So at the last minute, I signed up for the sprint triathlon in Lorain, OH on July 11th. I really needed to gauge my swimming in a race situation since I did not have that opportunity at the Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon.
I got out to the park that morning around 7am and the weather was spectacular! The water for Lake Erie was like glass. There was even a nice cool breeze. It was as close to perfection I can imagine. I pray for similar conditions for the REV3 triathlon in September.
The lake water temp was up to about 75 so I decided against a wet suit. The swim course was so short, the gain in buoyancy would be lost removing the suit. My group was the last wave so I had to wait around a little while – but not too long because it is not a huge race. My race started at 8:30am. I had learned dolphin dives in a swim clinic I’m currently taking from Leah Nyikes at www.liquidlifestyles.com. She is excellent. Anyway, they really do work. I always hang back a bit after the race starts before I go out. Those 2-3 extra seconds aren’t going to make or break anything for me. I ran out into the water using the goofy run Leah taught us then began to dolphin dive. Before you know it, I was nearly to the Lorain break walls.
After that I relaxed and began swimming. At first it was: Stroke. Breathe. Stroke. Breathe. Then when I really got into the rhythm, I was breathing bilaterally. Yeah. This was great because I could easily sight, because the break walls were on my left side. Last year when I did the same race, I could not breathe to the left and almost ran into the break walls several times. Very dangerous. Last year I also had to do the breast stroke and back stroke to get thru. This year - no worries. Freestyle all the way. Not only did I pass a couple of people in my group, I passed a couple of the swimmers in the wave ahead of me. Talk about a confidence booster! I went around the corner of the break wall and swam as far up to the shore as possible – until I was grabbing sand. It was much faster that way. Much. I looked at my watch and it said 9 min. That is 3 minutes faster than last year (12 min). However, percentage wise that is a 25% improvement. Woo Hoo!!!!
I still had to run up a big hill to get to the transition, and that time is added to your swim time, but oh well. They do it for everyone. Transition was good. Dry off, sock, shoe, sock, shoe, helmet, sunglasses, bike, go.
The bike was good too. Last year I averaged about 15.5 mph. This year I averaged 16.9 mph. A big improvement. I was very pleased.
T2 was a lot slower than last year. I didn’t realize until later that it was because last year I biked in my running shoes because I didn’t have clip on pedals yet. It added almost 2 minutes to my transition. :-(
The run portion was not as pleasing. I was too slow. I’m slow normally but that day I was even slower. I believe part of the reason is because I didn’t grab a bite during the bike ride. I ate nothing. Bad idea. It was also very hot at this point. I finished the run slower than last year. However, overall, it was an improvement over last year and I’m happy with that.