Sunday, August 30, 2015

Fort Ritchie Triathlon 2015

Fort Ritchie Triathlon
By Marsha O'Mara

Based on my showing at the Fort Ritchie Olympic distance triathlon, I can safely say, I have improved in triathlons, but I have some more work to do.

The swim, as we all know, is my weakest event.  Apparently I thought it was more fear than anything that was keeping me back.  But I learned that it's also a lack of endurance.  Surprisingly, I was not that scared to swim.  I was in the last wave so I didn't have anyone swimming over me until the group from the prior wave came through again for their 2nd loop (we swam 2 loops in the lake for the Olympic distance).  And that wasn't even so bad.  But what got me was my lack of endurance.  I had to flip over on my back more to catch my breath than out of fear of swimming.  Maybe it was partially due to fear as well why I got short of breath quickly, but I still feel like I need to put in a lot more hours in the pool to work on endurance so I can swim more instead of just flipping on my back every 10 strokes.  So I will start doing swim workouts in January of next year if I plan to do a fall race.
As I said, my swim was pretty good.  In this race, when doing the Olympic distance, we had to swim one lap and then get out of the water, run around and jump back in the lake for the 2nd lap.  I was not too pleased with that.  Once I get out of the lake, I want to stay out of the lake.  Who wants to get back in there?  But I did it.  And no I didn't jump in the lake.  I'm not there yet.  I scooted in and meanwhile, scratched up my arm on the reentry.  So I probably should have jumped in now that I think about it.  Lessons learned.

The bike was pure torture!!!!  They changed the bike course at the last minute so when we started the course, we had to go up this steep hill.  Now I've ridden up hills before.  Yes, I may only go 5 mph up the hill, but I usually can still make it up without walking.  I had to give up on that on this hill.  I surely did get off my bike and walk up that first hill.  Then I think I walked up another one near the start too because it was just too steep.  But after that, it was a good downhill from there and I fueled up and ate my Shot Bloks.  That gave me some energy.  We had a NICE, NICE (did I say NICE?) downhill for about 3 miles.  I was cruising.  Pedaling did no good so I just coasted down the hill.  Well, what happens when you go downhill for 3 miles on an out and back course?  Yep, you have to go back up that hill.  So I did.  And I didn't walk up that hill mainly because I figured if I got off my bike, I wouldn't be able to start back up again.  So I decided to push through.  The hill wasn't really steep, steep.  It was a steady incline.  So it was rough and long but not unbearable.  But don't let me make you think it wasn't bad.  It was bad.  Just doable.  Are you confused yet?  If so, once you ride it, you'll know what I mean.  :-)  After that long uphill, I was just so ready for it to be over.  And of course, as usually happens in my races, my chain came off right near the finish.  So I had to put it back on.  Good thing is I was on a downhill at that point, so no worries.

Oh, so let's go back to the swim.  They announced it was wet suit legal, but barely.  So I have these "wet suit" shorts that I bought last year.  I decided to wear them for the swim thinking they would allow my bottom portion to glide better.  Well, I don't think they did because I didn't notice any difference.  But I got back to transition after the swim and forgot to take them off!!!!  I was about 1 mile in on the bike before I realized they were still on.  I thought about ditching them on the side of the road and coming back for them later, but I kept them on.  They were making me a bit hot though so maybe they do do something since wet suits keep you warm.  I'm going to need to investigate these shorts to see if they are still worth wearing.

So when I got back to the transition, I made sure that I took those shorts off!!!!  I would have burned up on my run in those things.  The run was fine.  There were a few hills, of which I walked ALL of them!  I usually don't walk hills in races.  I at least wait until I get to the top and then take a break.  Not here.  I was just so done after the bike ride.  So the course was a double loop of a 3.1 mile course.  On my 1st loop, I saw some people starting their second loop.  So I knew I was at least only 30 minutes or so behind someone.  Oh, I guess this is the time to mention that at this point, I was the last person in the race!!!  Oops.  I guess my swim was the slowest out of everyone and that just put me at the back of the pack for the rest of the race.  Oh well...first time for everything.  On my 2nd loop, there was someone else just starting her 2nd loop, and I was able to pass her!  So I wasn't going to be the last person in the race after all.  Not that that's a bad thing because as long as I finished, I was fine.  But I just thought that was at least something I could pass this person.  So I did.  

While on the run, I saw a fox in the woods.  And I was very scared.  But the fox ran away, and I kept the next hill and then I walked.  I got to one water station and got the last cup of water.  Then I got to the last water station before the finish and there was no one there manning the water station.  Just some cups filled up on the table.  So I took as many as I liked.  And then I ran the rest of the way to the finish.

My time was 4:06:32.3 which is a very good time for me as I wanted to do it in 4 hours.  So I was very close to my goal time.  It's just that everyone else was faster than me.  :-)  Now that I know what I need to do to get better, I will start working on that in the new year.  Overall, I had a really good race and am happy with my performance.  I couldn't have asked for anything more.

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