Sunday, August 16, 2009

Time to Reflect - A Triathlon Race Report

WARNING: Long post ahead.

Detroit Lakes - YoungLife Sprint Triathlon
Finish Time - 1:39:32

Jill and I before the race.
(It was windy)

The last couple of weeks leading up to the YoungLife Triathlon were filled with mixed thoughts and feelings. I had just spent almost a week in NYC and came back with no real desire to train for this event. I kept up with my workouts, few and far between, but I just wasn't feeling it.

This was going to be my 2nd triathlon of 2009 and last one of the season. I knew I had to change my attitude and have fun. By the time this weekend hit, and with some positive comments and encouragement from friend and fellow bloggers, I was really starting to look forward to the trip to Detroit Lakes.

The Day Before:
It was decided that we would drive to DL the morning of, rather than spending $100+ on a hotel room Friday night. Everything was packed up Friday afternoon and we packed our friend's van that evening. We were ready to roll and all I needed was a good night's rest. However, I was worried that the thunderstorms rolling in around at 9pm, mixed with the usual pre-race nerves, were going to keep me awake. That was not the case. There were no nervous feelings when the head hit the pillow that night. I slept like a rock.

What did Wes say? "What you are is a veteran now... save the excitement for the morning the race."

And that is just what I did.

After a 430am wake-up, we were on the road at about 515am and to DL by 615. Was I nervous on the drive down? No. But, as soon as we pulled into the City Park area, and I saw the size of the transition area and a half a dozen hard core triathletes, I was starting to get the nervous bug. I even made the comment, "If I don't enjoy this race, I will seriously question if I ever do one of these again." Probably a little extreme and not the best attitude going into a race, but that's how I felt. However, not for long.

We took our time setting up our transition area. There were things I remembered to do from the last triathlon, as well as things I wanted to do differently. You know, it's a learning experience, and if I was happy about anything I was glad to be doing another triathlon this summer for that reason.

630am they started doing body marking. I was not impressed with my body marking, and when I asked for the smiley face on the back of my calf, the girl did a horrible job. Not a big deal, however, it was now that I was getting really excited.

By this point I had eaten half a banana and part of a peanut butter sandwhich. At 730 I took my Chocolate Outrage Gu (yum yum), and drank a lot of water. A bathroom break before the race was taken at this point, but looking back now, I think I drank way to much water this morning!

This event was broken into heats, depending on male female, two age groups (29 and under, 30 and older) and whether or not you were doing the Sprint or the Olympic.

The Race:

The Swim:
500M - out and back
The water was very shallow and at almost any point in the swim you could touch the bottom. The sun was starting to peak from behind the clouds, but it didn't last for too long. There were a few waves on the lake, but nothing horrible. To be honest, I was expecting worse, considering there were white caps last year. As I turned around the bouy I got splashed by a wave and it caught me off guard, but didn't slow me down.

In comparison to July's Prairie Rose Triathlon - 1000M - 31:00 - 3:06/100M - definitely an improvement!

Looking back at my tri in July and comparing the swim to this one, I was very impressed. Yes, it was half the distance, but I felt so much stronger on the swim this time around. Maybe it was because I kind of knew what to expect this time around. Maybe it was due to all the swim team practices I participated in.

T1: 3:52
I felt super pokey during this transition and kept telling myself to hurry up. I don't know what took me so long. I had my tri suit on. All I had to do was throw on my socks, shoes, helmet, gloves, and grab my gu. I struggled with my socks as water kept running down my legs and kept my feet wet. Does anyone have any solutions to this? I think this is what slowed me down the most!

The Bike:
11.7 miles

The brochure said it was going to be a 10 mile loop around the lake, but they had to add a little bit on for some reason or another. I was okay with that.

I hopped on my bike as I crossed the mat and felt strong. I held back on the bike a bit last time and wanted to put more into it this time around. The course was pretty flat, with an occasional rolling hill here and there. During the first 2-6 miles, my bike kept making a sound like it was shifting gears and every time I looked down, it was still on the middle spoke in the back. I was afraid to shift gears after that, but then it was fine for the 2nd half of the ride.

The temperature was in the low 70's but I could tell the humidity was pretty high. The sun was no longer present and the wind was starting to pick up. By the time I finished the bike, the wind was getting pretty bad and it was starting to sprinkle.

However, I just could not get my heart rate down. I didn't wear my heart rate monitor, but I knew it was high. I felt like I was breathing so heavy and at times I wasn't even going very fast. Any ideas on what would I would have needed to do to help bring my heart rate down?

At about the 8.5 mile marker, I took in another gu, TriBerry. This was before I remembered that the race course was going to be longer than 10 miles. I had also finished 1 of my 20oz bottles of water.

In comparison to July's Prairie Rose Triathlon - 12.4M - 52:40 - 14.13mph- definitely an improvement! I wanted to break the 15mph average and that is just what I did!


