June 23, 2008

Tri the Creek

This past weekend was pretty busy. Josh and I had 4 parties to attend (2 birthdays, 1 solstice celebration, and 1 work-sponsored pre-Rockies game shindig). Between parties, Josh and I squeezed in a 57 mile bike ride on Sunday. But my biggest event of the weekend was a triathlon Saturday morning.

My summer goal is to complete a half-iron distance triathlon in August. As my previous tri experience is limited to the Beaver Freezer, this is a big step-up in distance and seriousness. To prepare, I have been doing quite a bit of biking, some running, and swimming with the masters group at CU. Most significantly, I bought a wetsuit and have been practicing the open water swim (the Beaver Freezer was in a pool). I am finally getting more comfortable in the open water and this weekend was my first opportunity to put my new skills to the test in my first "real" triathlon.

In exchange for me picking him up at the airport a week ago, I convinced Josh to drive me to my triathlon on Saturday morning. I essentially tricked him into getting up at 5:30 (night after party #1) to drive me to Denver and be my race day photographer. "Tri the Creek" was held at Cherry Creek State Park in Southeast Denver with the swim in Cherry Creek Reservoir. This "sprint" distance triathlon consisted of an 800 meter swim, 14 mile bike, and 5K run. I survived and felt great during the whole race, which was all I was really hoping for. It was great practice for the half-ironman, especially swimming with 400+ other people (the swim was in waves of about 75 athletes, a new wave starting every minute). It was also good to practice transitions and biking/running in my swim clothes.

I was hoping to finish in under 1 hour 20 minutes, but just missed this finishing in 1:21:16. As an excuse, I think (and most the other competitors agreed) that the swim was longer than 800 meters, it took about 5 minutes longer than I expected. However, most surprising is that I finished 2nd for women overall (out of 160) and first in my age group. I rationalize this as a lack of competition and am trying not to let it go to my head. I know at my next race (an olympic distance in July) in Boulder that I will be humbled by all the insanely athletic Boulderites.

Josh more than exceeded expectations with his photographic skills. His swim pictures are excellent, but he claims that I biked and ran too fast for good pictures of these portions.

Start of the first swim wave, men under 30 years. Shows the pure chaos of such events, I particularly like the guy getting kicked in the middle of the photo.

Getting ready.

Looking serious, maybe too serious.

After the start of the last wave. If you zoom in, you can see people have already made it around the second buoy (orange triangle marking the course). I'm out there somewhere.

Now this is the amazing part. Josh somehow picked me out as the swim returned to shore, despite the fact that I was wearing the same race-provided swim cap as about 75 other people.

Starting to unzip the wetsuit on the way to the transition area.

Heading out on the bike.

Almost at the finish. (I tried to smile on purpose, trying to avoid the usual pained look I have in running pictures.)

1 comment:

Molly said...

Ashley the super badass finishes first in her first real triathlon. Daaaaamn! Super rad pics to prove it too. I hope you guys make those into inspirational poster size.