The water temp was 82 degrees. Which made it a non-wetsuit legal swim. Didn’t mean much to me since I don’t own a wetsuit. After a 10 minute delay the Pro’s took off. Then we all lined up for a wave start. I was in the water by 7:30. My goal was to keep an easy steady pace. I always worry about the swim because I really can’t train properly for it. The gym’s pool is 25 yards. I don’t know how to do a swimmers turn so I get that 1-2 second rest at each end as I turn around.I really like wave starts. With only 4-5 people in your wave you tend to not have people swimming over you and getting kicked or punched. The only time I had to contend with others was at the turn buoys. I really felt good during my swim. I found in my first tri last year that if you fall behind in your breathing or go to hard it’s easy to run short of breath and it’s very hard to recover since you can only breathe so much with your face in the water. Although I had planned to go to backstroke if I ever needed to catch up on my breathing. Luckily I felt good the entire swim and never had to do this.
I really only had two issues on my swim. My right arm must be significantly stronger than my left because I kept drifting to the right. I suppose this is probably similar for everyone. It would make sense that your dominate arm is stronger. The other issue is the last half of the swim headed directly into the sun. With the humidity my goggles started fogging over and with the sun just rising it’s near impossible to see. Even with tinted lenses. I basically had to follow the people in front of me and hope that they are tracking a good line.
Overall I was very happy with my swim. In the pool I had been averaging 40 minute miles so to come ahead of that by 3 minutes despite not having that brief rest before every turn and the slight added distance from getting back on course when I veered off really made me feel good.
Time: 3:45I really need to work on my first transition times. You come out of the water and you have to go up a hill. I kind of do a fast shuffle, my legs are like jelly from kicking for the last 37 minutes and then you have to run on grass which can be slick from the water to your bike.
I also can find ways to cut time at the bike. I sit, rinse my feet, dry them and put socks on. This all takes a lot of time. I would be willing to experiment going without socks, but I absolutely have to clean them off. I’m like the Princess and the Pea. If I have even a single blade of grass on my feet I would feel it and it would bug the heck out of me the rest of the race. I also put my bike gloves on. I could easily do without but if you crash on the bike the first thing you tend to do it put your hands out. I guess I’ve always been willing to lose that 30 seconds to keep the skin on my hands. J I ate a Honey Stinger gel and headed out.
17.6 mph avgExit transition and I’m on the bike. In the briefing they said no passing while still in the park. Well a person in front of me was doing about 15 mph and I quickly caught up to them doing about 20. I wasn’t going to go the quarter mile or so at that pace so I called out and zoomed by. Hit the road and was feeling good. The first loop had you going east down by the Science Center. After a short hill it’s pretty flat and you can hit a pretty good speed. I don’t have a Tri watch so I have to guess but I bet I was easily doing about 21 mph average for the first 5 mile loop. As you get back to the park you take a left into Water Works Park. Again it was flat and allowed for some good speed. About a mile into the park there was a few people sitting on the side. Not sure what happened. Since it was a group I figured they crashed but no one was showing any real concern so hopefully there were no injuries.
We exited Water Works and headed west on Park Ave. A couple train tracks that were well marked and had carpet laid over then. When we got to 28th we headed south. This was really the only difficult part. From Park to Army Post was practically uphill the entire time. It’s not overly steep so it normally wouldn’t be a problem but there was a pretty stiff head wind we had to contend with. I don’t know what the official wind speed was but I heard one person say it was about 12 mph. A more aero bike or even just aero bars probably would have helped me out here. I did my best to keep my speed up but unfortunately I was under 15 mph for this section and did dip down to 10 mph a few times.
At Army Post we turned east again till a turn around. Right about here was also the half way point. I ate another Honey Stinger Gel and tried to regain some time I lost in the wind. This section had a few rolling hills. I kinda hooked up with another lady in this section. It was kind of fun. Since she was much lighter and smaller she could power up the hills much easier than me. But with my weight advantage my momentum would rocket me past her. A few times when she would pass me she would say see you on the downhill and I would yell out as I passed her going down that I would see her going back up. Sometimes we would hit the bottom together and would talk a bit before the next hill.
Coming back to Park it was time to crank it up again. The final legs was on George Flagg Pkwy. I really was not looking forward to this section at all because it is really rough. Luckily there was not very many people around me and I was able to pick relatively clean lines. I easily was able to do 22 mph. I could have went harder but I’ve had trouble in the past with my legs cramping at the start of the run from going too hard on the bike.
