Sunday, June 15, 2008

Manassas Mini Tri

I was as prepared as I could be coming into this least I thought I was!

It was really cool to have friends join me in the race this time. Now I know I'm not the only nut case out there - Mike, Tracy, Roger & Antoine are just as crazy - not to mention the 300-400 other folks that were there today.

This was my first official "in the right order" triathlon. The mini tri I raced in March had the run first, bike second and swim last. I really like that order because I'm fresh for the run and can get a good time on it. Doing the swim first (the way about 99% of triathlons are raced) was very different. By the time I got to the run my legs were drained...but I'll save that conversation for a little later.

So, the race began and I waited in line for my turn into the pool. Right away I knew I had made a big mistake when the race director said the numbers began at 300 and I was 389. That meant I was the 89th person into the pool which meant that I must have lied BIG TIME when I estimated my swim time. Anyway, I knew I would be giving it my all so I just went ahead. Each person went into the pool in 5 second increments and after I hit the pool I was getting passed in about 10 seconds. YIKES! I knew the guy behind me looked fast but he was a little faster than expected and that put a real psycological damper on my swim. During the 250 yd swim I had about 5-10 people pass me but I knew once I got on the bike I would catch up. However, after looking at my final times I seem to have actually gotten stronger in the swim than my last time.

Out of the pool into the transition area. I was pretty quick in the transition area throwing on some shorts, a shirt, my sunglasses, helmet and cycling shoes (no socks just like the REAL triathletes!). Off I went. I was breathing really hard coming out of the pool and I could barely catch my breath on the bike. It'll be interesting to see my bike split times because I felt I was giving it my all but with the breathing issues you can never be too sure. During my entire ride only one (really fast) guy passed me so I felt pretty good about that.

On to T2 (second transtion) where I made the mistake of sitting down to change shoes. I felt I could have done a little better in T2 although it was still somewhat fast. Dropped the hat & glasses, took off the cycling shoes, put on the running shoes with quick pull laces, put on the running hat, grabbed a big sip of water and off I went. I was still breathing a lot harder than I wanted to but I had a goal in mind - at least third place in my age group.

Now I'm out for the run. I couldn't believe how little energy I had. I felt really drained. The run was only 1.4 miles and believe it or not I took about 3 short (about 10 second) walk breaks. THAT is how drained I was. I've run 22 miles before without taking a walk break but this little 1.4 miles just about killed me. When I came around toward the end I was super excited to see my family and friends waiting at the finish line (as well as several other places along the way...) cheering me on.

Although I wasn't able to place in my age group I really felt good about my first "in the right order" tri. Lord willing, my next tri will be in August and I'm hoping to get used to an open water swim before then because I hear that is another totally different feeling.

Overall I had my best tri time of 36:37 - that is 25 seconds better than the last time. However, I came in 6th place in my age group which was a little further back than the 14 seconds I missed 3rd place by back in March. I guess the real triathletes have come out hiding now! God has brought me through yet another success!

On to Iron Girl!!!

P.S. I didn't have the camera batteries charged so we didn't get as many good photos as we normally would have. Thanks to Amber for the few we did get!


jeffdav said...

I also participated in the 2008 Manassas Mini Tri. It was my first ever triathlon and I was also quite nervous.

I'm 39 and I swam competitively in High School, but I haven't been in 'swimming shape' in many years, so I was worried that the swim leg would exhaust me to the point of being detrimental to the later legs of the race.

The swimming leg for me was COMPLETE CHAOS! I timed myself a couple of times earlier in the week at my neighborhood pool and came in at around 4:20 each time. I put 4:30 as my swim time when I registered and figured I would just leave it there. I wound up with starting #371 - probably 20 or so people behind you.

I started touching people's toes pretty much right away on the first length and I think I passed at least one person in each length of the snake swim. At one point I went in between two people. I think it would have been better to start people at 10 second intervals, but it would have obviously lengthened the race - and there were a LOT of people who need to get moving.

Another observation - several times there were people kind of milling around at the ends of the pool before ducking under the lane marker. I felt a little bad, but I just totally ignored whether or not anyone was there and just plowed ahead. I think I must have inadvertently pushed or came close to several swimmers while doing this - but I really didn't want this 'traffic' to slow me down.

