Race Recap: 2011 Greeley Sprint Triathlon

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Disclaimer: this was my first tri. I was stoked about it. I asked Weez to document like a boss. He didn’t let me down. So sit back, grab a cup of coffee, and let the pictures load…

Race day, we woke up at 4AM so we could hit the road by 4:45AM to get to Greeley by 6 (an hour before transition area closed). The TA wasn’t crowded at all, so it was easy to set up our stuff just the way we wanted. Will had to show me how to efficiently lay out my shoes/towel/helmet/etc. I probably rearranged my stuff 5 times. Such a newbie.
Then we went to get our bodies marked and pick up our ankle timing chips. I’ll admit, I felt pretty legit walking around with sharpie-marked numbers all over my arms and legs. I think the intense-face/sunglasses helped too.
It took me approximately 27 minutes to squeeze into my wetsuit then we made our way to the water for the TT (time trial) start. The 13-15’s went off first, then the dudes, then the chicks. I made lots of friends while we stood around waiting to go. There were tons of other first timers out there, which was really cool.
After the 14-15 yr olds made their lap around the lake, the dudes took their turns charging into the water (they let racers go one at a time, every 3-5 seconds). My brother dominated his swim and was done and onto T1 before I even started.
Eventually the chicks started being released and one by one, the line got shorter and I got closer to the water. Having never swam in open water in a wetsuit before, I had no idea what to expect… I was nervous…
It was finally my turn and I charged into the water, adrenaline pumping, full speed ahead (big mistake)…
I totally understand why people say to keep calm in the water because my heart was RACING. I couldn’t keep it under control. I was breathing like a horse, which doesn’t bode well when your head is underwater.

I struggled. A LOT. I can usually breath every 3-5 strokes in the pool, but here, every 2 strokes wasn’t enough. I had to flip over and swim backstroke several times. I started to panic and had to swim breast stroke for a while. It was a painfully slow-moving experience and mentally tough. Fully aware of how dramatic I sound, those 500m were some of the longest minutes of my life. It’s gonna take a lot more training before I ever have the confidence to jump into open water to swim like that again. Scary!

The good news is that I didn’t a.) get kicked in the head b.) swim the wrong way or c.) drown because I finally made it to the yellow duckies and emerged from the water like godzilla (still breathing like a horse).
As soon as I hit land, I heard Weez and both Wills cheering ultra loud for me. This made me smile, relax, and changed the panic I had previously been feeling to a positive, focus-mode. I was ready to zip through T1 and get on the bike!
Fun fact: putting bike shorts on while wet is not easy. I have yet to master that skill. My brother (aka Bro Boss, as I will start calling him) is the coolest person in the world and told me he’d wait for me during T1 so that we could ride/run legally near each other/together. I think he waited something like 20 minutes for me. Talk about love right there.
Despite the wet bod and shorts thing, I managed to get my helmet/glasses/socks/shoes/gloves on relatively quickly and just like that, Bro Boss and I were off to dominate the 10 mile bike…
My adrenaline was pumpin’ full force and since I knew it was “just” 10 miles, I went all-out during the ride. I was chargin’ it the whole time. Givin’ it my all. I somehow magically managed to eat a Gu and swig some water without wiping out and I’m glad I did, because the run probably would have hurt more had I not eaten while on the bike.

I didn’t get passed once. I was flying. If I came within 4 bike lengths of someone, I made sure to pass in under 15 seconds. I probably passed 20 people (go me, go!). I thanked the police officers who stood at every turn, with the little breath that I had. I felt really strong :)

10 miles flew by and next thing I knew, I was dismounting my bike (without wiping out! #winning) and running it into the TA. I was mad focused by then. I was amped to get my running shoes on and head out for my favorite part, the run. Bro Boss and I zipped through T2 like well oiled machines and we took off…
Within 10 seconds, I realized someone had stolen my legs. I felt all sorts of wack. Running at full speed after biking as hard as you can = an experience difficult to put into words.

I gotta give it to Bro Boss right now: this guy knows how to run fast. And he makes it look easy. Since we’ve been running together for years and years, we’ve got good running chemistry. He’s good at staying next to me while pushing the pace. He never let me settle. I never caught my breath. In fact, he had to tell me to get it together and control my breathing at one point.

That 5k brought me back to my college XC days. I was focused, exhilarated, and out of breath all at the same time. With a mile to go, Bro Boss turned up the heat and we picked it up (ouch). With a few hundred meters to go, we started sprinting (double ouch). I could see the big, inflatable gorilla finish line! I was so excited!
I love this photo. We’re both all-smiles, running stride for stride. Siblings that run Tri together, stay together :)

The finish line was awesome. I heard Weez and Will cheering for us the whole time, the medals were sweet, and we met up with my friend from college, Jeff (who um, WON the entire race, no big deal). There were hugs and smiles and laughs. It meant the world to me that my bro, Weez, and friends were there to share the experience with me.
Jeff being acknowledged for taking first place overall (BAMF):
How did I not get a pic with my friend Will?! He was 1/2 of my cheering squad and I didn’t even make him take a sweaty post-race phot with me?! I’m sorry, Will, I’ll make up for that next time :)

Tris are fun because there are tons of stats
Overall Time = 1:12:45
Swim (500m) = 12:12
Bike (10 miles) = 33:57 (17.7 mph)
Run (5k) = 22:34 (7:17 pace)
T1 = 2:39, T2 = 1:25
4/15 (25-29 age group), 21/101 (females), 94/212 (overall)

I’m really jazzed about the whole experience. I beat my goal time, and though I didn’t keep my cool during the swim, I was focused and gave it my all during the bike and run. Hats off to all you triathletes out there, geebus, those things are not easy but I totally understand why you love them now. What a trip!

So the next question isn’t will I do another triathlon, but when :)

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6 Comments Add yours

  1. rand says:

    Erin, congrats! Fun to read and great pics. (Nice job, Brian)

  2. mallory says:

    Great job Erin!!! You kicked butt!!!! I can’t wait to see how you do in your next one ;)

  3. sarah says:

    eeeekkkkk!!! that looks like so much fun! it almost makes me wanna swim/bike/run one:-) except that i wouldnt make it past the swim. haha. youre a champ….only weeks out from surgery!! ROCK STAR!!!!!! xoxo.

  4. nicole says:

    WTG!!!!! that looks like a blast! i must try one!

  5. goSonja says:

    Wait!!! You know the Dolanosaurus!!!!! Me too! I love the jumping picture the mostest, so rockin.

  6. Mel says:

    Oh, hey! I have been reading your blog for a few months but just saw you mention in your last post that you did a sprint tri, and now I see it’s one of the ones I did this year! :)

    Greeley is one of my faves. I am definitely signing up again for 2012!

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