On March 28 I did the Smithfield Sprint -- my first triathlon for 2008 and the first event in my quest for a Setup Events age group award. Nearly 500 competitors were registered, 3 in my age group. Since the swim was in a pool, and swimmers were spaced 15 seconds apart, it took nearly 3 hours to get everyone thru that phase. The elite athletes completed the whole tri before I even got in the pool! I entertained myself watching the other swimmers and spectators, at least to the extent I could see them. I'd had to leave my eyeglasses in the transition area so I'd have them for the bike, and transition closed at 9:45 a.m. I do have swim goggles with corrective lenses, which aren't my exact prescription but are close enough for distance viewing. Think generic reading glasses you can buy at the drug store. However, someone wearing goggles for several hours while staying outside the pool tends to attract some puzzled looks from other bystanders, so I only occasionally put them on while I waited.
Then it was my turn. The water was warm and the lanes were wide. The person behind me touched my feet several times, but she refused my offers to go ahead when we reached the ends of the lanes. And once as I approached the wall to turn, I saw another person swimming directly underneath me. He was soon gone, but at that instant, I felt like a fish in an aquarium. There was no ladder nearby at the end of the swim but I managed to heave myself out of the pool with some measure of grace and ehaded toward the transition area to get my bike.
I'm always slow in T1 because my goggles steam up and I can't see very well where I'm going. I don't want to fall down or run into anyone. I've tried leaving my glasses poolside, but ithere often is no good place to put them and it takes too long to find them. Plus they steam up, too. T1 took longer than usual because it was chilly and windy, and extra clothes were required. I'd seen one guy on his bike in just his swim trunks, but everyone else I saw was more warmly dressed.
The 10-miles bike course was fairly flat with only a few curves and small hills. Thanks to four months of indoor cycling and "power repeats" I managed to get up the hills without downshifting to "granny gear." The course didn't seem as intimidating as it had the night before when I'd driven it in my car, thinking "why is it I do this?" And if there had been less wind, the ride would have been quite pleasant. My time for the bike was 44:43, an average of 13-14 mph. I would have like to have been faster, but since this was my first ride sans trainer since last fall, and I dismounted without falling, I felt okay about it. I'm close to phobic about falling because I've taken some nasty spills.
The weather had improved somewhat by the time I got to the run segment at 1 p.m. My legs didn't feel like total bricks and I maintained my usual average pace of 13 minutes per mile for the 5K. I even did a negative split.
My total time was 1:42:48, which put me third in my age group. The first place finisher's time was 1:21:34, and second place was 1:39:48. I had faster bike and run times than no. 2, but she was faster in transition. We all got the same prizes, though -- a small thermos. It was a good way to start the season.