Monday, August 27, 2012

Live.Love.Tri Race Report


This is my second year doing this all-women triathlon.  It's a reverse sprint with a serpentine pool swim at the end.  The run is hilly and partly off road.  The bike is also hilly.  It's a local race, taking place about 10 miles from my house.  A few posts back, I wrote "I think the run will be slower and the swim and be roughly the same.  If I'm going to see improvement anywhere, it would be on the bike..."

Packet Pickup

Packet pickup was the day before at REI.  Last year I was in the first wave, that time they seemed to assign waves by sign-up date. I was curious what wave I'd end up in this time, thinking that they may have re-thought that strategy.

The swag bag included a very cute purple technical t shirt with the logo.  It's a women's cut and it fits great. I rarely wear race t-shirts ever again, I loved the technical tshirt from last year and it looks like this is the same brand, so I'll definitely be wearing it.Woot!  They also had some other merchandise for sale, I ended up buying a long sleeve cotton hooded tshirt.  Looked like it would be great to lounge around in.

I was assigned #640, wave 6 of 8.  Uggh.  I wished that I would have been in an earlier wave.  However, they were starting by age group and I'm no spring chicken, so wave 6 it was.

I went home, gathered my stuff and got ready for the next morning.  Then I loaded my bike up in the car and tried to get a good night's rest.

Race Morning

I arrived at the race site at 5:45 and racked my bike in the dark. They had assigned racks by number as well. Mine was not on an aisle, which was a little disappointing.
I found my friends and we chatted for a bit.  Got body marked, chipped, and waited for our respective waves for the start.

It was chilly when the first wave went off, but got warmer as the sun came up.  They wouldn't let us back into transition, or I would have dropped off my arm warmers.  I had been wearing them when it was cooler, but was fairly certain I wouldn't need them with the wave 6 start.

Run (2012 - 32:39, 2011 - 31:13)

I am very familiar with the run course and it is not one of my favorites.  It's hilly and partly off road and it basically sucks. Last year I did more hill training for it.  My knee doesn't seem very happy with hills these days, so I haven't trained hills very much.  As a result, I was expecting a slower run time and that is what happened.

It didn't take long to overheat from the arm warmers, so took them off and just carried them.

 My average pace was ~10:32 min/mi, pretty much what I expected under the circumstances.  Age group placing, 19 of 34 on the run.

T1 (2012 -1:08, 2011 - 1:28)

Last year I felt like I took too long in transition.  This year I tried to speed things up and managed to make up some time here.  For example, I don't run with sunglasses, but I wear them when I cycle.  I decided to put them up on my hat while I was running and then push them down on my face coming into T1 to save some time.

Bike (2012 - 42:15, 2011 - 44:00)

This is where I expected to see improvement, and I did.  I passed a lot of women on the bike, but most weren't in my age group.  I felt strong.  I don't think I've realized my full potential on the bike yet, I hope to see even more improvement next year.

Can you spot me in this photo?  Hahahah.  My safety cone orange shirt makes me visible from far away. That's actually the point, so cars can see me.

One thing that I'd like to mention:  the police out on the road were awesome.  I tried to thank each and every one of them.  They had traffic stopped for us at intersections, round-a-bouts, etc and I felt very safe out on the road.

My calculations had this as a 10.5 mile (hilly) course, so my pace was something like 14.8 mph.  Age group placing, 14 of 34 on the bike.

T2  (2012 - 1:40, 2011 - 1:15)

Made an error in T2 that cost me some time.  It was a reverse tri with a pool swim last.  I usually wear a tri top for something like this, but decided to go with a technical t over a bra top this year. In T2, I needed to rack my bike, remove helmet and sunglasses.  Remove shoes and socks.  Remove tshirt. Grab cap and goggles.  Only I forgot to take off the shirt!  I realized this as I was entering the pool building.  For a moment, I considered swimming in the shirt, but I had the number pinned on using pins only at the top.  I was sure that the number would flip up and cause me all kinds of problems, so I had to take off the shirt, run back to my bike, toss the shirt, turn around, and head back to the pool.  I think that debacle cost me something like 30-40 seconds based on proximity of my bike to the pool and the speed at which I thought was moving. Oh well.

Swim (2012 - 10:05, 2011 - 9:51)

This is where being in the 6th wave was most problematic.  It's a serpentine swim, meaning up and back in each lane, under the rope to the next lane, and so on making your way from one end of the pool to the other.

I'm a stronger swimmer than runner or cyclist and found that there was nowhere to swim!  I passed ladies every time I was at the wall.  It seemed too dangerous to pass in the middle of the lane with people going both directions and risk of head on collision. It was incredibly frustrating.  Every time I got past someone, there was someone else in my way.  Eventually made it to the other side and climbed out. Collected a hug from my husband and my finishers necklace and waited for my friend to finish.

Age group placing, 10 of 34 for the swim.

Post Race Thoughts

My overall time was 01:27:47, a whopping one second faster than last year. Hahahaha! It would have been at least 30 seconds faster, if not for my T2 error. Overall I'm pleased with my performance, given my lack-luster training for it.  Overall age group placing:  14 of 34.

This race is a ton of fun and one that I hope to do again next year.  I did email the race directors to thank them.  My only constructive criticism is that if there is *anything* they can think of to reduce congestion in the pool, it would be a welcome change.


  1. You did great! You totally would've been faster if you didn't get hung up in transition and in the pool. Love the finisher's necklace. Congrats!

  2. Very cool! I think you pulled out a good race there. well done.

  3. Congratulations! Great race indeed! Doing a tri is no joke and you did great! Rest well!

  4. Congrats on the tri finish! Looks like fun! That's a pretty finisher's necklace!

  5. Congrats! Love the 1 second PR! :) I once did a reverse triathlon and had a really tough time. I prefer to get the swim out of my way, hang in there during the bike portion and then finish the race with what I love the most! :)

  6. Nice job. It's too bad to have the part you're best at so congested. Nice improvements.

  7. However an improvement! Congrats.
    And a Tri is always a Tri: you are a good swimmer-biker and runner.
    Beautiful necklace.

  8. Improvements are improvements, regardless what they are

    Congrats on another tri

    I like the finisher necklace

    I want to try a reverse tri

  9. Aggg, how frustrating about the arm warmers and shirt! You need your husband to be your sherpa... Just throw the unwanted items at him as you race by! :)

    Good job on the race, and I'm happy that you're happy about it. That's the best!