Race Recap: The Folsom Sprint Triathlon

Fil-Am Tri NorCal @ Folsom Triathlons

The family and I were back in Folsom this past weekend to participate in the Folsom Triathlons. I love coming to Folsom. It’s not too far from home, but far away to make it a weekend getaway. The parents and baby brother were out to race the Olympic and I was out to kick butt on the Sprint.

Coming back to the Folsom Sprint Triathlon was on my list the moment I crossed the finish at last year‘s event. I knew I wanted to redeem myself on this course, and I knew I could do so much better than that 2:55:33 time I’d gotten. (You can check out the photo recap from last year’s event here.)

And yes, I did come back with a PR!!

After Wildflower, I knew this race was going to be a lot more easier. The Folsom Sprint features a 1/2-mile swim, 19-mile bike and a 3.1-mile run. I actually found out that the bike ride is way long for a Sprint; it is usually a 12-mile bike. Based on the maps, though, it looked like there was no way to avoid the 19-mile distance because there is a lot of occupied land around the area with no real roads to cut through. That’s okay.

Race Morning – 4:30am
I felt like Nemo on the first day of school, or Princess Anna on coronation day- I was SO EXCITED that I popped up out of bed and started to get ready. I unwillingly ate oatmeal for breakfast (I’m not a heavy race-day breakfast person) and finished getting everything ready to go.

When we got to Nimbus Flat, we were almost turned away to find parking outside of the park. But at the last minute, a coordinator came out and said they had room for 20 cars- we were in that last group of 20 cars and got a parking spot close to transition area!

At transition, we ended up racking with SVTC since the Fil-Am Tri rack was already full. I didn’t mind because the SVTC rack was close to the bike in/out. (Little did I know this would cause a minor issue later during the race.)

All the athletes were hustling and bustling. I went to get body marked (number 707!) and went to go scope the swim start. Not that anything had really changed… The water looked so nice and calm- at least it would stay that way until the athletes got in! I stayed around and watched the Long Course athletes start; we had two FATletes racing in the Long Course. (Majority of the team were in Olympic and two of us were in Sprint.)

I got a nice warm up in the water, waiting for my 7:30 wave to start. I got into the water when the Olympic athletes did.

Swim – 1/2-mile – 21:25 (Last year: 28:44 / Difference: 7:19)
I think being warmed up before the start of my race (which went off at 7:30a) really helped me before hand. I didn’t have to deal with the initial shock of any cold water and I was able to get my arms moving a bit. The only thing that made this swim a challenge (once again) was the dang sun! All of the races start in the same direction: towards the sun. I had so much trouble sighting, and that was also in part due to having clear goggles instead of tinted ones. (I shall add that to my list of new gear that I absolutely need.)

Luckily, I didn’t have to sight towards the sun for too long. The course made a left turn away from the sun and from there, it was smooth sailing. I could definitely feel the improvement in my swimming ability. Last year, I didn’t have any proper swimming training, and I tired myself out really easily because I didn’t know what I was doing! I also doggy-paddled my way through the 1/2-mile. Hah! This year, I felt super duper fast, at least on my terms.

I did get bumped by people who were back-stroking their way in the swim course. It was kind of annoying because they would come from behind and hit my legs. Rawr. Oh well.

I struggled a little bit towards the end of the swim; the current seemed to be swaying me away from the finish! lol I was constantly sighting to see how far I had left. I swam until my hands hit the ground and then I ran out to transition.

Transition 1 – 2:56 (Last year: 4:43 / Difference: 1:47)
I got lost on my way through transition! Oh man, I forgot where our rack was at for a few seconds. 😛 But after my realization, I ran all the way towards the end and found my stuff. I noticed my parents’ and brother’s bikes were already gone. Dang, I was like, “Holy moly, these guys are quick out there!” But anyway, I sat on the ground and peeled my wetsuit off. I was still dripping wet when I got my socks and cycling cleats on.

I mounted at the mount line and took off on the bike….

Bike – 19-miles – 1:18:29 (Last year: 1:31:36 / Difference: 13:07)
As I’ve previously mentioned before, the bike has always been a struggle for me. I knew I would PR on the bike portion but I didn’t know by how much.

Looking back, I think I was getting too cocky on the bike. Obviously this wasn’t Wildflower, but I also hadn’t ridden my bike for a couple weeks prior to yesterday. But at the same time, I was ecstatic to be riding alongside other athletes; last year, I was ALL ALONE on the bike ride. It was kind of scary and very discouraging.

Over all though, the bike didn’t seem as bad as I remembered it to be. There were slight rollers that weren’t too bad, but what really got me were the dang headwinds. I *HATE* headwinds and haven’t trained in headwinds. (My parents and brothers have an advantage with headwinds; they do time trials on this long windy road in the backside of town that I have yet to get to!)

At some points, my bike felt really heavy, like I couldn’t push it anymore than I wanted to… That was frustrating but I tried not to let it eat away at me since I had a run left to finish!

Transition 2: 2:22 (Last year: 4:42 / Difference: 2:20)
I totally messed this transition up- I forgot to unlace my shoe laces before the race! That added time and it was a little dumb mistake I’d done. But it’s okay. I grabbed my water bottle once my shoes were on and I took off

Run – 3.1-miles – 38:57 (Last year: 45:48 / Difference: 6:51)
Oh, the run. Man, after the bike ride, I wasn’t sure how well my body was going to hold up on the run. I actually suck really bad at short running distances and it’s because I don’t have enough time to warm my body up. But I’d hoped my body was warmed up enough for this 5k.

My legs were heavy, as usual after a ride, and I felt like I was stomping my way through the first half of the run. The weather was also heating up really, really fast. I poured water on my head and body throughout the race. I played leapfrog with two couples (and then decided their stupid cuteness was gross so I passed them up) until I crossed the finish.

I managed negative splits on the run, which I didn’t realize I’d done until I got home to check my Garmin stats. I really wish I’d worn my Garmin on the bike, but I was too “in the zone” to remember it for some reason. hah

Finish: 2:24:09 (Last year: 2:55:33 / Difference: 31:24)

Came home with Sprint Tri PR!

I cut a whole half an hour off of my time from last year. I was so excited and I am super proud! With a PR on this distance under my belt, I know I want to come back to Folsom to tackle their Olympic. I think I can do it!

Things I Learned:
– I need tinted goggles for swimming.
– I need a new wet suit.
– I cannot eat solids on the bike ride, but I can eat blended (baby food textured) food.
– Make sure your running shoes are already untied so you’re not trying to untie them during transition.

My next triathlon isn’t until September, unless I can find another one to do between now and then. There is a Catfish Open Water Swim event going on this weekend, and I think I might dive in for the 1.2-miler. But I’m not sure! So much is happening right now, between life and racing, and I’m just trying to balance it all out!

Did you race or train this weekend? How did it go?

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