Laura Ricketts Designs

"She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands..."

Laura Ricketts Designs is a personal and business website for Laura Ricketts, hand-knitwear designer, author, teacher, crafter, mother and wife.

Tri hard

Many apologies for my lack of posts.  In truth, I have not done much knitting lately, either.  All my energies have been directed to getting the kids through the end of school, and training for my first sprint triathlon. 

A sprint triathlon isn't a huge extreme Iron man type thing, but it's just enough to keep many people away.  This one was: 

400m swim in open water

13 mile bike course, and

3 mile run

Last year was the first year our town sponsored it's own sprint triathlon.  My husband trained for it and did it, and inspired not only me, but our whole family to compete this year. 

Last month, Chris did his second sprint triathlon in a neighboring town.  We all were there cheering.  In a rather scary few moments, we were also there to see a man have a heart attack coming out of the water and flatline.  The paramedics worked on him and transported him on out (happy ending to the story -- he is fine; no damage to his heart or brain).  All the while, the four of us knew we were signed up for this one.

Well, we ante-d up and trained through the end of May.  I tried to practice one event per day, while continuing to write and volunteer at the homeless shelter.  

Triathlon morning dawned bright and early, and, thankfully, without the predicted rain.  We all got up and finished our gear preparations and got down to the check-in around 6:30am.  Our two youngest were signed up for the triathlon bracket above their ages, the Youth division.  The Youth Triathlon course was 100m open water swim, 3 mile bike route and 1 mile run.  They each got a backpack with their bike number, helmet number and bib number.  As well, they had a color-coded swim cap.  

the fab 5

the fab 5

The night before, the boys tried on wetsuits a friend had dropped off two days earlier.  We ladies didn't need that extra assistance, but allowed our men-folk the extra layer of warmth and buoyancy.  The water temperature was a perfect 72F.  After our pre-race meetings, The youngest got suited up in his wetsuit, and both kids got their swim cap on.  Then, the air horn sounded: Let the games begin (and may the odds be forever in their favor)! 

The swim was short and sweet.  Adults were allowed in the transition area to help pull the bikes off the rack and pull the kid out of the wetsuit. 

getting ready for the second event -- biking

getting ready for the second event -- biking

My girl got through the swim and bike section quickly and took off at a jog around the corner to begin the one mile run.  Her best friend was just a touch behind her.

When she rounded the corner towards the finish line, though, they were side by side.  My daughter was holding her side like it hurt her, but the two of them were step in step. 

best friends

best friends

It was a bit of a wait before my youngest came around that bend.  But when he did, he was smiling a mile wide and giving it some "oomph."  As he sprinted toward the finish line, I cheered him on.  What an accomplishment for both of them!


After all the kids had come in, the adults had their pre-race meeting.  

The starting waves were: young men at 9:00, older men at 9:04, young women at 9:08, older women at 9:12, and youth and teams at 9:16.  Chris set out at 9:04.  He was just walking out when my air horn sounded.  And, away I went! 

I completed the swim event in 10 minutes.  The entire time, the same two women flanked me.  Open water swim is quite different from pool training: you can't see through the water, you can't see the course -- you can't even see you hand as it cuts through the water!  Unfortunately, I never felt I settled into a really good stroke or stroke/breathing motion, but I finished the swim nonetheless.

Transition was choppy.  I got my shoes, helmet, and glasses on and grabbed the bike and started trotting away -- then, I realized I didn't have my shirt with my bib number on.  I had to go back, take off my helmet, force a jersey on my wet body, get all suited up again, and take off.

As I cycled away, slowly but surely, several more of the youth division passed me up.  I made a resolution to just try to pass one person in the cycling. 

I maintained a pretty steady speed the whole time, and was thrilled to pass probably ten participants, and that was with an extended course. A week before, we had had a tremendous rain.  Some country roads were still flooded, including one on the route.  The officials extended the course one road to the south, increasing the route by .7 of a mile. 

As I neared the end of the cycle route, I remembered to ease transition by sitting up straight, shifting to the very easiest of gears and pumping like mad. I jumped off the bike just right and trotted around to my place inside the transition area again.  Pulled off the jersey, took off the helmet, changed shoes, put on a vest and grabbed my music.  It wasn't allowed for the bike section, but I didn't know how I would ever complete the run without my music!

finish line

finish line

I don't like this picture of me, but I put it in as proof that this milestone has been passed.  I was pleased with how I did, and how I was able to run for almost the entire 5K, despite my gimpy knees.

All in all, I would highly recommend a sprint triathlon to anyone who is on the fence. Our particular sprint triathlon was a fun, community event where everyone was cheered on and encouraged.  Kudos to Allen Sayger and Scott Stalbaum, the cross country coaches, all the swim coaches and the many, many people who worked together to pull this thing off!  

Here's to next year!