Monday, June 28, 2010

Average Jo Triathlon: A Race Report

Average Jo Sprint Triathlon
Perham, MN
Saturday, June 26th, 2010
Pre-race:
As usual, I left most of my packing for this triathlon until the day before the race. Fortunately, I was only missing one thing but was able run to Scheel's to get it before the store closed Friday evening. I advise everyone to start putting their things together a couple days before-hand or create a list of things you need. Do as I say, not as I do.

My triathlete buddy, Jill, and I, are lucky enough to have a wonderful Tri Sherpa: her fiance. He borrowed his parents van and we packed up the big things (aka bikes) Friday night. Everything else I was bringing was going into my bag and checked a half dozen times from there on out.

I love my sleep and knew that I needed at least a good 7 hours the night before sleep. If I could have gotten 8, I would have taken it, but considering I was getting up at 4am, I knew getting 8 hours of sleep probably wasn't going to happen. The evening got away from me and before I knew it, I was crawling into bed around 915pm. After getting in and out of bed a handful of times to check my bag for an item or two, the last time I looked at the clock it was 10pm.
4am came way too fast, especially with only 6 hours of sleep, but there's nothing like a quick rinse in the shower to shake the sleep away. I left my house around 440am and was at Jill's finance's house before 5am. The drive to Perham didn't take as long as we thought it would. We probably could have left around 6am and got there with plenty of time to pick up registration stuff and set up our transition. Live and learn.

I made note in my previous post that I was looking forward to watching the sunrise on our drive, but it was hard to witness a such a beautiful thing through the thick fog. I couldn't believe how foggy it was. Of the swim, bike, and run, I was more worried about swimming in this fog than anything. A part of me thought that they wouldn't allow us to swim in such conditions for safety purposes.
But, about 20 minutes before the start of the race the fog let up completely. The temps were still in the high 60's - a bit chilly with all the moisture in the air. The one thing I was really thankful for was the overcast skies, since the humidity was above 90%.
Like I said earlier, we had plenty of time to set up our transition area. This wasn't my first triathlon, but when I was setting up my things and trying to organize them, I had to keep going through the transitions in my head to make sure I had everything where I wanted it to be.I felt so disorganized for some reason, but I had everything I needed. (My bike - Rabbit - is pictured on the left)
The transition area was set up where you would come in from the swim on one side, and leave on the bike on the opposite side. Then, when you come back on your bike, you would leave on the run through that same entrance/exit. We decided to set up our stuff near the bike/run exit/entrance. Where do you like to set up your things in transition?

After watching others set up their transition, and talking with some others I knew, it was go time! What a better way to note how I felt just before the start of a race then to pose like a dork for a picture! Just for you guys...


The Swim: 1/3 mile
There were 3 waves with approximately 60-75 people in each wave. Not a lot of people participating, but not too few. Jill and I were in the 2nd wave. Once the first wave took off, the 2nd wave was able to get in the water. It was a lot colder than I thought it was going to be and instantly my heart rate went up. Any suggestions to help with this would greatly be appreciated.

Three minutes after the 1st wave took off, it was time for us to go. The swim was set up where you go out to the 2nd buoy and then come back on the other side, going clockwise. The water level was so low along the beach that you could stand in it the entire distance of the swim. It came up to just below my chest. I found myself taking advantage of this quite often, but did a lot of tarzan swimming - that is the free style with my head above the water.

I find that the more and more I do open water swims, the more comfortable I become. I just wish there were more lakes closer to where I live. As of right now, my practice open water swims consist of the 3 triathlons I have done and that's it.

I couldn't believe how many people were wearing wetsuits. I know that there are benefits to wearing one, such as warmth and boyancy, but I didn't think they would be necessary given the conditions and distance we were swimming. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong or missing any other benefits to wearing a wetsuit.

T1: The first transition went pretty well. I still kind of feel a little disorganized when going through transition. I feel like I haven't figured out the right order to put things on. I try to put my helmet on first, just so I don't forget to put it on, then the gloves, socks, cycling shoes, and then take off. How is T1 for you?

The Bike: 12 miles
Coming out of transition, we are greated with a decline in a dirt road to the county road that we were going to be riding 12 miles on. The first and last tenth of a mile was on this dirt road and I didn't like it one bit. The dirt was soft and I felt unstable and wasn't able to fully clip into my bike until reaching the county road.
As for the rest of the ride, it consisted of a large square route around the lake. I started out pretty strong, but struggled to get my heart rate down. I averaged about 16-16.8mph the first half of the ride but slowed down immensely due to hill after hill. These hills weren't too terribly steep, but they just seemed to drag on. Whatever goes up, must come down, but I swear there were more inclines then declines in this route.

