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