Race Recap – Dixie Diva Sprint Tri

I did it! I finished my first triathlon and I couldn’t be happier. It was a wonderful day and I can’t stop thinking about what I want to do next. I have been walking around all day with my number still written on my body – I don’t want to wash it off:)

The race was in Greensboro – about a three hour drive. Boy, the trip is exhausting. Half way there yesterday I was questioning the reason to travel so far when there are so many local tris. But, I knew it was the right decision – it was a beginner friendly, women’s only event and I needed a low-key race. I wanted to just blend in and do my thing. I have been training hard but I wasn’t really sure how it was going to go.

I slept pretty well in the hotel and got right to it in the morning… eat, hydrate, dress, go. Although in the transition area the bike racks were assigned to a group of numbers, I wanted to be there early to get the best spot on the rack. Cynthia thought I was crazy, but it worked. I was second to set up:)

My spot was meticulous… I am a good student! Besides my wonderful Coach Katie, I got some first hand tutoring from one of her fast girls, Jan, last weekend.

After I got set up the pool opened for warm-ups. I took full advantage of the time and did some laps. It felt really good to swim in the pool after practicing in the lake so long. My training was going to pay off.

I hung out with Cynthia waiting for the start – so great to have someone there to keep me distracted. I wasn’t really nervous at all, but I am sure if I was sitting alone I would have been obsessing about something.

We lined up for the swim. At registration I had to select a 100 meter lap time so at the start of the race you line up by projected swim speed. I signed up right after I was able to swim 300 meters non-stop. 3:00 (VERY slow), but I knew I would feel comfortable at the back of the pack.

It was nice for about two laps then things fell apart. First, at the start of the second lap I just lost my breath and was breathing way too hard and too fast. I had to take a few strokes with my head above water to try to calm down. I did and was on my way until I got caught in the body jam. About half way through people started piling up. Women were stopped at the end hanging to the wall taking breaks…. doggy paddling, back stroke, you name it. I got kicked from every direction. It was very frustrating to know I could swim so much better but there was nothing I could do about it. Passing was not really an option as there was two-way traffic in each lane and I was really not skilled enough to maneuver around these people. I am sure I caused people problems, too. I guess that is why we were all at the back.

I ended up finishing and hoisting myself out of the pool… I had to run to transition. It was a pretty decent way through wet grass. yuck. I had blades of grass stuck all over my legs and feet. Talk about a chore getting socks and shoes on. It was so slippery I could not get my socks on and had to resort to sitting down. Not good. I also made a bad mistake trying to take a gel with a pasty dry mouth. I just about choked myself. The gu got stuck in the back of my throat and because I had no saliva AT ALL it just hung there. I had to spit it out (not very lady like!) and I think someone nearby thought I was throwing up. Lovely.

Anyway… 2 minutes later (unacceptable!) I was off… Running through the wet grass in my cleats was difficult.

At this point my heart was beating out of my chest. I was so full of adrenalin. I couldn’t wait to get on my bike and get going. I had really high expectations of myself. There were some decent hills, but nothing I couldn’t handle.

Getting out of the park was a bit of a chore with little turns, short hills and speed bumps, but once I got out on the road it was on! I quickly passed about 4 people and felt great. I love the feel of the wind while I am still wet from the pool (as it turns out you STAY wet the whole time). I ended up passing about 12 people before the end.

I attacked every hill I came to and did most of my passing uphill. Again, the workouts are paying off! I felt strong the entire time and did my best to drink a lot. I almost polished off a whole bottle of Cytomax. I managed to get down one gel about 1 mile from the finish but I do not think it was enough.

I got to the dismount area and this time had to run uphill on wet grass again, except this time with very tired legs.

I was quick to hang my bike and switch from my helmet to my hat. Not so swift getting my running shoes on. Now my SOCKS were wet and grassy and the running shoes did not slip on so easily. I lost balance once and almost took a spill (but – I did not sit down!). I recovered and got going. I didn’t feel so strong this time.

The run was only 2.5 miles, but it was a triple loop – passing the finish line THREE times. Needless to say that the two times you have to pass by it the whole crowd was cheering and congratulating you on a strong finish… not so fast… I still had laps to go! I HATE LOOPS.

The little run course was annoying hilly. Stupid little hills that did nothing but get in the way. I wanted to run strong and I heard John’s voice in my head telling me this was a race – to pick up the pace! A couple of women wanted to chat – but I stayed focused and was so brief in my responses that they finally got the hint.

By the third loop the sun was out full force and I was getting really fatigued. About a quarter-mile from the finish I was slowing… until I got passed and noticed the leg markings of the person who did the passing. She was in my class. I would NOT lose a place at this stage in the race. I gave it all I had and sprinted to the end and beat her.

So happy to see Cynthia’s smiling face at the end – she was an awesome photographer throughout and made me pose with a sign!

Even better and totally unexpected was a second place finish in my class!

The race site was nice enough to break down all the details for me:
Your race times:
1:22:36 – Your overall finish time.
8:30 – 300M Swim Time
2:00 – T1
42:42 – Bike Time
1:16 – T2
28:06 – 2.5M Run Time

Your swim, bike, run rankings:
3 place for the 300M Swim
1 place for Bike
2 place for 2.5M Run

Here’s how fast you went:
15.5mph – Pace for Bike
11:14/pace for 2.5M Run

Notice – FIRST off the bike. Too bad my swim and my run are too slow! haha – will be working on those things!

About my class… I did complete in the Athena Class, not age group. I am not discounting my success because I am proud of myself, but this is the class for women 150 pounds or heavier. It is a legitimate race class for triathlon and I think I will continue to complete in it. You race against women of all ages in your same weight range. Had I competed in my age group (40-44) I would not have placed at all. I tell you… it seems the older women get the faster the get!

I was 2 minutes behind the winner of the Athena class… 21 minutes behind the winner of my age group.

Overall I was about 61 out of 97.

A very good day.

Now I have to get off the couch and get these numbers off of me and get my car cleaned out… I wonder if after every race it will look like this:

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4 Comments

  1. Danielle

    You are so Awesome!!!!!!

  2. Cynthia

    Go Laura! A fun day so excited for you, can’t wait to see what you sign up for next!

  3. Caroline

    Wonderful report – I loved reading all the details of the tri! You ARE a triathlete!

  4. suzanne

    Almost (almost) you make me think about wanting to do a tri!! 🙂 great job!

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