunch. When we got to the restaurant I realized that my right heel was hurting again. I’ve been limping around ever since, but it never hurt me during the race so for that I’m grateful. Overall, I was pretty happy with how the entire experience went. Everybody that we talked to beforehand was super friendly. There were no major catastrophes and things went fairly smoothly. I definitely need to swim, bike, and run more, but I already knew that! I’m looking forward to planning out my training schedule for the next few weeks and getting ready for the next one!