Spa Girl Triathlon 2013 Race Recap: I’m a Triathlete

Maria post Spa Girl Tri

My little guy was very proud of me after I crossed the finish line!

I had my first triathlon on Saturday! It was a fun way to spend mother’s day weekend with the family. It was an all female tri with a shorter-than-sprint distance: 400 meter swim, 10 mile bike, 2 mile run.

The most difficult part was leaving my dog in a kennel while we were out of town. The best part was holding my little guy after crossing the finish.

The venue was great! It was at a resort/spa so the swim was in the lazy river, and the bike/run were on site and near the golf course at parts.

I was at the race with a girlfriend of mine and we both had to laugh on the way to the start when I told her that I’d never been nervous approaching a lazy river before!

There were a few minor issues with the course – first of all, they left the current on in the lazy river, so the first 78 swimmers (I was #40) had to swim against the jets, which was a little surprising! The other thing is that there was no water available until the turn around during the run. I was glad I left my water bottle at the transition!!! I think I drank almost the whole thing during T2!

I adjusted well during the swim and came out of the water fine, but my official swim time is much slower than I would have liked it to be and there’s more to it than just the jets. They also had computer problems. Now that I know what happened, I’m not so annoyed that my swim time is a few minutes off from what it should have been and my first transition is a few minutes fast. I guess I should be glad they posted a swim time at all, as some people are missing them completely. Their facebook page says:

“Hi Ladies: Our timing box at the stairs of the swim in/run out had issues all day of the event. Darn computers. We have identified the issue but cannot retrieve the data. Sorry about that. Hope ya’ll had a great time!”

Well, no worries there. I had a great time and I would do this race again in a heartbeat! Besides, let’s not kid ourselves, I don’t care about the times yet. I was looking for a fantastic experience and a fantastic experiences is what I had.

I borrowed my husband’s bike because I have a mountain bike and at one point a lady passed me and said, “You’re doing great! Especially on that bike – I would never try a triathlon on that bike!” I was able to huff out a thank you but all I could think was that the bike I was using was like the wind compared to the bike I usually ride! Too funny. I was very conservative on the first loop and pushed the bike more on the second loop, after I was more familiar with the course. I wish I paid better attention, but I’m pretty sure I negative split the bike.

The run course was pretty hilly, and I surprised myself. I ended up walking up the hills and trying to jog the rest. I averaged 13:09/mile which is better than the 15 minute miles I had planned for. I am not a runner! In fact, many of the people I passed during the swim/bike passed me again on the run. I expected it, but that doesn’t mean I liked it!

My goals for the weekend were pretty simple: Have fun and finish (in that order). I met my goals and had a lovely time with my family and friends at the race. My girlfriend ended up getting 3rd in our age group and she was BOOKING the run. She was so fast, I couldn’t even get a picture of her at the finish. Her run time averaged out to 7:04/mile. I’m so proud of her!!!

Things I learned:

  1. It actually would have been “better” in this instance to enter my swim with a slower time. Due to the lazy river, there was a current created that actually helped pull the later swimmers along. However, even with the current and timing issues I would much rather take a hit to my swim time than wait an hour to start like some of the  other triathletes.
  2. I have an idea of a better place to position my bike next year. I’m glad I have not purchased a fancy bike because I’m still new to this whole triathlon thing and I don’t think I could justify such a purchase unless I wanted to become competitive. I think I have a lot more work to do on myself before I reach that point.
  3. I’m not as bad at running as I thought I was but I still have a lot of room to improve! I think I was wise to be so conservative in the beginning, especially knowing that I am a drop dead sprinter. I had enough energy to finish “strong” (i.e not walk into the finish). Peer pressure is an amazing thing!

I am so happy that I can come out of my first tri knowing that gave an honest effort and completed every inch of the course! It was a fantastic practice triathlon and a great first step towards bigger, better races to come.



