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Valley Girl Sprint Triathlon – Geek Turned Athlete

Valley Girl Sprint Triathlon

Racing this year feels so different from previous years.  The sick nervousness that used to plague me before races has become a distant memory.  I was happy and relaxed at this triathlon.  Granted, all my races have been short little things so far.  The only tris that I have done this year have been sprints.  I’m sure I will be nervous for my Ironman in November and maybe even my half Ironman that I have planned in about 4 weeks, but nowhere near as bad as last year.  I would literally be shaking before each race started.

My new mantra this year: “I’m doing these races for fun.  I will do my best, and that is ALL I can do.  There is NO point in stressing myself out on race day.”  It is a long mantra that doesn’t sound too catchy, but it has worked.  I repeat this over and over to myself, and it keeps my HR down and my stomach calm in the days and morning before a race.

I was supposed to run the Missoula Half Marathon this weekend, but my husband and I decided that we had too much to do, and driving 7 hrs round trip would be better spent cleaning the house and running errands.  Plus, we couldn’t find a sitter for Kai.  So, I entered into a sprint triathlon late Saturday (swapping with someone legally –the race director still needs to change the name over!!)  and raced Sunday morning.  Let’s just say, it was REALLY last minute.  I’m glad I did because I actually got 2nd place in my age group!!!  For real this time!!

Again, the beginning of race day was calm and encouraging.  One of my readers came up to me to let me know she followed my blog.  Thank you, by the way!  I didn’t get your name so please comment!!

This race was open to only WOMEN!! Go GIRL POWER!!!!


The men from Team Blaze were out there to support the ladies, and there were a bunch of us racing that day.


For many women, this was their 1st triathlon.  I could sense the newbie nervousness.  I had to laugh a little because I was in their same place a few years ago.  It is funny how things change, and I still consider myself “green” to the sport. 😉

The Swim ~ 400 meters

The swim took a little longer than I hoped, but I didn’t drown.  I’m always thankful for that! haha.  I’ve pretty much accepted that I won’t be the fastest person out of the water, and that is fine.  However, I’m not going to stress out about it (at least at this point–wait until my Ironman).


The Bike ~ 12 miles


The bike was really interesting because I still freak out riding around corners with my new tri bike.  So I would pass people on the straightaways, but then they would catch up to me if there was a corner to turn because I would turn corners like a grandma.  It was sad.  Oh well.  You know what that means?  More time on bike!!!

And yes, I’m aware that I still need to take my reflectors off of the my wheels.  I’m “Safety Sally,” okay?

The only thing that sucked on the bike was that my stomach was SO bloated.  I guess I swallowed too much lake water.  ;(  This did not make for very flattering pics later.

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The Run ~ 3 miles


I’m not going to lie.  It hurt.  It hurt a lot, and I wasn’t even going that fast (it is all relative).  I tried to keep it under 8 min/miles, and I was successful in that, but I wanted to go a little faster.  My legs were not cooperating with me though.

 Sprints are such a different beast than Half Ironmans.  As I was running I was thinking about it.  Triathlons are sort of like ripping off a bandaid.  Sprints are equivalent to ripping off a bandaid quickly.  They hurt really badly because the intensity is WAY up, but they don’t last for very long.  Half Ironmans are the same as slowly ripping a bandaid off.  It doesn’t hurt as much at one time, but they last a lot longer.

I know I look kinda calm in the pic below, but my breath sounded like freight train.  The muscles in my legs were screaming at me to stop.  I told them to shut up and run.  They listened.

The horrendous breathing didn’t keep me from trying to have a conversation with anyone who passed me or anyone who I passed.  What can I say, I’m talkative during a race.  😉

As I rounded the last corner, I could hear my coach and others scream “GO NICOLE!!” That fueled the fire, and I picked it up the last few hundred feet as I crossed the finish line.  I had no idea where I was compared to the rest of my age group.  I just wanted to race a good race for me.  And it was…


After the race, I checked my time and placement at a cool little kiosk under a white tent and learned that I was second in my age group.  Considering what happened at my last race, I didn’t want to get too excited but I just couldn’t help myself.


I also must say that Team Blaze is such a supportive group!  Everyone has varying abilities so if you are apprehensive about joining a tri club in your area, don’t be!!!


Holla!  And one of our team’s sponsors is a massage therapist.  So nice to have a little massage and stretch after any race!  Team Blaze members get 10% off her services for the summer!!  Check the TB website for her info!


Time to announce the awards!!  This race is great because they have medals 5 deep for each age group.  NICE!!

Not a flattering picture here.  I was hot, dehydrated, hungry, and desperately in need of some chap stick.  If my grandma was there she would have yelled at me to stand up straight. Oops.


Team Blaze members and the Spokane Swifts (the running group that I’m also a member of) took so many of the awards!!  That just goes to show that when you have a supportive community to train with, you will train… and do well!!  At least if you are that type of person who likes working out with others.  I am!


Have you ever done a sprint tri and another distance?  Which one do you like better?? 

Do you have someone to swim, bike, and/or run with or do you prefer to workout by yourself?

P.S. Huge thanks to Team Blaze members for supplying these pics!!  My regular paparazzi (aka my husband) was at home Sunday morning for most of the race.

{ 8 comments… add one }

  • Erica July 12, 2011, 2:51 pm

    Congratsssss! How awesome! Especially given it was a last minute decision. I love the racing outfit. I like running with friends on occasion but also enjoy alone time

  • Nrmrvrk July 12, 2011, 3:35 pm

    So are you still on the Swifts team as well as Blaze?

    I’ve never done a triathlon before and hope to some day do an Ironman as my first one.

    I do most of my running at work by myself. I live out in the sticks and don’t have anyone else nearby to run with. Most of my cycling is commuting either by myself or with whomever I end up meeting on the way to work.

    I miss it at times.

    • Nicole July 12, 2011, 8:31 pm

      Yes I am!! The Swifts are STILL kicking my butt!!!

      Why would you want to do an Ironman for your first tri? You might want to try a sprint to see if you like them! An Ironman is a huge commitment. I’m sure you know all this, but wow!

      • Nrmrvrk July 13, 2011, 4:55 pm

        I love endurance sports and have done several ultramarathons and 200mi bike races so I’m sure I’ll enjoy doing all three sports in one event. I just need to wait for the kids to get older so I can make time to train for ironman length events. Something about starting at 140.6 appeals to me I guess.

        • Nicole July 13, 2011, 10:05 pm

          I guess I forgot who I was talking to!! Nevermind then! 😉

  • Tiffany @ Tiffany's Spartanette Training July 12, 2011, 6:19 pm

    Yay, congrats on placing!

    I’ve always done my runs solo, and mostly the same for the bike. I was swimming on a Masters team that I totally loved just before I moved. I am joining a running club very soon, though. :)

  • Sue @ Sue In Training July 13, 2011, 2:57 am

    Congrats on your 2nd place! That’s awesome!
    I sometimes run with my (male, fit) co-workers. It’s fun to have someone to talk to, I really like the distraction, and they always make me go faster and longer than I would on my own. Sometimes my BF and I go on a bike ride together, but he’s much faster than me, especially uphill, that can be quite frustrating. I also enjoy to run alone from time to time, getting some me-time, relaxing my mind.
    I’ve never done a triathlon, and probably won’t ever. I just recently started running, I’m very slow on my bike, and I totally suck at swimming. For now, I’ll just stick with running.

  • Beth July 20, 2011, 1:48 pm

    Congrats! You must be getting crazy fast to place in a last minute tri!!!


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