Middle Tyger YMCA Triathlon 2017
Fiona Martin represented the FGM team at the Middle Tyger YMCA sprint triathlon on June 3, 2017. This was the first time I had done this tri and I was looking forward to a nice sprint triathlon after 3 weeks away from racing. The Middle Tyger YMCA is in Duncan, SC and boasts a 50 meter pool! The tri consisted of a 400m pool swim (nice, wide and long lanes – the best!), a 15 mile bike through rolling hills, and an out-and-back 5k run.
This triathlon started a little earlier than most on the SCTS circuit – race time was 7am instead of 8 or 9am. Seeing as it is June in South Carolina, the earlier race time was much appreciated. I was seeded number 7 in the open division, making me the 7th person in the pool so starting right at the front. The race started promptly at 7am and I was in the water by 7:03. I am really enjoying starting near the front instead of waiting for 100 people to start in front of me, even if it means I get passed by a few swimmers in the pool. The swim was going well until the last 100m where I started struggling with some phlegm during my breathing.
I tried to shake it off but actually had to pop up for a second and clear my throat to continue. I’ve never had to do that in a pool swim, but I tried not to let it fluster me too much and continued with the final 100m.
I finished the swim and run to T1 in 8:15, a 1:34/100yd pace according to Strava, 10th female swim out of 43. That pace is good for me, but I definitely need to improve to hang with the great swimmers.
T1 was a quick affair – on to the TT bike and out on the road. Before the race, I got a bike course run down from my friend Carlton Sink so I knew the first few miles would be downhill, and I would have to climb those hills back to T2 at the end of the course. Our instructions were to follow the orange arrows for the lollipop course. Unfortunately, there were LOTS of arrows on the road and a few that could be considered orange or red. Around the 4 mile mark, I followed one of these orange/red arrows into a left turn, but quickly turned around as the guy in front of me had continued straight, and I didn’t see any temporary road signs indicating a left turn (these signs are normally on the SCTS races). I told myself that if I didn’t see any other markings in the next two miles, I would turn around and go back. Luckily, I came up on the correct left hand turn, clearly marked with an arrow in the road, roadside signs, and volunteers and police officers halting traffic – phew! The course was full of hills with no flat patches so there was speed, but also some slow grinding. I passed a few guys climbing some of the hills. I also had a guy on a road bike draft me for probably 2 miles until I turned around and told him drafting wasn’t allowed. I rolled into T2 with a 47:15 bike split, 5th fastest female with an average speed of 19.5mph. Imagine how much faster I would have been if I hadn’t taken myself off course!
T2 was another quick one – on with the running shoes, race number bib and gel in hand. I may have been going a bit too fast because as I exited T2, the pavement jumped up and clipped my right foot, sending me into a forward roll on the road. I jumped up quickly and didn’t notice any significant blood so I grabbed my gel a few feet back and continued on with the run. The first half mile is through the woods, which was really cool. I usually don’t like trail running but I’ve been doing a bit more training on trails recently and this one was packed dirt with lots of cool shade. Since the woods were so dense, it did throw off everyone’s GPS watches so we emerged with only .25 miles on the watch instead of .5. The remainder of the 5k was an out-and-back on the road. These were more rolling hills, a few were quite steep. I ended up pacing a fellow female for the majority of the run, but she ditched out on the final hill and I told myself to keep pushing through the last little bit. I finished the run in 23:54, a 7:42/mi pace, 9th fastest female, and super proud to have pushed through after that fall. I’m sure the adrenaline helped a lot!
After the race, I took myself to the medical tent to get cleaned up (nothing more than road rash on my leg and hand) and then cheered my friends on through the finish line. My final result ended up with a total time of 1:20:51, 3rd open female and 5th female overall. I really enjoyed this race, even with mix ups in all three events, and I look forward to doing it again next year!