Monday, May 24, 2010

Summer OPEN Sprint Triathlon Race Report

I just finished my first tri ever on Sunday. It was a sprint distance: 750 m swim, 12 mile bike, 5k run. I loved (almost) every minute of it and definitely plan on doing it again. This one was in preparation for an Olympic distance tri in five weeks, so it was nice to see what a tri looks like and get a taste of what's in store for me soon.

Below is my race report. Sorry it's a bit long. I copy and pasted what I wrote out for myself and another friend. Hope you don't mind the length

Summer OPEN Sprint Triathlon
750 m/12 mi/5 k
Longmont, CO
23 May 2010

Overall, the race went well and I'm very happy with my result. It was the perfect sized race for a first tri, and since it's one of the first outdoor ones of the season, there were a lot of newbies in the crowd. They said we had 88 first-timers (they even had a division for us) out of a field of 400.

I woke up super early to get there early like you all suggested, and it was definitely the right call. My roommate Maggie and I drove down there with enough time to leisurely get marked, pick up our timing chips, set up transition, walk around, and get ready for the start. No pressure or rushing at all.

I had been really anxious all morning and got even more anxious when we got to the race and saw the reservoir with the buoys set up. It seemed so long! But milling around and hearing others talk about this being their first tri put me a bit at ease. Everyone was so nice. There were two ladies and a guy in the bike rack next to mine and they were saying how one of the ladies had taken the guy's wife's credit card and signed him up for the race without him even knowing. The guy chimed in, "And my wife's not even here." In short, everyone was so nice and supportive, which definitely helped.

Warm-up consisted of getting in the water to feel out the temp. O. M. G. 61 degrees is COLD. My body felt fine in the full wetsuit, a bit chilly, but fine. That wasn't the problem. As soon as I put my face in the water I got an immediate brain freeze. I tried a few more times to see if more exposure would help, but it was just as horrible each time around. I didn't think I could last the 15-20 minutes it would take me to swim the half mile and I started to get worried. But there was no backing out and there was really nothing I could do about it (besides suck it up), so I tried to get my mind off that while waiting for our wave to start.

We (being Maggie and I) were in the 4th wave, so we hung out a bit watching the pros kick butt. A few of the elites were out of the water before Wave 3 had even started. Wow!

                                                                19:23                AG: 29/30
                                                           2:22/100 yds       OA: 321/350
Not too bad, actually, once my face got used to the freezing cold of course. 750 m feels a lot farther when you don't get to stop at the end of the lane after every drill. Haha! My time was a bit slower than I wanted, but I put everything I had into it. My arms felt super heavy in the wetsuit (I definitely had this feeling when I swam in a SCUBA suit for a fitness test a couple years ago, so maybe I just don't like sleeved wetsuits...or I need to strengthen my arms) so I alternated between freestyle and breaststroke. It seemed to work and was an easy way to spot and not go off course.

I essentially sprinted the last 100 yards or so in an effort to keep up with this lady in front of me, which was a bad call. See T1.

AG: 22/30         OA: 237/350
I was as efficient as I could be considering the severe light-headedness I felt as soon as I got out of the water. I thought I was going to fall over within the first few steps, so I had to catch my bearings a bit.

In transition, I had to hold onto the rack so I wouldn't fall over while taking off the wetsuit and putting on my shirt and shoes. Again, I severely questioned my ability to complete the next stage of this tri. Seemed to be a pattern throughout this race.

I slowed down a bit to buy myself some time, had some water, and went along as soon as I felt ready to stay upright without assistance.

                                                                  41:40           AG: 22/30
                                                             17.86 mph       OA: 288/350
AMAZING! I didn't think I'd like the loop idea since I like seeing new things the whole ride, but it was really great, actually. I'm a convert.

The course was completely closed to traffic and consisted of three loops of 4 miles each, so even though some crazy fast riders were already coming in when I was just headed out, there was still a nice overlap of faster waves with me. It was actually fun to be passed by the super duper fast tri bike people and see them in action. It made it feel like we were doing the same race, instead of just seeing them at the start and then at the finish, and nothing in between.

One of the guys I paced myself with was in an earlier wave and the only reason I could keep up with him was because of his clunker bike. He had these rainbow-colored board shorts and the squeekiest mountain bike I've heard in a while. So it was easy to hear him coming and turn up the pace so he wouldn't pass. I can only imagine how fast he would've been had he had better equipment!

I pushed myself more consistently than I've pushed before and ended up with the best bike split I've ever had. My legs felt great at the end. Tired, but great. At the beginning of the first loop I remember looking down at my bike computer and thinking, "Wow, I've only gone 1.5 miles? This is going to be LONG." But by the end of the last lap, I was bummed that the bike was already over. It was just super fun to actually be racing people and passing each other back and forth. Towards the end, a lady pulled up to me while passing me and we chatted a bit and then she went on her way. I'd passed her in the very very beginning and told myself that there is no way I'm finishing behind her. I didn't see her again til the very end when she passed me and then we ended up keeping the same pace. So mission accomplished, kinda. I probably could've passed her again, but I was saving my legs for the run, which was a waste since there was no hope for me there.

AG: 26/30         OA: 265/350
Nothing special. Walked through most of transition, got my running shoes on, and took some water. I think I may've even put on sunscreen, but I'm not sure. That could've been T1.

                                                                 42:13                AG: 30/30
                                                        13:37 min/mile       OA: 346/350
Oy. I died. I knew I was in horrible running shape so I was hoping for a 12 minute mile or so, alternating between jogging and running. I stuck with part of the plan in that I walked and jogged, but I think I did about half and half. I got passed by EVERYBODY and didn't pass a single person. So frustrating. And everyone was like, "Keep it up, you're almost there," as they ran by. That just pissed me off even more and made me feel like they were pity-partying me, which was totally not the case. That was just in my head. Those same statements during the bike put a smile on my face and made me pick up my pace, but during the run I just scowled and cursed under my breath.

Maggie, my roommate, caught up to me right before mile 1 and we ended up walk/jogging the rest of the run course together. I felt bad that I was slowing her down and kept telling her to go ahead, but she wanted to do this tri together (and so did I, actually) so we pushed each other to go a bit harder. I think it would've been even more frustrating had she not been there, so everything worked out really well in that respect.

Didn't really do a cool-down, but I stretched a bit. I tried to eat some of the post-race food, but my stomach just wasn't feeling it so I stuck with a protein drink and a liquid diet. We hung out a bit for awards and then headed home to chill in the backyard on a beautiful day.

Official time: 1:47:30
Overall: 338/350
Females: 140/147
AG: 30/30

In short, great race and we lucked out with the conditions. Saturday was crazy windy and today is just as bad. Yesterday was the only calm day we've had in a few days.

Next step is to add another run day in for a total of three a week (and stick to them!) so I can survive 6 miles for the Lake to Lake Oly in five weeks, and push myself harder in the swim intervals, since I definitely need to get that endurance up as well. Bike training can stay the same, since I don't really want to add too much in the coming weeks.

Here's the link to the results:

The tri is called Summer Open Sprint Triathlon and my full first name is Katarzyna, Bib 613.

My roommate Maggie finished 1 sec ahead of me only because she thought I'd sprint to the finish with her. My legs were shot and I didn't want to fall on my face at the finish line, so I played it safe and jogged in. She still feels kinda bad because that puts me last in the age group. It's hilarious since I don't care. I accomplished my goal of not being dead last overall, so that's good enough for me

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