Tri the Parks – Richard B. Russell Sprint

My original plan was to drive up the night before and spend the night but I realized it wasn’t actually that far away and then I spent my afternoon driving my husband back and forth because he locked his keys in the car and then forgot the spare set again. I decided just to pack everything and stage it so I could leave early in the morning. 

The drive was uneventful except that I hit a rabbit that doubled back across the road and I hit the line of cars of everyone else trying to get into the park at the same time. I love the Tri the Parks series but it’s also mildly annoying to me that the parks charge for the event and then also everyone going to it too. Plus there’s no way for anyone who has a park pass to skip the line.  

I finally got in and then made the wrong choice at a fork in the road and had to turn back around to get to the transition area. I built in extra time but the waiting at the park entrance plus the wrong turn ate up a lot of it. I parked and then grabbed my bike and everything and wheeled it down to check in. 

They had assigned bike racks which was a relief because I was really kicking myself for being so late because I wanted a good rack spot. It doesn’t take me long to set up my transition area so I had time to go back to my car and get my Zoggs goggles for the swim. The water temperature was 79 degrees and the air was 64 so not only not wetsuit legal but it also felt like a warm bath. 

The tri was a sprint and Olympic combo. The Olympic folks did two laps of the swim, a longer bike route, and two laps of the run. I was careful to seed myself towards the middle back because I hate the washing machine but I still got stuck between two women I couldn’t get through. I tried going around and got stuck on another woman and couldn’t get around plus it looked like she was swimming into my direction and pushing my out of the line I wanted so I paused let her get a couple strokes ahead and then cut back inside. I expected my swim route to look like a mushroom instead of a triangle but good ol’ Garmin made it look like I’d swum in many small circles. It doesn’t do well with swims so it’s always an adventure to see what it comes up with. It’s not sport-specific and can pretty much only do running (or skiing) but it works fine so I’m not buying a new one. 

I walked up to transition to get my heart rate back down and then got my bike ready to go. Immediately out of transition was a hill and I lost my only water bottle less than half a mile into the course when I went over the speed bump at the park entrance. I was so mad. I was thirsty and hungry and now my only nutrition was gone. Plus, it was my SOAS team bottle and I’d lost the other one on the Eagleman course. 

The bike route was not too bad. It was very hilly and the road was a little rough. I had to slow to a near standstill to make the two turns on the course. My only gripe was that the dismount and mount were at the bottom of the hill so riding back into transition I had to ride my brakes in order to dismount at the line. 

I thought I had sunglasses in my car but didn’t so I just ran with my visor and no glasses. The first part of the run course was uphill and on a trail and the second bit was parallel to the golf course. They had aid stations every mile so no complaints there. They also had BodyArmour as a drink sponsor and that drink is delicious and tasted great. I haven’t drunk it since I stopped breastfeeding but it’s super delicious. I finished in just under 2 hours which I was good with. 

One thing I really like about a sprint and Olympic combo is that there’s lots of people to cheer and watch the Oly folks and then as an Oly folk I can tell myself that the people passing me are the sprint people. I’ve been on both sides now and I like both sides actually. 

It looked like I only had three women in my age group so I figured I got third unless someone registered late, but when I checked the overall results the other two women in my age group took first and second overall so I got bumped up to first in my group. Not as cool as winning out of a big group but I can’t control who shows up. I took my medal, which is maybe one of the coolest I’ve ever gotten-it’s made from a recycled bike chain and has a bottle opener on it. 

I’ve got two more races this summer in the Tri the Parks series. The last time I tried to race a bunch in the series I got pregnant and then freaked out about being on the bike in the second trimester. 

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