Thursday, May 9, 2013

Florida International Triathlon (F.I.T)

May 5, 2013
Benderson Park, Sarasota, FL

My first tri of the season! I wasn't initially going to do this race. The race organizers (the Storm Tri Club) moved the event from Siesta Beach to Benderson park this year. So, it's a lake swim, instead of Gulf swim. I don't really like swimming in murky water! A few months ago, there was an in-store sign up party at Fit2Run, and I decided to sign up, via Carolyn, since I was in Ft Lauderdale getting ready to run a marathon! In the weeks leading up to the race, I heard many stories about how there are gators in the water and how gross it was. That didn't help at all! Also, I was so focused on running training, I didn't get out on my bike much, so I knew that part of the race wasn't going to be as good as it could.

I brought Kidz ZonePerfect
Bars for the girls to enjoy post race.
The Girls on the Run 5K, was held the day before the Tri. I ran at an easy pace with a third grader. She was so focused and determined to do well. She took a few walking breaks, but then got right back to running again. It was a fun time. I hung around for a while after the race, because I had to wait to get my packet and to rack my bike. I got back home and took it easy for the rest of the day.

Race morning: Carolyn and I arrived at the race venue at around 6:15 am race morning. I figured 30 mins would be plenty of time, but it wasn't! We gathered the gear we needed in transition, went to get out chips and body marking done and then went to transition. I got everything set up before realizing I had left my race bib and belt in the car! I had 5 minutes left! So, I ran out and over to my car, grabbed the bib and belt and made it back into transition just in time. Of course, about 10 minutes after they closed the area, I realized I had forgotten to put my sunglasses in there! Not a big deal for the run, but I needed them for the bike ride! We now had a long wait. The international distance triathletes would go first, starting at 7 am. My wave was the last one and set to go off at 7:50 am. Carolyn and I hung out and watched the other races start. I wasn't aware of how the swim would start until now. It was different than all the other triathlons that I've done. You had to swim about 60 meters out to a buoy where the start was. This meant treading water for about 5 minutes before it was our time to go!

The Swim (400 meters): Finally it was my turn to swim out. I got in and slowly made the swim over. I wasted so much energy  trying to keep from drowning. Thankfully, my swim wave only had 8 people, so I had some room to move around. I would NOT have liked it if I had a lot of people around me. Soon we heard that we could go and I was off. We had a long swim south, turned left for a 50 meter swim and then turned left again for a long swim back north. The wind was pretty strong, which made the water pretty choppy and not easy to swim in. I was so happy to make the last turn around the last buoy and then run out of the water. I made my way to transition, dried off my feet, but on my socks and shoes, grabbed my helmet and bike and made my way out of transition. Swim: 15:13. Transition: 2:23

The Bike (12 miles): Heading out of transition, we had a gradual up hill to get over the bridge and off the little island we were on. Thankfully we rode south first, with the wind at our back. I was able to catch my breath and try to get into a rhythm. We rode a couple of miles south, before u-turning and heading back north for a bit. That was rough! Right into the wind! I changed gears, tried to get low on my bike and just plugged away. I was really missing my sunglasses, but thankfully, I didn't get anything in my eyes during the bike portion. This was the small loop portion of the course, so we made another U-turn, just before the bridge, heading south again. We passed the first U-turn and then a little past that, we turned right. Up until now, the course had been closed. Now cars were sharing the road with us. Thankfully, there were not many cars out. We rode through a few neighborhoods, changing directions every once in a while, so the wind was never in our face consistently. Finally, we made the turn onto DeSoto Road, which took as back towards Benderson Park. There was a little up hill and then the turn right to get back on the island. I rode past the finish line area and into transition. I racked my bike, took off my helmet, grabbed my race belt and headed out. Bike: 42:12, Transition: 0:55

The Run (5k): I headed out of transition, running up that little bridge to get off the island. My legs felt like lead! Didn't need that "hill" right then! :) There was a water station just before the bridge, so I grabbed a cup, slowed to a walk while I drank it, then got running again. I was really happy to have the wind at my back for the first half of the run. My legs had a chance to loosen up before the challenging windy run. I tried to push the pace a bit, knowing I would slow down for the second half. I saw Carolyn, just after I passed the one mile mark. She looked strong and ready to finish! The run was on the sidewalk running parallel to the lake. We ran all the way to the end of the lake before turning and heading back. The run into the wind was as hard as I thought it would be! I just kept plugging away. I was very excited to make the left turn back onto the Island. I took advantage of the down hill, picking up speed, I made the left turn and there was the finish! I actually decided to try a jump in the air as I crossed the finish line. I don't think I got much air, but I did it. :) (Later, I asked the finish line photographer if he got the shot. He said I jumped to soon, so he just got the landing. Bummer)
Run: 28:27

Total time: 1:29:09
First place Athena age group

The pros: Loved having my Storm top on. I got lots of encouraging words from fellow Storm racers. That was great. Plenty of water stops for the run. Good directions for bike and run. Pretty good post race food and the shirt was much better this year.

The cons: the swim out to start was by far the biggest con. I actually would not do this race again if they have the same swim out start. Also, we had to bring our bikes the day before. I can see how it would be helpful for a big race to have everyones bikes in transition the day before, but this race had a little over 200 people. I don't think it was needed.

Looking forward to a better race in July. Next sprint triathlon will be in Englewood on July 13th. I plan to train better for this one! But first, I've got back to back marathons to get ready for next month. :)

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