On July 24, 2011, I woke up before the crack of down to race my first sprint triathlon – Solana Beach! My goals going into the race were simple:
1. Don’t drown during the 400m ocean swim.
2. Don’t fall off the bike during the 9 mile ride.
3. Run as fast as I can during the 5k.
I’m happy to report that I accomplished all those goals!! I didn’t spend too much time training for my first sprint – approx 5 weeks – but it went really well. Below is a little bit about each leg along with my split times.
Leg 1: 400m Ocean Swim in Fletcher’s Cove (14:27)
I’ve never been a swimmer. Before I started triathlon training, I rarely even went into the ocean past waist deep. Just ask my friends that went to Rio with me earlier this year. Even in the scorching heat, I was a sand girl all the way. Waves and current were simply not for me! Part of the commitment I had to make with my triathlon training, however, was getting over my fear of open water swimming. I literally dove right in and did my first two races in open water (bay and ocean) with very little training. Needless to say I am much less afraid of open water swimming, and neither experience was traumatic. I love swimming in a wetsuit. I feel like it keeps me safe and warm! (It essentially acts as a floatation device making it easier to swim.) I felt good getting out of the water knowing I had conquered my fear. I finished the swim portion of the triathlon behind all my friends, but I was happy I wasn’t the last one out of the water (and that I didn’t drown).
Leg 2: 9 mile bike ride on the 101 (36:23)
I entered the transition area to change from swim to bike and felt a little light-headed when taking off my wetsuit. I think my body was still getting used to all the swimming, so hopefully the swim dizziness will subside the more I train. I successfully got on my bike and clipped in without falling (success!) and was on my way for the 2 loop course. I worked on pedaling as fast as I could and not getting passed. I’ve been getting more and more comfortable on the bike over time, and the best thing is that there is a lot of room for improvement. It’s important that I get my speed up before my Ironman. The faster I go, the less hours that my booty will be on the bike! During Solana Beach, I started gaining ground and passed several girls in my age group that were out of the water before me. My legs were pretty strong after marathon training and P90X.
Leg 3: 5k Run (23:41)
I was very excited for the final part of the triathlon because it’s my strongest area of the triathlon. I just completed a full marathon 6 weeks earlier, so I wasn’t worried about a 3.1 mile run. It was definitely a weird feeling running immediately after riding a bike, but that didn’t stop me from finishing strong and passing more girls in my age group! I finished with a time of 1:14:31 and placed 34th in my age group.
Solana Beach sprint triathlon is a very good race for beginners looking for a little extra challenge with the ocean entry swim. I had so much fun the entire time I raced and was fortunate enough to have my family there cheering me every step of the way. I’m so happy they support my crazy fitness endeavours, and I bet they can’t wait to join me in Coeur d’Alene for my full Ironman next year! Until then, I will be ramping up my training and rewarding myself with a cerveza or cupcake every now and then.