After signing up with me for a sprint tri on a whim in the spring, taking a hard fall on the bike course, and not finishing the race, my friend received a free registration for a future race, bought a bicycle and swim lessons, and signed up for the Stonebridge tri because it offered the super short Super Sprint distance. I signed up for the same race so I could be there to support her. She didn’t bike. She didn’t run. She didn’t learn to breathe in the water. She didn’t go. I ran alone.
I did not, however, do the super short Super Sprint. I’d wanted to stick to a challenge more on my level and signed up for the Sprint, which happened to have a 750-meter swim course . . . 50 percent longer than my two open water experiences. Fortunately, I was struck with a bout of depression in the weeks leading up to the event that prevented me from worrying or fretting about the difficulty of such a distance for me.
Race day: I was ready to give the event an F several hours before it started because there was no on-site parking and the transition area was as far away as possible from everything else, specifically, 300 meters from any portapotties and just as far from the swim exit. So after walking my bike nearly a half mile from the car to transition, I walked a quarter mile to get my timing chip and then back to transition, and a third of a mile to and from the portapotties—twice.
One positive: The water was about 10 degrees warmer than my first and only OWS race a year ago. But the air was chilly, so I chose not to warm up and spend another 45 minutes shivering before the race. I was nervous about the swim but confident in my ability to start slow this time behind the other swimmers. It wasn’t as rough as I expected. I didn’t swim well and did spend a fair bit of time on the backstroke and was nervous with so many other swimmers so close. The finish was to the east with the rising sun in my eyes for 300 m.
I supposedly improved my pace by an unbelievable amount since my last tri, so I highly doubt the course was 750 meters. Three weeks ago I’d swum 300 m in a pool race in 9:14 minutes and then Stonebridge in 17:41. Sure, I’ve been taking swim classes, but I’ve not been improving my speed that much, especially in open water.
From the swim finish, we trudged up a 15-foot high hill and back down the other side to the transition. My bike transition is always slow because I need sunblock, socks, and gloves. Whatever.
The fucking bike course STARTED UPHILL for the first HALF MILE. It felt like most of the course, at least two-thirds, was uphill. I felt slow and worried I wouldn’t make the cutoff. I actually improved my bike pace significantly over my last race, though I’d not touched my bike since then, and I know that’s the only part of the course that was measured accurately.
I worried about starting the run with a half hour til the course closed, but the run was on sidewalks and crossed no roads, so I wasn’t that worried. My last three tri 5k paces were 12:28/mi on 3/29, 17:09/mi on 9/7, and then 9:37/mi on this 9/27 event. Nuh-uh. I set an INSANE 12-minute tri PR because the 5k was two miles. How the hell is this shit USAT certified?
The medal was great, the volunteers were great. I will never do another Playtri event because I’m sick of their not offering women’s size shirts and this event pissed me off so much.