A couple weeks ago on June 22, I finished my first triathon! I had such a great time that I'm doing my second triathlon this Saturday.
The Padden Triathlon was held at Lake Padden Park, a little less than half an hour from my house. There were two distance options and even though it was my first tri, I chose the "competitive" division which took place in the morning. The race started at 8:30 and I probably got to Lake Padden around 7:10 in order to get a good spot in transition (and a good parking spot).
Pre-race I wasn't too nervous because I'd actually done a practice tri with my training group where we swam, biked, and ran the entire course. So I wasn't worried about finishing. I just wanted to push myself and do my best. There's a lot more to think about pre-race with a triathlon and I went back and forth between my car and the transition area a few times. But eventually I got everything set up, I aired up my tires, and I remembered to tuck my phone in my seat bag "just in case".
The wave starts for the swim were self-seeded and I started in the fourth wave. My only goal for the swim was to finish. I just took it slow and steady the whole way across the lake and back. The only slight issue with the swim was when I got caught by the people from the fifth wave right at the turnaround buoy and there was some crowding and kicking. I just focused on staying calm and continuing to move forward. It was a little disheartening to have everyone pass me, but I was happy that I was able to swim the entire distance without stopping. Next year I'll work on getting faster.
1/2 mile swim - 20:27
The swim included a short run out of the lake and over to transition. I felt like I was moving quickly but there was so much to do. I got my wetsuit off fairly easily, then dried off my feet and put on socks and shoes. I had to fix my hair so I could get my helmet on. I put on my sunglasses and Garmin and slipped some Clif Shot bloks into my pockets. Whew, I think that's it.
T1 - 3:18
Coming out of transition, the bike course started with a short uphill. Since I'm still not super confident with my clipless pedals, I decided to jog my bike up the hill and then get on. Once I'm on my bike, then I'm good. It was a difficult bike course with a lot of hills. I was glad I'd had the chance to train on the course and knew what to expect. I was surprised at how many people I passed. I don't love cycling yet, but that day I felt pretty strong.
I had to remind myself to drink water, but I did have a fueling plan. I had 3 shot blocks about 30 minutes in and then another 3 shot blocks right at the end so I'd be fueled for the run. The bike was supposed to be 21 miles, but based on my Garmin and using MapMyRun, I think it's closer to 20.5 miles. My overall speed based on 20.5 miles was about 15.8 mph. There's definitely room for improvement, but it was pretty fast for me.
Bike - 1:17:41 (16.2 mph based on "official" distance of 21 miles)
The second transition was quicker since it was more a matter of taking stuff off. I had put some elastic laces on my running shoes so I could slip them on quickly. Then I grabbed my race number belt and I was off.
T2 - 1:10
Now I was in my element. The run course was two loops around the lake. Even though I was wearing my Garmin, I ran more by feel rather than focusing on hitting a certain pace since this was after already swimming and biking. I tried to push myself but still keep a pace that I could maintain for the entire distance of 5.2 miles. Looking back, I think I was right on with my pacing because it was just sightly slower than my 10k pace.
I felt strong the entire run and I was able to pass quite a few people. I almost want to say that I didn't get passed by anyone on the run, but I'm not 100% sure of that. Again, being familiar with the course helped because I knew exactly when to pick it up and give a little extra kick into the finish.
Run - 40:59 (7:53 pace)
My overall time was 2:23:33. I had roughly estimated that I'd finish in around two hours and 30 minutes, so I was really happy with my time. And of course, I was proud of myself for finishing my first triathlon!
As for the race itself, the only negative was that there were no medals. Oh, and the swim start was a bit unorganized. But other than that it was a well-run, low-key event. I registered back in January and it was only $40 and no USAT fee required. I'm definitely planning to do the Padden Triathlon again next year and hope that with more training and experience I'll be able to improve on my times.