I had to walk/run my bike quite a long ways to get through transition, and that is pretty hard uncomfortable given I was wearing my clipless shoes. This transition did go a bit smoother. I kicked off my cycling shoes, grabbed my running shoes, lost the helmet and glove, and threw on my visor while running out of transition. It still could have been faster, but I'll take it.

The Run:
3.1 miles

Oh boy, where do I start? I didn't realize this until after the race, but a good portion of the run included the grassy area I spent a lot of time walking though. Looking back now, I remember that the timing mat was before that, not after. Oops.

At this point the wind had really picked up and it was starting to sprinkle. I am sure the temperature had dropped a few degrees but it felt good to me. My face was overheating and I knew I needed to cool off a bit. The route was a flat out and back.

Run, walk, run, walk, run, walk. This seemed to be the pattern here. The transition from the bike wasn't horrible, but my right knee wasn't great either. It wasn't bad, but it felt uncomfortable. Add on the fact that I was having this side stitch feeling in the middle of my back every time I took deep breathes, and the fact that I had to go potty really bad and I struggled imensely through this run.

It was starting to rain about 1/4 of a mile in and by the time I reached the turn-around point, it was pouring. I have never run in rain, let alone rain like that, and I must admit I kind of liked it! However, it didn't help the fact that I still had to use the bathroom, but I refused to use the port-a-potty. I didn't want to mess with my drenched wet suit in a dark port-a-potty. I couldn't afford to lose anymore time on my run. Looking back now, choosing to not take a bathroom break was probably my worst decision.

I still grumble when I think of this run. It just irritates me to no end.

In comparison to July's Prairie Rose Triathlon - 3.1 miles - 34:00 (approximately) - 10:58/mi- not as good! GRR. However, I believe that the last tri 5K was shorter than they said it was, but there's nothing I can do about that.

After thoughts:
Given all the ups and downs before and during the race, I look back and can still say that I was very happy I did this race and look forward to doing it again next year. It was organized really well.

We had our wonderful Sherpa in tow, wearing his Sherpa shirt that we made for him personally. Unfortunately, due to the weather conditions, we didn't get as many pictures as last time. But, he was still a great sport and supporter. Plus, I think he secretly really enjoys his roll as Sherpa!

We didn't stick around for awards afterwards. It was going to be a while to wait for them, and I am pretty sure I didn't win anything. It started to down pour again and we wanted to get out of our wet clothes. Plus, we were excited to do grab beer and pizza at one of the best pizza places in the lakes area.... Zorbaz!

One of the things that I really want to remember for next time is where to set up transition. When I went in before the race I was overwhelmed with all the racks and couldn't remember what I needed to remember when it comes to transition areas. But, looking back, I would like to think it would be smarter to set up transition closer to the bike entrance. This way, I wouldn't have to run/walk as far with my clipless shoes on. That is not very fun or comfortable.

I would also like take better note of where I am coming in and going out for each transition, as well as where the timing mats are placed. We walked through prior to race, but it was so overwhelming and I guess I didn't take it all in!

Overall, I am not very sore today. Good thing. My neck and shoulders are a bit tight, as well as my right calf but for all given reasons. I was riding with my shoulders pretty high during the bike, and I am sure my calf was overcompensating for my knee on the run. I did do a lot of stretching, yoga moves, and foam rolling yesterday afternoon. I should have iced my knee but I just wasn't thinking clearly. I need to get a massage in this week. I meant to call and schedule one last week for tomorrow, but kept putting it off and forgetting. Now I am kicking myself in the butt for that!

Here's the official resuts from the race website:
bib number:
age: 28
gender: F
location: Fargo, ND
overall place: 189 out of 215
division place: 34 out of 41
gender place: 89 out of 111
time: 1:39:32
swim: 9:09
trn1: 3:52
bike: 46:07
trn2: 2:33
run: 37:52

The next post will consist of some revisions and more thoughts I have on training and what-not. I was going to post that in this post, but I am afraid I have gotten rather lengthly on this race post as it is. Thanks again for all of your support, encouragement and well wishes! I couldn't have done this without all of you out there!


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Unknown said...

Great job! You made huge improvements over the last tri and it sounds like you had a good time! I hope you don't decide to give it up like you metioned thinking in the beginning! :(

Oh, and as for your socks getting wet - I found the only way that it works is for me to put my socks on in T2 and just bike without them. Otherwise, they just got soaked. Not much help am I???

Unknown said...


Anne said...

Ah, so you discovered the private joy of running in the rain, though it's probably more pleasant when you aren't racing. No matter, it sounds like you ran the tri you wanted and learned a little more to help you the next time. Nice job!

Unknown said...

Great job! I hate when I just am not feeling training.

The Stretch Doc said...

yeah nice job!!
good recap too!


Stef0115 said...

Great job Stacy!!! These are some awesome improvements. There is usually something about a race we wish we could change. . . . nothing wrong with that at all!