The last half of the route I was still struggling to get my heart rate down and new I needed to before tackling the run. I just couldn't seem to catch my breath. It almost seemed as if I wasn't getting enough oxygen. Do you ever have that feeling that no matter how hard you breathe in, it's not enough? It was weird.
If I thought going down the gravel road was hard in the beginning of the ride, going back up was even more challenging. I was afraid I was going to lose balance and worried I wasn't going to be able clip out of my bike. But, luckily all worked out fine and I didn't fall.

T2: If I thought I felt disorganized in T1, I don't know what you would call T2. I finished the bike about 20-30 seconds before Jill, but for some reason she was ready to run before me. I remember her saying "Can't you put it on while you're running?" - referring to my visor. I just couldn't get my poop in a group.


The Run: 3.8 miles
The following picture was taken not even a tenth of a mile into our run. This was just coming out of transition - right after a large hill up and a large hill down. I was afraid of what was ahead of me.
At first I was griping about the distance. I mean, who maps out a 3.8 mile run for a sprint triathlon? But, once I got going and realized it was a black-top path all around the golf course in beauitful Minnesota, I stopped griping.
My legs felt so strong still and ready to kick some butt. My knees didn't bother me one bit. However, I could not, for the life of me, get my heart rate and breathing under control. I did so much walking/running that I wanted to cry out of frustration. I think at one point I was timing my run/walk intervals at run 1:30/walk :30. It was very frustrating, but the path was so gorgeous that I just tried to focus on that.
When I reached the 3 mile mark I was feeling pretty good. I was in a groove with my running, even though it involved quite a bit of walking. I was bound and determined to pick up the pace, even though I was still doing a lot of walking. There was a really nasty climb just 100 yards before the finish line, but I finished strong with a full out sprint.
I quickly grabbed a bottled water and half a banana while waiting for Jill to finish. Unfortunately, her knee gave out about a half mile from the finish line and she had to walk most of that last half mile. But, she finished strong.
We chit-chatted with a few people we knew, packed up our stuff, and were on our merry way. Looking back, it's seems like it all happens so fast. It's hard to soak it all in right then and there!
Overall Thoughts:
  • They claim this race is for the "Average Jo" - those who are just getting into triathlons. I hope that they also inform those Average Jo's that this course is full of nasty hills. I wouldn't suggest this race to anyone looking to do their first triathlon, that's for sure.
  • Everything was well organized for the most part. They had tons of volunteers and enough water stations along the course. Another port-a-potty to add to the two they had would have probably been nice.
  • If they could figure out a better way to get from transition to the bike route asside from the dirt road, that would be great.
  • Will I do this race again? Probably not. But, it's truly nothing against this race. I just think that I will have more fun trying different races.

Overall Stats:
Swim: 1/3 mile - 7:43
T1: 2:47
Bike: 12 miles - 45:51
T2: ??? approximately 1:45 - they didn't have this information and I know it was added into the run, not the bike
Run: 51:16 (more like 49:30)
TOTAL: 1:47:35

35 comments:

Marlene said...

Congrats!!! Sounds like there were definitely some challenges, but you conquered them! I wonder what was up with your heart rate... that is not a nice feeling.

Wes said...

Your transition gear goes IN front of your bike. Bikes go beneath the bike rack :-) You guys did GREAT! Wet suits, besides keeping your warm, give you that great balance in the water and make you faster. I love my little sprint wet suit I got with no arms and no legs. Its awesome. You should definitely try to get wet before your wave starts, maybe a warm up swim. Try not to be surprised getting into the water.

Again, great job!!!

Julie said...

Congrats on your great finish! You even raced in Minnesota:) I love all of your pictures...especially of the one of you coming in after your run:)

Jess said...

With that fog, I would have been afraid of lake monsters!

Nice job on the race, despite the tough hills!

Scott Keeps Running said...

Tarzan swimming is my favorite type of swimming. But I think I might have just taken advantage of the shallow beach and run alongside while everyone else swam. They'd probably disqualify me though.

Congrats on the finish and nice report! :)

Jeff - DangleTheCarrot said...

congrats on a great race! very nice RR too!

Dano said...

Congrats on your race! The initial shock of hitting cold water will always cause your heart rate to spike. Its not something you can really control. I would highly recommend wearing a full length wetsuit if the water temp permits. I say full length because most people tend to be heavy in the legs and it throws your profile off. The boyancy of the full leg suit makes you that much trim in the water. The warmth factor is a huge plus...and being from Canada I can fully appreciate this, lol.

In transition I like to set up where I have the longest run out of the water and the shortest distance to get on my bike. I am not a fan of trying to get my feet into my shoes that are already clipped in so I exit T1 running with them on...and try to not die in the process.

Thanks for the reminder about not leaving that packing until the last minute. I have a race this weekend and I am going to get all my shiznat ready now, lol.

Again, congrats on your race. You should be proud that you finished strong and didn't let the frustration get the best of you!

