I have a completed triathlon on the books. Not only am I spared the nonsense of making a freaking Ironman my first triathlon, but I am also officially hooked.
Shawnee Mission Tri was much-needed fun. I swim at the park once a week, ride there almost as often, and have started the race before, so the whole deal was comfortably familiar. I entered the long course, aiming for a good training day, sticking with all my Ironman workouts leading up (only SEVEN weeks left!) including a 6-hour brick the day before. Weather-wise, humidity was high, but the temp had cooled off to the 80°s from the previous day's 107° – jackpot!
The swim wasn't so awesome. I did much better than KS70.3 at settling into my stroke, but my sighting – which I've practiced quite a bit lately – went out the window. I paused regularly to catch my bearings and find a free spot to swim. Getting forward momentum back up from vertical over and over was a ridiculous energy drain.
The bike was 4 loops and I was a little worried at the start of the first lap – ugh, perhaps a little early to find my max heart rate? A few minutes in though, I settled down and started to enjoy it. It was a great lesson on the benefit of riding a course before a race. I knew even I, the scarediest scaredy cat, could safely descend the short winding hills in aero, and that I needed to fight my urge to ease up after climbs because there's no time to relax.
I was even chatty, saying annoying motivational things to other riders, perhaps drunk with accomplishment because I was, for the first time, passing people? Now I get why people passing me are always saying silly things – gosh, you're TINY, good for you! (dude, I'm 5'3", not eligible for a handicap plate), good job Pippi (reddish hair + braids = never heard that one before), oooooh, your kit is soooo adorable! I need to get that one... for my wife (yes, from a man).
I spent most of the ride wondering where the ladies were. Even when we started to catch the short course racers, the male to female ratio was shockingly unbalanced. Wow, 3:1? Get out there, girls! On my third loop, a long course gal in my age group flew by and I thought, self, follow that. I made it a minute or so, but she was a machine. I barely kept her in sight and then she turned off to transition while I still had another lap to do. Inspiring.
Once again, I successfully dismounted my bike without crashing – score! The run started off rough with a hill that I had to walk (whoops, is this a race or something?), but I still had a big stupid grin on my face because it was my first time getting to the run in a triathlon! I like it! My pace was all over, really slow at the start, walking the water stations, but finishing the last mile-and-a-half at 6:xx pace, so, um, I think I could probably even that out a bit next time.
After the finish, I sent a text to S at home to let him know I had a great race (in my post-race eloquence, it said, fuckin' nailed it this time!, how classy) and wanted to wander around and soak up the scene, maybe watch awards to "see what fast people look like", and found out – surprise! – he was on-site with the kids! They had just missed me at the finish, but I was thrilled to have them there. We waited through half of the loooong award announcements, but started to get bored, so I figured I'd just check out my final time on the print-outs and then head home. Wait, what! 2nd in my age group? OK, granted, there were only 11 people in the group, but still! We HAVE to wait around for awards now :)
I tried to give it to the kids, but no takers. S thinks we need a trophy case – ha!
1000m swim: 21:58 (2:01/100yd)
18-mi Bike: 59:04 (18.2 mph)
4.5-mi Run: 39:51 (8:53 min/mi)
Fifteen exclamation points in one post. How unlike me! (make that sixteen)