You have some great ideas and a great attitude. You Go girl!!

Unknown said...

Awesome job! Those times are great!

SchoolKidRunna23 said...

Those are really good times. Well done!

Anonymous said...

Nice job! You really nailed the swim. Glad to hear you are thinking about next year! Hope you knee feels better.

J said...

Great job on the tri! You are obviously improving - stinky about the running part but I am sure you will get that one no problem next time! The swimming and biking for me would be the hardest and you seem to have those down pat! Congrats!

RunnerGirl said...

Amazing job on the tri - I think it may be my next fitness goal after the baby comes, so I'll be hitting you up for pointers :) Sounds like you had a great race!

Holly said...

Great job on the tri! Glad to hear you had fun and will continue to do these!

Ashley said...

Girl, your swim kicked ass!!!!! I have always noticed you put in a lot of meters in your swim workouts and it really SHOWS! I think I need to follow your lead here and start logging more time at the pool! NICE JOB!!!!!

Kelly said...

Awesome job!!!! I found the running portion really hard in my tri, probably because its at the end. It's awesome to see so much improvement in your swimming though, especially when you struggled with it last time. You did awesome!

Viv said...

Great job! I am glad you decided to race. Like Wes said you are a veteran. The swim improvement is astonishing! Your time in the pool is seriously cashing out. Do you have tri specific cycle shoes? They have drain holes so no socks required.

Wes said...

Now that's the way to wrap up a tri season! Congratulations!! You had a stellar day!!! My coach sez its not a good idea to compare races because the conditions just aren't the same. ya know, but in your case, the improvements are so big, its obvious that you are making great progress.

In answer to your questions...

You need to go sock-less :-) I lurve my Zoots and my tri bike shoes for that reason. No socks required.

In a sprint, it's hard to bring your heart rate down after the swim. On an Olympic or longer, I usually spend the first 10 minutes or so, just spinning easy for the sole purpose of bringing down the heart rate. In a sprint, you don't have time for that, so you just go go go and suck it up.

Great job again!! I'm glad you had a great race!!

Marlene said...

Congratulations on another tri! Sorry to hear about a few difficulties, but I think you handled it well!

Jess said...

Congrats on your finish! Difficulties suck, but you kept at it, and that's what counts!

Jess said...

Great job on your tri! It was the last one of the season and I think you did a great job with it and it sounds like you had fun! Way to work through all the muscle soreness and the nagging knee! You rock!

SavvyFitChica said...

WAHOO! Nice job! I think you did great and you should definitely be proud. This was only your 2nd one right? You're learning so much each time and that's what's important- like where to set up transitions, the entrance/exits, etc.

I'm not sure about the heart rate thing... the only thing I do when I notice my heart rate is going is focus on my breathing & try to slow THAT down. I'm sure you tried this though.

I think you did GREAT!!!


Carolina John said...

sounds like you had a tough time on the run. good thing you had those other sports to fall back on! Good race!

Rachel said...

Nice job! Sounds like a great race! As for the socks issue--I always go without socks unless it's a full Ironman. Try it in practice (remember to use anti-foot odor powder afterwards b/c your shoes will stink otherwise). I also apply baby powder to the shoes to help absorb moisture. Then, I put the socks on in T2 for the run (the socks also have baby powder).

As for your heart rate, it sounds like you might need to practice more transitions. You are probably used to a certain pace on the bike but your effort is always higher when you race. Practice swim to bike (swim to run also works) and bike to run on certain days. For instance: do a short swim followed by a short run and then repeat 3 or 4 times (do the same thing with the bike to run--easiest if you use a trainer for this). Hope this helps!

RunToTheFinish said...

gosh all of it sounds overwhelming to me still, I think it's amazing you pulled it all together and got your mind right for a great day!

X-Country2 said...

Great race report! I'm racing on Saturday, and all these are SO helpful to read. Sounds pretty hard core to run in the rain like that. Good job for sure.

Badgergirl said...

Nice job! Loved the race report.

N.D. said...


Aron said...

you did GREAT!!! congrats :)

Runner Leana said...

Congratulations on your race!!!

So sorry to hear about the BA before the race. Given everything that you've had going on lately it is easy to see that you might be less than excited for this. But you raced it and did so well! Wow, such an improvement on your swim!! And nicely done on the bike. Sorry to hear about the slower run though.... :( You did really well though!!

As for the HR on the bike...hard to say without a graph. I've found that my HR winds up settling down over the course of the bike, slowly dropping the entire time, even though I think I'm busing my behind out there. Not sure what suggestion to offer... Sorry!

Being Robinson said...

great job on your TRI! sorry i'm sooo far behind on blogs, i'm trying to catch up one blog at a time, but still wanted to give you mad props!!

Tony said...

Belated Congrats on your second tri. I just completed my first and no wonder why everyone loves this stuff. I had problems with my transitions as well. Congrats again.