I had been waiting for Sunday to come for months. The DC Triathlon was the first triathlon I had ever signed up for. I was so excited when I signed up for it that I couldn't wait that long to actually race in a triathlon. As you've noticed, I signed up for four of them before the big day. It turns out, this was a very good decision.
The triathlon weekend actually started on Thursday. The swim practice scheduled for Saturday was cancelled due to the MLK Jr. Memorial construction. I'm not sure why considering it's across the street on land and NOT IN THE POTOMAC! I wonder if MLK Jr. could swim? On Thursday I decided I would start the Potomac Immunity Process. I might as well get my body use to the supposed "dirty Potomac." If it's so dirty, why do they let us swim in it? While we're on the subject, the guy who organizes the Sunday long rides always has some clever greeting to start off the route description on hos blog such as..."Hello people who will never qualify for Kona" or last week..."Hello people who think the Potomac is clean enough to swim in" Yesterday it was…”Hello people who contracted an STD from swimming in the Potomac.”
I made my way out to National Harbor for the Happy Hour Swims put on by WaveOne. It's not a bad course and it's good because it's only a 10 minute drive versus 45 minutes to any of the other lakes. On the downside, it's the Potomac and you have a large group of spectators watching. The course is about 350 meters and I swam like a champ (for me) without a wetsuit. I still don't understand why people care so much about wearing a wetsuit, shouldn't you be prepared for swimming without one? I don't think they should be used as a crutch.
Anyways back to the race...
The g/f was coming into town to watch meaning I wouldn't be working while she was here. We headed over to packet pickup on Friday since it wouldn't be as crowded. Sadly my roommate, who is racing his first tri, had to work and was going on Saturday. For some odd reason I didn'ttake any pictures of packet pick up. Although, when you get your number they snap a shot of you for your little Athlete Profile Page on the DC Tri website. Nicely done.
Bikes had to be racked on Saturday and there were police escorted rides from the convention center to the water front…about 1.5 miles. I thought this would be very cool to do except for that I had to wait for my roommate and our friend to finish packet pickup. We missed the ride at 1:30 and didn’t want to wait for the next one. The g/f was in the car as well and I felt bad that all she was doing was sitting there. So, we drove down to the water front where they had a lane blocked off so you could park and rack your bike…wtf…I guess they didn’t want 4,000 people trying to do this because it wasn’t advertised.
The next morning was pretty easy, woke up at 4am, left at 4:30, manage to find a spot about a mile from transition. Not even 2 minutes out of the car and people were already asking if you could wear a wetsuit. Seriously? I got everything set up and then heard the water temperature was 77.8 degrees…barely wetsuit legal. I decided not to wear one and turned out to be a great idea. We went down to the riverside and watched the Oly race go off. I’ve never actually watched the swim part since I’ve always been in the race. It was interesting to see people use the backstroke and breast stroke within 100 meters. I also saw several people being pulled out of the water by the jet ski right after 100 meters.
Next it was time to corral up and wait for the race. The swim start was supposed to be a TT start with 8 people jumping in at once…keyword being jumping, no diving. Although these two guys behind me said there were no cannonballs but, nothing was said about backflips. It’s too bad since I spent 15 minutes at the diving at pool, the day before the race, trying to figure out how to position my head to keep water out of my goggles when I hit the water. By the time I got to the dock they were just pointing people where to jump in the water one by one.
The swim went pretty smoothly, I managed to freestyle the whole time and seemed to be gliding along faster than before since I fixed the pulling part of my stroke. It wasn’t very crowded but, I’ll never stop being amazed at how many people tend to swim toward me rather than straight. I spent most of the swim passing people in the wave in front of me and several people from two and three waves in front of me. Check out my pink swim cap and how goofy I look in speedo goggles.
I’m just getting off the ramp in the second picture and the girl just ahead of me was from 3 waves in front of me.
800 meters and outta the water in 15:54…blows all my other swim times away.
T1 went as well as they usually do, I can’t seem to run very quickly to and out of transition. No problems mounting my bike and getting my feet in. Although the first mile was an average of 15 mph. The next 11 miles were much faster. The bike course was extremely crowded and a lot of people were blocking, including the race marshal on the moped. They cut me off three times and slowed me down when I was trying to pass. The third time I said something and she told me I was blocking…not cool since they’re the reason I was blocking and couldn’t complete a pass. Like there weren’t 100 other people around me not passing at the same time. I thought she wrote down my number but, I didn’t hear it called out. Luckily I didn’t get a penalty.
I finished the bike in around 37 minutes and averaged 19.7 mph.
The run was a little tough since it started to get hot. What I don’t understand is why they made the sprint course 7.5K with 5 U-turns. Apparently it was so we could run by The Capitol but, that only required one turn around. The route seems dumb to me and all the U-turns seem unnecessary. There isn’t even a picture of me in front of the capitol so what’s the point?
I crossed the line at 1:44:34 and in the top 35%…Sadly I was 732 in the run but 197 in the bike. If only I could run faster.
Run time: 44:43…9:37/mile
Then I waited for my g/f to show up at the finish. She missed me on the bike because she was looking at the course map. Strangely, I saw her and yelled her name…she didn’t hear me. It’s too bad she didn’t get to see me finish. I’d imagine it’s hard to look for someone on the bike course with thousands of other people. While I was eating I ate a delicious burrito bowl from Qdoba, probably the best post race food yet. I also didn’t realize how mean it was to watch people run by while eating until someone running by said it was mean. I waited for my friend to finish, he was about 20 minutes behind me but I didn’t see him run by. We had no idea what happened to my roommate. My g/f and my friend’s g/f didn’t see him come out of the water and he hadn’t called anyone. 10 minutes later I saw him run by and 10 more minutes later he crossed the finish line. About an hour after me. It turned out he took 35 minutes on the swim. I’m glad he finished.
Next up, Big Shark Triathlon outside of St. Louis. It’s an odd distance, 1K swim, 20 mile bike and 4 mile run.