Sunday, June 17, 2012

Tampa Bay Women’s Triathlon
June 16, 2012
Start of the race.
Even though I didn’t really train hard for this, my third triathlon, I was very excited once race morning was here. Carolyn and I left my house at 4:30 am. Transition area opened at 5:30 and we wanted to be there around then. We ended up getting there at about 5:45 am. We found a close parking space, unloaded our gear and then walked over to get our timing chip and body marking done before racking our bikes and getting our stuff ready. There were only 4 porta potties for the 160 women participants! Luckily, I was able to get in and use it before transition closed. I had to race back in so that I could leave my sunglasses with my bike. I didn’t need them this early on the run. This was a reverse triathlon, so we would be running the 5k first, coming back for our bikes for the 7.25 mile ride and then swimming the 225 yards in the pool. The first wave, which Carolyn and I were in, got started at 6:50. Soon we were off!
5K Run: What a beautiful morning to complete a triathlon! The humidity seemed to be lower than it had been all week, which really helped. I started pretty close to the front of the pack. Right away, the leaders were way ahead of me, but there were only 4 or 5 of them. It was strange to be so near the front of the pack. I stayed ahead of most everyone in my wave the entire time. I even managed to pass one woman. The course was confusing. I was so happy there were many volunteers to guide us through the neighborhood where we ran. There were so many right and left hand turns. I tried to take the diagonals as much as possible. There were no mile markers, and I didn’t have my garmin, so I wasn’t sure how far I had gone until I hit the water stop, which was supposed to be 1.5 miles in. I stopped for a few seconds to walk through while drinking my water. Not long after I caught up to this woman who had been way ahead of me for a while. We passed a large group on the side of the road. One guy yelled out that we were at mile two. Yeah! The woman encouraged me as I ran by. She was having allergy issues and not breathing well, but seemed to be holding on OK. I kept plugging away, not really knowing my pace, but pushing pretty hard. One woman, with a green wrist band, passed me just before the end of the run. She started 5 minutes after I did. She was fast! Finally I was turning off the road, running through some grass to reach the transition area. I was at my bike a few seconds before I remembered to look at my watch. It had just passed 24 minutes. I knew the course had to be short. I have never run a 5K that fast! I asked a woman after the race what distance she had on her garmin. It was only a 2.83 run. Still, I am happy with that 8:24 pace! Time - 23:49. T1 – 00:57
Bike: This was a very strange bike course. First of all, it should have been 9.25 miles, but there was a water main break a couple of days before the race. They had to take out a 2 mile portion of the race because of it. I came out of transition, weaving through the shopping plaza at a slow pace. We turned right onto the main road and not even a quarter of a mile down, we had to take a wide uturn to head back in the other direction. Volunteers were yelling out to watch for glass. Looks like someone had tossed a couple of glass bottles in the road. I managed to get around most of it, but did run over a couple of pieces. Thankfully, no damage to the tires. We had a nice long stretch for a couple of miles, so I got down on the arrow bars and tried to pick up my speed. I could tell that I hadn’t been on my bike in over two weeks. I didn’t have the strength I should have. I got passed by a couple of women. Soon, a volunteer directed us up onto the sidewalk. We had to slow down and then take a left to go through a short tunnel that put us on the other side of the street and heading back towards the transition area. We had a couple of miles back to ride before turning right into the shopping plaza, where we had to slow down and make lots of turns. There were volunteers yelling at us to go one way for lap one and one way for lap two. I went to the lap two area, but was still confused. We were on the wrong side of the road and it looked like we were going to were the pool was. I stopped for a few seconds to ask the volunteer to make sure I was going the right way. Another woman, who had been way ahead of me, was there too. She was even more confused than I was! We rode the sidewalk for a short distance, rode through another tunnel to the otherside of the road, then off the sidewalk to join the riders who were on their first loop still. Going through that other tunnel, for the second time, I got stuck behind a woman, who was going really slow. I couldn’t get around her on the side walk, so I just slowed down and then picked up speed once we hit the road again. I didn’t really like this bike course. It was frustrating to have to slow down so much. Time - 7.25 miles in 26:10. T2 – 00:48
The two woman I was stuck behind
for the last lap.
Finishing strong!
Swim: I got my bike racked, took off my helmet, socks and shoes, grabbed my goggles, nose clip and ear plugs from my little bag under the seat and then headed to the pool. It was just a short run to the pool. I put in my earplugs as I slowly ran over the pool deck. I pulled my goggles over my eyes, put the nose clip on and then eased into the pool. It was warm! But it felt pretty good to be in the water. I started free style swimming. I could tell I didn’t have a lot of leg strenght left, so I concentrated on using my arms to propel me through the water. We swam in a zig zag fasion to get through the pool swim. I pushed off at each end of the pool to try and gain a little momentum. By the third lap, other women were passing my in my lane. It was getting pretty crowded in there! The last 1.5 laps were frustrating. A woman had passed me in the water, moved in front of me and then slowed down. I couldn’t get around her because there were faster swimmers to my side. I had to stop and hold the side a couple of times in the last lap because she almost kicked me in the face. I couldn’t even get around her as we climbed out of the pool! I was very happy to run up the steps and across the short pool deck to the finish mat. I am really happy with my swim. I felt I did much better in this swim than in the two previous triathlons, though I am still slow! I was number one (for age group) in the run and bike, but number four for swim. Time – 225 yards in 5:58.
Me and Carolyn after the race.
So, despite the hassles of the bike and swim, I had a really good time with this race. I managed to place first out of eight in the 40 and over Athena age group. Everyone got a nice finishers medal. As an age group winner, I got a nice triathlon necklace too. J
Up next, the Top Gun Triathlon at Fort Desoto. I really need to get out more on my bike and train for this one!

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