What really amazed me was that since I was constantly worrying about passing people, dealing with traffic at the ends of the pool, etc. - I wasn't thinking at all about how much more remained to go at any given time. Then, before I knew it I was on the last length. I couldn't believe it went that fast! It was the strangest feeling because when I was timing myself earlier in the week, in my head I was all too aware of where I was in the swim as I was counting down the lengths to go and, bringing back High School swim team memories, feeling the pain as the lengths went by at what seemed to be very slow pace.

When I got out of the pool and headed toward the first transition I wasn't that tired, but I was quite disoriented. I had a hard time finding my bike. I had earlier thought to walk down what I believed to be the path coming out of the pool to the transition area, but it turned out that they made us take a little sidewalk down the side of building instead, so my bearings were all off. I probably wasted 10-15 seconds just finding my bike - grrr... If I hadn't been so disoriented I probably could have figured it out more quickly.

Once I got to my transition area I got ready pretty quickly. I had practiced the first transition the night before, so I had a set order of of things to do (shirt and helmet first while I wiped my feat, then socks and bike shoes). I took Ina's (the race coordinator) advice and folded my socks in a way that would make them easier to get on when my feet were wet - that was a great tip!

The bike route was pretty flat and I kept a pretty fast pace. I had obsessed the week before the race about getting aero bars on my bike. I ordered them and they arrived on Friday, but when I attempted to put them on my bike I unfortunatley found that the most important bolt on the assembly was completely stripped, so I had to send them back to the retailer. During the race, however, I passed several people who had bikes with aero bars - how ironic!

The transition from bike to run was pretty painless, but the run itself was painful, at least at first. I studied the splits chart from last year's race and saw that most of the people who did well in the race had outstanding run times - considering its the last leg of the race - times like 8:30 or less for 1.4 miles. In the week preceding the race I timed my self on the treadmill after having completed about 35-40 minutes of a spinning class and found that my time was around 10:20, which I knew wouldn't cut it if I wanted to place in my age group.

Although I was definitely feeling fatigued, I tried to keep a faster-than-comfortable pace in the run because it was so short - you can always catch your breath after the finish line right? As the run went on, I started to feel a bit more comfortable with the faster pace and, at that point, picked it up slightly again. I passed several runners along the way which gave me a boost. As I approached the finish like I saw the time clock and realized that I was probably going to post a better time than I had expected, and this gave an extra reason to sprint to the end - which I did. It took a few minutes to catch my breath afterwards, but I felt really good about the race and my prospects for placing.

In the end, I placed 3rd in my age group and 18th overall with a time of 28:02. I was shooting to break 30 minutes, so I was very pleased with my time. After this satisfying first experience, I'm ready for more! I plan to do the South Riding Triathlon - which is longer than this mini - in September. Perhaps I'll see you there!

- Jeff Davis, Fairfax, VA

Rebecca said...

ok, this comment will not be so long as the last one...

great race! sounds like you had fun.

don't worry, nobody gets their time right on the pool swims.

it always amazes me how shot my legs are after biking. the only way around it is to do lots and lots of bricks, and even then, i think, you just get used to it. you can then say to yourself, "my legs will no longer be jelly after a mile..." as opposed to "what happened to my legs?!?!" :D

(miche033 from BT)

jeffdav said...

Tracy -

The South Riding triathlon is on Sunday, Sept 7th at 7am.



Its longer than the Manassas Mini Tri but about the same length as the Manassas August Sprint - 400m swim, 12mi bike and 5k run.

I emailed the race coordinator to confirm that its open to non-South Riding residents. Since its on and nothing on the site says that its limited to residents I'm assuming its not. I'll probably sign up this Friday.

I'm going to take advantage of the fact that my neighborhood swimming pool is open for lap swim twice a week this summer to prepare.

What is the Tri in Reston this fall? I know there were two this spring - the Reston Triathlon and the Reston Sprint Triathlon. I think both of them filled up rediculously fast (like, first day registration was opened).

Best of luck with your training!