Today was my first triathlon of the season. It was also my first reverse tri -- run-bike-swim, instead of the traditional swim-bike-run.
I had a rude awakening -- even though I am 34, I am no longer a 30-34 year old, I'm now a 35-39 year old!! Since I turn 35 this year, I aged up to the older group.
I realized this was not a hard-core race. I saw a lot of mountain bikes and even a beach cruiser! I like these kinds of races, where many participants get their first taste of what a triathlon is like.
The weather was not the most agreeable. We started our run in rain, and as the race progressed, the rain only poured down harder and the wind blew hard. I put my head down and ran as hard as I could.
My run was good -- I kept a pace of about 7:50 per mile for the three mile run. That's about my usual 5k pace. I was worried that I might not have the steam for the bike and swim.
Coming into transition at the end of the run, I saw a full rack of bikes -- this is a good sign, meaning that I'm ahead of most of my age group. I pulled off my wet shoes and socks, which took a few extra seconds of transition time, put on my bike shoes, grabbed my bike and headed out. The flat bike course, which consisted of three loops of the runway, had plenty of puddles, so my bike and I got soaked.
Since I knew I had a good run, I didn't want to give up my lead, which I knew was quite possible since running is my best event and I am not a strong cyclist. Only two women passed me on the bike, and neither was in my age group.
Running to the pool was interesting. As I ran, I tried to put on my swim cap, which was quite awkward. The swim consisted of four lengths of a 50-meter pool. The pool was crowded, and swimming after a run and bike is more challenging than swimming at the beginning of the race. At the end of the swim, there were lifeguards to help lift us out of the water and the finish mat was just a couple feet away.
The medal was pretty cool -- a dog tag:
For me, it was a great race. I was fourth place in my age group out of 56 women. That was less than a minute and a half behind the third place winner, in other words thirty seconds off my first transition time and a minute off my bike. But I'm still really happy with my performance. It's a great start for my season!