Sunday, May 22, 2011

Danskin Triathlon Recap

On Mother's Day, exactly one year from my first attempt at a triathlon I was at it again. Right after last year's race they offer all participants a discounted fee to sign up right away for the following year.  That's what I did.  Not knowing at the time, that the race would fall into one of the busiest times for me.

With the financial commitment already made, it was down to the wire as to whether I could make the race or not.  My second daughter was graduating from college the day before the race at the College of Charleston in South Carolina.  I didn't know if I could make it back to Orlando in time or not.  With the help of others, I was able to get my bike racked the day before and all I had to do, was make it home. 

Physically I was kind of ready for the race.  I have been running in preparation for a half marathon in June and my cross training is bicycling.  I even went to the pool once to swim for 30 min so I would be prepared just in case. I was a competitive swimmer up through high school, so that part didn't worry me.  

I made it home the night before the race and headed to Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort in the morning. The weather was perfect - mid 60s. 

Arriving pre-dawn to catch a bus to the race area
I knew I wanted to improve my time from last year, but mentally I wasn't there. I was just going to do my best. From my first race, I had in my head that this was the hardest thing I had ever done.  When I shared this with a friend, she was surprised and reminded me that I had run a marathon since.  Her comment made me rethink the entire race.  She was right this wasn't the hardest thing I had done, compared to the marathon this would all be over in less than 2 hours.  This totally changed my mental state.

I started the half-mile swim in the fourth wave (light blue swim caps)  I tried to stay near the front on the inside of the pack.  My goal was to swim a straight line to the first buoy, cut a sharp left hand turn and head for the next one, turn left and then head for the shore. I wanted to make my route as direct as possible.  

I am on the front right in the green shirt.
If I could get out in front, I would be able to find an open space because the wave in front of us had a four minute lead. Sally Edwards got us pumped up before we took off.  Our mantra was "I am a strong, kick ass swimmer (biker, runner)" 
Sally Edwards getting us all warmed up for the start.
I managed to swim a strong leg and it wasn't has hard as I remembered. I found I nice open space for most of the way.  Upon leaving the water I noticed I was one of the first light blue swim caps to make it to shore. That gave me the motivation to keep pushing myself.
I ran to the transition area and dried off as quickly as I could.  I took care to dry my legs well, because last time I ended up with soggy socks on my run and that was no fun.  I also had to put on bike shoes.  This was my first race wearing clip on shoes.  I was a little nervous about that, because sometimes I forget to unclip and that leads to a fall. 
I just wanted to pedal as hard as I could throughout the 12 mile ride. The ride was mostly flat with just a couple of overpasses to tackle.

My transition between the bike and run took a little longer because I had to change shoes, but the idea was I could do better in the cycling with shoes that allowed me to push and pull through each rotation.
Heading for the finish line
I had no idea how I was doing time wise, but I just kept on putting one foot in front of the other.  I had 3.1 miles to run. The running part was not marked with mile markers and this made it tough.  I did not want to start off too fast and burn out, but I also wanted to speed it up for the last mile.  I made my best guess and kicked it up at the end. 

Cate, my cheerleader and me drinking chocolate milk.

Andy and me
 I ended up beating my time last year and made a new PR.  I finished in 1:35:00 - eight  minutes and thirty-four seconds faster than last year.  Here is the breakdown.
Swim           17:10
Transition 1    3:47
Bike              43:49
Transition 2    2:00
Run              28:12

My friend Cheri, after her first tri!
I like this race because it is all female and every one is so encouraging and supportive.  It is a great race for beginner triathletes and is held each year on Mother's Day.  The only bummer is the t-shirt and the medal are lame.  But I would recommend it to anyone considering triathlons.
The medal
How important are the Tshirt and medal to you when choosing a race?


  1. Congrats on the PR! Sounds like you did awesome and it looked like a beautiful day! Glad you made it back to FL for the race. Awesome job!

  2. I love that your friend helped you put this into perspective - and it sounds like it worked!

    I actually really like the medal. Okay, probably because it's green.

    Congratulations on a PR!

  3. What a great race! I didn't even know this one existed, but then again I can't swim and I'm scared to bike, so I probably wouldn't try to look up an event like this. Congratulations on such a speedy time!

    --I love to run for a medal! That is my motivator. I always hope they'll look awesome, but I like to not see them until I get my own. Shirts, I prefer a tech shirt - so I don't usually chose to race if I get cotton. I won't wear it and I have plenty of events to pick from in Oregon, so I find others that meet my bling demands. For a small race though I don't worry about medals. I know those are very rare!


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