After a close to two year hiatus from triathlon I finally completed one yesterday. Why? No real reason. I just figured it was time. About mid-week last week I saw that the Wild Cat Sprint Triathlon was on Sunday in Lowell. The race is on my home turf and I know every inch of the course. If I was looking for the perfect race to get back into the sport then this was it. Even though I knew I was not in shape I knew I could get through a sprint and was hoping I could use this as motivation for the remainder of the year. I do not have this race on VTR but the course is almost exactly like the Mill City Triathlon.
Prior to last weekend I had not done any swim training. On Saturday I went to the Merrimack River (the site of the swim course) and swam for 10 minutes to see what it would feel like and make sure I wouldn't drown on Sunday. I was slow, but pleasantly surprised all of those years of muscle memory were still there.
Sunday morning came and I couldn't believe I had not been at the start line of a triathlon since my Ironman finish in 2012. I have to admit it felt good. As I entered the water for my 74th triathlon I felt a lot of fond memories of prior events and training.
The swim was a quarter mile in the Merrimack River starting at the Lowell Beach. This beach is just slightly different than my vacation at Huntington Beach two weeks ago. (haha) I decided against a wet suit because the water was warm enough and I was concerned it would take me too long to take it off. I figured I would fly through T1 and make up for my lost swim time. I did several tests a few years ago that showed me without a wet suit I swim like a rock. I ended up swimming 9 minutes for the quarter mile (ouch!) but felt good in the water. My plan seemed to work as I came in 8th overall in T1 with under a minute. In hindsight I probably should have worn a wet suit but at least I felt good.
The bike was an 11 mile loop with only a couple of small hills. I recently sold my tri bike and purchased a road bike and on this course it hurt. The first 5 miles are completely flat on Pawtucket Boulevard and being in the time trial position would have helped a lot. Either way I muscled through the bike course averaging right at 20 MPH. I did mention I was out of shape, right? Either way I felt decent after the ride and it was on to the run.
The run is a perfectly flat 3 miles out and back on Pawtucket Boulevard. Now at least I was in a discipline I have actually been training for of late. I immediately noticed at the start of the run that I was not 100%. Go figure...it is a triathlon not a road race! I was able to maintain decent speed but did not have the legs to do anything special. I finished in 21:45 (7:15 pace) for the run.
After two years off there is one important thing I forgot about triathlons...they are hard! This is not a simple 5k I can blast through in 20 minutes and then grab a beer. Even the shortest triathlons are a lot of work when you are undertrained and overweight.
I have not earned the right to complain about my time. I am just happy I finished without embarrassing myself. I do enjoy triathlons and hopefully this will jump start me to enter a few more events before the season is over.
How did I do:
29th overall in 1:06:57
Check out the full results here.