Port Stephens Triathlon Festival – Sprint Distance.
The summarised version:
For the first time (that I can remember) I enjoyed “the race” rather than the “sense of achievement” after enduring the race and finishing.
The full version:
I achieved a number of mini-goals in yesterday’s race.
I didn’t end up having to make the hardest decision – to wetsuit, or not to wetsuit. The swim was cancelled late Friday afternoon due to dangerous water conditions.
It wasn’t any better by 10:15am Saturday morning.
Instead of the 750m swim we had a 2km beach run. Yet another first for me. I went into this race thinking “I’m going to enjoy the challenge and experience something different”.
Running on sand was certainly different. Fortunately, due to the amount of rain, it was all fairly hard underfoot for the first lap although a bit churned up by the time the back-of-packers finished the second lap.
I hadn’t left town when I saw the post about the cancellation of the swim so I was able to duck back home after work to get an old pair of sneakers. This meant I would have clean, dry shoes for the second run.
I didn’t walk in this run at all. First mini-goal achieved.
A lady I met through parkrun and a facebook group I belong to took this photo – finishing the beach run with an uphill climb to transition. Definitely a better option than swimming.
I wasn’t sure how my legs would go on the bike coming off a run. I haven’t ever trained to ride after running since it’s usually the other way around. It was a pleasant surprise to find that everything was just fine.
I was exiting transition and about to clamber onto my bike when a bunch of super-fast guys from a later wave come through. They were all doing fancy, flying, jump-on-while-you’re-moving mounts so I just walked off to the side and stood there waiting for a gap in the traffic, hopped on my bike, then went for my ride. I was a little freaked out by the fast guys who continued to pass me at regular intervals with seemingly only inches to spare. The road was wet and very potholed (this was a town that was very badly affected by the recent Hunter Storm/East Coast Low) and I was scared I was going to have to pull out in front of someone with no wriggle room.
A short distance in my bike started rattling but it only seemed to be at (relatively) higher speeds. I stopped twice and pulled off the side of the road to see if I could find anything loose but I couldn’t. I was almost in tears with fear that I was going to lose a wheel. A number of people had crashed in the longer race which finished just before mine started. I eventually “got a grip” and convinced myself the wheels weren’t going to fall off physically so I couldn’t let the mental wheels fall off either.
I finished the first lap of the two lap course and though “wow, I’m halfway through already”. I was hoping this race would feel shorter than the last one I did. It should have – it was only half the distance. But it really did. It all seemed so easy. The wind was howling on the bike and at one point I felt like I was being blown sideways. I had told myself I wasn’t going to brake on the downhills unless it was really dangerous. I didn’t have to decide that either because the wind was blowing hard up the hill when I was on the big downhills so I had no choice but to keep pedalling.
Bike done without mishap. No crash, no broken bike, and maintained a regular cadence (about 85) except on the biggest hill. Another mini-goal achieved.
Onto the run and the sun came out. About 1km into the 5km run I realised I was enjoying myself. I don’t generally enjoy races. I’ve done them because if I’m not training for a race I lose focus and skip my training. I think Sprint is definitely my distance. It’s long enough to be a challenge but short enough that I can train for it and enjoy it.
I usually enjoy the thrill of the sense of accomplishment after I’ve finished a race but I think (at least as best as I can remember) this is the first time I’ve enjoyed a race during the race itself.
Once again, there were no finisher’s medals but that’s okay. I’m “over” that now. I did get a t-shirt that fits though.
Should have brushed my hair: taken after my looong drive home.
I stayed overnight Saturday night with relatives as well and didn’t have to drive home until today. That was a nice change too, instead of driving home on the day of the race. Halfway home I stopped for fuel and a loo break and noticed the front tyre looking a little flat. I drove the 20 metres to the air thingy and found it was down to less than half what it should be, and I could see a screw in the tyre. Tried to call the hubby to ask if it was safe to drive still (the screw was flush with the tyre) since I’d obviously been driving on it for a while. I couldn’t reach him so called my dad. Long story short, I drove the rest of the way home but checked the tyre pressure at every town with an open petrol station between there and home. It certainly kept me alert anyway.
I see a trip to a tyre shop in my future.
While waiting for hubby to ring me back, before I rang Dad, I moved everything around in the back of the car to see how accessible the jack and spare tyre were and found the source of the rattle on my bike. The bottom screw on the bottle cage was almost out. The bottle must have been holding it in! I’m rather relieved that it wasn’t a super-hot day and I didn’t need to drink more often.
The enticer race had a “superheroes” theme. There were a lot of competitors who dressed up. I’m sure they were all relieved that the swim was cancelled. Some of them did the whole race in masks as well as their costumes! It was a lot of fun to watch.
All in all, I am very happy with this final race of my triathlon season and am grateful that I didn’t pull out after all. I’m looking forward to many more enjoyable races in the future.
Race result: 22/22 in age category, 129/133 females, 315/322 competitors. As I mentioned earlier, I was very happy with my bike leg and it was certainly my strongest leg. I was 307/322 on the bike. I’m interested in my official result but not concerned or focussed on them. For me, this race was about feeling good and riding/running to the best of my ability on the day. #missionaccomplished
One day, I will look at improving my transition times.
And to top off a great day, there was a live koala in a tree near the finish when I was walking back to my car after the presentations.
Do you enjoy racing or just the sense of accomplishment when you’ve finished?