Last weekend I participated in the Rookie Triathlon. The Rookie is a mini-sprint triathlon (300m swim; 11.1 mi bike; 2 mi run) that is well-supported and perfectly suited for new triathletes. The part that I was most excited about was that it was the very FIRST triathlon for two ladies that I have been training (Rachel and Chrissy). I was really anxious to see the results of all the training and hard work they had been doing; and a little nervous as well. I was also competing, partly because I just like to, and partly because that would make it easier for me to help them get situated before the race got started. Another friend of ours (Brittany) was in the race as well, so we had a nice little group.
I had decided that I was really going to go all out on each leg, red-lining it the whole time. The distances were short enough that I didn't need to worry about endurance, just top-end speed. So, right off the bat I got up front for the swim and when the horn sounded I took off. I just kept pulling as hard as I could for the 300 meters. When I got out, I was disappointed to see a time of 6:40ish; which was slower than what I hoped for. But as mentioned in my 70.3 race report, you really don't know how well you did until you can see how it compares to everyone else (due to all the variables like distance errors). Turns out that my swim time was 2nd fastest in my AG! This race may not be ultra-competitive like some other races, but I'm still pretty psyched about that.
Next, I got thru transition quickly and headed out on the bike. This was one leg where I was really determined to give it everything I had, I didn't want to hold back at all. I just kept pushing the pace, even up the small hills, and finished with a pace that my Garmin showed as 22 mph (21.6 officially; but I also showed the bike distance to be just over 11.3 miles). Later I learned that was the fastest split in my age group - another sign that the bike performance is improving :)
Back in transition, I put on my running shoes and took off on the run. I was able to hold just under a 6:30 pace, and again was not sure how that would compare (ended up 2nd fastest run in AG). I actually thought on a short run like that, I might be closer to 6:15; but I did push hard on the bike. As I started the 2nd mile, I passed one person in my AG. It's funny when you do that, because you don't know if you just moved from 14th place to 13th, or 5th to 4th, or...whatever. In this case, it turns out that I had moved from 2nd to 1st with that pass; and ended up winning my Age Group! I have to admit, that was a lot of fun :)
With my race done, it was time to go catch up with the ladies and see how they were doing. I had started the swim a couple waves ahead of them, so I was able to get back to the run start before they came through. First was Rachel, who was looking great and obviously doing very well. Next came Brittany, who it turns out had rode the last 3 miles of the bike course on a flat tire... wow, that is some tough riding! After that I was looking for Chrissy, and I grew increasingly more anxious and worried as time went on. I knew she had been having some hip pain, and was going to be riding a little slower (plus being on a mountain bike); but it was getting down to the last few bikers. Finally, the last biker was in, still no sign of Chrissy! Fairly dejected, I went back to the race finish area to find out what happened. As I got closer, I could here the announcer; and all of a sudden I heard him call Chrissy's name at the finish line! I ran over there and found her and Rachel; who were both floating on clouds. It is so amazing to see the joy of someone that conquers a huge challenge like that :) But I still can't figure out how I missed Chrissy on the bike to run transition...
I caught up with Brittany shortly after that. She was a little bummed about the flat tire incident, but had finished with a strong run and a good time overall. Little bit of a lesson learned, there; as I had myself considered not carrying a flat repair kit since the course was so short. I figured the race would be shot at that point; but the reality is that you always want to finish, and there may not be tech support around - so having a flat repair kit is not an option : )
Everything considered, it was really a wonderful day and a lot of fun. I think the best part was seeing Rachel and Chrissy complete their first triathlon, and the obvious joy and pride they had at that accomplishment. I could tell by the discussion afterwards that they have definitely caught the triathlon bug... good luck to their friends and families!
One other thing... I must thank my wife for allowing me to participate in my hobby (aka obsession) on Mother's Day. It's nice to have support and encouragement like that :)
Now it's time to get back to preparation for the Lake Pflugerville triathlon (as swim director, not participant), and some swim clinics that we're doing over the next few weeks. Found out a couple days ago that the race is sold out, so I better get to work!
Help the kids!
Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation: to find a cure for childhood cancer for kids like Ishani ... Please help them by donating HERE
Hope For Kidz: program to help educate children in Haiti