Monday, July 27, 2009

Pittsburgh Triathlon and Adventure Race

Date: July 26, 2009
Race: Pittsburgh Triathlon and Adventure Race
Distance: Sprint (SWIM - 600 meters, BIKE - 20K, RUN - 5K)
Bib number: 516

Final time: 01:42:20 (236/276)
Swim time: 00:14:42 (223/276)
T1: 00:03:21
Bike time: 00:46:27 (202/276, Rate: 16 mph)
T2: 00:02:06
Run: 00:35:46 (247/276, Rate: 11:11/mile)

MY VERY FIRST TRIATHLON! I was so super excited/anxious to participate in my first triathlon (my first race of any kind, for that matter). And how wonderful that it was in my favorite city! I chose to compete in the sprint distance as a first timer. I was in the female 20-25 age group with 15 others (there were 276 total sprint racers). With no idea what to expect, I set my goals as: 1 - just finish with dignity, 2 - try to keep it under 2 hours, and 3 - see if maybe you can get under 1:35:00. I was very, very pleased with my performance and although my ranking blows, I was satisfied with all my times.

TRANSITION AREAS - Setting up my transition area was a learning experience. I had my bike set up by the seat with my helmet unsnapped and ready to go. I used cycling shoes and running shoes even though I had to tie them both, which took some time. I had Gu and Clif Shot energy gels (both, chocolate!) which worked pretty effectively (or maybe it was just my adrenaline that kept me going). I had vaseline, band-aids, and spare contacts in the event of any accidents. I pre-pinned my running number to my tank top so I could just throw the shirt on after the bike ride. Oh, and the ever-crucial sports bra was there to put on after the swim. I think next time I could reduce my T1 and T2 by making my shoes easier to get on.

SWIM - The Allegheny river looks disgusting but I really enjoyed the swim. I think I can say it was my favorite event. The current was very strong downstream and luckily, the sprint distance was entirely downstream. The people who had to go upstream looked like they were really hurting. Many panicked and some had to be pulled out of the river. It was intimidating to see people shouting "Help!" from the middle of the river. The open-water swim was not as hard as I expected, it actually felt much shorter than a 600 meter swim in the pool, perhaps because of the current. I wore a pink swim cap and my stupid blue Speedo suit (very embarrassing, I need a trisuit).

BIKE - Leading up the race everyone was scaring me with stories about the crazy incline gradient of the 20K ride. It took place on the HOV lane of I-279 from downtown to the Perrysville Park & Ride turn-around. The gradient was not bad at all, I was definitely prepared for it. I rode my Jamis Ventura Comp road bike and loved the way it handled during a race. I especially enjoyed the speed I could maintain on the downhill portions. I think this was the event I rocked the most, surprisingly.

RUN - Definitely the hardest event for me. I was pretty tired by this point and in retrospect I could have pushed myself harder, but then again, I was very happy with myself for not walking at all. I usually run a 10 minute mile but the 11:11 pace I kept was fitting for a first time effort, I think.

Coming in to the finish line was such a fantastic experience. Everyone was shouting my bib number and cheering for me and I saw Craig there taking pictures. It was a perfect ending to my first race, I was covered in goosebumps as I crossed the finish line :-)