What I was least looking forward to...
Today’s was my one and only tri of the season, so I wanted to make it the best one. I drove over to Knoxville yesterday and did all the pre-race stuff: Pick up my packet, attend the athlete briefing, rack my bike, check out what I can of the course without driving, mentally prepare, pray about the race, and chat with people who are around. I made it just in time for the second of 2 athlete briefings and after listening to them discuss the course and race realized that I’d forgotten my wetsuit. It was supposed to be in the 60s in the morning, and the water temperature was currently about 65°—Brrr! I was prepared for the cold weather but not the cold water. Oh, well, I’d deal with it in the morning. I headed over to the Giles’ house, where I was staying for the night, played some baseball and watched part of a movie with Leah and Michael, and was asleep before 10. That wasn’t as early as I would’ve liked, but I could also sleep in in the morning compared to my normal weekday routine.
I was out of the house by 6am after a breakfast of water and oatmeal with brown sugar and honey and all set up before Transition closed at 7am. I missed the start from the start point but was doing at the swim finish to watch the pros get out of the water and on to the bike. That was fun to see, but of course I didn’t have my camera and don’t have pictures. My start time was 8:02, with all the other Olympic-distance-racing women, the latest start time of the day. I got in the water around 8:01 after having debated with myself for the previous 30 minutes whether to even start the race. I knew I had enough to keep my warm once I was out of the water, but I didn’t want to freeze in the water and not finish the swim. So I made a deal with myself: If I saw at least 5 people without wetsuits (I watched nearly everyone else start), I would start the race. By 7:55, I’d seen only 2 guys, not the 5 I’d needed. But I walked to the dock anyway, and there I saw a women and her daughter, both without wetsuits. I went to chat with them, and they convinced me to start, stating that we were basically already committed anyway and pointing to a girl behind me who had on only a swimsuit—the 5th person I needed to see. So I jumped in. This swim was probably my slowest.swim.ever at (on my watch) 32 minutes. Unfortunately, that’s pretty close to my half-distance swim with a wetsuit. But given that I was without a wetsuit and hadn’t been swimming much, I didn’t let the time phase me.
Finished with the swim, finally!
I’d learned from last year’s Music City Tri that everyone else might have just as slow (or slower) a swim as I had, so I went into transition ready to ride hard and fast.
What I was most looking forward to...
My transition was pretty long (for me) because I took the time to change from the shirt I swam in to my Team Belladium fleece jersey, completely dry my feet and put on nice wool socks, and cover my shoes with my booties (they were already on, but I had to pull them up and zip them). I did not regret that decision at all. Though I warmed up on the bike, I was never hot, so I was comfortably dressed. The best part of this ride was that I passed so many people on the bike. I actually looked forward to every hill. I know from my past years of racing that triathletes are great on flats and not as strong on hills. Roadies are much better on hills, and since becoming a roadie I’ve become better on hills. That skill was definitely my advantage today and I passed more people than I could count. I passed a number of women in my age group as well, moving from 11/15 out of the swim up to 4/15 after the ride.
The excitement for the ride was watching some guy hit a car. He’d been riding on the car’s bumper because he wanted to pass but the car was not moving to one side or the other and the rider didn’t know which side to pass on. He shouldn’t have been right at the bumper regardless, but he was, and the driver hit the brakes. Car stopped, rider hit bumper, rider braked, rider fell. I looked at the car’s license plate and memorized it but figured there wouldn’t be much opportunity for me to actually share it with anyone. About a mile or so later (measuring mileage on the bike in a race is not my strong point), we passed an officer in his car protecting an intersection for us. I told him, “There was a rider down near the corner of Stout and Tipton Ridge!” and kept riding. Even while I was paying attention to all this, I was moving up in the field and continuing to race (a huge improvement over last year, when I finished the bike thinking I didn’t really race it at all). Another mile or so later, said rider passed me again (and I saw him again on the run), so thankfully he was OK.
I knew the photographer was here, so I'm trying to smile. But I didn't adjust my stride for him at all, and this is a much better looking step than I've had in similar pictures in the past. Hooray!
T2 was much quicker than T1 as I took off my fleece jersey, grabbed a visor, put on my tennies, and headed out. I remember the course from last year (did not remember any of the bike course) and also pretended like I was running around the big block at the MFY. It worked well, I ran the whole thing, and I didn’t allow myself to be passed by too many people. I passed only a few, but it was still a success (given my lack of run training). Around mile 3, a girl from my age group passed me. I had no more speed than what I was giving, so I had no chance of staying with her. I tried and couldn’t, so I let her go and just kept racing my race. Less than a mile from the finish, I passed a girl in my age group and encouraged her to keep it up, secretly hoping she was too tired to keep up with me. She was, and I beat her. So I maintained my 4th place position during the run and ended up 4/15 in my age group. Hooray! This is way better than last year’s 16th place finish!
- Totals: 2:46:05 (slower than last year, thanks to a ridiculously slow swim). 4/15 in Age Group. 41/159 females. 230/506 overall.
- Swim: 33:53
- T1: 3:47
- Bike: 1:15:06, 24.8 miles, 19.8 mph (35.1 max), 175 HR (189 max)
- T2: 0:57 (much better than T1, but T1 also included the run up from the swim)
- Run: 52:21. Mi 1: 8:04. Mi 2: 8:14. Mi 3: 8:20. Mi 4+bathroom: 8:28. Mi 5: 8:35. Mi 6: 8:29. Mi 6.23: 1:51. 8:25 pace.
The winner of our AG finished in 2:11:53. The first swimmer in AG (same girl) did 24:47, the first cyclist (same girl) did 1:04:56, and the first runner (same girl) did 39:19. Her transitions were 1:55 and 0:54. The first overall female finished in 2:03:00. She swam in 16:44, rode in 1:06:30, and ran in 37:45. My last year's times were the following: Total: 2:41:01. Swim: 23:47. T1: 2:10. Bike: 1:21:59. T2: 2:10. Run: 50:53.
I had a great time and am very happy with how I raced, how I felt, and how I finished. Success! Full results are here.