I did it! I am officially a "Wildwoman"! I finished the Wildman Triathlon, and all in all am pretty happy with myself. However, I do have somethings that I want to work on... learning to bike faster is one in particular.
But first, the good parts which in some ways include some of the bad parts. The open water swim is one of the things that I both learned from and was proud of myself. I made the mistake of not getting in the water in the area that we could have warmed up in. I will never do that again. This was my first open water swim and only the 2nd time in my entire life that I have been in a lake. I ran into the water, jumped in and within a few seconds was panicked. Not just a little, but that panic where you feel like you can't really breathe. Why? I couldn't see at all in the water. I got kicked and never saw the foot coming. I'm not someone who is normally susceptible to claustrophobia, but I think I was experiencing it then. After swimming a little with my head above the water, my brain finally kicked in and I thought to myself, "You can do this. You know how to swim and you're good at it. You can do it." And then I remembered a team member who told us that she looks for her hands, so I put my head in the water and started to swim but I couldn't see my hands. So I breast stroked for a little and decided that I needed to try again and see what I could see underwater. I could see my forearms, so I watched for those and counted to 3 for my breathing, and every 8 strokes I looked up to see where I was. Even with the panicking, I swam the 750 meters in 17:15.158. I could do it a good bit faster in the pool, but since I panicked I think I did well, especially since I passed a bunch of the guys who were in the wave in front of mine!
I think I spent a little too much time in the 1st transition. We had to run more than 1/4 of a mile to get to the transition and I wasn't running overly fast because I was barefoot and it hurt my feet, but I could have run faster and will work on that for next time. In the transition area itself, I was ok. I think I will bring a bottle of water with a squirt nozzle to rinse of my feet because that will go faster than trying to wipe them off, but other than that my set up was good and I just need to practice doing the motions of getting things on a little faster.
The bike. I did well with my cadence, staying between 85-92 the entire way. But I think I need to learn how to ride better because even with a good cadence, I was only going 14 mph to 14.5 mph. I feel like I can go faster, but I don't know how to use the bike to allow for that. Maybe I was in too low of a gear? Maybe my leg motion is not as efficient as it should be? Maybe I need to sit farther back on the seat by using my core and until my core is strong enough to maintain it, check every so often so as to push myself back? I'll be getting some books, and perhaps some specialized training if I can get it. Because of this I wasn't super happy with my time: 51:39.837 for a 12 mile bike. I know I can do better. But the good part was that I didn't crash in the dismount zone! I had studied the route map so I would know when it was coming up, and I came in mentally ready to ignore everyone around me and snapped my right leg out, put the brakes on slowly and evenly and leaned forward and to the right, had my leg down, was still and snapped my left leg out, and dismounted. Go me! In fact, I was so happy that I smiled ear from ear!
Then for the 2nd transition. I did well with it... less than 2 minutes (1:58.953), but could have been a little faster in that I decided to run back and get my water bottle. I don't think I'm going to run with a water bottle again, and may opt for getting a camel back so I can use it on the bike and on the run because I have to admit that on the bike, I didn't use my water once - which is not a good thing. I just didn't know how to get the bottle out when going so fast, and while I need to learn, I also need water in the meantime. Anyway. T2 I thought was pretty good other than doubling back for the water bottle.
The run. My shin splints decided to kill me about a mile into it, so I had to walk and run a little bit. And then somewhere I hit some uneven terrain that helped stretch my calves out and the pain in my shins stopped... and I was able to run the rest of the way. If I hadn't had the shin issue, I think I could have gone faster. But I was not wholly unhappy with my time - 3.2 miles in 30:19.883. Not too shabby for a girl who is not an overly good runner (but is trying to improve) and had to walk some because of her shins.
The end was great! I felt so good and so happy... exhausted, smelling like wet goat, but I felt great for what I had accomplished and for what I learned. A total time of 1:46:38.215. Slower than I would have liked, but this one was longer than my first (the swim was almost 2x as long and the run was 1 mile longer) and I know where I want to improve and was happy with what I did well. And I had a great time rooting for my team mates still out there and congratulating those that finished before me. My Team in Training team rocks!
So when is the next one???