I had created the mental picture of my goals and as I did them, I "checked" them off in my head and gave myself encouraging words on the tri. This kept my spirits up during the tri.
Since I did not have any specific time goals, just a general "hope-to-do-better-than-my-first-tri", I did not wear my watch. I usually avoid that anyway, because looking at the clock is more stressful and takes some of the fun out of it for me. ( I can see you Garmin-and-what-not users balking as I write this..) I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I had shaved off about 8 minutes from my first tri. Considering I took a year-long break from training, I'm quite pleased with the result.
Here are some short notes:
I've said for the 100th time now, but the lake was DISGUSTING. A foul stench emanated from the lake as we jumped in. I was a little distracted by the smell and struggled a little initially to focus on swim. Fortunately, I was calm about swimming in the deep. I found myself veering off course when I did freestyle, so I used breast-stroke to re-navigate. There's still a lot of improvement but the important thing is that I finally put my head in the water and did free-style (and that too, in a filthy lake)! :) I took about 10min 23s to finish it.
What worked well is that during my swim practice the day before, I practiced my routine - mental & physical for how I would swim - how I would breathe, how I would mentally chant, and the rhythm of the two. Once I figured this plan, it was easy to execute on the actual day.
Gearing & hydrating on the bike were my two focal points, and I didn't care much about the speed (though I was happy to note later that my speed had improved). I took pains to find exactly the right gear for the moment, and stayed alert throughout the course to get a feel for gearing (as opposed to switching off mentally while coasting down the hills).
And yes, I hydrated on the bike - 3 times!!! I slowed down, reached for the bottle, pulled it quickly, took a few swigs, and put it back into the cage. It sounds very basic when I spell it out this way, but it does take quite a bit of balance to do this right. anyway, this made me particularly happy because it was an indication that both my balance and confidence had improved. As bike distances get longer, I know now that I can stay hydrated on the bike, and this will surely help me down the road when I train for my Olympic Distance tri.
Was not great. I didn't walk, thankfully. And frankly, the first mile for me is extremely tough but I warm up after 2 miles or so. The trouble with super sprint distances is that by the time you're actually warmed up, it's done. I'm not a sprinter and generally do better on long-distances rather than short ones. So this was tricky for me.
It did make me wake up to the fact that I need to pay more attention to my running and build my endurance over the summer. The heat and humidity are huge factors in one's performance, and I could have been definitely been better prepared. Admittedly I've gotten lazy about running. The challenges of swimming and biking tend to occupy most of my focus, so running has been on the back burner. Additionally, this past half-marathon season was so disaster-stricken that I did not really have a chance to train well - and it showed.
Overall, however, the Rookie was a great kick-off to my tri-season, and hopefully it sets the mood for the rest of the tris I'm planning for the season. (more about races soon.. dun dun dun dun...)