Baucco Squad

My First Sprint, but Probably Not the Last

I had a great day of racing on a local course here in Massachusetts trying out the quickest of the main triathlon formats.

My wife and I woke up here in Boston more than an hour before registration opened up at 5:30am to drive down to the race course. We both noticed that we didn't have the same jitters as we did for our first race last fall, which was a half-IRONMAN. For this event, I was doing the sprint while she was doing the Olympic so we had slightly different days ahead of us, and the nerves we had originally not been feeling did come to settle in once we were off the main road to get to the event. We chose to check out some of the bike path as part of our drive in, and saw that we would be mostly dealing with gentle hills. Nothing too crazy.

Between the two race formats there were less than 400 people competing, which was a big change from the half-IRONMAN event we had done before. We definitely got there earlier than we needed to, but we were happy to get one of the better parking spots. Closer to 7:30am I had my transition set up with a westuit on, and we were all being asked to get into our swimming start waves. I was effectively in the first wave as there was only one Elite racer, and I fell into the bucket of "Sprint - Men Aged 49 or under". So I ended up being one of the first 20 people out into the water.

The swim was advertised as 1/3 of a mile (about 535 m), but my Strava ultimately had me closer to 590 m so maybe it was a bit longer. The water was super flat and ended being a perfect temperature at about 72 degrees, which paired with cloudy and cool conditions helped create ideal conditions. It all went by very quick given how short it was, but for the most part I felt like I found a good rhythm and held the speed I wanted. I ended up being done in just barely under 10 minutes, which had been a very easy round number to set as a goal prior.

T1 was very odd, as I felt super dizzy coming out of the water (moreso thjan my last race) and didn't feel like I had any balance at all to try and get my wetsuit off or put any of my bike stuff on. I remember thinking that maybe I pushed way harder on the swim than I had realized, but I ultimately think it was the adrenaline of being in a race again. I ultimately sat on the ground to do a lot of things which really couldn't have been that efficient, and I thought the transition took me 5 minutes or more. However the timer showed me as sub-3 minutes, so imaybe time just really slows down for me in there, and it makes everything feel like it is taking forever. 

The bike was and 11.1 mile out and back of generally soft, rolling hills. From the drive in I got the sense that the way out was generally more uphill than coming back, so I wanted to pace myself at least a bit and not get over-eager with the short distance. My first 5 miles I came in at over 20 mph average and felt really solid, so I pushed a bit harder on the way back. However, my biggest goal of the day was to have a great run, so I refrained from going too all-out. I ended up with an average speed closer to 21 mph over the whole bike leg, and most importantly, I had no issue getting a carb drink, a gel, and some Clif Bloks in me to prepare for my run. 

T2 felt a lot better than T1, and to no surprise I was about a minute faster than T1. To be fair, there is less to do in T1, But I was happy to not be dizzy and feeling like I'm falling over. I saw some people had buckets that they flipped over to have somewhere to sit, and I'll have to think about having something like that myself in the future.

The run was a 5k through some private property on some *generally* hard-packed dirt roads. I didn't bring any nutrition out with me as I had done all my fueling for it on the bike, and knew I could grab some drink as needed at the 3 aid stations out on course. Even as the sun came out it wasn't too hot as the air temperature was quite pleasant (likely in the mid to high 60s) and we did have tree cover for at least half of the distance. I ultimately was holding really close to my threshold HR, but not all the way at it, and I thankfully found a comfortable rhythm. I probably had slightly a bit more in the tank to give, but I remembered that this was more of a B-race for me and I didn't want to push too hard too close to our A-race of an IRONMAN which is less than 2 months away. Either way, my goal was to still try and get the 5k in under 20 minutes, and I ultimately just squeaked under with a time of 19:41.

My combined time of 1:07:39 was good enough for 17th out of 177 overall people that raced the sprint that day, but more importantly, I was very proud of my effort and I had a ton of fun.

All-in-all, it was a super fun day with great conditions and an interesting/fun course. I definitely can confirm that I am a fan of the shorter distance efforts, and will be looking to add more of these races to my shcedule in the future!

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