Saturday, May 21, 2011

Tempe International Triathlon Race Report

My first triathlon... my stomach leapt and jittered in the days leading up to this event.  My fears abounded regarding the water temperature of Tempe Town lake, the water quality of Tempe Town Lake and the general nature of being able to swim, bike and run consecutively.   Confession:  I did not train nearly as much as I should of for this event.  I usually did one swim, one bike and one run per week when most training schedules call for two of these workouts.
Here we go, triathlon!

I arrived to the transition area at 6:10am, 10 minutes before it was slated to close.  I reported to the finish line to have my timing chip wrapped around my ankle and I quickly set up my towel directly under my hanging bike with all the gear I would need for the bike and run.  After I felt reasonably organized, I emerged from under the 202 freeway (where our transistion was, go shade!) and ambled, rather carefully since I was barefoot, to body marking where a volunteer wrote my race number on both of my arms in Sharpie and wrote my age on my calf.  The age on your calf thing is very interesting, not to mention a great boredom buster when waiting for the race to start.  Everyone must have secret fascination with how old people are.  This way, I didn't have to ask.  I just did a sneak peak at everyone's calf.

The previous day, at the transition meeting, I met another beginner triathlete named Jamie.  I found her again at the swim start and we chatted for a while.  This triathlon was great in that all beginners were assigned the same color of swim caps.  The reasoning behind this being that the lifeguards could keep a closer eye on us during our first open water swim, but for me, it gave me an instant topic of conversation with so many people.  My conversations usually went like this, "Oooh, white cap, I have a white cap too." "How are you feeling?  Are you nervous, too?"  "I'm scared of the lake."  Yep, I am just that original.  What I found is that everyone had slightly different beginner-related fears.  Yes, many were concerned about the water temperature, but I found many more beginners worried about the run.  My relief came in that at least the part that scared me was over pretty quickly.
On the beach for the swim start.

The race was scheduled to start at 6:30AM, however Tempe police were behind with setting up all the barricades, so we had a 7:00AM start instead.   As my age group heat waded into the water, I was relieved to discover that the water temperature was actually comfortable.  Warmer even than my backyard pool which I jumped into the day prior to test my new goggles.    My biggest worry was unfounded.

As the siren blared, I started swimming.  Very easy at first - ok, pretty easy throughout the whole swim.   I was worried about getting kicked the the face,  but since I started in the back, no one came that close to my face.  At one point, I found myself sandwiched between two swimmers, but that also proved to be no big deal.   The swim was... a swim.  It didn't feel much different than a pool swim.  However, I had never swum 400 m continuously before, so I was little shocked coming out of the water.  12:17 on the 400 meter swim, but this includes my very slow walk up the stairs and into transition.

Very tired...
Coming into the transistion area, I quickly found my bike and put on my bike gear - helmet, socks, shoes and sunglasses.  I also ate one of my gels since I was feeling pretty sluggish.  I walked myself out of this transition. 2:44 on this.  I was a bit poky.

The bike ride was hilly, but so much fun!  Especially cruising past my family starting on the course.  My time on the 20k bike was 47:12.

Coming back into transition was much better this time.  1:30.

The run started out slow and clunky, but as I loosened up, it felt much better.  I had a lot of walk breaks in the beginning which I am happy to report, did disappear in the end.  I ran straight up the last hill before the finish line (I know, a hill before a finish line!  Who does that?)  and into the finish.  My 5k run time 35:32.

Total Time: 1:39:17

I loved every minute of my time on the course - except after the swim, but that passed quickly.  My times were not my best, but knowing how much time I put into training for this event (cough, two hours a week, cough) I am very happy with my results.   I have many goals and a lot of room for improvement and I am very excited to start training for another tri.


  1. You were great, Jo!! Good for you for doing it! Here's to more races!

  2. Great job! Congrats on finishing your first tri. Looks like you git the triathlon bug :)

  3. Nice job. I just did my first duathlon.