On Saturday my Mom and I participated in the Quaboag Plantation Sprint Triathlon in West Brookfield. Neither of us had ever been out there before and we were both pleasantly surprised. I found this race by accident and only signed up because it worked with my schedule and was low cost ($50) for a Tri.
If you care to remember, this race occurred during an awful heat wave that had me, the one who can’t get enough of the outdoors and sunshine, glued to the coach under a fan. Yes, it was that hot. Or maybe I just need to move further North?
Anyways, the water was approaching 80 degrees by 8 am and we knew we were in for a tough race. My thoughts at the start line were “who cares about racing, I want to finish without walking” and “as long as I get in for 1:21 I’m good.” Yep – just a little confusion.
Swim ¼ mile in 10:35: The swim start was from a narrow entry point and they split the women up into two waves, under/over 40 years old. I learned right off the bat that the participants in this race were mostly strong swimmers and I fell back pretty quickly. I did maintain pace with one woman throughout the whole swim and we ran up to transition together, so it was good to not feel alone out there. My least favorite part of a tri is when you can’t find the shore due to the sun’s glare….how do you sight without a landmark?! Definitely one of my weaker swims and I was a little disappointed by my time.
T1 1 min 35 sec : I think I actually started to get excited during this point because this is the first transition where I dropped things and had difficulty tying my shoes. I was so excited to get on my bike and catch up to the others in my group!
Bike 12 miles in 41:41: Oh, the scenery was so lovely out here! I wish I had a camera because this bike was just beautiful. I recall the course as rolling hills with lots of trees and sunlight streaming through, but I might be glossing over the tough parts. There was definitely one hill that I had to stand up for, I saw the traffic jam of racers before I knew what was coming on that one. I passed 4 or 5 women here and about 9 miles in the men over 40 started to catch up with me. I can proudly say that I was the only one doing the passing for women under 40 – new for me on the bike! My pace averaged out to 17 mph which I guess is pretty good? I’m gaining confidence and taking advantage of the downhills & the drop handlebars. Considering my not-so-fun past with cycling & injuries, this is a HUGE step for me. OH – and I used some new energy snacks that I had gotten for free at the co-op awhile ago, they were some jelly bean type deal. They were SO good and worked SO well – I was pleasantly surprised. Ate these around mile 10 of the bike, easy to pop in and chew.
T2 58 sec : Quick, easy transition…other than more difficulties with tying my shoes. Apparently I came into T2 at the same time as the first finisher crossed. That excitement didn’t even phase me as I was ready to RUN!
Run 3 miles in 24:45: Did I mention it was a hot day? I mean….I have never been so hot while swimming in my life. I came out of the water with a red hot face, that’s how hot it was. The first part of the run was uphill with full sun exposure – ah! Luckily I just had some sugar & caffeine so my energy was high despite my tired legs. I splashed some water on myself and prepared for the run. I felt that I had a good pace and was not as tired as at my last Tri, that’s a win in my book! The run is always funny because my position in the pack just shuffles. I always pass around 10 people and feel awesome, then a 65 year old woman will sprint past me followed by 9 more. Every. Time. It’s interesting and exciting, there’s always more camaraderie on the run in a tri than anywhere else. Since running is you know, what I do, I feel that my big smile contributes to that. I depleted my water and homemade energy drink stores on this run and felt strong and hydrated throughout. The finish was downhill and at the end of a dirt path so it was easy to end on a great, fast note. Rather than try to calculate what 84 minus 5 equals and what that meant in regard to my 1 hr 21 min goal I just ran as hard as possible. Math just slows me down.
Imagine my surprise when I finished in 1:19:35! Only 35 seconds sooner and I would have been 4th in my age group, but I got 5/10 for F 20-29 and 63/121 overall. Most importantly – I crushed my goal time once again! I based my goal on my pacing for the last tri so I was proud to see improvement in only a month. The course was beautiful and I will gladly do this race again next summer (if I’m in MA!). If only I could do a triathlon every weekend……
PS Did I mention the awesome hats? QPT in the front and Swim Bike Run / West Brookfield, MA on the back. Sweet!