post, I've been on bit a hiatus. I'm back and trying catch, so, bare with me.
Playtri is a local triathlon and cycling store here in the DFW area. They host several sprint and Olympic distance races throughout the year, but the Playtri Triathlon Festival held in May is the only race to offer a shorter race distance for newbies (or recovering triathletes!).
Coming into this race I knew that I wanted to make having fun my first priority. I was just released by my doctor to run again only two weeks prior to race day. I had been slowly building my way up to being comfortable running a short 3 miles. Isn’t it amazing what a simple orthotic can do for a runner? Apparently, I’m pretty tough on my shoes. I wore right through my semi-custom orthotic in about six months. I thought I still had a couple hundred miles in those things for sure. The doctor had me stop running until I could get a new orthotic so that I wouldn’t risk injury. It was the right call in my opinion, but I hate taking any time off running. Honestly, I hadn’t even been in the pool all that often. I think I may have done a handful of pool swims and I attended my tri club’s open water kick-off event just a week before Playtri. The only thing I had been truly working on was the bike. I’m tired of being a slow cyclist!
Anyway, with all that in mind I signed up for the super sprint knowing that I was out of shape, but I was prepared to have a fun with this short race. Sometimes it’s more about getting back into the swing of things than it is to finish with a PR.
This was the first time I had zero nerves pre-race. It was nice because I knew that “tomorrow” would just be another training day. I didn’t have to worry about IF I was going to finish because I KNEW that I would and I would have some fun to boot. I also made a new friend (well call her KB) on the Women for Tri Facebook group. She shared a post on the FB group a few weeks before Playtri and I just happened to see it and *boom* local internet friends! KB and I decided that since we were both going to be racing, we would meet up race morning to have someone to chat with.
It’s crazy how easy it is to make new friends on Facebook in the Women for Tri group. I feel like I know all of these ladies! My husband thinks I’m weird, but he just doesn’t get it. I always spend race morning either chatting my husband’s ear off or nervously talking to strangers so I was happy to make a new friend for race morning whom I had at least met (even if only online) before the race.
I waited until around eight o’clock the night before the race to pack things up. I’m such a dirty procrastinator! Either way, I think I’ve done enough races at this point to know what I need and what I don’t. KB sent me a text asking if I was going to wear a wetsuit or not and we chatted a bit about the swim. To my surprise, I had a lot of advice regarding the wetsuit and this particular race. I’ve raced in the Playtri Festival several times in the past and I’m fairly familiar with the course as well as the swim. It felt so nice to finally not be the newbie at a race!
The next morning we were up around 5am. My daughter had a sleep over and my son decided to sleep in so, race morning was just me and the sherpa. It was pretty calm, we loaded up my bike and gear bags and headed to the race. It was a bit chillier than I expected. When we arrived at the race I found myself shivering. All I had on was my trisuit and a sleeveless shirt with flip-flops. Yay me! Texas is usually 100 degrees by now, so in my defense, this was a surprise. I headed over to transition to get my bike racked and gear laid out then walked over to the timing chip table.
Something about race morning is incredibly distracting, even for days like these when I’m relaxed. I found myself chatting with the volunteer while checking out the goods on the table. I looked up and to my surprise I saw my co-worker’s (Mr. Hoot) wife, Mrs. Hoot! What’s funny is that Mrs. Hoot and I have never actually met in person up until that point. I’ve seen her picture at the office and she is even a member of the Women for Tri page on Facebook with KB and I. She was even at the open water swim kick-off with my tri club! Despite all those commonalities we have never actually met in person [or otherwise]. So to look up and see her in the flesh was hilarious. I asked, “You’re Mrs. Hoot right?” and she smiled back at me. Then, I heard a voice say, “Oh, and I’m Mr. Hoot!” I looked back over at the volunteer and realized it was my co-worker! I had been chatting with him he entire time, not once looking up at him. I couldn’t believe it! I was so excited to be meeting Mrs. Hoot, finally after all this time. Mr. Hoot talks about her all the time and he was always telling me about her training and starting her triathlon journey. I was so excited for her and now I finally got to put a real face and voice to the stories. It’s such a small world of triathlon.
