Back in February, I signed up for a 3 part sprint tri race series for the summer with my fiance. A race a month in June, July & August. The biggest determining factor for me registering for these races was, the fact that all three medals are supposed to connect into a giant medal. I’ve always wanted a connecting medal, lol.
Saturday was the first of these races. I did this same race last year and didn’t exactly do so well. I placed last in my age group and had a hard time on the “hills.” The bike course is 16 miles and has about 500′ of climbing, all rollers. Definitely not a large amount of climbing, but I hadn’t done any hill work previously, so I had a hard time. This year I was prepared.
My fiance and I arrived 45 minutes prior to race start, got checked in, marked and set up quickly. I forgot how pain free it is to set up for small, non-Ironman branded races. No long drawn out processes and lines, just in and out! Not to mention the space in transition! I was able to lay out a big beach towel!
The race is at Rancho Seco Recreational Area, an old nuclear power plant, that has been decommissioned and now serves as a solar farm. It’s super cool to ride right by the silos. The lake is warm 72-76 all summer long. Warm enough to not wear a wetsuit, but I opted to wear mine because it makes me faster and I need all of the wetsuit practice that I can get for Ironman Santa Rosa. I don’t need any panic attack repeats come July.
My fiance was in the first wave, so I saw him off. I started in the fourth. All of the women started after the men, which I like. I don’t so much mind having older men start behind me, but the young guys like to clobber you. I got hit hard by the 29 and under men in Arizona. I’d much rather let them go first.
The swim went well. Absolutely no panic attacks or uneasy feelings. It was smooth sailing. TBF used orange buoys for sighting and a hundred or so yards behind those were white buoys for turns. The white buoys were VERY hard for me to see. The sun was bright, even with my tinted Roka F2 goggles and it made the white buoys nearly impossible for me to see. After my first turn, I couldn’t see the second buoys to turn and just followed the swimmers around me hoping I was going in the right direction. Luckily I was! I passed a bunch of people in the third and second wave and got out of the water in 16:25 with a pace of 1:48/100yd. Not quite as fast as I had hoped, but so much better than my previous performance. The last year I came out of the water in 19:10.
T1 was quick, no transition run from hell and I was off on the bike. I started out conservatively and worked up the nerve to get my butt into the aero bars. I LOVED it! I really wish I had used my bars during my half next month. I will definitely be using them for the full. I used the bars for about 75% of the bike course, only coming up to climb or maneuver turns. I picked up some speed and maintained a decent pace throughout the bike. My goal was to catch up to my fiance, which I did in the last mile of the bike. He had been teasing me, telling me that he was going to beat my cycling time, so I was determined to run him down, lol. We’re just a little competitive. Overall I kept a pace of 17.4 mph over the 16 miles of rollers, with a time of 54:53. Last year I finished in 1:06:03 with a pace of 14.53 mph.
I got through T2 in about 52 seconds and was on the run. I knew I was running, but my legs felt dead. My watch said 9:15 pace, not bad for me, but it felt like I was running through mud. The first half mile felt like a struggle to get my legs to fire, but I managed. The run course is a rocky dirt trail with a few hills. After warming up I felt pretty good, I pushed my way through the looped course, walked to sip a cup of water twice, taking note of all of the women heading back in. I was only passed by a few women on the bike and was surprised at the number of the women heading back in before me on the run. Was I really that slow on the swim? I started to worry that I was further behind in my age group than I thought I was, I had forgotten that the Duathlon started at the same time. Many of the women I saw were duathletes.
I made my way up the final hill and turned onto the grassy finish. Is it just me, or do you feel like you’re running through mud in the grass? I always feel so much slower running through grass (without cleats). I finished my run in 29:27 with a 9:42 pace. Which for me isn’t too bad. My 5k PR is 28:06, so a minute and a half off isn’t so bad, especially since I think I could have pushed harder. My goal for the summer will be to PR on the 5k at one of these sprints, which I think is possible. Last year my 5k time for this sprint was 36:15, so big improvement.
My overall time was 1:44:24, a 23 minute PR over my time of 2:07:27 from last year. It’s nice to see actual gains in my fitness. I know I feel fitter, but it’s nice to see it in action. Thank you Rising Tide Coaching! I placed second in my age group. I was 19 minutes slower than first place, but only beat second by 30 seconds. Glad I didn’t slow down, haha.
The next installment of this race series is July 15th. I hope to make more speed improvements by then. I could have gone a bit faster on the bike and run. I definitely had quite a bit left in the tank after I finished. I’m so used to racing conservatively for these longer races, it’s hard to make myself go all out. Well that and racing conservatively sure does feel a lot less painful! I need to get used to being uncomfortable in these shorter races. For now, I’m happy with the results, I have a few things to work on and some times to beat! Overall a great race. TBF puts on a nice show, if you’re thinking about doing a race with them, I highly recommend them. Everything is very well organized and all athletes are made to feel welcome.
- Roka Maveric Comp II Suit
- Roka F2 Mirrored Goggles
- Coeur Aero Jersey
- Coeur 5″ Tri Shorts
- Coeur Sports bra (hidden pockets for the win!)
- Balega Endur Low Cut socks
- Garmin Fenix 3 Sapphire Rose Gold
- Garmin HR Monitor
- Body Glide
- Elta MD Sunscreen SPF 50
- Cliff Shot Blocks
- NBS Hydration in Lemon (my favorite!)
- Bontager Road Shoes
- Giro Verona Helmet
- Profile Design T2 Aero Bars
- Profile Design Aero Bottle System
- Shimano Dual Pedals
- Vilano Shadow Road Bike
- Saucony Cohesion 9 running shoes
- Greeper quick lacing system
- Headsweats visor
- Groove Life Ring
- Momentum Jewelry Wrap (for motivation)