Well that was definitely the most challenging triathlon I’ve ever completed. I was happy just to finish two loops on a super difficult race course. Plus it was an extra long course- they disclosed extra miles on the bike, but I am also certain the swim was long. That being said it was a small race so I did end up with an age group award and felt accomplished finishing.
The open water swim was in a lake that was a perfect 72 degrees. I wore my wetsuit and the water was honestly the perfect temperature (not too hot and not too cold). I was excited to wear my wetsuit for the first time this summer. Luckily the air temperature was in the 70’s which was a nice change from the upper 90’s it has been for my other tri’s. Plus no sun! Although it was in the 90% humidity so it wasn’t perfect.
I felt good on the swim, although my swim cap kept coming off so I stopped 3 or 4 times to adjust it. Of course one time when I adjusted it, I must have messed up my goggles so water started leaking in my eyes, which lead to another stop. The buoys weren’t as well marked as I’ve had in other races so sighting was a bit difficult. There was so much room to swim though, one of the huge benefits of a smaller race no one was swimming over you and you had a basically clear path. While I don’t think it was my fastest swim I didn’t think I was as slow as time indicated. In fact there were super slow swim times for basically everyone (barely anyone under 30 minutes). Usually I’m right around 30 minutes but they clocked me in at 37:03 which made me 3rd girl out of the water.
After the swim you ran up the sand (ouch) and to transition to grab your bike. I took a little bit longer than most to clip in (still learning) but headed out feeling good. The first couple miles were a false flat but nothing terrible. Actually basically the first 6-7 miles were a climb but you weren’t working too hard until you hit a very significant uphill (Philly friends- the worst part was basically like climbing the Manayunk wall 3x). This race was in central Jersey and this climb was literally biking up Jughead Mountain. It was awful. Thankfully I had taken in a GU before the climb but as I was doing it I was severely pissed I was going to have to make the same climb again.
Once you got to the top you had some ups and downs and then one significant downhill that actually took place on a two lane highway open to cars (scary but cops and volunteers were blocking traffic). It was a 50 mph speed limit and I got up 40 just cruising and not pedaling at all (my legs needed the rest). After I got back to the start to begin my second loop almost an hour had passed and I had gone 14 miles. I decided that even though only 1 girl passed me on the bike and only two were ahead of her that it probably wasn’t going to be any type of record setting day and my goal was just to finish. Actually my second loops was a whopping two minutes faster so I actually thought that was a pretty strong finish for the hardest bike course I’ve EVER been on. Final bike time was 2:00:59- about ½ hour longer than my goal. However I will attribute at least 10-15 minutes of that to the extra 3 miles and the rest for a freaking hard climb x2.
Soooooo unbelievably happy to get off my bike but I was definitely gassed out by that intense climbing and my knees hurt already. But at least I was off the bike, yay! Running is normally my strongest event in triathlon but after taking off about 7 months this year I’m still building up my speed so I try not to set any running goals besides not reinjuring my foot.
The first mile was rough (it always is) but I settled into a good pace around mile 3 and felt pretty strong finishing. It was another loop course for the run which I normally don’t mind but it was a pretty boring layout and the younger children volunteers were kind of just sitting around talking. A couple times I had to stop and request a water, at a water station. I hate to complain about volunteers because well they obviously aren’t getting paid but they should at least being paying attention to the race.
Anyways the course was mostly flat with rolling hills so that was nice and the sun was still hidden behind clouds so I didn’t feel overheated like I had in other races this year. My final time was 58:14, which is a 9:24min/mile pace. Not terrible, given my running injury and trying to comeback. I do missing being under 9:00min/miles for a race though- hopefully I will be back there next year!
Despite a crappy and difficult race I did win an age group award- 2nd place. The trophy they gave was actually super nice, I was impressed. Since it was a very small local race only about 15 girls did the Olympic (more competed in the sprint) so I only had 5 people in my age group. I was 4th girl overall though and had one of the better swim times (male and female) so I’ll chalk it up to a win. That concludes my triathlon season of 2016 friends… ICYMI: here are my previous recaps: NJ State and Pittsburgh.
What races do you have on the calendar this fall?