Did you ever wake up in the morning and think, “Hey, I want to run a triathlon this morning?” No? Only me?
Well, it didn’t quite happen like that but it kind of felt like it. The Iron Girl Clermont Triathlon had been on my to-do list all year. I never got around to registering for it. I kept putting it off and up until the Friday before the race, I thought I may not even do it. On that Friday I was thankful that I hadn’t registered because I thought I would need to go home to Connecticut the next day.
I had actually made the effort to switch my schedule with a friend so that I wasn’t working past midnight the night before the race and when I realized that I wouldn’t be going to Connecticut for a few more days, I decided to get up for the race to cheer on Mel. I did take the extra steps to get everything together in case I decided to do the race. I made sure that my bike had enough air in the tires. You know, the important stuff. I even sent Rob a text message to look out for my stuff since he would be getting home late and I didn’t want him to trip over anything.
Sunday morning I got up at 4:45, got everything into my car and made the 20 minute drive over to Lake Minneola. As soon as I was parked, I grabbed my bike and went to the registration table. All bikes had to be in the transition area by 6:30 so I wanted to make sure I got my bike in there as soon as I was able to. At the registration table I was able to meet Meghann and tell her about being registered for the Rocketman Tri.
Once I got marked and racked my bike (in the wrong section – whoops! I fixed it before the race started), I went back to my car and got the rest of my stuff and sent Mel a text message letting her know that I was there.
After getting my transition area all set up (in the right section), we headed over to the beach to relax before our wave started. Mel wanted to line up at the back of our wave so that we wouldn’t need to deal with the mad rush of people trying to start the swim. There was a total of 5 waves, 3 for the Sprint distance and 2 for the Super Sprint distance and I was in the last wave.
Once we got in the water, we had to run out a bit before we were actually able to start swimming. Normally we would have started further out in the lake and the drop off would have happened sooner, but we’ve had so much rain recently that the shore was about 30 feet “higher” than the last time I saw Mel do a race here.
I was able to start swimming and very quickly started passing people. I had to stop and tread water a few times to avoid getting kicked in the face or swimming right on top of people. By the time I was heading back to shore, I was passing people who were in the wave ahead of me. When I was able reach the bottom, I started running. I wanted to run all the way to the transition, but I am just not that good at running on sand so I moved as quickly as I could.
For T1, I was able to get my feet rinsed off quickly and then I tried to put on my shoes. Here would have to be my biggest mistake. I decided to try my Vibram Five Fingers because 1) my bike seat was a little bit low and I thought the thinner material under my feet would make it seem like my seat was higher and 2) I thought they would take less time to get on than dealing with socks and sneakers. Yeah… I finished the swim 2 minutes before Mel and she still caught up with me in the transition. I just couldn’t get them on with damp feet.
For the bike, I survived. As I mentioned before, Clermont is hilly. Florida has hills folks. The first hill was not very long after the start of the bike portion. It was a pretty good climb, but it was followed by a nice and fast down hill. Unfortunately, the entire bike portion was rolling hills for the rest of the ride. We biked around all of Lake Minneola. It was very pretty and maybe next year I can actually plan on training on the course a few times. The last big hill was actually the worst. I managed to make it up it without stopping though!
My T2 was remarkably fast. I got in, racked my biked and turned around to head out right away. Notice something I forgot to do there? I didn’t notice right away either.
I was so thankful to only be doing the 2 mile run by that point. But very quickly, I realized that wearing the Five Fingers was the worst decision I had made. My feet and legs were not happy. There were a few parts of the run course that were out and back. I was able to see Mel and she kept encouraging me to catch here. I tried to, I really did and maybe with my sneakers I would have been able to, but my legs just could not move any faster.
Back to that thing I forgot to do during T2. About a half mile into the run, one of the other participants asked me why I was still wearing my helmet. What? Oh. Whoops! I took off my helmet and started carrying it. Then one of my swim coaches happened to bike by. She asked why I was carrying my helmet. Yup. Thankfully there were some bushes nearby and I through it in there so that I could pick it up on the way back. I didn’t want to run through the finish line with the helmet so I though it to the side again just before the finishing chutes.
I was pretty satisfied with my performance in my first triathlon. I was already making plans to do it again. I can’t wait to do my next one!
Total time: 1:30:31
I came in 5th in my age group for the swim. I was so close to the next person that I am certain if I had started at the front of my wave I would have come in 4th for the swim. I spent too much time during the swim stopping and battling my way around people. Also, only socks and sneakers for my next race. I know I can slip my socks on damp feet much faster than trying to get the Five Fingers on. Oh yeah, and leave my helmet with my bike!