August 16, 2008

Beaver Lake Sprint Triathlon 2008 Race Report

Saturday, August 16

This was my third ever sprint triathlon. My first was the Danskin in 2001 and my second was just outside of London in 2002. I havenít trained for high intensity racing, so I knew it was going to be mentally and physically challenging. I met Paul and Bryan in the Allstar parking lot at 5:30am and we carpooled to Issaquah. The sunrise was spectacular, enhanced by a bit of Seattle smog in the air.

We arrived at the venue with ample time to pick up packets, get body marked, set up in transition and spend 20 mins on a warm-up jog. Iím completely sold on the benefits of a good warm-up, especially for a race as short as this. It takes me 45-60 mins of exercise before I feel like I can work hard, despite doing three 60 min hard cardio workouts a week. As I was jogging alone in the woods, I kept hearing something like water sloshing around in a tank. It sounded eerily close to me and I kept looking over my shoulder to see if someone or something was there. It took me a long time to be convinced that it was actually the coffee and water in my own stomach making that noise. Woops, consumed a bit too much liquid.

We lined up on the shore of Beaver Lake, a small lake with, at this time of year, warm water. Paul and I decided not to wear wet suits. Bryan donned his new Blue Seventy sleeveless. An uninviting green film sat on top of the water, but with 521 triathletes in the individual competition, there were plenty of waves in front of mine to clear off the slime. The race organizers did an excellent job and the race started bang on time. I was in the 9th wave and we 40-45 year-old females waded into the water just before 8:00.

Swim - 400 Meters
There was a lot of glare on the water and I wished for reflective goggles so I could see the buoys. I just followed the caps in front of me. No time to relax and look for fish in these short distance races. There were two buoys to turn around and turning strategy could lose or win you a place or two. Iíll have to remember that for future sprints. After 8 Ĺ minutes the swim was already over and I was running on terra firma.

Although I had no wetsuit to strip out of, my transition time was abysmal. I was hurrying, but I wasnít using good technique. I sat down to dry my feet, slide on socks, then shoes and fasten the three straps on my cycling shoes. I drank water, put on gloves, and took time to fasten my race belt around my waist. None of these were things I should have done in transition and it cost me.

Bike - 13.8 Miles
This bike course starts flat, goes down a nice long hill, and then becomes a 2-mile staircase uphill grind to the top of the plateau. Lots of volunteers were on the course guiding racers around all the turns. Itís an open course, meaning traffic on the road which was problematic coming down off the plateau. Unfortunately, I had to brake on the downhill because there were slower cyclists from earlier waves in front of me and car traffic stuck behind these slower riders. The cars couldnít get around the cyclists due to oncoming traffic. Once I finally got out of the car clot, I opened it up and saw 39.5mph on my bike computer. I decided not to look down again because things started feeling a bit wobbly. I was 4th in my age group starting the bike, 3rd in my age group after the bike. My average speed was 19.11mph.

Again, I was hurrying in transition but didnít use good technique. I had to get out of my cumbersome cycling shoes and gloves and I didnít have lace locks on my running shoes. When the race results were posted and I saw the transition times of other racers I decided I wanted to improve this for my next triathlon. I watched the Transitions video, bought some lace locks and tri specific shoes, took off the bottle cages on the back and practiced getting in and out of my shoes on the bike. The next week I shaved 2:13 off my total transition time, even with the added burden of a wetsuit. In this Beaver Lake tri, that would have brought me up three positions in my age group. I get it now; Ironman 4th discipline = nutrition, short course 4th discipline = transition.

Run 4.3 Miles
The run is a rolling hills course is on quiet streets circling Beaver Lake with not much traffic. Volunteers were handing out water at multiple locations along the run course. I'll be doing lots of running training in the days ahead so I can get back to my 7:30 pace. On this race, I averaged 8:34 min miles.

Bryan, Paul and I all had a great time on this course and Iíd love to do it again next year. It would be a perfect course for some pre-season Jet City Tri brick workouts.

