Last weekend was my 4th time to race the Cedars of Lebanon sprint triathlon. It’s such a short race (at least the past couple years), that I just race as hard and as fast as I can and worry about the pain after. This year, however the weather was unusual.
It was quite chilly for this race, sub-50 degrees, which is less than optimal in wet sleeveless spandex. I was really worried because I just wasn’t sure how I’d deal with the cold and if I’d want extra clothes or not. It’s such a short race, surely I could suck it up for the hour I was out there, but then again if my hands or arms got too chilled, would it affect my performance? Would I have trouble braking or shifting, or putting on my shoes or helmet? Typically at a sprint I try to ride as “naked” as possible. Take off any extraneous stuff off my bike (bento, tool kit, etc) and have my transition area as neat and minimal as possible. But I went ahead and put a jacket (half-zipped up because cold fingers are useless on zippers), and a fleece pullover for choices, and included socks in transition (I typically go sockless for a sprint both on bike and run). I did go ahead and put toe covers on my bike shoes thank goodness.
Before the race, I did get a quick lap in on the bike, to warm up and go through my gears and check bike course for hazards. I didn’t take the time to warm up the run, but that didn’t really make a difference. I also DID NOT warm up on the swim, when it’s that cold I do not risk getting wet and cold waiting for swim start. Plus, the water temp was 71, which is balmy for me (compared to my practice pool). They decided it was “wetsuit legal” and they would have “wetsuit strippers.” I was amused to see people actually wore wetsuits for the 200 meter swim! The swim was the warmest part of the race, but hey to each their own.
I felt better on this swim than in the past. Because it’s so short, I tend to go anaerobic pretty quickly and struggle. But was seeded early enough that I was with people of my own pace, and didn’t have to pass people or bunch up at the wall. But my swim time was a few seconds slower than last year. Darnit! But according to the results I was 1st in my age group on the swim! That NEVER happens.
I put on socks in T1 and ran with them (bike shoes clipped to my bike) to the mount line. I’m working on faster transition times and this is part of it. I’ve had a little trouble with getting used to the new bike and the mount/dismount with shoes on bike, but I was ok for this race. As I suspected I did not need a jacket, adrenaline was pumping and didn’t make my arms/shoulders too cold.
Bike was great, first lap was fine, passed people. Second lap is always a cluster as I catch up with the later seeded people on their first lap. There’s a short stretch on a main highway and people were out in the road (holding up traffic) rather than on the generous shoulder. Made it really hard to pass them as I was going through. But it felt great, I passed a lot on the bike and barely got passed myself, that’s a first for this race. The bike has been my weakness and I’m starting to feel much better this year. I was faster than last year and second in age group on the bike split!
Quick transition to the run, leaving on my socks. That’s when I realized my feet were numb. It felt like I had a golf ball in my shoe, I honestly thought something was in my shoe. But almost everyone else I talked to said the same thing, so I’m glad it wasn’t just me. I tried to push on the run as hard as I could, but I might have been still a little foggy from the cold. Looks like my run was a lot slower than last year. Guess I was struggling, either from the cold, or just getting used to running after a really hard bike.
But I still pulled off a 2:22 PR over last year, with slower swim and run, but much faster bike and transitions. That’s the thing about triathlon, every single time counts! And got 2nd AG again. Dang, these women keep getting faster too!
And the best part was getting to one of my really good friends, who’s become an amazing runner, race her first triathlon! I’m so excited to have a new friend to share my love of multi-sport. I’m also really glad she’s not in my age group, because she’s going to be a serious force to reckon with!