Thursday, May 27, 2010

BIATHLON!!!

Saturday, May 22nd, I participated in my very first biathlon! It was actually a triathlon, however I opted to not do the swim since it was my first time and I wasn't sure what to expect. Lucky for me, they had a division where I could just do the bike and run- and bike and run I did!

*Getting ready to start!*

My husband took a half day on Friday and we drove over to the race site in New Braunfels, about 2 1/2 hours away from Houston. We picked up my packet (and boy was I nervous) and then drove to my sister Amy's house in San Antonio which was about 30 minutes south. My niece Belle (4 yrs old) helped me get ready for the race by giving me a bag with some treats to give me energy and a picture of me biking while she and my hubby were cheering me on. We had a big pasta dinner and played Life before bed.

Nicholas and I woke way too early for a Saturday morning and headed back up to New Braunfels. When we got there I had to get my body marked (go #309!) and check my bike into "transition". Luckily my friend and coworker, April, had decided to do the biathlon with me- I was glad to have someone else there! (Note: there were a few people from my ward there, however I hadn't really trained with them and they were all doing the swim...but nonetheless it was nice to have more than one familiar face there!)

*A look at the river swim...I didn't do this part, but it was a down and back 400 m swim.*

We headed down to the river to hear the pre-race chat, and then headed back up to transition to grab our bikes while they started the swimmers. After the first swimmer came through transition and headed out on their bike, they let all of us biker/runners go.


*Starting out (left) and finishing (right) the biking portion*

The bike ride was rather hilly, which I hadn't trained on, but wasn't too bad. About 1/4 mile in, my bike chain came off...I hopped off and fixed it and on I went again. It ended up being 13.5 miles that we biked through the hill country, over the Guadalupe River, along the riverbank, had a sharp turn-around, and then headed back. There was one hill that I headed down that was giving me so much speed that I was pretty nervous...it was a very long and very steep hill. After we did our turn-around, I realized that I was going to have to go back up that hill- yikes! I shifted into the easiest gear and pedaled my heart out; I thought to myself "I have to tell those Skinny readers that I made it up the whole way" and I did! After that hill, I knew I was going to make it.

*Heading out on the run with April (left) and crossing the finish with April at my heels (right)*

I had pulled ahead of April during the biking and so I decided to wait for her in transition. I parked my bike and was ready to run, but waited about 5 extra minutes for her to catch up. She hurried and parked her bike, and then we were off.

*At the finish line, with my biggest fan (hubby Nicholas)*

The run was a 3.3 mile loop around this cute little town called Gruene (pronounced "green"). April was having a really hard time running as she isn't a frequent runner like myself and hadn't trained as long. I wanted to just take off, instead of running in place while she walked, etc., but I remembered how much I hate it when I am running with someone and they leave me...even after I beg them to leave me because I am slower than they are. So I stayed with her- and she pleaded with me to go and told me she hated it and that she was never going to do it again and that it was a dumb idea and all those things. :) But we all need a buddy to help us sometimes and I was glad that I could be that buddy for her this time.


I kept running the whole time, getting April to do little bits of running here and there between her walking spells. When we could see the finish line though, I took off and yelled for her to catch me...she picked it up too!

I could see Isabelle cheering me on at the finish and met my sister Amy and her husband Ben, Isabelle, Olivia (niece), Nick (husband), and April's mom & aunt as soon I as crossed the finish line. I was happy to finish, however it was a bit disappointing for me because I hadn't really pushed my body as hard as I could have. I was happy though that I had finished with April :)

*April and I were glad to be finished! It was a beautiful day for a race...the clouds hid the sun until we were done and there was a little bit of a breeze (you can totally tell because I am not completely drenched with sweat like usual!)*

Afterwards we hung around for a bit, but then headed to grab some lunch at Freddy's (a local burger and custard shop). Nick and I headed home after that and I slept most of the way back to Houston. I was all too happy to shower, and then we had a little rest watching The Office.

All in all, I am pleased with how things went. I wasn't really sore or anything. I am proud that I did the biking, as it was the new part to me. I am very happy that I made it up the hills (and that I decided to spring for real biker shorts that have the pad in the butt...definitely worth the money!) I am disappointed that I didn't push myself as I could have and for sure have the desire to do it again and beat my own time...and even add in the swimming! I should have done the swimming as it was in a river- yes that means a current one way, but it also means that at any point you could stand up if you were near the bank. That will not be the case in a lake!

***VICTORY!***

I was clearly an amateur, however most of the other racers were really friendly and willing to offer advice. Of course there were those people that do the whole thing in like 30 minutes, but there were also plenty of people that told me this was their first race too.

I'm not sure about the art of the transition yet...I didn't change clothes from biking to running (not even shoes since I didn't clip in or anything) so really all I did was drop my bike and helmet and put on my knee band. I was done in about 25 seconds, but hung around after that for April.

If you have any questions about things I forgot to mention, please ask them in the comments section! I am not sure if I will do another biathlon or will graduate straight to a triathlon, but there are definitely more races in my future! :)

5 comments:

Katie said...

Wow, great job Alex! I really liked this post. It makes me miss running with you! (Even though I would be the person you'd have to stop and walk with.)

I do have a question about something you didn't address in your post here, but it's not really race related. You had mentioned on my Week 22 post that you have a chart that you mark off every day for the servings of foods you're supposed to eat. Will you post that (if it's possible to do so)? I'd be really interested to try it out.

Thanks Alex! And congrats again on doing so well! And, way to be a good friend. :)

Kathy Haynie said...

Mark and I are going to walk a 10K on Monday, and I have already told him that I am not in it to be competitive, but to be able to do it together with him. Thanks for being a good role model! You will have plenty of races in your future when you can run your heart out, but April will never forget how you encouraged all the way along. I love her huge grin at the end.

How is the time tracked in a biathlon/triathlon? Do you lose credit for the 5 extra minutes you spent in transition? Or do they just record the time that you're actually swimming/biking/running?

Kathy Haynie said...

And CONGRATULATIONS! What an awesome goal. You inspire me!

alee said...

Kathy- they gave me a timing chip that I wore on my ankle (it was just like black velcro...you can see it on my left ankle if you look closely).

There are mats at the entrance and exit of transition and when you step on them, they beep. Your time in transition IS counted in your total time, however they do break it down for you and show you how long you spent each time in transition and for each event on the results (that they post after the race as well as online). So technically I did "lose" time waiting...it kind of stung too because I would have been 2nd in the biathlon women if I hadn't of waited- but it all just depends on what your goal is I guess. :)

And I don't know if all transitions are this way (anyone???) but this one had an entrance and an exit so everyone was moving the same way...I thought that was a good idea.

Good luck on your 10K- it is so fun to do active things together! And Katie...anytime, I will stop and walk with you! :)

Lisa Lou said...

Wahoo Alex! Congrats! I'll have to post about my tri too (that ended up being a duathlon because they cancelled the swim...- but to answer your question - yes, most triathlons have seperate entrance/exits to transition. It's really nice!

We'd love to hear from you!

Want to write a guest post for The Skinny? E-mail Katie at kathleenann08 (at) gmail (dot) com.