My first triathlon of 2016 was a sprint called the Rev 3 Montclair Triathlon. It was in Montclair, Virginia, which is about an hour from me, and took place on Father’s Day – June 19, 2016.
I was excited to “shake the dust off”, as my coach called it, and see how my triathlon skills suffered or succeeded over the winter months. I had already done one multisport race, the Hagerstown Duathlon, as well as several running races, but this was my first triathlon this year.
So here’s how it rolled. I got there super duper early. Got a great parking spot at the closest lot (it was a little walk with the bike to the race site). Checked out the list for my bib number.
No line for packet pickup.
Easy and quick timing chip pickup.
I went to set up my transition spot, and was excited to see that each spot is individually assigned with your name so there’s no confusion as to where to rack your bike. I remembered that when Rev3 and Challenge were merged, I had used one of these cool transition spots before – love it!
I felt pretty confident in my transition set up – less is more at a sprint, although I always keep a water bottle and towel to dry off my feet just in case I’m sandy from the run back from the swim.
I went to the exit of transition for a quick bodymarking. You know you’re getting old when you can’t remember your age for this part!
I had a blast at the race – I saw a lot of people I knew, especially my good friends Sarah and Julie. We had just seen each other twice that week – once for wine, once for our LUNA Chix track workout, and now for this race. Fun week!
Closer to the swim start, I went down to the water to feel the water temp. It felt pretty good! The race wasn’t wetsuit legal so I didn’t have to agonize over whether to wear mine or skip it.
I chatted with tons of people in line at the start – they were doing a time trial start, which is when they send athletes into the water two-by-two. I met some awesome ladies at the start in the line.
When it was my turn, I ran right into the water, never thinking twice about my goggles or the mechanics of the swim. I’m a mid-pack swimmer with no hopes of being the fastest, but I hold my own by passing some people and being passed by others.
But alas, I had some issues…
SWIM: 750 meters. Time = 19:57. Pace = 2:40/100 meters (read why)
The swim was in a lovely lake, and I would have really enjoyed it.
But here’s what happened.
I started swimming and upon taking my first breath, water leaked into my goggles. I tried to shove them into my eyes better as I swam, but it kept happening. In fact, it was not stopping and the water was filling in more and more. I was in disbelief – I love these goggles, and they’re the same ones I use all the time at the pool. And I used them in an open water swim event recently.
So here I am, getting no forward momentum because I have to keep using my hands to fix my goggles, so I tried treading water to readjust them.
And again. And again. And again.
I finally got it.
I’ve figured out the cause – want to know why this suddenly happened to me?
I love the new haircut but it totally screwed up my swim. The goggles always go over my swim cap, which has a ponytail of hair underneath. I have a way I fix the straps of the goggles over/under the ponytail bump. Well, short hair = no ponytail and apparently they were way too loose.
I finished out the last 3/4 of the swim but had no mojo after all that. My Garmin says I had an average moving pace of 1:52/yard, so I calculated that several minutes were lost on the goggles issue.
T1 = 2:32
There was a run from the swim exit down a long path, where they had some buckets of water to wash your feet. Score – didn’t need my water bottle trick!
BIKE: 12.1 miles. Time = 39:22. Pace = 18.44 mph
Sigh, another dumb move on this one. I’m mounting my bike at the mount line and my handlebars press into my Garmin button. Suddenly it thinks my bike leg is over before it started. I spend several seconds messing with this and decide to just get going.
The bike course starts immediately with a steep incline I had been stressing about before the race started. There’s no momentum to get going – you mount your bike and go uphill.
But you know what? I did just fine. Powered up that sucker and was on my way.
After the hill I was on flat ground and got my Garmin set up for the rest of the bike. I was dying to know my current cycling pace so I didn’t want to be without it.
The course is a two-loop bike course that has two 180-degree turns on each loop. So four U-Turns. I am not a huge fan of those, but they happen in many races and someday I’ll learn to take the curves faster without crashing. Until then? I just take them slowly and carefully.
There are some hills, but that means there’s also some downhills, so it was a nice ride. My Garmin says my average pace was 19mph since it started after the big hill. I’m happy with that on a hilly course!
T2 = 1:24
Pretty good T2 for me. When you exit transition you run up a grass hill, which was kind of interesting.
RUN: 3.1 miles. Time = 25.13. Pace = 8:08/mile
I was really excited to run this 5K. I had done a 5K race the day prior, and was feeling great and not like I overdid it. The run was hilly but I was happy with how it went for me – I had a sub-8 pace for a lot of the run. Most of it was on a sidewalk area, but the end of the run was really pretty headed back to the lake. I crushed the end of the run with a 7:20/mile pace, and felt strong at the finish.
OVERALL: 1:28:28. Rank = 7/18 in age group.
The goggles issue was a great lesson learned. I always put on my helmet with my hairstyle before a race, but it hadn’t occurred to me to test out the goggles after a haircut. I learn something new at every race!
It was great to see people I knew at the race, and I was proud of these two friends for having awesome races that morning!
Sarah even got a podium spot as 3rd overall female. Because she’s awesome.
It was a great race – well organized and a fun course. I’d love to do this one again – this time without goggles issues!
Have you ever had a race-day snafu? How did you handle it?