Friday, August 3, 2012

Top Gun Triathlon
July 28, 2012
Me and Gina before the race.
Top Gun Triathlon is the largest triathlon for me to date. There is only one distance (the sprint) for all athletes. They capped the entrants at 1200. The race sold out a few weeks ago.  Since we knew it was going to be crowded, Gina and I had an early start race morning. We got going at 4:30 am and arrived at Ft Desoto Park at 5:30, just as transition was opening. We walked over, got our body marking done, hit the porta potties and then went back to the car for our bikes. Since it was still so early, we had lots of time to kill. We got our bikes racked and our gear set up. Made another trip to the car and then waited in line for the porta potties again. By the time we were done with that, we had just a few minutes before the closing of the transition area. We headed down to the beach. It was a hot morning. Low 80s when I left the house. I was sweating just standing on the beach waiting for the start. I had a hard time getting my new Garmin to set to the multisport function. I asked Lauren’s dad for help, but he couldn’t figure it out either. So, I set it to bike mode and figured I would wait to turn it on then. Lauren and I were in the 4th wave, which included the Athena and 20-29 age group. There were about 140 women in that group! Lauren was nervous, it was her first triathlon, but I kept telling her she would do great.
Swim, 440 yards: We got started about 7:15 (a little late). The water was pretty shallow for a long ways, so I ran it in for a bit. I had started at the back, but managed to get in the thick of it while running. This was just a waste of time, since I couldn’t swim with so many people around me! It was crazy packed! Every time I put my head in the water, I saw a foot coming towards my face. I slowed down and let people get around me. By the time we got to the first buoy and turned to the left (to swim parallel to the beach) I had moved over to the left. I finally got in a good swimming rhythm. I was swimming along and then looked up to see where I was at. I discovered that I was about to run into a guy sitting in his kayak. He was waving his hands at me and pointing to my right. Oops, I was a bit off course. I got back into another groove and continued on.  A little before the last buoy, I turned and saw a wave of silver capped guys coming on fast, they wave that started after us. I even saw a pinked cap swimming in there. She was in the wave before mine! As soon as I could touch the bottom and run, I did. I had a good run out of the water and up the beach toward transition. I grabbed a cup of water from the water stand and poured it on my feet. I grabbed a second one and tried to drink it. The water ended up half in my mouth and half up my nose. I am not good at running and drinking! The parking lot/transition area was not kind to my feet. I slowly made my way to my bike, toweled off, put on my socks and shoes (which took way to long!), put on my tank and helmet and headed out of transition. Swim: 8:46 (12th out of 15). T1: 4:07(yikes! Very long)
Bike, 10miles: I had my garmin set to bike mode, so I started that once I got going. I wanted to work on keeping my speed up, so I needed to see that on my watch. I felt very good on the bike and kept my speed high (for me) at an 18.4 mph average! Just past mile 1, I grabbed my water bottle to get a drink. Lost my grip on it and it went flying behind me. I had to yell out for the riders behind me to watch out. Next time I don't bring one of my favorite bottles with me. :( I caught up to Lauren soon after that. She had a great swim, beating me out of the water. We had the roads to ourselves, which was great because there were a lot of riders out there! I was being passed and passing people constantly.  After the turnaround, I saw Melissa (speedy lady) and then Gina. I made it my goal to try and stay ahead of Melissa, but was thinking the whole rest of the ride, that she would catch up to me. The last mile, I changed gears, in an effort to loosen up my legs for the run. I came into transition, hopped off my bike and headed to my spot. I went to the wrong one first. The woman had the same, bright pink mat that I have. It took me a second to see that the stuff on it wasn’t mine! I wheeled the bike back out and found my stuff 3 rows down. J During this time, I reset my Garmin and switched it to “run” mode. I racked my bike, took off my helmet, put on my visor, grabbed my water bottle and wash cloth and headed out of transition. Bike (9.48m): 30:59 (8th). T2: 1:36
Run, 5K: I felt strong heading out on the run. It was very hot, but my legs felt fine. I just needed to get my breathing under control. I looked at my watch after a while, thinking I must be getting to mile one, and I was only just over half a mile. Wow, this was going to be a long 5k! I’m very happy I had my water, though I could have used the water stops. They had 3 out there for us, which is alot for a 5K. About half way through the run, we left the sidewalk that we had been running on and started the beach run portion. Thankfully, it was hard packed sand. We did encounter a couple of wet spots, were we all ran single file, to stay on the higher sections of the path. I got stuck behind one guy who was going slow, but I wasn’t about to run through the mud and deal with heavy shoes. Around mile two, we were greeted with ice cold towels. Wonderful! I squeezed some over my head and then wrapped it over my shoulders and neck. It felt great. I kept that on for the next mile, dropping it on the grassy area of the park once we turned off the beach. I was so thankful to see the finish line up ahead. Though it seemed really far away! I ran it in strong to finish the race. Run (3.18m): 29:51 (1st)
Total Time 1:15:20
Overall I am very happy with my race. Great improvement in the swim and bike portions. I wish I could have kept a better pace for the run. I ended up with 4th place in my 40 and over Athena age group. They had awards 5 deep, so I came home with a nice plaque. J

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