Yesterday I did the Reston Sprint Tri out in (guess where?) Reston. It was a lot of fun! I didn't sleep much the night before because I was anxious and I hoped it wouldn't impact my performance. Waking up at 4 a.m. wasn't a picnic, and encountering rain, thunder and lightning on the drive there was even less thrilling, but thankfully it all cleared up by the time we started setting up in earnest and definitely by the time the race started, and we had good race weather.
I had a vague idea of how to set up a transition area, because I had been given some advice by tri friends and DC tri people. The guy racked next to me was super nice and showed me how to rack my bike and gave me pointers on setting up my area. He also helped me find my timing chip when I started freaking out when it was temporarily mispaced amongst my stuff. I noticed that he wasn't finished setting up when he started helping me and I was so grateful to him. Unfortunately, I didn't see him after the race to thank him, and he'd already packed up his gear when I went to pack up mine - I hope to someday pay it forward on a future race to another first-time triathlete.
The swim was in a pool and we all had individual start times based on the swim times we provided in advance. At first I thought with individual start times for all ~500 people would be extremely chaotic but it actually worked very well. You just went when they told you. I had a great swim, and the water felt fantastic. I was actually a little conservative on the swim time I provided so I probably could have started earlier, because I passed a few people during the swim. I definitely could have done that swim faster, and still felt good.
All the people I passed on the swim passed me on the bike, and then some. The bike course wasn't very difficult - it was rolling hills with one really challenging hill (and the course was a loop, so I had to do that challenging hill three times) - but it was difficult for me because my bike is so heavy and slow. Those in NTP might remember me and the struggles I've had with my bike. I lost a fair amount of time on the bike and know now more than ever that my particular bike is not the right equipment for doing tris, and a road bike is now even closer in my future (maybe even before NJ). My bike pace was about as the same as I've done on all the group rides, but it was a little frustrating after such a great swim to see all these people pass me and know how slow I was going, when I am fitness-wise capable of going faster.
The run was a little hilly, but all on shaded paths and it was very enjoyable. My run pace was only a minute or so slower than my usual run race pace, and that's when I don't swim and bike first!
The best part was the finish - they announced my name when I came to the finish and that I was a first-time triathlete. Then there was PIZZA just across the finish line. I hadn't had pizza for breakfast since graduate school but it sure tasted good!
Overall, it was a great experience and I can't wait for NJ!! Thanks to NTP for helping get me ready!
Congratulations Steph! Great work, I am so glad to hear it went well,
wait till you get to a race where the finish line food is beer and pizza.. now talk about going back to college days. LOL
awesome! aren't triathletes the most helpful people? just wait til you get that new bike, you will burn up the nj course!
Awesome job!!!! If you get a new bike, you might want to hurry, so you can have time to become one with it. There are alot of things involved with a new bike. Daily walks, weekly bathes, teaching it to sleep on it's side of the bed, proper positioning, so that when the camera person catches you, you look super cool and super fast. The last one is optional if you are good with a photo editor.. :) Congrats again and look forward to tearing up the NJ Course with you.
take it from a marathoner turned triathlete... you will improve on the bike! the more time you spend in the saddle (and with a trainer in the offseason) the better.
what's really awesome for you to consider is that while you WILL improve leaps and bounds in the saddle, most people will not experience similar improvment in the water. (it's unbelievable to me that my summer swim team experience over 20 years ago has put me in pretty solid swim footing)... so once you've got your bike leg down you will smoke!
keep it up!
Congratulations! I started two behind you in the odd side of the pool yesterday. If you were able to get out of the pool just behind me with all of the slower swimmers that we had to pass, you could shave at least a minute off of your swim.
The bike will make a BIG! difference. Between my first and second (yesterday) triathlon I went from a borrowed hybrid to an entry level road bike (Fuji Newest) and increased my bike speed by about 4 mph, even with a hillier course and much worse training on my part.
Congrats to you too, Treehugger! Did we chat yesterday before we started swimming?
yes, it did seem as though we all got clogged up in the pool. I managed to pass a few people and at one point felt like I had to wait to get into the next lane, which was a little frustrating. Thanks so much for all the advice.
Yes, my bike is a hybrid which I've affectionately named "Pokey" since I started NTP. Or not so affectionately - Pokey has been my nemesis ever since I started the training program. She's fun for Sunday rides with my husband, but not so appropriate for tri training. I'm sure I'm wearing her out! ;)