No pictures for this one; had my camera, but didn't really have any pictures to take. Plus didn't know anyone was there to take pictures until the very end.
As I mentioned in my last post, this race was my seventh in seven weeks. I was definitely ready to be done. I didn't even really prepare for this one that much, my first triathlon of the season.
Friday night, I drove down to Colorado Springs to see a friend from Boston who was in town ... and we somehow ended up crashing one of USA Hockey's award banquets (former BU coach was being honored). As a result, I didn't get home until just before 11pm and got in bed about 11:20ish ... after being up since about 3:30 that morning. Yeah, it was a long day.
Then, my alarm went off a mere five hours later. I packed up my transition bag (I made a list on my phone of everything I needed to pack), packed up my bike, ate breakfast and left for Aurora Reservoir. I wanted to get there at 5:30 when transition opened; I got there about 5:45.
I was still happily able to get a decent spot near the bike out and had plenty of time to pick up my packet and everything. A friend from Run Colorado, Jeanne (also known as the person who now has my old bike, Bob) was doing the race as well. It was her second-ever tri and first in open water. She racked near me and was asking me a ton of questions. There were a couple other people fairly new to the sport near me; it was a bit weird being the experienced one, but cool at the same time.
Soon enough, it was 7:25am and we were kicked out of transition. My wave still had about an hour before it went off, so I wandered in to the water (a balmy 62 degrees) to adjust to it and get in my first open water practice of the year. It took a while to adjust - it never gets any easier; six years, and it sucks every time - but the little bit of swimming I did went fine. Eventually, it was time to go.
The swim was a wave start; I actually seeded myself up near the front. I'm not the fastest swimmer, but I'm fairly confident in open water by this point, so I figured I'd head toward the front. It actually worked, too - not too many other people swam over me. The first buoy came up really quickly and I felt like I sighted really well going out - did a tight turn around both the second and third buoys.
Coming back to shore was a different story. I kept swimming with this one girl who kept switching from freestyle to backstroke and as a result, was zig-zagging around and it was tough swimming around her. I also had a bit more trouble sighting.
As a result, it was very disappointing reaching the shore and seeing around 20:00 on my watch. I got out of the water, took advantage of the wetsuit strippers (they had enough volunteers to have a few) and ran the long way up to transition.
Time: 22:23 (rank: 192nd overall; 96th gender; 16th division)
Transition is so simple. In, put bike shoes on, put helmet and sunglasses on, leave.
Time: 1:11 (rank: 26th, 13th, 2nd)
I was a little concerned about the bike thanks to a pre-ride of part of the course that week. Triathlons at Aurora Reservoir have tough bike courses because you ride the prairie and it is CONSTANT rolling hills. I am attempting to embrace the hill this year, but it's still a little ugh at the same time.
That being said, the bike went by fairly quickly. The new fit is AWESOME and I am SO much more comfortable on Sweet Cheeks now. I did have an issue shifting on one of the hills once and almost dropped the chain, but was luckily able to figure it out and had no further issues.
With all the hills, I was able to keep an average cadence of 85, which I was SUPER happy with ... especially because it felt like I couldn't keep a high cadence on the way back to transition - that final mile, mile and a half felt like it was all uphill into the wind.
Time: 45:26 (rank: 146th, 63rd, 13th)
Here is where you can tell I started mailing it in mentally/subconsciously, as my T2 times are NEVER as bad in my division as they were here. I was chatting with a relay guy next to me as I was putting on my socks - I was just really lackadaisical. Totally not me.
Time: 1:43 (rank: 193rd, 96th, 16th)
I never really felt good on this run. I also forgot how rolling hilly the run courses are at Aurora Reservoir. I ran when I could, walked more than I should have ... and the constant toll of racing made itself known in this portion as I couldn't muster up anything mentally to actually put forth more effort than I did. I hurt, but I usually hurt in races. I couldn't mentally get myself past it.
As a result, I had one of the worst runs I've had in a sprint tri in a LONG time.
Though, to be fair, even though this was supposed to be a 5K run, the 5K sign came well before the finish line.
Time: 34:27 (rank: 195th, 93rd, 17th)
I crossed the finish line, got a medal (wasn't expecting that), saw a different friend from Run Colorado (woo Leanne!), grabbed a bottle of water and hung out waiting for Jeanne to finish.
14/23 division (F30-34)
Not my best sprint tri but definitely not my worst. I was happy to be of use to the women around me - and Jeanne! - who were newer to the sport, as I wish I had more people like that to talk to in my first several races.
I'm also really glad to have six weeks of solid training ahead of me before I race again ... because two of my next three tris are at Aurora and they're all longer distance. I have a loooooot of work to do ...