Ridgefield Sprint Triathlon Sunday June 5: 1st Female Overall (Total Time: 1:11:00)
Swim ½ mile (11:43) Bike 12.75miles (39:11) Run 3.1miles (17:47)
This was my first race of the triathlon season this year, which I had decided to sign up for just 2 days before (and was lucky to get into so last minute, thanks Terry!). It’s a local race, and one of the most popular around this area (Fairfield County) usually closing out registration within minutes of when it opens up. Oddly I had never done this one before, even though it was right around the corner from where I lived. It’s a sprint triathlon which is the shortest of triathlon distances at ½ mile swim, 12.75 mile bike, 5k (3.1 mile) run, short, but still very challenging.
In years past I would have had a whole race calendar planned for the year, quite far in advance…however I think I kind of like this last minute sign up! Less anxiety building up to the race when you don’t know you are doing one until the week of! Anyways, I did sign up for a half ironman in August awhile back, but the reason I hadn’t planned any races prior was because I had been dealing with a hip injury over the winter and spring and hadn’t been able to run. The past few weeks however, I was feeling alright, and I was sort of itching to get a race under my belt, just to see where I was at and if any of my crazy, unstructured training/no running was paying off! SO I got Jeff (my fiancé) to sign up with me, because it’s just not the same doing a race without him now! AND I know how much he enjoys hearing me complain the night before about having to get up at 4am and saying “ugh why did I sign up for this” . I also had two girlfriends/training buddies (see picture above, Me, Flo, Rocio) racing it, both very fast and whom had in fact won this race in years past…so I knew it would be good competition! I also had a client of mine doing this race as her VERY first triathlon, so it was a day filled with a lot of fun racing!
My goal, as it is for all races, was to just go HARD. I had no idea where my paces would be, and hadn’t even run the week or two before to know how my hip would feel. Having Flo and Rocio out there racing, was good motivation! Flo, who I have known for a while, is a professional Triathlete who has raced for YEARS all over the world and is a book of knowledge on the sport. She has helped me tremendously over the years, especially in getting my swim to where it is! There were many, many swim workouts we did in the pool where I literally would be just hanging on to make the intervals, maybe with 1-2 sec rest if that, I loved it and hated it! Never had I swam so hard in my life until I met her! Oh and she is a mom of 3, and just had a baby boy 5 months ago! Rocio is a client of Flo’s, training for Ironman Lake Placid this year. She is super strong and is also a mom!
Race morning was wet, which I was a bit nervous about because I hadn’t really ever raced on such wet roads before. It would mean not slamming on the breaks too hard, being super cautious on turns and hills. The water for the swim was beautiful, they call is a “pond” but it is really more like a lake, very pretty, and super warm for this time of year. I decided not to race with my wetsuit. Most people like to wear these in triathlons because 1. It keeps you warm 2. It provides extra buoyancy which lends to faster swim times, and is also a comfort for people to feel more afloat. That buoyancy also allows you to use less of your legs, which is beneficial for all the biking and running to come. I however, don’t often like using a wetsuit, only if the water is super cold (read my mighty Montauk triathlon update). And for a sprint, you are looking at a swim 10-15min in length, which a wetsuit maybe could give you an extra 30 sec, but that can easily be offset by the time it takes to take it off in transition! SO, I went without it. We were all in the first wave, which was nice because we would be able to see where everyone was. It was an out of water start, so we all lined up on the beach and sprinted into the water at the sound of the gun…Swim went smooth, I got out enough ahead to not be swimming amongst anyone, and swam pretty straight on to each buoy.
I exited the water and was quickly told by spectators I was the second women …I knew Flo was obviously the one ahead of me! I ran quickly to transition and spotted her just about to leave on the bike, this is why I love racing with people I know, especially someone like her, its such friendly competition that I almost find myself laughing/cheering her on/and also busting her chops saying “yeah you better get moving I’m right behind you” … we almost exited transition together, then I saw her bike computer come off at the mount line, which she had to quickly run back for, slowing her down a bit…but didn’t matter, she raced right ahead of me. Off on the bike and I knew I would be chasing her, and was also worried about who might be behind me, so I had motivation to catch someone, as well as not to get passed! I’d say that is a good combination to make you race hard. Often if you are in the lead, it’s a bit harder to gauge how hard to go, you don’t want to settle and get comfortable where you are at because you are in first…but often if you know you are way ahead of competition, there isn’t as much of a driving force to make you push harder to catch someone ahead of you. I liked where I was at. Luckily no one (except men including Jeff) passed me on the bike. I always know Jeff will pass me somewhere during the bike, and oddly I always know exactly when he is going to go by, and I actually love that part of the race…its probably the only time I am happy seeing someone fly by me! There was a good combination of hills and flats, and I like hills. After the 12.75 mile bike, I came into transition and saw Flo already running out…I fumbled a bit to get my shoes on but once I headed out I felt pretty good. I never wear a watch to tell me my pace/HR like some people do, I go by how I feel and just push hard, back off when I need to, I think it’s good to be in tune with how you FEEL over what a watch is telling you. I never really know how fast I am going though, and it always feels like you are going way slower than you are when you run after biking, but I like that, and I actually run faster AFTER having biked. This run was mostly uphill for ¾ of the race…which I didn’t know until AFTER those hills. I couldn’t see Flo for a good part of it, probably because of all the hills, turns etc.
At about 1 mile I was told she was only 15 sec ahead, which I didn’t expect. Those 15 sec ahead were all up the last big hill…I busted my butt here (which my calved paid for the week after). I finally caught her with about a mile left, and said let’s run together, but then was a really bad friend and found myself moving more ahead of her, so I just continued to yell to her to keep up!! (Some women might not like that!). I crossed the finish line and immediately saw Jeff, there to hand me a water already! Although I do hope one day he WONT pass me on the bike, I do love that is he right there when I cross the finish! I felt good and thought how great I felt on the run, and that maybe no running was the key to running fast! (or maybe it was that good cup of coffee I had this morning?) I found out I had run one of my fastest 5k’s 17:47 (5:45 pace). They also had a prize for the fastest last mile of the race for both men and women, which I won in a time of 4:40, however the last mile was ALL downhill so don’t be too impressed! You can see full results here http://fasttracktiming.com/race-result/ridgefield-sprint-triathlon-ridgefield-ct/#/person:&entry_id=99:1466083657520
This was overall such a fun race, and fun day getting to be out racing with people I know! Even though the sport if very individual, there is still a lot of good comradery out there and that’s what makes it such a fun sport. Everyone is going through the same pain, no matter what pace they are at, and even when you are neck in neck with your good friend, you still are cheering them on!