Sunday, August 21, 2011

Timberman Sprint Triathlon

Yesterday, Alex and I both competed in the Timberman Sprint Triathlon. This was our first large race—over 1500 entries. It's run by the Ironman people, and is put on in conjunction with a half-Ironman distance race that is happening today. (Those crazy people are doing a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, and 13.1 mile run.)

Despite injuries—my broken toe, and a sliced finger for Alex on Thursday night requiring suturing in the emergency room—we had a great time.

We woke just after 4 in an attempt to get on-site parking. And boy, did we succeed! Here's the early-morning view from our parking spot:

Right on the beach! The little orange thing in the water is one of the swim course buoys.

Alex went off with the first swim wave at 7 AM sharp, and as always had a super-fast swim. He got kicked in the face in the early going as his group was sorting itself out, and is now thinking he needs to start right toward the front in the future! He rigged a wrap for his sutured finger, and was thus attired in a very classy medical-glove-and-duct-tape getup that apparently did a decent job of keeping his finger fairly dry.

I was in swim wave #7, a whole half hour later. There were about 100 other women in my wave—I avoided getting kicked, though it was a close thing. Lake Winnepesaukee was beautifully clear and not too cold. I did wear my wetsuit but actually ended up regretting it—after a bunch of great, rhythmic training swims without my wetsuit, I was surprised to have trouble finding the sweet spot today, and have decided that it's because the wetsuit is so tight. It seems to change my breathing so I have a hard time getting comfortable. I guess that means more wetsuit-wearing training swims despite the heat we've been having...

Timberman, like some other large races, has wetsuit strippers available in the transition area. Alex, having done this job as a volunteer last year, was deeply skeptical, but I decided to give it a shot. When I ran up off the beach, I pulled the top part of my wetsuit off (my trisuit, which is a tank top and shorts, was on underneath), and then laid down on my back on a mat. Two boys (middle school? early high school?) grabbed either side of my suit and whisked it off over my was indeed much faster than doing the ridiculous-looking neoprene-shedding dance that I usually end up doing. (Did I mention that wetsuits are TIGHT?)

Then it was on to the bike. One of the advantages of being a slow swimmer is that I get to do a lot of passing on the bike! The hills were particularly friendly for me today. Alex had a strong bike leg as well. We crossed paths close to the end of Alex's bike leg and the beginning of mine, which is always fun! The crowded field made it a little hard at times to adhere to the specific rules about keeping a certain distance between bikes, but it also kept things interesting.

The run was OK, with a nice view of the lake. I took it quite easy and my toe behaved itself just fine, not painful at all. I saw several teammates during the run and cheering them on definitely helped me pick up my own pace a little!

All in all, the whole day went about as well as we could have hoped.

Here we are on the beach after the race:

Only downside is that we both managed to lose our goggles in T1 somehow (T1 is the transition from swim to bike). So it's off to the sporting goods store for replacements, so we can carry on training for our September races!