I picked my first triathlon based on several factors – it was only four weeks out when I registered, the day after I bought my bike; it was a pool swim and not open water; and the bike portion was only seven miles. Seemed like a great first tri.
And it was. The 33rd annual Huntsville Sprint Triathlon was a great introduction to the sport. The local club putting it on were friendly, the event was very “newbie” friendly, and the weather was great.
It began with everyone giving their 100 yard swim speed when registering, and then the swim was to be a “criterion” start in the pool. But a lot of people either had no clue what their speed was, or just didn’t care, but you jam two slow people in one lane, and bottlenecks occur. I had read people saying they though open water swims were easier than pool swims, but couldn’t believe them…until now. I know I can swim 400 meters in 9:15-9:30 (slow and steady, that’s me) but could only get out with a 10:45 time.
My T1 was quick, mostly because I was biking in my running shoes. I just didn’t feel like I had enough time to get comfortable on the bike AND comfortable with clipless pedals. But clipless pedals are going on the bike this week. So with running shoes I averaged 17.1mph on a mostly flat course with a bunch of turns in a neighborhood before getting to the main road. I was happy with that.
T2 was quick, and then then run began. It was advertised as “rolling with a challenging cross country and pathway type of elevation gain and loss” but what looked like a long section of sidewalk on the back side was in fact all gravel. So it was a 5k trail run, complete with narrow wooden bridge, really skinny sidewalk next to a main road with traffic, one section with large rocks and badly patched asphalt, and one 20 foot steep grass descent. Oh, and it was a two-lap course, so rinse and repeat all those conditions. But I loved it! (have I mentioned this was my first tri?)
I only ran a 33:26, after going sub-30 my last two 5k races, but between the trail run and this being the last of three events, I am OK with it. Looking on the bright side, I set a PR with plenty of room for improvement!
I’m already signing up for my next sprint tri in early August, the Mountain Lakes Triathlon. It’s a lake swim 300 yards out and back, a 15 mile cycling course billed as mostly flat and fast, and a 5k run on streets and not a trail.