I did it! I survived my second triathlon, and it was so much better than last year – even though the weather was much crazier and I’m still too injured to run.
The Gold Nugget Triathlon is a women’s only race here in Anchorage. It’s a 10 lap swim, 12 mile bike ride, and a 4 mile run. It’s super hard to get into the race (people joke that it’s the first leg of the race!) but a ton of my friends were doing it too. I haven’t blogged much about my training this year, but I’ve been spending a lot more time on my bike than ever before and I felt completely comfortable going into the 12 mile bike ride. I had also spent a lot of time working on my freestyle stroke and was able to do over 10 laps in a row without stopping, so I knew I could do it on race day. I’m still not able to run, but I knew I could walk quickly through the 4 mile run portion.
I was feeling much calmer about the race this year, but when I dropped off my bike the day before at bike drop off my nerves finally started kicking in. I never feel ready for race day, but it’s extra hard to feel ready when you do a triathlon! There’s so many things to prep and to think about. Especially when the weather is looking cold and rainy. I don’t spend much time biking in the rain so I was feeling nervous about the possibility of biking in wet conditions.
But on race day when my on deck time rolled around, it was 47 degrees and drizzling. I wore my tri kit and had a zip up jacket in my TI area for the bike ride, but I was freezing! I was definitely glad that the swim portion was in a pool instead of a lake. My on deck time was 12:00, but after a long anxious wait in line I actually started the race a little after 1:00.
My goal for the swim portion was to do the entire thing freestyle. Last year I had to use backstroke for most of the swim, but this year I knew I could do all 10 laps without stopping or switching my stroke. And I did it! I did have to stop at the wall every time because I kept bumping into the girl in front of me, but I got all of my laps done in about 14 minutes. I had to get extra help getting out of the pool, but I was so proud of myself for meeting my goal!
After eating some Honey Stinger gels, drying off, and pulling on my jacket, I was off on the bike ride! This was the part I was feeling the most confident about and was looking forward to the most. My legs felt awful for the first mile, but I finally got the hang of it and started catching up to and passing other people. At around mile 7, it started raining and I started to push harder to get to T2 so that I could get off my bike without crashing on the wet roads. After one final brutal uphill at mile 12, I finally reached T2 and hobbled off to start the “run”!
The run portion is on a military tank trail in the woods. It’s flat, so I felt pretty silly for walking it when I couldn’t even use the terrain as an excuse for not running. It’s hard to be injured when all you want to do is run! After a wobbly first mile, my legs warmed up and I was able to power walk as hard as I could. It definitely helped that it was pouring by this point which kept me motivated to finish as fast as possible. I even passed a few walkers and runners who were going slower than me! Before I knew it I had almost made it back to Bartlett High and was ready to start running it in towards the finish line.
The entire race I was cold and tired but was pushing as hard as I could. I knew I’d done the best I could considering my stupid SI joint injury was still happening, and I was really curious to see my finishing time. We were able to check it on the race computers at the finish line, and I was shocked to see that I finished in 2:18:00! I’d taken over 12 minutes off my finish time from the year before! 8 of those minutes were taken off the bike, and almost 5 were taken off the run! I was also half a minute faster on the swim, but I’d done it with way less stress and work than I had last year.
Before the race I was seriously doubting my ability to finish, but I was so proud of myself for finishing with a much faster time in some pretty crappy weather conditions. Every time I’m racing I think that I’ll never do this again, but I’m already looking forward to next year. It’s awesome to see what some training and cooler weather can do to help with a PR! I’m so happy to be a triathlete times two!
Have you ever done a triathlon? What would be your favorite part of the race?
12 thoughts on “Gold Nugget Triathlon 2017 Race Recap”
Wow, I can’t believe you did all that with an injury! Congrats!
Thanks! My injury isn’t aggravated at all by biking or swimming, so it was just the running/walking part that worried me. I’m so glad I was able to do it pain free!
Congrats on the awesome PR!!
Thanks! I haven’t raced in forever and I felt how awesome a PR could feel!
Amazing!! Congrats to you! So very impressive!
Great job! Congrats!
Awesome job! Isn’t nice to see that despite your injury, you’re still increasing your overall fitness by doing other activities?
Thanks! I’m so happy I can still do lots of awesome things even with this injury!
Congrats on a strong race! I did a similar tri last weekend and the conditions were supposed to be very similar but we lucked out and the starting temp was 59 so no jacket on the bike. My first ever tri was in driving, torrential rain and that really wigged me out.
Thanks! Yeah, cold and wet races are always tough but they’re super tough when you have to bike! I was so worried it was going to start raining hard enough to cause me to crash.