Saturday was a huge day for me. I officially became a TRIATHLETE! I was part of the 8th annual, and last, Millennium Triathlon. However, it sounds like there might be someone who is taking it over which makes me very happy! It’s such a nice close location, and although there were changes to the bike course I’d probably consider doing this one in the future if it does continue.
Pre-race: My day started at 4:30am to give me enough time to eat breakfast and get ready, load my stuff into the car, get the bike on the rack, and get to transition early enough to get a good spot on the bike racks. Transition opened at 6am, and I wanted to try to get a spot close to the aisle on my assigned rack. I was surprised to find out upon arrival that they decided not to label the racks with the range of bib numbers so you could rack your bike anywhere you wanted (as long as it wasn’t the reserved elite spots). I would much rather run barefoot than run in my bike shoes, so I picked a rack somewhat close to the bike exit. I was the 2nd bike on the rack, so not a bad spot. Thanks to a tri clinic I attended, I picked up a tip of bringing chalk with me to the set-up and marking on pavement where to turn in to get my stuff. It worked like a charm! The guy next to me was like, “Is it okay if I use this?” haha! Lucky for him I came prepared ;).
After I took the pic below, I unbuckled & lifted the velcro straps on my bike shoes to save some time when I came in. That’s something I forgot to do in my mini-tri practice, and it definitely took me longer to get the shoes on then.
After getting my area set-up, I went and got marked. There were a few people just walking around the transition area with the markers. The lady asked me for my age and I replied, “30.” She writes it on my calf and finishes the other markings. I walked away and then realized I told her I was younger than I am haha!! Apparently I want to be 30 forever or I feel like I’m still 30 ;). So my leg was the topic for discussion during the run a couple times by some random athletes. “So are you 30 or 31?” or “Keep it up 30-31!” haha! I made it down to the beach for the 7:45am mandatory meeting. They discussed the course and made other announcements. I ate a pack of Honey Stinger energy chews during the meeting. Before I knew it, it was go time!
The Swim (500 meters): Let’s start with the good: This lake is so nice for swimming. I’m weird about weeds, and Lake Millennium is pretty clean. They also had people out in boats, kayaks and paddle boards helping keep people safe and on course. And the not so good: My heat/wave was HUGE. The announcer even said something about the size of our group. I don’t understand why they didn’t start like 5 minutes earlier and at least break the wave in half. It was nearly impossible to get any sort of rhythm going. I’d swim a few strokes and end up hitting someone. While I know its generally close quarters for this, I heard people who have done multiple tri’s even say something about how unnecessarily crowded the swim was. So, that part was a bit frustrating. Other issues I had were getting tangled up in the buoy rope (haha!). I wish I was joking about that one. It really wasn’t bad, but it did cause me to disrupt any momentum I had going as I moved the rope out of the way. This was my own fault though! I’m just awful at spotting and didn’t realize I had reached the turning point when it happened. I just got too close to the buoy. Spotting is something I definitely need to work on for future tri’s. The big thing I took out of the swim is that there is a big difference in swimming “open water” in a calm lake VS swimming in a lake with waves. Sounds like a no-brainer, but I did not anticipate how much harder it would be to swim with that many other people making waves around me. I did a few open water swims, even swimming in the same lake, but I sure didn’t have to deal with waves like I did during the race. I can’t tell you how much water I took in because of this. I’d go to breathe and a wave would come rolling in and I’d take in water instead of just air. It was a lot more challenging than I expected. But I survived!!!! 🙂 I don’t know if I would have had I forgone the wetsuit. Thankful for that buoyancy in choppy water! (swim placing for age group: 22/33)
The Bike (14.8 miles):
The bike was an out-and-back route. This course was new for the race and it took some people who had done it in previous years by surprise. During the race some guy passed me and said, “I liked last years course better!” haha. My husband and I drove the course after packet pick-up and I could’t believe how hilly it was. Not only hilly, but there was a stretch of road that was very bumpy. They had it marked well with spray paint, but some of the buckled pavement was almost unavoidable at times. My pace was all over the place because of the hills. I was crawling up some of the really steep hills, going only 7mph! haha But, then when we were going downhill I got up to 30mph! It all worked out ok though. I figured it would take me 59-60 minutes, and it took me 54:16. So that was a win in my book! (Bike placing for age group: 19/33) By the way, all my photos are courtesy of my dad :). He was all over the place snapping pics!
The Run (5k):
I had high hopes of coming in around 28-29 minutes. Unfortunately, I had the worst side stitch of my life and it killed me the first mile to 1.5 or so. Ended up taking 32:27. I think I just drank too much water when I was on the bike. I am so sensitive to that and when I started running, I could hear the water sloshing around in my stomach. It’s so hard to know how much to drink. I wanted to keep hydrated, but for me there seems to be a fine line between hydrated and over-hydrated. I didn’t take any water out on the run course because of it. So the run was a little disappointing! I figured my overall finish time would be an hour and 44-45 minutes, and my official time was 1:45:43. So, overall I’m happy!
Here is the breakdown:
Post-race: After crossing the finish line, participants were handed a chilled Millennium Triathlon water bottle and a cold wet towel with the logo, which were both so great to have right after! There was a great spread of food as well. I just had some watermelon and oranges while waiting for the transition area to re-open to get my stuff out. The downside was that there weren’t any finisher medals. I was shocked when I found out that there wouldn’t be medals. I love my race bling! It’s fun to have them to look back on what races you’ve done. They are filled with lots of memories. So, I took matters into my own hands and ordered a medal off of expressmedals.com (HAHA!). It’s a simple design with the event name and date, but I’ll have that forever! I’m happy I spent the $3 on it. I definitely learned some things out there and I’ll be making notes to improve next time! Prior to the race, I had full intentions of registering for an Olympic distance next year. Today, I’m not sure. I can’t decide if I want to improve on my sprint time, or try a new distance challenge. I’ve got lots of time to decide though! 🙂 Even though the race definitely had some rough moments, I really enjoyed it and am so glad I checked this one off my bucket list!