Triathlons are hard

Triathlons are hard.  That’s no secret, and you’d think I would have learned my lesson after the Kirkwood triathlon, but I went for it again this past weekend.  The Kirkwood triathlon was just the second one I’d ever done and it was four years after my first.  Finding time to train was difficult, but I kept telling myself it was short – a sprint triathlon.  I struggled big time during the race.  However, I learned there are several additional sprint triathlons in the St. Louis area, and I do love racing – no matter how hard it is.  I signed up for my second sprint triathlon of the summer, but training didn’t go much better.  In fact, it went worse since school started up again and I literally only had time to train once on the weekends.

Eh, it’s another sprint, I’ll be fine, I kept telling myself.  Well Sunday morning came, my car was packed, and I was ready for the Sunset Hills triathlon.  I set my station up, got my numbers drawn on, and anxiously awaited the start time.

triathlon before

The distances were similar to Kirkwood: 300 yard swim, 11.8 mile bike, 3 mile run.  I was actually really excited for the 300 yard swim compared to the 400 yard swim in Kirkwood.  The swimming really wiped me out last time, so I thought I’d have more energy this time around.  But… I hadn’t swam at all since the last triathlon.  Definitely not ideal.  We were lined up by our numbers which was determined by our swim time that we entered when signing up for the race.  They were very strict in the order which you started since it correlated to your chip start time.

This felt a lot different than Kirkwood.  While we waited to get in the pool at Kirkwood, the race directors were telling us about the course, explaining proper race etiquette, and pumping us up.  This time, it was much more serious though the racers were still friendly.  Racers dropped in the pool every 15 seconds.  It was a serpentine style swim.  I ended up getting passed by three swimmers which was frustrating because I hate getting passed.  (I’m a wee bit competitive, can you tell?)  I finished and trotted toward the transition area to get ready for the bike portion.

The 11.8 mile bike was a three-loop course.  I thought looping twice during Kirkwood wasn’t great, but three times really stunk. I would much rather do one long loop and not know what is coming.  This course was HARD.  It was crazy hilly, both uphills and downhills.  The downhills were so steep that I held on for dear life and hoped I wouldn’t fly off.  Directly after one particularly downhill was an immediate uphill.  You had momentum for the first little bit, but obviously that wore off and then you were in the middle of a very steep hill.  I saw quite a few people fall off their bikes on this part, and several people were walking their bikes up.  My goal was to stay on my bike the whole time which I did.  That was a positive, but the biking was still so tough.  “On your left!” was a phrase I heard way too often.

Then came the run.  My legs were jello and the run, too, was a three-loop course.  Argh.  I tried to get out of my own head and stay positive, but the run was crazy hilly, as well!!  Even the immediate downhill was so steep that you had to exert more energy making sure you didn’t eat the asphalt rather than letting gravity do it’s thing and embracing the downhill.  There were quite a few uphills, in addition.  Sadly, I walked a few times.  My goal for running is never to walk, so that was a major fail.  And I didn’t break my under-30 miunte goal either.  I told you, this triathlon was rough.

As much as I’m complaining about the race, it really was my own fault for not going into it properly trained.  And I didn’t feel like dying as much as I did during the Kirkwood one.  You better believe I was happy and proud to have finished, despite my slow times.  Now I can say I’ve done three triathlons!  That’s an accomplishment!

The after photo:

triathlon after

Still alive.  Still standing.  Still smiling.

Even though I’m not impressed or proud with my times, I’ll share them anyway:

  • Swim Time: 7:50
  • Tran 1: 3:29
  • Bike Time: 1:04:57
  • Tran 2: 2:52
  • Run Time: 30:54
  • Finish Time: 1:50:04

All in all, I was much slower (except for the swim) than Kirkwood, even my transitions.  Hey, at least it gives me a goal to beat next summer!

Have you ever been disappointed / frustrated with your race results?

15 thoughts on “Triathlons are hard

  1. Great read, I am still trying to take that step and participate in an event. I did a sprint tri relay earlier this year and actually did the swim and run but havent put all together yet. I hope to do it soon. Thanks for breaking down your day, great job finishing

  2. Congratulations! But please don’t ever say “It’s just a sprint…” again. It’s still a major endurance event… just look at your time, it’s way longer than a 10k run. In fact, it’s closer to a half-marathon in terms of overall time and effort spent on race day.

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