Brrrr… here to tell you about my coldest tri yet! Mind you, it is only my 3rd triathlon, but still, it was really cold! It was the Katy Firethorne Triathlon and was the last sprint tri I could find in 2011, so it seemed like a good idea and had slightly longer distances than Try Andy’s; it was a 500m swim, 16mi bike, 3mi run.
David wasn’t able to be there because he was on his Bachelor Party in Vegas, but he sent supportive texts (that is, while he was getting home from the clubs and I was getting up to go race). He did leave me with a pumpkin and flowers to make the apartment more festive for Halloween weekend and wished me luck though! I enjoyed my pumpkin decor while eating pumpkin oatmeal on Friday morning 🙂
So the tri was on Sunday, but on Saturday I did a rough 11 miles with HoustonFit. It was rough because at mile 6 I stepped in a dark hole and took a tumble. I didn’t get hurt badly, just scrapes and bruises, but it shook me up and I really was not in the mood to run 5 more miles. I trudged through anyway and finished at a slow pace. I took an ice bath, but could tell that my legs weren’t going to be their best for the tri.
I didn’t sleep well (being nervous) and woke up a little before my alarm at 4:30 AM. I ate a bagel & PB and loaded up to get to the race by 6 AM. Parking was kind of far from the transition area, so you had to walk or ride your bike in a dark neighborhood to the start. This was the WORST part of the race. It was about 45 degrees out and hard to see the way. At one point I texted David “I don’t think I can do this. I want to cry”. I really did. My ears and fingers were freezing, so I didn’t see how it was humanly possible for me to jump in the water, let alone swim, bike, and run. But he texted back “you can do this.” Plus, his parents were coming to support me, so I could not let them travel all that way for nothing.
I set up my transition area while talking to a guy who had also only done Try Andy’s and was also very cold. We were both questioning why we were there in 40 degree weather; at least I had someone to commiserate with. After a quick transition set up, I hid out in the visitor’s center to keep warm, then met Mr. & Mrs. Breaux (David’s parents). We got to talk and stay warm for a good half hour. Mrs. Breaux was super cute bundled up with her pigtails!
At the last minute before it closed, I went back into the transition area and donned my wetsuit and removed my shoes. Boy were my bare feet cold on the ground/grass! Mr. Breaux felt bad about my chattering and shaking, so he lent me his coat for a bit. At one point, Mrs. Breaux said “you don’t have to do this, we can just go to breakfast”, and I may have seriously considered it. But then I thought, no, I have to do this or I will feel like a quitter. Tempting though.
Swim – 12:06 min. (2:25 min/100m w/ wetsuit)
I bought a wetsuit online right before the tri and it was worth it. It was 50% off with a code from www.BeginnerTriathlete.com, so it came out to $100 with free shipping. I looked at the tradeoff of renting a wetsuit for $20 vs. purchasing for $100 on sale, so I just went ahead and bought it considering the amount of water sports David and I do.
It’s hard to see, but there I am in it in the above picture (red arrow). It’s an Xterra Volt 3mm wetsuit in a Women’s Medium Long. I could have even appreciated a longer torso, so thank goodness I didn’t get the regular medium size. What I loved about this wetsuit is that it is super easy to get on and off – more on wetsuit stripping later.
It was finally time to get in, and the only redeeming thing was that the water felt like bath water on my feet compared to the frosty grass.
We sat like ducks in the water for a few more minutes. I chatted with some of the girls around me and for some it was their first tri! I thought they were very brave.
I was #311 below.
Then we were off! I love this next picture because of the girl doing a dramatic dive into the water while some of the others are just standing reluctantly.
The swim was not crowded which was great. My only issue was that I wore a pair of goggles that were very fogged up the whole time (despite using saliva). I had left my good pair at work.
It was a 500m swim in a rectangular fashion around buoys. I’m pretty sure I did a zig-zag pattern the whole way. Zig-zagging plus the added distance are probably the reasons for my much slower time on the swim portion of this tri.
This was my longest swim yet and it definitely felt long; I was happy to get out.
T1 – 3:16 min.
After running past the cones, some guy yelled at me “Stop!”, and I thought, huh?
With a quick bridge pose it came off, but it was rather amusing. The cool thing about this wetsuit is that it doesn’t have cuffs at the bottom of the legs, so it just slides right off. T1 overall wasn’t super fast due to the wetsuit removal, plus the fact that I put on a windbreaker, gloves and watch. I had a minor malfunction with getting the watch on which took some time too.
Then off to bike it was!
Bike – 53:57 min. (17.8 mph)
While bike should be my best leg, it definitely wasn’t today. My legs were not feeling fresh at all. Maybe the 11 mile run the day before was the culprit?
Plus, I wore David’s windbreaker, which felt like a balloon when I got in the handlebar drops. I broke the rule of “don’t change what you’ve been doing on race day” and wore one of my fiance’s bigger clothes items. It probably didn’t produce that much drag, but it felt like it.
The bike was 16 miles out and back on Highway 90. I’ve biked it a number of times and it can be windy, and today was no exception. At least it felt windy. My heart rate stayed really low on the bike, but my legs were extremely tired.
T2 – 2:02 min.
Transition 2 was at least a little faster. Just hat, shoes, waist strap and go!
Run – 24:12 min. (8:04 min/mi)
Definitely felt the brick this time after 16 miles on the bike. My legs were like whaaa?
I talked myself through it though. And I got pretty excited to see the finish line!
I read the results and was really happy to see I got 4th in my age group! My results were:
- Swim 12:06 (2:25 min/100m w/ wetsuit)
- T1 3:16
- Bike 53:57 (17.8 mph)
- T2 2:02
- Run 24:12 (8:04 min/mi)
- Overall 1:35:34
Overall, the tri was well supported, but it was definitely small-scale and I would consider your tolerance of the cold and a wetsuit would be recommended.
Happy & exhausted smile:
It wasn’t my fastest race ever, but the conditions were difficult and my muscles weren’t well rested, so I’m very happy with the results. I’m so proud to have competed when I almost gave up, and even happier that David’s parents came to watch. But I’m definitely going to wait until it’s warm for the next tri adventure!
I also have to say that I have the best future in-laws ever! They were so great at cheering and taking all these photos. Afterwards Mrs. Breaux helped me to pack up then it was time to get some food!
We stopped at the Black Walnut Café in Katy and I got a huge goat cheese veggie omelet with a side of bacon. I definitely gobbled the whole thing up.
I won’t lie that the rest of the day has been spent lying around the house and watching Gossip Girl (my newest addiction). Terrible high school soap opera, I know, but it’s so entertaining and I love the fashion/styling.