I did it, and it was painful, but I did it. And it was fun!
As you may have noticed, triathlons have taken a serious backseat recently to pretty much everything else in my life. My new goal for myself is to stop making excuses about/for/regarding all kind of things, including myself. Give reasons, yes, but not excuses.
So as part of my effort to
get my shit together grow and progress personally, I’m getting back into triathlons. I signed up for the New Orleans 70.3 this coming October, so I thought it best to ease back into triathlons with some smaller races over the next few months before the main event.
The Bring It To The Bay triathlon is a sprint triathlon held in Bay St. Louis, MS. It is an 800 meter swim, 14.5 mile bike, and 3.1 mile run. It seemed like a good race to get my feet wet again, both literally and figuratively. I wavered back and forth on whether to sign up and finally decided to stop making excuses, and the day before the race and signed up. I’m glad I did!
At 4:30 am I loaded up Scarlet (the bike), my gear, and Mr. Big (my cheering squad) into the truck and off we went. The race was at a great location. Bay St. Louis is a cute town, an easy commute from New Orleans for me, and boasts a nice beach backdrop to race along.
Pre-race stuff was pretty usual. Found my spot, set up my stuff, realized my bike tire was flat (oopps!), realized I forgot my pump (double ooooppps!), borrowed a pump off a handsome man with a nice accent, inflated my tire, and prayed that it wouldn’t immediately deflate again (it was fine). I made some friends at the swim start while we were waiting our turn to start and got some good info on local tri clubs that I want to look into. Then it was go time!
The swim was an 800 m open water swim in the gulf, which was the first time I’d done an open water swim since Lake Ponchatrain in my last 70.3 two and a half years ago. The water was very shallow so it ended up being a 300-ish meter walk/run out through the water before it was really possible to start swimming. This shallow-water-ocean-jog looks super slick on Baywatch, but turns out it’s actually quite hard on the legs, so much so that I was relieved to actually start swimming. I passed a ton of people on the swim, and had a respectable swim time of 14 mins (my watch had me at 12 mins, but I’m not sure where the transition cut off was), so I’m happy with that performance overall.
Lining up for the swim start.
The running out of the water
The bike route was a flat out-and-back 14.5 miles along the shoreline. My bike portion was basically just “Ok”. Nothing great, nothing bad. I was averaging about 18 mph on the way out, and then hit a bit of a head wind on the way back and dropped to a 16 mph average. Overall, I finished with a 16.9 mph average speed for the 14.5 mile split, which is obviously like to improve upon, but I consider it a decent baseline to build on. Plus, I even spent some time down on the aerobars, which I still find terrifying, so I’ll consider that a personal win!
Off I go!
By this point, it was HOT. I mean, to be fair, it was the middle of July on the Gulf Coast, I didn’t expect it to cool, but after that bike ride I was feeling particularly toasty. My legs were completely busted when I took off on the run so I walked for a couple of minutes at first. Mr. Big was waiting for me about a quarter-mile into the run and after hearing such as encouraging words from him as, “Hurry up, I’m getting hungry, I’m ready to go get breakfast,” I decided to pick up the pace a bit and broke into a trot. The run ended up being not that bad. I intervalled it, but ended up with a 12 minute mile pace, which I decided was acceptable for this event.
Overall, I felt satisfied with the race. My times weren’t great, but I had done so little training approaching this race, that I actually performed better than I expected to. It definitely lit a fire under me and has me feeling very motivated to get my training schedule organized and get to work. October will be here before I know it!