Sunday, September 7th 2014 I TRIed (get the pun?) a new athletic activity: a Sprint Triathlon.
A Sprint Triathlon is a 500 meter swim, a 10 mile bike ride, and a 5k run, all in a row.
All summer I had been playing with the idea of doing a tri, but by the time I decided I wanted to, a lot of the events in the area had already passed. I was pretty bummed because I felt like I was ready for the challenge. Luckily (or unluckily) the Funny River wildfire that ravaged the Kenai Peninsula this summer forced them to reschedule the Tri The Kenai from June 8th to September 7th. We found out about this at the end of July, so I signed up with 3 of my girlfriends: Lindsey, Bethany, and Stephanie. Lindsey is a super athlete and signed up for the intermediate distance: 1000 meter swim, 20 mile bike, 10k run!
We planned it as a girls weekend event, and our friend Kristina joined us for the weekend as the best team mom ever! She had capri suns and orange slices waiting for us as we crossed the finish line! She and Matt also took the photos of every one competing.
We headed down to Soldotna, AK on Saturday afternoon to pick up our race bibs.
The swag bags for this race were really good for being such a small race (112 Sprint adults, 32 intermediate adults, 37 youths, and 14 teams). We got drawstring backpacks filled with Honey Stinger energy wafers, coupons for a delicious restaurant in town, bib belts, and technical t-shirts. I was excited about the bib belt, because I had just bought a cheap-o for the race, but the one given was far nicer!
It was a gorgeous day in the area, so we checked into our hotels, dropped off our stuff, and went out to explore.
The weather was so perfect and clear that we could see Mt. Redoubt in all of its glory. It was one of those perfect days that I feel the need to take advantage of – especially this late in the year.
We got hungry for lunch and found an amazing spot in Old Town Kenai: Veronica’s!
It was an old house in the original settlement of Kenai that has been turned into a super healthy coffee shop and sandwich place. Their turkey cranberry wrap was delicious, their soups smelled amazing, and Stephanie loved their gluten-free cookies! It was a very eclectic place with board games and beautiful views of the water. It will be my new lunch place when I’m in town for work!
After attending an informational meeting about our race, we headed over to the Kenai River Brewing Co for some ‘carbo loading’
Since our start time for the race wasn’t until 2:45pm on Sunday, we did a late dinner at local Soldotna restaurant Bucket’s. The restaurant had placemats to draw on, so Bethany drew us a master piece for the race tomorrow!
One of the running jokes over the weekend was that Bethany was an elite racer. Her bib number had been swapped with someone who had the same last name – and that person happened to be considered a Top 12 racer, who was expected to do fairly well. When we picked up her bib and they saw she was number 6, they were treating her extra special and throughout the weekend we felt honored to be with such an elite athlete.
The day of the race was a blast! It started at 7am when we got up to set up our transition areas (where we switch from swimming to biking and then come back to switch from biking to running). Since it was my first tri, I watched carefully at what others were doing and Stephanie offered words of advice on laying out my items to ensure I get everything I need.
Then it was back to the hotel to pack and eat breakfast. I did a banana, oatmeal, eggs, and hot chocolate.
We headed back around 9:15 am to the race since Lindsey started at 11:45am (intermediate started after the elites, but before the sprints).
We got to cheer her on and then Kristina went to the Kenai airport to pick up Matt.
I know, I felt so lucky! Matt flew in on an air taxi from Anchorage to cheer me on for my race! It made me super happy to have him there supporting me, and it doubled our cheer section size!
Since the swimming was ahead of schedule, we actually got to start racing at 1:15 instead of 2:45pm! Bethany, Stephanie, and I were all lined up together, so we got to do the race together.
I wish I could have taken pictures during the bike ride: it was the most perfect day and for part of the ride you could see Mt Redoubt clearly over the tree line. The temps were in the 60s with a light breeze and only white puffy clouds. A perfect day for the event, in my opinion.
Bethany and I were on the same level, so it was fun finishing swim at the same time and passing each other a few times on the bike ride. I finished the race with another first time triathlete I met while we were waiting for the swim part to start, so it was nice having someone to chat with during the trail run part of the event.
Stephanie, Lindsey, Bethany, and I all crossed the finish line within 15 minutes of each other, so it was awesome to be done so close together and be able to enjoy recapping to Matt and Kristina the event while enjoying capri suns, orange slices, strawberries, and hummus. The perfect end to a perfect day.
I was able to cross the finish line with a smile, and loved this event. I immediately asked “when can I do another one!” The volunteer staff at the event was wonderful and so helpful and encouraging. Every volunteer I passed in the biking and running were cheering loudly and shouting supportive words. I definitely want to come back and race it again next year!
My results: I was surprised to see that swimming was my strongest and biking was my weakest (comparing my results versus the overall race results). I’m also super impressed by my run time, considering I walked a lot of it due to some arch pain that had my considering taking off my shoes. I also finished 15 minutes ahead of my goal time! woo!