The other big event recently was racing in the Rio Salado Triathlon this past Saturday, May 5th. I elected to do the sprint distance this time since it’s my first triathlon after ankle surgery. The distances were 750 meter swim, 12.6 mile bike, 5K (3.1 mile) run.

I have spent the past three months increasing my training volume to where I would train 12-13 days in a row before taking a rest day. I did as much as I could without injuring myself, and the training seemed to help as I was faster this triathlon than the “baby” tri that I competed in July 2011.

Swimming in Tempe Town Lake with no wetsuit had me a little nervous at first. It was my first open-water mass start, but we got to start in waves, so it wasn’t bad at all. Nobody gave me a black eye, knocked off my goggles, or elbowed me in the mouth. The buoys looked SO far away, despite only being half of my typical swim workout distance. But I hung in there and once I got in the groove, enjoyed every second of the swim. Before I knew it, I was getting pulled out of the lake onto the stairs to go transition.

The bike leg was so much fun that I half wanted to stay to the left and loop it again (which is what the Olympic distance riders did). I only averaged 14.5 miles on the bike, but hey, I’m a new rider. Maybe some aero bars and bigger quads would provide a little extra awesome next time. ;) The only mishap I had during the bike leg was that my Uncrustable strawberry peanut butter and jelly sandwich went bouncing out of my bento box when I crossed a bumpy brick road. There went my nutrition plan for mile 7! I just took two “Salt Stick” salt/electrolyte capsules instead and called it good.

I made it into T2 (bike to run transition) and racked my bike and prepared for the run. Here’s where I found out that my bite-valve bottles come in handy because they allowed me to suck down water with no hands while I tied my shoes. I downed most of a pack of Stingers (like gummi bears, only healthier) since I lost my PB&J sandwich, and headed out for the run.

The run is what it is… my weakest sport. It’s what I need to work on the most. I know I’ll get better / faster / stronger, I just have to keep working harder at it. I had the best day though — I thoroughly enjoyed the course, and especially the swim and the bike. I can’t wait until my next triathlon. I came in under my time goal of 2 hours at 1:51 and change. I know I’m still a back of the pack triathlete, but if I can just finish and I’m not DFL (dead flippin’ last), I’m a happy camper.

My next race goal is to compete at Nathan’s Olympic Triathlon at the end of September this year. I’m cool with the swim and bike distance already, but I will have to up my game to be able to hang for running six miles instead of just three miles. I can do it, but I want to be able to do it FASTER!

I’ll post pics and the video when I get them all edited into one loop. Let’s hope I manage to get to that before the weekend. ;)