Overall I was just ok with my ride. If I didn’t have that head wind I probably could have done it a lot faster. Aero bars would help a lot I think and I really need some new wheels. The ball and cone style bearings are pitting pretty bad from the added stress of pulling the girls in the Burley (my weight probably doesn’t help much either if I’m going to be honest). I’d really like to get a good wheel set with replaceable cartridge style bearings. I was also bummed that the group that always fries up bacon and hands it out during the bike leg where not here this year. I grabbed it last year and honestly it helped and was a fun addition to the ride.
Time: 1:59I’m pretty happy with my time here. Got the bike racked, change to my running shoes, and ate another Honey Stinger gel. I did take about 10 seconds or so to look over my stuff. I felt like something was missing. Didn’t see anything so headed out. About 100 feet outside of transition I realized I forgot my race belt. It holds your race bib. I was worried that I might get pulled off the course for not having it. I almost turned around and jump the fence to go get it. I decided to forge on and deal it with it later if anyone said anything.
12:13 min/mile avg.The biggest issue I have add in my last two tri’s was my calves cramping up at the beginning of the run. Not a full on cramp but enough to know that if I stopped they would clench up. They always pulled out in about a quarter mile but it still slowed me down.
This year I didn’t have that problem. I think dropping a Nuun tablet in the water bottle on the bike helped. Since I didn’t have much time to train and was heavier than last year my plan for the run was to try and keep a steady, easy pace. In my two weeks of training I tried to run for endurance, rather than speed. My goal was to at least run the first three miles and then run/walk the remainder if needed.
By the time I hit the run the heat and humidity was in full force. I was relatively dry after the bike, but it didn’t take long before I was covered in sweat.
The beginning of the run was going pretty good. However, I had to pee. I actually had to pee since the beginning of the bike. I considered just peeing in the woods along the trail but figured there would be a porta-potty at the mile 2 aid station. I slowed up and realized it was occupied so I walked through the aid station and grabbed a water and Gatorade. Probably walked less than 20-30 feet. Mile three was right at Mullets. I thought about stopping again but that porta-potty was in the parking lot, which was about 20 feet away down a small incline. I didn’t feel like messing with that so on I went. While going over the bridge into downtown I just couldn’t hold it any long. I stepped behind one of those large concrete planters and went. Sometimes being a guy has its advantages. ;)
I really was feeling pretty good overall so I kept on running. Starting at mile 4 the aid stations also had ice. I would grab an ice and two waters. Pour once cup of water over my head, pour the other into the ice. Take a few drinks and then pour the rest over my head. Whatever ice was left I put down my top. Since the top is skin tight it held the ice right on my chest. Not sure it actually cooled my core down but it felt cool so I have the perception it did.
Pretty soon I hit Locust and headed east. As we got close to the Capitol we turned south for a block and then west again. Did the same routine at mile 5, hit the turn around and same thing with the water at mile 6. Immediately after mile 6 was Capitol Hill. The only real hill on the run course. It could have been Mount Everest, there was no way in hell I was going to walk any portion of that .2 miles after I swam a mile, biked 25 miles and then ran 6 miles.
Turned left at the top of the hill and was in the finish shoot. The finish was really cool. I loved the medal! Turned in my chip and it was over. My official time was 3 hours, 22 minutes and 56 seconds. I fully expected to be closer to the 4 hour mark and if I was, would have been total happy with that. The fact that I beat my expected finish time by 36 minutes was really awesome! I know where I need to improve and I think with some more weight loss and proper training I think a sub 3 hour time should be easily attainable. But this is a great baseline of what I am capable off.
I am upset about one thing. I went to get a printout of my race results and they could not find me. I was kinda freaking out that my timing chip didn’t register. After searching for my name they finally found me. I transposed my number! This means along with forgetting my race bib, the number on my arm was incorrect which means any pictures of me by the race photographers will not reach me. Hopefully I can contact someone at the photography company and see if they can search on my incorrect number.
On my FB feed I saw a lot of people complaining about the heat. It was hot, Well into the 90's. I don't know what the humidity level was though. I do think I had an advantage in this regard though. First I trained pretty hard the two weeks before. Also, my part time job at the mill has me working outside. I think my body is naturally accustomed to the heat so I was able to tolerate it more than others.I have to take a moment and talk about the management and volunteers. This was a really well put together race overall. Everyone was really helpful and knew what was going on at all times. And there is no way the run would have happened without the volunteers. All the aid stations were well staffed and they were on their game at everyone. They were out there in that heat handing out water, Gatorade and ice for probably 6 hours. That can be just as tough as those of us doing the race!
I really had a great time! The fact that I was able to knock this race out so easily with a minimal amount of training shows that I have a lot of potential to improve. I hope to make this a yearly event and can't wait to see what I can do next year!