Date: May 29, 2011
Location: Vint Hill, VA
Race Type: Sprint: 300 meter pool swim, 11.75 mi bike, 3.1 mi run
Division: Age Group 45-49
Place: 3rd in Age Group
Swim (300 Meters): 7:08 - 2nd in age group
When I picked up my race packet the lady told me "Wow, you must be a fast swimmer" (because my race number was 32). I looked at her and said "um...no...I must have lied when I registered!" I had estimated my time at 6 minutes and was pretty sure I would swim a little faster than that. But, I was seeded in front of people who were obviously faster than me and I had to stop at the wall four times to allow swimmers to pass.I lost a little bit of time in the pool but I'm never too speedy there anyway and knew I could make up the time on the bike.
T1: 1:33 - 1st in age group
I'm always pretty quick in transition and T1 was no exception. I felt pretty good coming out of the water (guess waiting at the wall for people to pass helped me slow down a little) and we had a nice little jog of about 25 yards over to the transition area to our bikes. A quick little change and I was outta there!
Bike (11.75 mi): 41:51 @ 16.8 mph - 1st in age group
I was a little disappointed in this result. I felt I was doing the best I could on the bike although there were points where I felt I was losing ground going up the hills. When I raced my last 70.3 I kept a pace of over 18 mph on the course. Of course, it was a pancake flat course but, it was also 56 miles. So, I was hoping to have a pace of around 19-20 mph on this course. The hills were rolling but my pace was anywhere from 11 mph to 30 mph so I was hoping for a better average! What I think happened is that every time I had a good pace going I had to slow to turn. There were 3 U-turns and several other turns throughout this course so I'm blaming it on that!
T2: 0:49:05 - 2nd place in age group
As typical, T2 transition didn't go as smoothly as T1. But, I was in and out in less than a minute so I was satisfied with my time.
Run (3.1 miles): 29:37:65 (9:33 min/mile pace) - 4th place in age group
Although I was VERY pleased with my personal result, this is what stopped me from winning first place in my age group. Today's race was the first time ever I have posted under a 10:00 min/mile pace in ANY triathlon. Typically I kill myself so much in the bike that I'm totally wiped by the time I get to the run and my pace is way off from what I can typically race if I was just doing a run. In other words, my current 5K pace is right around 9:00 min/mile but to run that pace in the run portion of a triathlon never happens for me. So, I was very proud of my time today but it just wasn't enough to cut it for a higher ranking.
Summary and lessons learned
This is the second time I have raced this course. The first time I raced was in 2009 and I ended up coming in 3rd place in my age group. So, I had something to prove. I wanted to show myself that I could give it all I had and win that first place award. I knew I had improved over the last two years and this would be a nice way to start out the tri season. I was pretty pleased with my time since it was a 17 minute personal record on a sprint course but I walked away with another 3rd place award. What I came to find out later is that I was only 19 seconds...19 seconds...away from grabbing that first place trophy! Oh the things that go through my mind...I shouldn't have let that swimmer pass me...I shouldn't have unclipped on that last U-turn...I should have kept my head up and stayed focused during the run...I shouldn't have grabbed water from the Boy Scouts...EVERY LITTLE SECOND COUNTS! That was my biggest lesson learned today. You can do all you can to prepare for race day but unless you leave it ALL out there (which I don't really think I did today...) then you have nobody to blame but yourself. Lesson learned!