Categories: Race Reports

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26 replies

  1. Congrats! But was Spa Girl in Texas or are they in multiple locations? I guess I had thought ultraswimfast was in Alaska. I’m trying to put names with faces, but I can’t quite tell who is who and where y’all are located based on the pictures/names on the “Meet the Bloggers” page and gravatars. So many of the pictures are while swimming 🙂

    • Brittany, you are right the Spa Girl is in San Antonio. I am from Alaska but the army has us stationed un TX, so that’s why I’m here. Katie is in AK, she moved there after college and Vicky is in Hawaii. It doesn’t help that we usually focus on technique versus our personal lives. Then, of course, when we do post a personal story/experience there are three of us to keep straight! Not confusing at all! 😉

      • Oh – okay, thanks for clarifying!! That’s awesome that you’re right here in Texas. Maybe I will see you at a triathlon someday. I’ll be doing both CapTex & TriRock in Austin this year.

      • I’m doing the CapTex too! It would be so awesome to meet you there! One of my best friends from high school is coming in to visit her cousins and cheer me on at the race, so if it doesn’t happen at that race, I hope it does at another. Can you tell me more about TriRock?

      • Awesome! Yes, I’d love to meet you there before or after. Are you doing the sprint or olympic? Both my husband and I are doing the Olympic. Tri Rock is almost exactly the same course as CapTex and is on Labor Day (we’re doing it with friends).

      • I would love to meet you too! I’m signed up for the sprint but we’re having some technical difficulties due to some scheduling conflicts – so I’m not 100% sure I’ll get to compete yet. Still training, but if it doesn’t work out I’ll do a diff tri at the end of June. I’m also going to look at Tri Rock and see if that is something I can do. I’ll keep you posted! No matter what happens on my side, I hope you have an amazing race and I do look forward to meeting you sooner than later!!!

  2. Great job! I almost did that tri, but I had another commitment. Sounds like fun! It is too bad there were some errors from the event planners, but sometimes it is good just to go out and have a good time.

    • Thanks Megan! It would have been awesome to meet you there, maybe next year? I completely agree with you. No race is flawless and nothing from this race would keep me from entering again. It was my first individual triathlon and I really enjoyed it! I could not have asked for a better introduction to the sport~

  3. Congratulations, that is so awesome!!!

    • Thanks! I felt so good when I came in at the end of the bike and realized that I was going to beat my goal time going into the race no matter what happened on the run! It was really tough though. I’m just glad I paced it okay. I have a tough time pacing anything right because I LOVE sprinting!

  4. Congratulations!!! You did a fantastic job!! Enjoy that medal, they are hard earned!! 😉

    • Thanks! I am really proud of everything. It has been a long time since I’ve trained for anything and going from swim to bike to run was a fantastic challenge but well worth it! I can’t wait to compete in other races!

  5. Congratulations! Sounds like a great day, and a wonderful start to your tri career! Here’s to many more races in the future!

    • DING – that is the sound of me clinking a virtual wine glass with you. It was a fantastic weekend and really made me want to do other races. Someday we have to do a race together! All the best in your training~

  6. Congratulations on your first tri! Are you hooked yet? Never underestimate peer pressure!

    • Absolutely! It was way too much fun and challenging in all of the right places! I feel much better going into a longer race now that I know I was okay at the end of this short one. So true about the peer pressure. It got to the point where I was like, “I don’t care what happens – I’m running in!”

  7. Congrats on a great effort on your first triathlon! It is such a great feeling crossing that finish line isn’t it?!

  8. Congratulations! Welcome to the world of triathlon! Don’t worry about fancy “stuff,” yet. 🙂 My coach always says that the most important part is the engine, anyway! Great job!

  9. Congratulations and job well done!
    You’re hooked now!

  10. Congrats and isn’t it so fun to get your first triathlon done! I’m glad you went into it with the goal to have fun, learn, and experience the entire event – which it sounds like you accomplished all of them. Great job and keep at it, they only get better and each one is just that much more enjoyable…

    • Thanks! I definitely accomplished the goals I set for this first one! It will be neat to see how I progress. I am enjoying having something to train for and setting athletic goals again – even though they aren’t based on a competitive nature. I want to keep having fun during races and training and so far I am succeeding at that. I hope I can improve my running as much as you have. I have a lot of work to do on my run leg!!!

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