I was running with two members of my Dances with Dirt team a few weeks ago when one of them, Hallie, said that she's thinking of trying a triathlon one day. So, my ears perked up and I casually mentioned the Lake County Fairport Harbor triathlon to be held on July 27, 2008. It is a very friendly course for new triathletes and is well organized.
She looked it up on-line and thought it looked good. She asked me if I would do it with her and I thought "what the hell; I haven't raced even one triathlon yet this year". So, we both signed up. Matt got the bug too and signed up for it as his first triathlon of the season too.
A couple of weeks ago, Hallie and I went out to Fairport Harbor to try out the bike course. We had intended to swim too, but it had rained hard the last few days and we didn't want to risk the bacteria. So, we headed out on the 12-mile course - the first time through on her mountain bike (we must have looked like quite the pair, mountain bike and time trial bike) and the second time through on my road bike (Bike Authority was nice enough to let me borrow pedals with cages on them). She quickly surmised that the road bike was the way to go for the race. After the ride, we ran most of the run course. Obviously, she was more than ready to race.
Today, dawned bright, warm and sunny - time to race! She was nervous, but ready to go. Unfortunately, due to my old girl status, we couldn't swim in the same wave, but she bravely headed out with the young girls. Her wave took off at 8:15. Mine left 5 minutes later.
Now, I'm not the best swimmer in the world, but I don't freak out when people are near me or when waves hit me or... It is very frustrating though to see those around you freaking out and realize that you aren't going any faster than them even though they are freaking out. But I digress. I managed to get out of the water around 12:40 for the 500 meter swim which is pretty good for me sans wetsuit.
Of course, I was a woman on a mission once I got on the bike. I love the bike part and with only 12 miles to cover, I really had to put the hammer down. Being a newbie friendly course though means lots of bikers on hybrid and mountain bikes plus many who have no idea what bike etiquette is. I swear I passed dozens of people who were riding on the left side of the lane, often 2 or 3 abreast. I know they don't know the rules, so I didn't get angry. I just kept focused on pedaling my butt off.
About 5 minutes before the end of the bike, I come up on Hallie. I say "I'd know that butt anywhere" and she says, "No, you can't pass me - you started 5 minutes behind me". My response was that I'm sure I'd blow up on the run. Total bike time was just over 36 minutes for about a 20mph average. Not too shabby especially with the head wind and playing dodge'em with the other bikers.
So, into T2 I go. I missed my rack, so had to backtrack, but it was otherwise a smooth, quick transition. I ran up the one steep hill out of transition with no stopping. I thought maybe I could also hammer the run, but my shins weren't having it. Instead, I loped along at about a 10-minute per mile pace. Oh well. Around the one mile mark, I look over and there is Hallie. She was running like someone was chasing her. Unfortunately, it wouldn't be me. I kept her in my sights most of the run, but I couldn't make up the gap she widened. At the end of her run, she bought back 2 of the 5 minutes I gained on her and became a triathlete. I'm so proud of her! I think she has the bug now and is planning her next triathlon in a few weeks. I told her to keep the bike for the rest of the season - I like to encourage her.
My total time was just over 1:22, which I think was good for 5th in my age group. I had a hold on 3rd place coming off the bike, but my less than stellar run saw 2 of my age group competitors pass me. Oh well. I did get to finish with GJ (Sam and Joe's daughter) and that was fun for both of us! Oh, and Matt had a rock solid race with a finish time of about 1:13 - welcome back to triathlon honey!
Finally, the CTC was out in force today - TriGuyJT, SnickersGirl, Roger, Michael, Bill M., Bill B., Kevin, Katya, June, Kim, Karen, Tracie (also her first triathlon - great job!), Beth, Adam, etc. Great to see you all! Hope others join the club after doing their first triathlon today - there were nearly 300 racers this year! Thanks to my fabulous in-laws (Jean & Bill) and my friends (Sam, Joe and GJ) for coming out to cheer us on!
I leave you with some pictures. More to come after I get the ones from Hallie's and Sam's cameras.
Hallie and her boyfriend, Ian
Matt's return to triathlon
Sam, Joe and GJ
Me with my huge breakfast!