Two weeks ago I did my second ever triathlon, the Richmond Multisports Pink Power Triathlon in Midlothian, Virginia. The triathlon is an all women’s, beginner-friendly (in fact, there were 140 first-timers there which was awesome) just outside of Richmond. I’m just now getting around to writing the race report because I needed some time to figure out how I really felt about the race and my performance, as I didn’t want to write it right after the race because it would be a post full of negative thoughts.
Race morning started with an alarm and a wake up call at 4:30am. I was up and out of bed ready to have my cup of oatmeal (which has become a perfect pre-workout meal for me, if I have a couple of hours until the workout/race). I changed, we walked the dogs and before I knew it we were checked out of the hotel and driving to the Midlothian YMCA. While I was getting my things together in the parking lot, Tyler (aka my Sherpa), put air in my tires and snapped a picture when I was ready to head to transition.
I set up my transition rather quickly, although, forgetting to put my water bottle on my bike would be a rather stupid mistake later. Now, I’m still a tri newbie, but I know to keep my transition area to a minimum, not taking up a lot of space. There were SO MANY transition areas set up that took up enough space for THREE athletes. Trust me, you don’t need two towels, a full duffle bag, a bucket and your cycling/running clothing laid out. Yikes! Now, I know I could make my transition area smaller, I’m not completely innocent, but I made mine fit in the space allotted. I also noticed a lot of athletes had their significant others there helping them set up—this is after MANY announcements that only athletes were allowed in the transition area. Okay rant over, but clearly several people didn’t read the race guide.
After I set up transition, I headed to the pool for a warm up swim. The water was very warm but it felt good to get some laps in. I hung out on the pool deck waiting for the start and chatted with some nervous first-timers. My advice was trust your training, have fun and the feeling at the finish line is one of the most amazing feelings of accomplishment-soak it in! Before I knew it, it was time to line up for the swim.
I must start by saying probably I seeded myself a little slower than I should have. It was a 400-meter swim in a pool, in a zig-zag pattern over eight lanes. I seeded myself at 10 minutes for the swim since I’m not a very confident or fast swimmer-yet. Well, the swim felt good for the first length, then I caught up to the swimmer in front of me who kindly let me pass. Then I got stuck behind someone swimming basically treading water. I tried to pass her, I even touched her foot (as instructed by the race director and athlete guide) signaling her to stop at the wall so I could pass but there was no response. I, and I know this was rude, but I just swam around her as fast as I could and just kept going as fast as I could. I caught up with a few other swimmers but they too let me pass as soon as we hit the wall. My swim time ended up being 10 minutes, 7 seconds. Not far off from my predicted pace at all, but when I saw the results I was thinking—crap I should’ve seeded myself faster! Maybe I would’ve gotten a faster swim time! Live and learn.
Pretty uneventful, I just focused on going as fast as I safely could without falling or forgetting my helmet/bike shoes/etc. 2 min, 32 seconds.
The bike. I felt good on the bike, even with the hills (for someone who lives in a coastal area with no hills, this course was nothing but hills!). What killed my bike portion were the turnarounds. From what I can remember, there were three that really messed with my pace/momentum, especially the last one that went down a pretty steep hill and you had to turnaround in a small cauld-a-sac. It also didn’t help that a volunteer kept shouting—“it’s all downhill from here.” I honestly felt like yelling “bullshit” because people are coming back up the hill going back toward the finish line! I got comfortable in aero position during the few straightaways and the downhills, also, I got comfortable going faster down the hills, which is an improvement from earlier in the summer. Oh, and I didn’t have my water bottles, as I mentioned earlier. I was still pleased with my bike portion, despite the difficult course and no water! On the way back in to transition, a car was attempting to back into a parking spot—like right in front of where the cyclists were dismounting. Luckily a plethora of volunteers/spectators stopped them before backing into me and another racer!
Bike time: 48 minutes, 24 seconds; 14.2 mph
Holy moly I was thirsty! I chugged some water and squirted the rest down my back. It was hot, the sun was beating down on my skin and I just wanted to hop in the pool really quick before I started the run. I did not do this, obviously, but it sure was tempting! 2 minutes, 04 seconds.
Oh the run. I wanted to cry on this run. It hurt me physically (my legs felt like lead) but worse, it hurt me mentally. It was nothing BUT hills, steep ones. I ended up walking up most of them and running down them. Some positive things about the run: it was mostly shaded, the volunteers were beyond supportive-cheering everyone on the entire run and once the course filtered in to a residential neighborhood, there were people with hoses—ah the water felt so good. I kept telling myself “it’s only 3 miles…it’s only 2 miles…and so on” and “run the you’re you’re in.” Before I knew it, I was heading into the finishers chute and it was over. I was so happy to be finished. I got my finisher necklace, a bottle of water and Gatorade and headed to transition to collect my things.
Run time: 33 minutes, 48 seconds; 10:50/mile pace
1 hour, 36 minutes, 56 seconds.
Division place 23/40
Three takeways from this race:
- I love this sport. It’s challenging and it builds mega mental toughness, and I can’t wait to train for another one.
- Open water swim > a pool swim (in a race). I found I was much more comfortable with the swim at the Presque Isle Tri last year than I was in the pool at this tri this year.
- I need to strength train and hunt down hills in my area and do repeats—on the bike and the run.
I can’t wait until next year’s triathlon season. I’m currently in the process of selecting races and planning my season…it’s going to be awesome!