After meeting the Hoot’s I headed out of transition to find the Sherpa. He was still waiting by the entrance poor guy. We then met up with KB and her Sherpa and headed to the swim start.
As the morning went on, the weather warmed up quite a bit. KB and I had over an hour wait for our swim start because we were the last group to go. I got my wetsuit on and warmed up. We watched wave after wave enter the water. I saw Mrs. Hoot jump in for the Olympic distance, that woman can swim!
I couldn’t help but think about last year’s race. The swim portion was cancelled because they had a sewage leak in the lake. Here we are about the jump in the same lake. I kept telling myself to “just keep my mouth shut”. Finally it was our time to jump in. We had a short 300m swim, easy peasy! Just as we neared the timing mat the last of our swim group appeared.
The kids tri club was racing with us! I swear to you I could hear the rocky sound track as they exited the building they had been hiding in to keep warm. Their coach herded about ten of them to the start line and all of sudden I realized that I had signed up for the kiddie race. What happened to just having fun?! Now, I was going to be beaten by these pro children. Gulp! The other adults and myself made way for them to enter the water first to get a “head start” but as soon as they entered the water, we could all tell that they were going to beat the tar out of us.
I strapped on my goggles and made the jump as the first adult to enter the water. Surprisingly, I was able to keep up with the last kid. I rounded the turn buoy and slowed my pace a bit. There were two other children who stopped to rest and the mom in me wanted to pop my head up to make sure they were ok. I saw a support canoe and decided they had it covered and went about my swim. I headed toward the swim exit and felt great! I hadn’t done much swimming prior to this but I felt like I was in good shape.
300m swim time: 7:26
This course was extremely short. The bike for my distance was only 7 miles. I have really been working on my cadence in practice so I was anxious to see how that played out in this race. I found that I was still incredibly slow but “not as slow”.I was able to maintain a much higher cadence during this ride which made up for my 15 mph average speed.
What I loved most about the course was that it was a 7 mile loop. The super sprint did one loop, the sprint, did two and the Olympic did three. This meant that there were competitors all over the course and you were rarely alone. Something I can appreciate as a back of the pack slow poke. I saw several of the ladies from my swim start on the bike including KB. Can I just say how cool it is to make friends with people and then actually see them on course? It’s like entertainment and a distraction! Unfortunately, I also so saw several of the kiddos on the course as well….as they passed me by! I found myself cheering them on as I ate their dust. Who knew kids would be so fast?! Seriously! I was just glad that I was here to have fun.
7 mi bike time: 28:08
I headed into the run feeling super. The higher cadence on the bike seemed to save my legs from feeling tired or sore. I exited transition for the run feeling awesome. On my way out I saw Mr. Hoot volunteering at the water station. He gave me a big shout! The run was again a looped course. I had one loop to go just out and back. I cracked up at all the young-ins just speeding around me. I caught up with KB who was having some IT band issues and we stayed together for a few minutes before heading into the final stretch. We only ran 1.5 miles for this race, so it was pretty uneventful over all.
The finish line was still pretty low traffic when I came in. According to the Sherpa they had not been announcing finisher names until I crossed the finish line. So while I wasn’t NOT the first competitor to finish, I was the first name they called out.
1.5 mi run Time: 15:48
I must say, this race was very fun! I really didn't have any expectations going into it. I knew I wanted to keep my heart rate low, which meant going slow. I also knew that I didn't want to stress out about my time. I just wanted to get out there and get back into the swing of thing. I wanted to stretch my legs and I did! I wish every race could be this relaxed.
I hope you're all having an awesome race season and staying cool out there! Hopefully, I'll have another race report soon. I still haven't signed up for another race, but I'm toying with the idea of Prairie Man in September. Ironman training starts in October so, we'll see how that plays out!