400 M Swim - 8:29 (1:56 per 100 yards)
T1 Ė 2:33
13.8 Mile Bike Ė 43:20 (19.11 mph)
T2 - 1:18
4.3 Mile Run Ė 36:59
Finish Time - 1:32:39


August 14, 2008

Satsop International Triathlon

1500 meter swim, 25 mile bike, 10k run

Ok, so I need to work on relaxing my upper body when I run. Got it.

38 athletes lined up along the lake in Vance Creek County Park to do the Olympic distance race. It was a foggy morning, but the fog was lifting fast. Jet City Tri was out en force with seven members racing in the club Olympic distance championship race. The JCT support crew was there as well. The transition area was small, in fact, it was tiny. This could make for some fast transition times and it wasnít very likely that youíd forget where your bike was.

Swim - 31:53
The water was plenty warm, but not too warm for a wet suit. During the swim warm-up, my goggles wouldnít hold a seal, so I had David run and get my spares out of my transition bag. Thank goodness I had the spares and thank goodness I had my support! As the countdown began, the JCT-ers were calling out each othersí names in encouragement. Someone said, ďJeez, how many people do you know at this race?Ē Loved that!

It was an out-and-back course that we swam three times. We didnít have to get all the way out of the water between laps, but we did have to wade or swim a few meters from shore between two cones. I tried picking up a draft a couple of times but I didnít find anyone swimming close enough to my speed for a consistent period of time. It seemed like most of the swimmers went off a bit too hard and faded on the last lap. All but the leaders that is. I saw one swimmer that was waaaaay ahead of the rest of us.

T1 Ė 1:40
After seeing my slow times from last week, I was determined to improve my transition times in this race. Unfortunately, Iím going to have to actually practice this and learn some transition techniques because determination alone ainít doin it. I was 1:48 in T1 at Federal Escape and 1:40 in T1 this race. Yes, I shaved off 8 secs here but my T2 time was actually slower in this race than it was the week before.

Bike Ė 1:12:30, 20.7 mph
The bike course was one loop that took us past the two defunct nuclear cooling towers. There was a ĺ mile hill with a 5% grade which I hadnít planned on, followed by a couple miles of rollers. This part was all on chip seal road which isnít the smoothest ride, but Iíve become quite used to it this past year. The last 15 miles of the bike was flat and fast. I only carried two water bottles this time which was plenty. I had two gels during the bike.

T2 Ė 1:13
Oh dear. Eight seconds slower than last week. Iím not sure what went wrong, but I do remember saying out loud that I was having difficulties here. Robin and Karen were both cheering me on, telling me I was doing great.

Run Ė 48:46
Starting out on the run, my legs felt like footless stubs. Not that they werenít ready to run (thanks to my weekly brick in tri training class) but my feet were just plain numb. It feels weird but doesnít seem to affect my running.

This was the best part of the race, and typically the run is the part I enjoy the least. This time, I had six other JCT mates giving me high fives all along the course. I also had awesome inspiration from Laura and Cathleen who knew I was working on upping my run intensity. Theyíre encouragement really helped me stay out of a comfortable jog and challenge myself to actually run. Laura blazed passed me with a mile left in the run. She would have passed me eight minutes earlier if she hadnít been misdirected on the course. Bryan and Paul ran the whole thing side-by-side and when we passed each other going opposite directions, they let me run right between the two of them for double high fives!

I had bought new running shoes the day before, and while I donít recommend racing in shoes you havenít practiced in, they felt fantastic. It was the same make and model shoes Iíve been running in for the past couple years, so the risk of them not fitting right was pretty low.

The run was two out-and-back laps with a cone and a black van at the turnaround. The black van was playing some great tunes, hand-picked for racing Iím sure, as the first time I came around it was pumping out Clubbed To Death from the Matrix soundtrack. Not likely that this song is on the airwaves in Elma.

My finish time was 2:36:04 and I came 3rd in my age group, behind Monique and Laura. We pulled off 1, 2 and 3 which was great. I got a pre- and post-race massage. I think it help stave off my leg/back/bun pain quite a bit.

It was a really fun day out and I just loved seeing everyone out on the course.