Venice YMCA Triathlon, Saturday September 5, 2015
On Saturday I participated in the Venice YMCA Sprint Triathlon. This is the third year in a row that I have participated and it was even better this year than it has been in the past. Since I know that I had a billion questions before my first triathlon, I thought some readers might stumble across this blog before their first triathlon and could benefit from some tips and advice. I am by no means an expert, but I have done about ten sprint triathlons now and I have learned from my mistakes and from the advice of others. So, as I tell you about my day at the Venice Triathlon, I’m going to throw in a few tips along the way. Take them or leave them, or feel free to post comments with your own tips. We are all still a work in progress and can certainly benefit from sharing words of wisdom with each other.
Let me start by saying that I was not very excited about it at first because I had not trained in over three weeks. (I went on my belated honeymoon recently and I spent the week before I left working extra hours to try to prepare for being out for a week and then spent the week after working extra hours to try to catch up.) I had still been going on early morning short runs a few days a week but that was it. No swimming or biking and biking is the hardest part for me. So, I really wasn’t expecting much. But I had done this triathlon for the last two years and I was determined to make it for the third year in a row.
I packed everything up the night before. My tip on packing is to go through each part and ask yourself what you will need for that activity. I have a tri suit. (Won it at a free triathlon clinic I attended earlier this year!) I wear that for the whole thing, so all I need is my accessories. For the swim that means a cap (usually provided by the race) and my goggles. One of the best tri tips I have received is about goggles. You put a drop or two of baby shampoo in your goggles the night before the race and let it sit. Morning of the race dip your goggles in the water. This will stop them from getting foggy. It sounds silly and I don’t understand why but it works! Then for the bike part I need socks and shoes. Plus my helmet and sunglasses. I also like to pack a water bottle and my chews. The chews get the salt water taste out of my mouth and are a little pick me up. I’m still not comfortable in my “clipless” shoes so I just wear my running shoes for the bike and run portions. After the bike, I take off my helmet, throw on a visor and grab my hand held water bottle. I snap on my bib belt that I had set up with my race bib earlier and I’m off.
I arrived at Venice Beach and unpacked and set up. Honestly, I think more time goes to packing, setting up and unpacking then to actually racing! Here is a look at my set up area. Sorry the pictures are dark but it was very early in the morning when I was setting up. As you can see, I put down a towel and then lay everything out that I am going to need. I also have an extra small towel to quickly dry my feet after the swim.
How did the race go? Well, thanks for asking! I had a particularly hard time in the water at the beginning. There were so many people and I was groping other people’s legs and getting kicked in the face repeatedly. But by the time I got past the first buoy it had cleared out a little and I was able to just swim.
I got out of the water feeling pretty good. But then the strangest thing happened, something that has never happened to me before. I couldn’t find my bike! There are a ton of bikes in the transition area but you are put in rows based on your bib number so it really isn’t hard to find. I’m not sure what my issue was but I had to stop, take a deep breath, look at my race number on my arm and scan the area and then I found it. I was discouraged because I had wasted so much time but I just took my time and got ready for my least favorite part – the bike. Here is the sea of bikes I got lost in!
Am I the only one who dislikes the bike portion? I am constantly getting passed. Every two seconds it is “on your left” and another person is whizzing past me. I got passed by a 71 year old man! Part of the problem is that I have “clipless shoes” but I don’t wear them. My regular shoes don’t get much friction on the clipless pedals. I have to either put regular pedals on my bike or suck it up and get over my fear and clip into my pedals. That is my biggest goal before my next triathlon in October. I think that will help my time significantly.
I got off the bike and into the run portion with ease. Running is my favorite part. It was getting hot though and at every water stop I took a short break to pour water on my head. I finished the course and felt great! I got a cool finishers medal and stuck around for the awards ceremony. While waiting I took advantage of the free breakfast - eggs, sausage and biscuits. Here are my results:
Age Group Rank 4 Overall 94
Total Time 1:22:41
Swim (3rd place) 10:53 T1 2:23
Bike (5th place) 42:15 T2 1:36
Run (4th place) 25:36 (Pace 8:16)
Not too shabby considering my lack of training. I took about a minute off of last years time and did well enough to get 4th place in my age group. Unfortunately, third place got a tervis tumbler and fourth got a ribbon, so that was kind of disappointing but I will have my redemption next year!
Here is me, sporting my Team Foot Landing Jersey, Timex Factory Team Visor and my shiny new bling!
What did you do over the holiday weekend? Anyone else do the Venice Triathlon? I’d love to hear your thoughts from the race or get some of your pointers on how to prepare/train/perform for a triathlon. Hope you hear from you!