Top Gun Triathlon

6 08 2012

So, it’s been awhile. Sorry ’bout that. :-/

Anyhow, I’m back on the blogging train and the first thing I want to do is give a big shout out to Bill, who qualified for USAT Age Group Nationals with his stellar sub 1:00 sprint tri last weekend at the Top Gun Triathlon!

Some of the XP Gang headed out to Ft. DeSoto last weekend for the Top Gun Triathlon. This was my second time at Ft. DeSoto and my first time racing there. Courtney, Mary, and Marcus were also racing, and Jess and Felipe came to cheer us on (THANKS guys!!).

The morning started bright and early, with a 4:45 wake up, and out the door by 5. It was still dark when we arrived, but boy, was it humid. I was dripping in sweat by the time I walked my bike the short distance from the car to the registration table. It was gonna be a hot one!

For some reason, I thought this was going to be a small race, of about 300-400 people. I don’t know where I got that from, because there were about 1200 people there!

(Photos courtesy of Jess)

I found Mary, Marcus, and Courtney and we hung out at the water’s edge while we waited for the race to start. As we looked out at the swim, we all commented on how short the swim looked. It was supposed to be a quarter mile swim, but I’m pretty sure it was shorter than that. Courtney, Mary and I were in the 4th or 5th wave, while Marcus and Bill were near the end, in the 12th and 13th waves.

The race started a little behind schedule, but I wasn’t too worried about it since it was such a short race. When the gun went off for our heat, I ran in and immediately started dolphin diving. When the water got deep enough, I began swimming. Unfortunately, there was a sand bar, so after only a few strokes my hand hit sand again. I stood up and did a few more dolphin dives and then found my stroke again. The whole time out to the first flag, there was a girl just to my left, battling to be the first out to the flag. I breathed to my other side, and saw a stroke I recognized, as Courtney was approaching from the right. I was the first girl out to the flag, and I kinda sorta cut off the girl to my left to cut the flag tight. Whoops.

Courtney and I swam stroke for stroke for a little while before she pulled ahead. I stayed on her feet for as long as I could. We were about halfway done the swim when we started running into the women from the heat in front of us. We were running down a lot of the women, and it was hard to find a clear path. I lost Courtney in the sea of neon pink caps as we turned the last buoy. I spotted her out of the corner of my eye as we headed towards the beach, but it got even trickier to find a clear path, as the women from the heat before us started to stand up. I felt like I was caught in a bad traffic jam while trying to speed to the hospital!

Courtney and I got to the beach at about the same time, and headed for transition. As you can see, we were dodging people left and right. It was a LONG run to transition. And then we had to run on hard concrete. Ouch. I made it to my bike, and I was off!

Swim: 4:53

T1: 2:39

I was SO excited for the bike leg. It would be my first race on Snowball, and I wanted to see how fast I could go. It was a short, flat 10 mile loop, so I pushed hard. Man, I felt good! This was probably the first race where I was passing people instead of being passed. What a morale booster! I kept my head down and pushed, so I don’t remember any specifics about the bike leg. All I know is that I was having a blast!

Bike: 26:40

T2: 1:13

So, my second transition wasn’t all that fast, but I threw on my shoes, hat, and number and headed out for the run. Man, I was hot. I had ridden really hard, so my heart rate was definitely up. I could feel that my face was really red. Maybe a quarter mile in, Courtney passed me, and told me I was looking steady. I kept running, but felt really slow. I was also worried about my foot, not wanting to push it too hard. At the first water stop around mile 1, I grabbed water and threw it on my head. That helped some. I kept trudging along. A little while later, Mary flew past me. She was having an awesome first triathlon!

I looked over to my right and over the grassy patch of land, where I saw people on their way back towards the finish. I thought to myself, Hmmm, that’s where the beach is. There must be a paved path over there too that I don’t know about.

I made it to the turn around and my heart sunk. We were running on sand.

This wouldn’t have been a big deal (I don’t think) had I been mentally prepared for it. But, the thought of running on the sand was certainly not appealing to me with the minimal running training I’ve been doing.

Ok, stay positive Steph. You used to be a lifeguard, this is no big deal.

The sand was actually packed pretty well, with only a little bit of soft sand on top. The course also took us back through some of the grassy area, where I had to jump over a few puddles and mud left over from a recent storm. By this point, I was blazing hot, and mentally I had lost a lot of steam. So I walked. I’m cringing as I write this, because I don’t walk during races, especially not during a sprint!

I didn’t let myself walk for long, so I started to run again. Thankfully, close to the second water stop were volunteers handing out cold towels. Hallelujah! I grabbed one and wrapped it around my neck. Life. saver.

This was the motivation I needed to finish the race. Yes, I was tired, and yes I was hot, but there was only one more mile left.

I pushed through to the finish, but man did I feel terrible.

My foot bothered me some during the race. It wasn’t debilitating, but it wasn’t pleasant either. This season has just not been my running season.

Run: 29:17 (yipes)

Total time: 1:04.27

When it was all said and done, I was happy that I raced. And, I was happy to have my XP teammates there too! Courtney and Mary killed it, placing 2nd and 4th, respectively.

You Go Girls!!

This was a really fun race, and gave me an opportunity to get some speed on the bike. I also learned that I really need to read the details about the course. (Shouldn’t I know that already?) I’d do another Ft. DeSoto race, and I’ll be mentally prepared for running on the sand!

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4 responses

6 08 2012
sarah

great job! a sand run would have killed me

6 08 2012
Allison

I’m glad you had a chance to fly on your bike! I hope your foot is feeling a lot better soon.

27 12 2012
2012 Highlights « 321delish

[…] got to try out my new bike at the Top Gun Triathlon. It was great to race with Bill again. And, it was Mary and Marcus’s first triathlon […]

22 08 2014
Top Gun Triathlon 2014 | 321delish

[…] average was actually better than I thought. My goal for the run was to have a better run than I did 2 years ago, when I had to stop and walk. It was hot, but I was not going to give in. I knew that the only […]

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