Monday, September 12, 2011

Patriot Sprint Race Report

Packet Pickup

I arrived at early packet pickup within about 15 minutes of when they opened.  This would be uneventful, except that there were no shirts.  Apparently they arrived late the day before and were still on a UPS truck.  The race director seemed stressed about this, and I’m sure it won’t be convenient for anyone who travelled in for the race, but shirts will be able to be picked up starting tomorrow.  I personally don't think it's a big deal.

It’s a seeded swim start based on estimated swim time.  I was assigned 186.  There were 385 participants.  Came home and put my number on my bike, gathered my stuff, and prepared for the next day.


I wasn’t sure whether I was going to be able to do this or not, my back had been going in and out of spasm all week.  I gingerly got out of bed when my alarm went off, stretched a bit, and my back seemed okay.  So I decided that I was going to go for it!

I arrived about a half hour after Transition opened.  They were racking by Age Group, my group (F45-49) was way in the back near Bike In, but not very close to Swim In.  I knew this meant a longer than anticipated T1. 

As I mentioned in my summary, I thought it was very cool that they had a Heros division and that the proceeds were going to local fire and police depts.

Swim 400 yd pool  - 9:13, 74 of 122 women age groupers (not including special divisions and teams)

We lined up by number.  They started swimmers every 10 seconds.  For some reason, I was feeling very nervous and anxious as my start time approached.  My heart rate was up and my breathing was shallow.  This affected me tremendously in the water.  My form fell apart and I had a horrible swim.  It seemed like I was in survival mode.  This was unexpected; my swim is generally my strength and there was no reason to be nervous.   I guess it’s just another reminder that a large part of this sport is the mental aspect.   Even though it was a struggle, I was only 45 sec off my estimated time (and about 25 sec slower than 2008).  That’s really not a big deal for the overall race but certainly not a great way to get started.

Swimming (blue cap)
T1 3:16

Knowing that I had a longer trek to my transition area, I tried to hustle from the pool to my bike.  Put on a shirt, socks, cycling shoes, helmet, and glasses.  Took a swig from my bottle, grabbed my bike, and ran it over to bike out.

Running my bike out of T1
Bike 15.7 hilly miles - 01:03:38, 77 of 122 women

I was out of breath and still mentally defeated from the swim for the first mile.  After that, I got my head back in the game. I made it a point to shout a loud "thank you" the volunteers that were on the course, many of which who were police, fire, and military personnel.  I wasn't passed by a woman until mile 6.  That woman, however, ended up being my race twin.  She had the same color bike as me, same color shirt, was the same age, and similar shorts.  That made me smile.  Lots of guys passed me, as well as a few other women.  I managed to pass a grand total of 5 people (Hey, it’s better than nothing!).  

At the turn point, which was also at the top of the big climb, I was behind my predicted pace, but determined to dig in and give it my all.  I has a strong second half and ended up finishing ahead of my predicted time and also about six and a half minutes faster than my bike split from 2008.  I realized it is all relative, but when I first started triathlon, I was always way back of the pack with my cycling and now I’m working my way up closer to the middle.  I’ve come a long way, and I’m very pleased with my improvement in this aspect of the sport.

Off on the bike!
T2 02:03

I took a 3 yr break from triathlon, and during that time I must have forgotten how to really hustle in T2.  For one thing, no Yanx, so I had to tighten and tie my running shoes.  It seemed to take forever.  Also I put my hat on in T1, should have grabbed it and put it on while running.  Between T1 and T2 I was almost a minute slower than 2008.  Oh well.

T2 - putting on my hat *sigh*
Run 3.1 hilly miles - 33:44, 79 of 122 women

I was exhausted at this point and this run is killer hilly.  I really didn’t feel like running, but I had no good reason not to, so off I went. It felt like I was moving at a snail’s pace throughout the entire course. My pace was actually fairly close to my half-marathon pace and a bit faster than I expected.  I ended up about 4 and a half minutes faster than my 2008 time and I’m happy with the result.

Off and running!
Overall 01:51:54, 79 of 122 women, 14 of 22 F45-49

What can I say? Despite a rocky swim and less than speedy transitions, I ended up about 10 minutes faster than my time from 2008 and a few minutes faster than what I predicted.  There are some things I still need to work on, but overall I’m happy.  I’m particularly pleased with my cycling improvement.

Running through to the finish
Post-Race Thoughts

I’m glad this was the 2nd of the 2 sprints that I planned this year.  It was a challenging race, much more so than the one two weeks ago, and not as much fun.  I’m guessing part of the ‘less fun’ nature had to do with the fact that this was one of the first races in a long time where I didn’t know any of the other participants.  Everything is more fun with friends.  Anyway, I’m putting a bow on my tri season.  I am ready to move on to some fun rides with no race/time pressure and have my eyes set on a few charity events in October.


  1. Congrats on the race! It is great to be done with a race and come back with positives and be able to know you can improve on the negatives.

  2. Looks like you had a great time, even with some negatives!

  3. great job! i am pretty slow in my transitions but i think it's something that can easily be worked on. practice helps, or so i've heard. lol!

  4. Congrats on your race!!! Looks like you done great even though your being a little hard on yourself! Very proud of you.....

  5. Whooo! Great job! I need a bright yellow shirt like yours so it's always easy for Eric to spot me when I'm racing :)

  6. congrats!! do you think maybe it was nerves getting you worked up before the swim? i know that would definitely get me flustered / short on breath, even if it was a pool swim (vs open water - where i'd probably hyperventilate!).

    transitions... i like to think i'm a quick changer but i think i would add on at least 10 minutes in transition :)

  7. well done! Sounds like a challenging but fun day - just what you needed after all your ups and downs

  8. congrats on a difficult race, i agree, races are more fun when you know people there with you.

  9. Wow, nice job Lisa! That sounds like a tough course, and you still put up some decent speed. Well done.

  10. I think a 10 minute improvement over your 2008 race makes a great bow for your tri season!

    Great job. Enjoy the low pressure rides and other events coming up!

  11. I like races with friends too but usually I race alone. I'd rather race alone than never race though. Good job on the tri. Enjoy the rest of the fall.

  12. Great job! I'm more of a solo runner. I do run occasionally with a group from Fleet Feet, but prefer my solitude, races included.

  13. Congrats Lisa! I can see how a tough swim could really throw you off, but you were able to move on and put in a strong ride! You really have come a long way!

  14. Yeah! A 10-minute course PR??? Awesome.

    I especially loved this statement: "I really didn’t feel like running, but I had no good reason not to, so off I went." That cracked me up.

  15. nothing like being challenged AND having a huge PR. Well done!!

  16. Congrats on the race and the 10 minute inprovement, that is freaking huge amount of time