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?