July 14, 2019 - I raced my first triathlon, learned a lot for future races, but had a lot of really great things happen.
My First Triathlon really couldn't have gone much better than the Lake Milton Triathlon - formerly Milton Man. Having tried to get as much advice as possible, I got to the race as earlt as I could so that I could get my spot in the transition area set up before too many people were there. The only downside of that was that I had never had to rack my bike, and it took me a minute to figure out how to hang it by the seat. I managed to grab a spot on th end of a row and claim my space.
After picking up my race packet, I ran into my first snag - I didn't know what to do with my race number. I didn't want to swim with it on, and I didn't want to pin it on in the first transition. I realized a racce belt is an important future purchase. I wound up deciding I would just put my bike top on after the swim.
Nervous adrenaline mixed with morning coffee made for a jittery waiting period before the start of the race. I wasn't sure how competitive the sprint field would be, but I thought I had a chance at winning, so when it came time for the start, I tried to get myself towards the front of the line.
The swim went great. I was able to keep my pace under control, and sighting went well. I felt like my lines were direct, and efficient, and by the time I climbed out of the water, there were only a few women in front of me. Aside from having two of the men from the olympic heat swim up my back on their second lap, the swim went without a hitch.
T1 I hit my second snag: I had put the pins in my jersey too far apart so when I stretched it over my head, the pins ripped out of the bib. After managing to get my jersey the rest of the way over my head, I fixed them, popped a Gu, and was ready to roll.
The bike was as good as I could have asked for. I could use the hills to my advantage, but I lost time on the downhills since I wasn't on an aero bike. After passing one woman in my race, I was already in first place but had no idea at the time whether anyone else was in front of me. The stretch heading south was where I lost the most time, since the road was more open and there was definitely a good headwind that cut my pace by 1-2mph. About 15.5 miles into the 16mi bike, I downshifted and upped the cadence to help my legs get more into the running cadence I was hoping for.
T2 went well, and aside from maybe getting shoelaces I don't need to tie, I'm not sure I would change much. It wasn't the fastest T2 in the top 3 finishers, but the extra seconds just helped me recover a tiny bit before the 5k. As I exited T2 for the run, I heard someone yell "first girl!" and that was when I realized that I really had a shot at winning this, assuming that the person who shouted that was correct.
The 5k I settled into a comfortable but quick pace. I hit one course snag, when the water station in the beginning on the sidewalk led me to the end of the sidewalk and no clear marking for where to go next. I figured it out but lost a few seconds in the process. The dips on the trail in the woods I took easy on the way out, to avoid beating up my quads too badly. The rest of the run went pretty smoothly, and after the turnaround I started to feel pretty good. Half a mile eft, I could feel my quads starting to charliehorse on each stride, so I changed my foot placement and picked up the pace. I guess I need to work on either hydration or just some more longer distance runs in brick workouts.
Bringing it in the last 400m or so, I still felt good, and the downhill into the finish shoot made for a great, fast-looking finish.
After getting confirmation that I had indeed come in first overall for the femal sprint tri, I was over the moon. What a confidence boost! I'm so thrilled that my first race went so well, and I look forward to extending my training distances for an olympic, or maybe a 70.3 in the next year!