When I started triathlon training in May, I had no idea where it would take me. Four months later, I’ve just completed my third triathlon of the season (fourth if you include the Borg Warner Mini Triathlon).
After Cayuga and Broome County, I didn’t feel my triathlon season was complete yet. I had at least one more in me. Luckily, I was able to convince some friends/training partners that their seasons weren’t over yet either.
At 2:45 on race morning, yes, 2:45 AM, I woke up to get ready for tri #3. Funny how getting up for work at any time before 8:00 AM is painful, but I some how managed to be wide awake and productive and 2:45 AM on a weekend! Not knowing ahead of time how well I would be processing what was going on that early, I packed everything the night before.
By 3:45 AM, my friend Ericka and I had loaded up the car and were off to Canandaigua…in the pouring rain. It’s an hour and 20 minute drive or so, and we needed to ensure ourselves time to park, pick up our packets, set up transition, warm-up, bathrooms visits x 100, and get on the wetsuits.
Prior to the race starting, it was dark, windy, and drizzly. Not the most ideal conditions for a triathlon. But, the race would go on, rain or shine!
Eventually the wind and rain subsided and we were left with overcast conditions and wet roads. I was glad it wasn’t raining, but the wet roads did make me nervous for the bike ride.
At 8:21, myself and 42 females in my age group (30-34) began the .45 mile swim. The water temperature was a cool 61 degrees. Wetsuit please. This triathlon was my first experience racing in a wetsuit that I know own…finally!
Swim: .45 miles, 15:43 (1:55/100), 11th for age, 42nd for females
The most notable part of the swim was definitely the depth of the water in the lake. I had been warned about how shallow the water was prior to the race. At only 4 ft deep, I could see the bottom during the entire swim. I was surprised to see some athletes choose to stop mid way and walk/run in the water, rather than swim. Fortunately, the depth of the water did not impact the swim for me at all.
This swim leg was probably the strongest I have felt out of the three triathlons I did this summer. The only problem I seemed to have on the swim was being cut off by other swimmers moving diagonally in the water. Is there a way to avoid this better? Maybe I just need to get faster and stay out front from now on
Once we exited the water it was a 1/4 mile dash to the transition area. I was able to pass some in my swim wave that had beat me out of the water. My bare feet were not loving running on loose gravel for that long. Into T1…
The transition felt long, but pretty smooth. Nothing significant to report other than there were a lot of bikes, gear, people filling the area. Oh, and that I need to get better at taking off my wetsuit and significantly improve T1 time next go around.
After leaving T1, I was off to ride the (still) wet roads of the bike course. The rain had stopped by the time I started my swim, but it was overcast and damp, preventing the roads from drying before my ride. Not having a lot of experience riding on wet roads, I was nervous about the curves and hills. Because of this, I predicted I would be slower than I wanted to be.
Bike: 13 miles, 47:05 (16.6 mph), 8th for age, 36th for females
I spent the first couple miles of the bike ride by myself. I began wondering if I was going the wrong way because I was not seeing anyone. There were cones everywhere and due to my nerves and adrenaline building during the pre-race meeting, I forgot where they said we were supposed to be riding. To the right of the cones, in the middle, to the left? Ah, this wasn’t a smooth start.
Eventually, I started catching others on the bike. One by one, it helped build my confidence and motivation. The bike route was beautiful: rolling hills, smooth roads, beautiful views. There ended up being only one part of the course that I was nervous to go too fast on with the roads being wet. Much better than I anticipated! The final mile or so of the bike course was my least favorite because there were cones and cyclists everywhere. The narrow path on the road to the finish really slowed the pace down quite a bit. However, the cones were probably necessary to keep cyclists going in the right direction and preventing crashes.
I tried to be fast off the bike. I quickly threw on my road racing flats and Garmin, then took off. The transition area seemed more crowded, but I was able to get out and start the 5k run.
Run: 5k, 22:24 (7:14 pace), 1st for age, 5th for females
*My Garmin said I actually ran 3.23, therefore making my overall pace a little faster: 22:23 (6:55 pace). One of my friends also had the course as longer than a 5k. Either way, still a good run.
The course was a flat route that was mostly road, but also had some parts on loose gravel that went around a lagoon area. I began passing other runners right away. I remember seeing runners in front of me and then thinking to myself that I would love to try and catch and pass them. Some took longer than others to catch, but desire to get there, lit such a fire in me. I ignored the pain and went for it. It also didn’t hurt that the course was flat, fast, and very enjoyable to run.
Coming into the finishing chute, I pushed harder than I think I have ever pushed myself at a finish. Yes, of course I pushed because that’s what you do at the end of a race, but a little extra motivation came from a female a few feet in front of me. She had 31 (her age) written on the back of her leg. Passing females in the same group equals moving up one more place. It’s one of those moments when you know the event photographers are going to capture you in all of your “ugly, pain face” glory. It was worth it though. I passed her.
78th/563, Overall, 12th Female, 5th/34 in Age Group
The Finger Lakes Triathlon was a great experience. This is definitely a good course for all triathletes, especially beginners. The swim is shallow, the bike course was friendly for all ability levels, and the run course was flat and fast.
Although this was my last triathlon for the season, I’m still enjoying time on the bike and in the pool. The cross-training has really helped me become a stronger runner and overall athlete. I’ve also been busy reading, professional triathlete Chrissie Wellington’s book, A Life Without Limits. The best way to end any tri season is to quote a four time World Ironman Man Champion, right? Anyway, I think she has a great point:
“Just seize every opportunity you have, embrace every experience. Make a mark, for all the right reasons.” ― Chrissie Wellington, A Life Without Limits. Chrissie Wellington with Michael Aylwin