Monday, August 29, 2011

Live.Love.Tri Race Report

Pre Race

I went to packet pickup the day before the race and was assigned my race number, 27. The lady who handed it to me said "first wave." First wave? The pre-race packet said it was a mass start?!?! I immediately began to freak out. The only redeeming quality about a reverse triathlon, in my mind, is that it allows as many of the fast people to get out of my way as possible. Now I find out I'm in the first wave, which means said fast people will be chasing me down and passing me along the way. Why is this a problem? Because it means the pool is going to be even more clogged up than I thought. Great. Just Great.

My friend texted me when she got her number. She was in the first wave too. That was good, we could start together and would have some company out on the course.

Got all my stuff organized and packed up the car. Put a bottle of accelerade in the freezer. Tried to get a good night's rest.

Side note: I've had several pairs of tri shorts over the years, but I like to swim in them and chlorine isn't kind to them. Before the race, I was down to one pair, my least favorite and most uncomfortable. The night before the race, I realized that I should have bought another pair. Oh well.

Race Morning

The race was sold out with over 300 participants and the only available parking was going to be on the street. I didnt' want to end up parking far away, so I planned to arrive right when transition opened, at 5:45. Got a nice parking spot.

The pre-race packet said it was going to be first come first serve with regard to transition spots, but when I arrived, I found that transition spots were assigned based on number. My location was near the run-in, but near the middle of the rack.

When my friend arrived, I showed her how to rack her bike, and we went to get body marked and pick up our chips. Then we attended the pre-race meeting and got lined up for our wave 1 start.


We had run this course 4 times before the race, so were very familiar with dreaded hills and the off-road section. My plan was to go easy up the hills, and power down them when I had gravity on my side, saving my legs for the cycle portion. I felt like I did a good job running this according to my plan.

Run time: 31:13


My stuff was really close to the run-in entrance. So close that I over-ran to a different rack and then had to back track. Darn it! Changed my shoes, got my helmet and sun glassed put on. Grabbed my bottle of accelerade to take a drink only to find that it was still frozen solid. Drat! Grabbed the bike and headed out of transition.
T1 time: 1:28


I had driven the course, but never cycled it before. Started out okay, managed to pass a few people in the first half mile or so. Then I passed a few more and was feeling pretty good about how my legs were feeling. Then we got to the first real hill. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't fun. Started hearing "on your left" as stronger cyclists from later waves started catching up. This would be a theme for the rest of the bike course. At the turn-point, we got to go downhill for awhile. Wheeeeeee. Then another uphill. Ugggh. Finished with a short downhill then uphill into transition. Overall, I did okay, but I'd say this was more difficult than I expected. Definitely would have helped to bike the course at least once before the race. Lesson learned.

Bike time: 44:00


Racked my bike, took off my helmet, shoes, socks, sunglasses. Grabbed my accelerade bottle once again, this time it was thawed. Yay! Went over to the pool. I feel like I was moving really slowly at this point, should/could have been moving faster here.

T2 time: 1:15


As I've mentioned before, it's a serpentine swim. You start on one end, go out and back in each lane, then under the rope to the next lane. On and on until you get to the ladder at the end on the other side of the pool. The problem for me with a reverse tri is that many of those ladies who passed me on the bike, aren't strong swimmers, and now they are in front of me in the pool. Anyway....I got into the pool and didn't make it one length at my own speed before being slowed down. Sigh. It isn't easy to pass in the pool when you have folks moving both directions in each lane. The best opportunity to pass is at the wall when you go under the rope. My strategy was to push off the wall, under the rope, and past one or two ladies into the next lane. So that's what I did. My swim time ended up being about what I expected for this situation, but slower than it would have been if I didn't have to deal with traffic in the pool.

swim time: 09:51

total time: 01:27:48, placed 10 of 23 F45:49, 104 of 265 individual age-groupers (that's with athenas, fat tire, and teams pulled out)

Post Race

They gave us a necklace at the finish and I gave Husband a big sweaty, wet hug. Went over to transition and put a shirt & shoes on, then waited for my friend and cheered her on in the pool. I was so proud of her! Here we are after the race, this is what success looks like!

After Thoughts

This was a lot of fun, I'm glad I did it and will likely do it again next year. I had predicted a 1:30:00 finish time; I finished a few minutes faster mostly because I had predicted longer transitions. I'm happy with that. It was good prep for the Patriot (two weeks out). I learned not to put a full bottle of accelerade in the freezer, next time I will freeze half, and fill the rest in the morning. I need to keep cycling hills, the longer and steeper the better. I also need a new pair of tri shorts (solved that yesterday afternoon).

[Edited to add more after thoughts:

I have some more info on my placement in this event. I was 104 of 265 individual AGs overall as I mentioned above. My swim placement was 84th. My bike placement (my perceived weakness) was 112th. Guess where my run placement was?? 128th!! I would have thought it would be in between cycling and swimming. Apparently not. What do I take from this? I think I've improved much more on the bike than I realized. ]


  1. nice work :-) I think that smile just says it all!!

  2. congrats!!! where's the necklace? are you wearing it in the photo? i wanna see it.

    i also want a pool swim for a tri. we have zero of those here for some reason. must be b/c we have the ocean. lol!

    great job!

  3. I don't know how I would feel about the reverse tri and the pool/serpentine swim, but you handled it all very well! Sounds like a strong race overall. Congrats!!!

  4. Great job! I'm sure if I ever felt like I could swim well enough to do a tri I would be one of those slow peeps clogging up the pool. :)

  5. Congrats on a great race!! I love lessons learned. :)

  6. Congrats on the race and beating your predicted time

    I have never done a reverse tri, sounds fun

  7. Congrats! Never heard of a reverse tri but you handled all the challenges well!

  8. Great job! Sounds like it was a fun race.

  9. I would love to do a reverse tri, but that swim sounds nuts. So many people!

    And yes, next time freeze half the bottle and fill it up on race morning the rest of the way. :)

  10. I had never heard of a reverse tri, but this kind of sounds like it would be fun! And it definitely sounds like you had a good time!


  11. You did so well! Congratulations! I never thought about traffic in the pool until now. I can think how frustrating that can be.

  12. Great job on your transitions and speedy bike improvements! I'm impressed.

  13. Congrats!

    A reverse triathlon? I guess you learn something new every day. I had never heard of such a thing.

    I don't think I could handle a pool swim and having to pass people - it would drive me nuts.