I spent a lot of the winter getting psyched on climbing again and running (and dealing with IT band issues – no fun). I recently signed up for a Long Course Tri in San Jose in June. This means 1mi swim, 56mi bike, 9mi run. This is long. Long enough that it would genuinely suck to go into it with insufficient training, so I’m making sure I’ll be ready.
Last weekend I did a little warm-up race down in Morgan Hill, CA to help me get back into the zone of racing and assess my fitness. I signed up for the sprint duathlon (vs. the international distance) so I could have a low-stress, fast race to get the feeling of riding my tri bike and doing my transitions.
I drove down in the early morning light on Sunday and set up my bike in the transition area. I was really early, so I had plenty of time to do all of my pre-race routine at a leisurely pace, including a nice warm-up for my legs. We lined up to start at 9am and… we were off. I was initially hopeful I could stay with the leaders of the women’s wave, but I listened to my legs and eased back. I think the leaders were going 6:00 pace, which is definitely way too fast for me to start off my run. Fortunately, this fast start left me feeling very comfortable at a ~7:30 pace, which I was able to keep up for the first 2 mile run (2.2mi according to my Garmin). I had some minor bike shoe issues in T1 (not using my tri shoes, so I wouldn’t have to take my socks off), then headed out onto the bike. I felt good, but got passed more than I would have liked. I can tell that my cycling shape is not where it was last season, so it’s something to work on. T2 went very smoothly and I was out on the 2nd run, legs feeling tired but warm. I passed two women who’d passed me on the bike very early on into the run. Despite my tiredness, I was actually going a pretty good pace, not much slower than my first run. After a winter of half marathons, 2 miles went by really fast and in no time the finish was in sight. The announcer remarked on my strong kick (damn straight) as I came through the finish and I felt pretty awesome.
I ended up finishing 16th in the women’s division, and 1st in my age group (20-29) with a time of 1:08:37 for 2mi run, 10mi bike, 2mi run. It was a really perfect beginning-of-season race . It was not too stressful, helped me work out the kinks, showed me some current weaknesses (bike!), and I got to enjoy the benefits of all the running I’ve done the past 6 months. Hello, triathlon season!
P.S. Don’t worry, I’m totally still psyched on climbing, I pushed my next tri from April to May so I can have more weekends to climb in April and take advantage of my post-Creek fitness!