Tuesday, September 17, 2013

YMCA Mini-Tri Race Report

Heats were color-coded. Blue means the sexy heat
I have found that I enjoy all levels and types of triathlon. I loved the intensity and busyness of the Half Ironman and, at least in the beginning, the Honolulu Triathlon. But the kicked-back, just for fun-style races have so much charm. No pressure, everyone is smiling and talking to each other, lots of new athletes with First Race Jitters at the beginning at The Swollen Chest of Accomplishment at the end. It's great fun.
The YMCA Mini-Tri last weekend was very much the second type.
First of all, of course it's kicked back. The Y isn't what you think of when you think of intense competition. I emailed the race director a few times prior to the race with questions and she was able to respond to me that day, sometimes within minutes. That kind of athlete service is awesome.
The race was only $25 and it showed. I do not mean that in a bad way. It didn't look cheap or feel cheap. It just wasn't an expensive race. It was a $25 race for which I got a t-shirt and lunch. That's the best deal for a race ever.
Because they didn't want us riding through busy streets the order of the tri was inside out. First we swam (they said) 500yds in the Y's 25yd pool. That's a first for me, I've never done a pool tri before. Then we ran the (they said) three miles to T2, where our bikes had been dropped off that morning. From there we rode (they said) 10 miles as an out-and-back, finishing back at T2.  Messing with the order was kind of nice for me, since it meant I got the run out of the way early before I wore my legs out riding. I've found it's easier to ride out of shape than to run. And out of shape I very much am.
The Y is a five minute walk from our apartment, and the meeting time was a wonderful 8am, with my actual start being at 9am. Which meant I could get up at a reasonable time and ride my bike out to T2 to drop it off, since it was only 3 miles away. Super Awesome Wife and Dirtbag Baby met me there and drove me back to the Y. This was nice because we haven't bought a collapsible bike rack for the car. We don't have a couch yet. Priorities.
The race meeting revealed how small the race actually was, with maybe 50 participants all together. That was actually a great thing because, spread out over three heats, it meant the pool wouldn't be too full while I was swimming. I'd probably have to just split a lane.
Nope! Even better, I got my own lane when my turn came. The swim was a planned 500yds, or as they put it, "10 laps." No, it's 20 laps, a lap is one way, but whatever. We had lane counters to double check us and keep times. I did a few warm-up laps, felt great, and was ready.
Cheering Daddy Dirtbag on!
And went out waaaay too hard. I don't know what I was thinking, but I took out that first 100 in probably a 1:05. I was cooking. I should not have been cooking. I should have been cruising. I don't know the last time I swam. And I immediately knew what I'd done. Everything started tightening up and I focused on maintaining a good stroke for the remainder of the swim. I hit the wall at 500yds and stood to get out. My timer said, "You have one (two) more laps." No, no I don't. I can count. But rather than complain I ducked back in to the water and did two more.
I know she was wrong and I'm not that irritated. It didn't cost me a win and it's not a big serious race. But the people in the last heat who were in my lane also had to do two extra laps. They came to me, I didn't come to them. So our counter counted wrong. Small grumbles.
Before the race we figured Super Awesome Wife would watch the swim, then get in the car with the boy and drive to T2 to see me off on the bike and at the finish. But then we talked to the race director and asked if I could run with the B.O.B. and the boy. She said sure, no problem. Yay! Baby's first triathlon! His fourth race overall. This kid can't stop doing races. So T1 was cap and goggles off, shoes, visor, and watch on, kiss wife, check boy (she put him in while I was swimming), and away I go with the stroller. Fun fun!
Doing my swim too fast too soon thing

Ready to race! Vroom!
 I like running with him, and he likes being in the stroller. Well, he falls asleep or chats to himself the whole time, but he likes it. He fell alseep by the time we got to T2.
I was first out of the water, and ran alone for about a mile before anyone caught up. I wouldn't have run fast anyway, but the stroller slows me down a little more. Luckily, the run was flat, so it wasn't that tough. We had a nice little run. My Garmin said it was 2.5mi. Informal races don't track distance exactly. Whatever, a shorter run is better for me.
I got to T2, handed off the now sleeping tiny human to the Super Awesome Wife, switched shoes, got my helmet, and got on my bike.
Here we come!

Racing is hard work

I mentioned the race was informal, right? This was T2
 The way out for the first few miles looked nice and easy. Then we made a left (which I missed and had to brake hard and turn around for because the volunteer wasn't easy to see), and suddenly there were rollers. Had I been in shape I would have loved this part. None of the climbs were long, they weren't terribly steep, I would have been pounding up. Instead, I'm out of shape and I huff and puff and get up out of the saddle for the first one and grumble through the others. At least they were rollers, which meant there was always a downhill to balance the up.
During the run I was passed by three people, and I caught two of them on the way out. I also kind of let me Garmin get in my head. I was expecting 10 miles, but we passed five miles and no turn around. I shouldn't be surprised, the other distances weren't exact, but I let myself be concerned I'd read the sheet wrong and it was a ten mile out and ten mile back, which would have been reaching into a little suck by the end. No, we turned around at about seven miles, at the end of one last bounce climb.
*EDIT- I just got a look at my Garmin data. Apparently, kept looking at the Total Distance reading, not the Bike Distance reading. The bike was 9.1mi. So...take that, me who doesn't know how is watch works* 
The ride back was more downhill, I guess the way out even when it felt flat wasn't, because the back end was easier. I also almost got hit by a car on the way back, which was nice.
I was heading towards an intersection at the bottom of a slight rise, so I was down in aero and zipping. The volunteer said nothing about, "Hey! Car! Watch out!" I didn't see him standing in front of the car to stop him. Nope, we got to the intersection at about the same time, the car deciding to make a right that would cause he and I to occupy the same space at the same time. I braked hard, swerved a little, and got around him with no more than a little fear pee. Put it out of my mind and finished the race. There was one guy in my heat I hadn't caught and though I could see him I was never able to reel him in. Still, finished hard, felt worn out afterwards, and had a good time.
Hard charging to the finish!

Too fast for the camera!
 After the race we hung out in T2, cheering on other finishers and talking story with other athletes. A lot of the people weren't regular triathletes, they did this one every year, and maybe one other one and that's it. Cool to meet them.
Once the last triathlete passed the finish line Super Awesome Wife put tiny human in the car and drove back to the Y for food and prizes, and I rode the 2.5mi back. We hung out, met a couple of other people because the small boy is the friendliest and most adorable person in any room, and made friends. One of the women we ended up talking to for a while was a mother of six, 40-something, and had wanted to do a tri for a long time. She had signed up, then gotten injured and missed one a year ago, so this was her first. She was glowing. So happy with how she did. "It hurt, and I loved it." Her tiny people and our tiny person played on the floor.
I really enjoyed this race regardless of the weird distances and the CAR and I'm going to keep an eye out for more like it. I'll be sure to do it next year.
Happy family post-race

Athletes chilling out

Swim- 8:10
Run- 27:17
T2- 0:45
Bike- 33:13
Total- 1:10.29

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