RockStarTri said...

Great race and report.

Melissa said...

Congrats and what a great report. I love reading about tri races!

Kelly said...

Great race recap!!! I think I would hesitate to recommend a 3.8 mile run tri to someone doing a tri for their first time unless maybe running is their strength- I just think extra running at the end is more than someone trying to get through their first tri would want to deal with. It sounds like a pretty good race overall. Do you think nerves were playing a part in your heart rate? Or maybe the hills...I usually doing have any problem with my heart on my bike except for when going up serious hills...

Mary said...

Wow, great post, this is really inspiring to read, I am so excited for my tri!! You are a rock star, I hope I can channel you in August! :)

MCM Mama said...

Great report! As a single sport girl, I have absolutely no advice. ;o) Glad the race went well for you.

Carly said...

Great race report! I really really want to do a tri soon but I am intimated by all the transitions.

Erika said...

I'm scared enough of lakes, with fog...I might have freaked:) Way to finish another race! Awesome RR!

Holly said...

Congrats on another tri under your belt! :)

Joel said...

Hey - wonderful race report. Congrats on an awesome job.

I think I would have freaked if I had to ride out & into transition on a dirt road. Not thinking that's too fun....

Sherri said...

Congratulations on a great race! I loved all the pictures! =)

Anne said...

You certainly didn't look like you were struggling for breath in the race pictures. You looked awesome! I've had that breathing problem before and always attributed it to adrenaline. Looks like a pretty course, though I too would have freaked out at that fog that I'm glad lifted at the last moment.

Shannon said...

Great job! I know I can't breathe well with the high humidity. That might've been the reason you felt that way, too.

Carly said...

Great job. I hear you on struggling with needing to walk during the run to get your heart rate under control. I've been having the same issue.

onelittletrigirl said...

I don't know how you pack the day of- I pack two nights before and check constantly!!! haha!

Great report though and congrats on a good finish!


BTW- about wetsuits...I will never not wear one again. Yes, it makes me faster which is great (and the time it takes in T1 is still worth it to me to wear one) but the better part is I feel safer. I am a good swimmer but many aren't and I fear being pulled under or swan over. That is a lot less likely in a wetsuit.

My Life and Running said...

Good job Stacy. It sounds like it was a challenging race!

I've only done two ows so far, but I did much better the second time when I got in the water early. Got over the shock before the swimming started. And I hate cold water, so I think I'll definitely wear a wetsuit whenever I can. :)

sunapeegirl said...

Ah I love triathlons! So sad my schedule didn't fit one this year! You did great! Congrats!!

aron said...

you did awesome out there! congrats on another great tri :)

Big Daddy Diesel said...

Congrats on the finish

As for transition, I go Helmet, glasses, shoe, shoe, go. I even say it outloud.

I dont race in socks, I highly suggest training sockless if this made you think about it and I dont wear gloves, personally my hands shake after the swim and its a pain for me to get them on.

kelsalynn said...

You can't believe I can do handstand push-ups, but I can't believe you can do cardio for an hour and 47 minutes! You are my hero!

Great job! I'm really proud of you!

Matt L. said...

Congrats on finishing your tri, a very huge accomplishment! Thanks again for stopping into the store before your race, we look forward to seeing you again in the future.

Matt L.
scheels.com

Fair Weather Runner said...

wow congrats on doing that sucker! i haven't been able to bring myself to try and tri because i'm terrified, you are brave! and that sounded like a tough race.

J said...

Great job on the Tri! I don't know how you do all those events! I would be so dead by the run! Stinks there were so many hills - those are the worst!

Michelle said...

Great job! And, whoa, on that fog - I was a little worried how you would swim in that, so glad it lifted for you.

I don't think I am organized enough to do a Tri - that is alot of stuff to remember and organize. You rock!

Colleen said...

Great job... sounds like it was definitely a challenging course! :) The picture of the water before the swim is kind of spooky - glad that the fog lifted! You did awesome!

Beth said...

You did GREAT!! "the more and more I do open water swims, the more comfortable I become" Are you kidding?? You're my idol. I'd give my right arm to say that!

Congrats, girl. Way to go!

Badgergirl said...

Great job! That dirt road at the beginning of the bike would have frustrated me.

Runner Leana said...

Congratulations on your race! You did awesome!

Even if you can swim without a wetsuit I think it is worthwhile to take advantage of one. The buoyancy helps, it helps to keep you warm and there isn't really a downside to wearing one. It is great that you feel comfortable swimming without one though! Your heart rate will generally be high coming out of the water and if the course started off with big hills and kept going it would definitely be hard to get the HR under control.

Funny how it is so easy to get flustered in transition. I can relate! Like this past weekend where my race belt just had to be on the right way. In hindsight that didn't matter but I wasted seconds anyway.

Anyhow, great job!

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