A few nights before our race, I had had a recurring dream about being late and missing the triathlon. Well, we weren’t late, but we almost couldn’t find our way to the race because it was so foggy out.
There’s never a dull moment when it comes to us and the weather on the day of our triathlons. We did the Nashvegas Sprint triathlon last year and it rained the whole race. This year, it looked like this:
This made us a little bit nervous, especially for the bike, and we were praying that the sun would come out and burn off the fog. However, it seemed like the closer we got to the race start, the thicker the fog got.
We finally found our way to the parking area, gathered our gear and headed to the transition area. On our way, we picked up our timing chips and got body marked. This was my last time racing in the 25-29 age group and I have to say, I was ok with that. I’m looking forward to being on the younger end of the 30-25 age group next season.
Luckily, we scored spots next to each other and while we were setting up our transition areas, they announced that the Coast Guard was delaying the start time until the fog cleared up a bit. They needed to have better visibility so they could stop any rogue boats that tried to get by while we were swimming. Thank God for that. It’s hard enough to bump into another person while swimming, but I definitely didn’t want to bump into a boat.
Finally, the fog cleared enough and we headed down to the swim start. The water was so warm that you weren’t allowed to wear wetsuits. But while the warm water was nice, it was still impossible to see the buoys that we were supposed to swim to. We all joked that we didn’t want to be in front and that we were all going to just follow each other and we’d finish the swim one way or another.
I LOVE the comraderie and the jokes and the banter that we share as triathletes before, during and after the race. This is such an awesome sport!
Davey’s age group started first and then mine started 5 minutes after. I’m over on the way left… read this to see why I picked that spot.
I had no nervousness whatsoever about the swim because I worked really hard on my swimming during my training and I made sure I did a bunch of open water swims to really help build my confidence. And my hard work paid off because even despite not being able to see the buoys, I felt super awesome. Except for when I swam into some branches and cut my hand on a rock. I was trying to avoid the river current by staying way over on the side, but it was way too shallow. Lesson learned.
The fog was so thick, but I made sure that I didn’t use other people to sight because a lot of people were swimming off course. So, I used large objects, like the pillars of the bridge.
The swim was pretty crowded and everyone was bumping into each other, but none of it hurt, was scary or hindered me. I just stayed calm and rocked the swim. I am proof that even if you’re not a good swimmer, you CAN do a triathlon and you CAN improve and gain confidence and have an AWESOME swim!
The swim is my strongest sport and I always really enjoy it. The fog presented a new challenge and I made sure I sighted more than normal just to make sure I was on track. I felt calm, peaceful, happy and thankful during the swim and before I knew it, I was catching up to some of the swimmers in the previous wave. This is about the only time during the race that I pass someone since I’m an average biker and a slow runner, so I enjoyed the confidence boost.
Despite the fog, I stayed on course and it wasn’t long before I was nearing the end. I sprinted to the finish and even though I had no idea what my time was, I felt great about my swim.
The swim exit was really slippery and it took 4 guys to help me out of the water. I sped through T1, swigged some water and hopped on my bike. There were a lot of hills on the bike course and I honestly didn’t feel strong on the bike. I felt weak and slow going up the hills and so I tried to make up time by cranking it down the hills and on the straight aways.
The best part about the bike was that my nutrition was dialed in. I drank my water and Cytomax throughout the ride and had 4 shot blocks and a Huma Gel.
One of the best parts of the ride was seeing Jess. I loved that she had a bright neon yellow shirt on because I could spot her from afar.
All in all, the bike course was challenging and even with the hills, I was happy with my average speed and my time.
I was so glad that I had an extra water bottle in my transition area to rinse off the gravel from my feet. I quickly got my bike gear together, ate a shot block, drank some water and grabbed my bike.
Since my bike crash, my gear shifters have been very unpredictable. Sometimes my gears shift easily, and other times, my chain drops. I was nervous about shifting my gears during the race because I didn’t want to have to stop and put my chain back on, but Davey and I had ridden the bike course a few weeks before and I knew there were some killer hills and so I decided to take the risk and shift.
In retrospect, I should’ve gotten my bike tuned up before the race, but with being out of town and my work schedule, I wasn’t able to take it to the shop.
My goal was to keep a steady pace above 17 rpm for the whole 24 miles. I was making great time and when I approached the first monster hill, I downshifted and was THRILLED! My gears shifted perfectly! Now, the course was on a 2 lane, windy country road and when Davey and I trained on it, I was VERY cautious and rode pretty slowly down the hills. But thanks to the AWESOME volunteers and cops who were controlling the traffic, I was able to book it down the hills. And once again, my gears shifted flawlessly.
By this time the fog had cleared and the sun was out and it was starting to get hot, so I made sure I drank my water and Cytomax and ate some Shot Blocks. That, along with seeing Davey on the course, gave me the umph to make it up the big hills. At the half-way point I ate a Huma Gel and tried to stretch my lower back as best I could while riding.
The loop back to transition was fast and awesome… especially since it was mostly downhill. There was so much encouragement, energy and “good job’s” exchanged on the course and I LOVE that!
In T2, I grabbed my camera, drank some water, changed shoes and set off for the final stretch of the triathlon. I felt strong, but since we hadn’t done a full length brick (24 mile bike/6 mile run) I ran my first mile at a slower pace just to get my legs under me and then, at mile 2, I picked up the pace. I also posed for the camera.
As I left the road and entered the park I saw Jess on the bike and was able to get a quick video clip. It’s awesome to see each other on the course and cheer one another on!
At mile 4, I felt my left quad cramp up so I shortened my stride, chugged some water and ate a Shot Block. It was hot on the way back, especially since there was no shade and the sun was high in the sky, but I powered through and pushed it to the finish.
I finished strong, and felt really good about my race. Then I found some shade, grabbed some water and watched for Jess.
I pushed it hard on the bike and I knew my legs would feel like jello, but I didn’t expect them to feel like melted jello. My legs were so tired that I almost collapsed as I dismounted my bike. If my legs were this tired, it was going to be a LONG 6 miles. But by the time I got to my transition spot, my legs felt much better and I was more hopeful.
I was actually surprised how good I started to feel as I ran. I felt so good that I even jumped up and posed for the photographer. However, that jump took way too much energy and I was very glad I didn’t fall or twist my ankle on the way down.
The first few miles were brutal. They were along the highway in the blaring sun. So, I just made it my goal to make it to the water tables at every mile marker.
I saw Davey at mile 2 and he said, “Good job! I love you!”, I smiled and said “I love you too!” and then these two older guys who were running past chimed in also, “We love you too!”. It was so funny!
The course wound through a lovely park and I was so relieved that miles 2-5 were in the shade. It was a welcome relief from the hot sun. Even though I was sweating like a pig, I felt like I was spot on in my nutrition. I had a few Shot Blocks left and I made sure to drink water and a few sips of Gatorade at every station.
At mile 5.5, I hit the wall. Even with only half a mile to go, my energy was starting to dwindle. By the time I made it to the photographer again, this was the only pose I could manage:
Then the photographer asked for my number and I knew that was my cue to pick up the pace. I was so happy when I first noticed Davey and felt a surge of energy as he ran by me and cheered me on all the way to the finish! As I crossed the finish line, I felt tired, but SO happy, thankful and empowered!
We had SO MUCH FUN competing in the Riverbluff Olympic Triathlon and can’t wait to see what obstacles, challenges and adventure next years race will bring! As is true in any race we do, we learned a few things and we’ll be sharing them in the next few days so stay tuned.
Do you want to do a triathlon but don’t know where to start? Check out our Beginner Triathlon Training Program!