Monday, April 7, 2008

2008 Beaver Freezer Sprint Tri

This past Saturday I ventured down to Corvallis for the first triathlon of the season, Beaver Freezer. Along with a couple dozen other Headhunters. It was also the very first tri for my friend, Kristin. I think the best part of the day was watching her finish! You can go here for her blog and details of the day. Jeff also has a fun blog. Here is my race report...

Race: 2008 Beaver Freezer Sprint Tri
Date: Saturday, April 5th
Location: Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
Distance: 500 yd swim, 12 mile bike, 5k run
Time: 01:29:18 (and a 5k PR!!!!)

Photos here.


On Friday afternoon I met up at my club, Lacamas Swim & Sport, with all of the other Headhunters silly enough to do a triathlon called Beaver Freezer. As the wind howled and the rain clouds loomed overhead, we loaded up the van and made our way to Corvallis where we were staying for the night. Conversations ranged from socks/no socks in transition to swinger parties to who was going to get a mohawk at the hotel.

Bike trailer on the HH van:

Upon arrival we drove the bike course (paying special attention to pot-holes and gravelly corners...still present from sanding the roads due to snow no doubt). Next was packet pick-up, dinner of pizza and beer, and a mean game of volleyball in the hotel pool. Instead of going to bed since it was already approaching 10pm, we piled into Jon's room for head shaving and huddling on the bed intensely watching "Rock of Love". Finally after getting our transition bags ready and numbering our bike, we all drifted off to sleep. My sleep was restless as I listened to the rain coming down outside, geese fighting over territory, and fretting about getting my first flat tire. That's correct, 1000 miles on the bike and I have yet to get a flat.

The alarms went off across the hotel at 5:30am. We wiped the crusties from our tired eyes, marched down to breakfast, loaded up the van, and drove in silence to the race site at the Oregon State University campus. For some reason, the classic circus tune was going through my head. "Doo doo doodoodoodo doo doo doo doo." Odd, but fitting. And it drove everyone nuts as I walked around muttering it under my breath.

We arrived on campus, set up transition areas, covered everything with towels/plastic bags, and wandered into the pool area. I was separated by everyone from this point and sort of lost, so I just followed the "Pool: -->>" signs. I walked through a door, realized I was in a locker room, looked up to see a bunch of men staring at me, and suddenly felt the blood rushing to my face. At the same moment I heard, "um, maam, this is the men's locker room." Yes, I turned around and left. No, I didn't get any pictures.

Warm Up:
The swim was in an indoor lap pool with 8 lanes; there was a diving pool available for warm-up. The heats were seeded by estimated swim time, with the slower swimmers going first. Most of the Headhunters are decent swimmers, so a lot of us were in the later heats. We sat on the pool deck and cheered other Headhunters on. As it got closer to my wave, I had the most irrational fear that I had forgotten how to swim. So I hopped in the warm-up pool for a few laps to calm my nerves.

00:09:14 (pace = 1:51/100 yard)
There were 4 of us in our lane. Three of us were Headhunters; the other one admitted to sandbagging her time and would surely be faster than us. Thankfully she was in Position 1. I was position 3. We were sent off in 5 second intervals. I was given strict instructions not to let Kevin (Position 4) pass me until after 100y because he has a tendancy to go out too fast. He did good pacing himself though and didn't even want to pass in those first two laps. After about 250yd we passed Natalie (Position 2), then Kevin passed me, then the stranger girl passed all of us. However, the three of us did a pretty good job of sticking together and drafting off of each other. The entire time my breathing felt totally under control, my arms weren't burning, and I never felt like I was going too fast. Before I knew it, they signaled that we were on our last length and we were climbing out of the pool headed into T1.

What would I do differently on the swim?:
Maybe go faster on the second half of the swim. However, I was enjoying drafting off of Kevin for those last couple hundred yards. If I had attempted to pass him I probably wouldn't have gone much faster, but I would have expended way more energy.

00:01:42 -- third fastest in my age group!
I had laid out arm warmers and a long sleeve top in transition just in case I came out of the pool shivering. Outside air temps were pretty dang cold, but I decided to just throw on bike shoes (no socks) and helmet. The ride was only 12 miles, so figured I could just tough it out. As a result, I had a fast T1. The only thing I might do differntly is get new shoes that don't have ratchets. My shoes are smelly anyway and it's to the point where I cringe when I have to put them on my feet.

00:44:58 (pace = 16.01 mph)
Since we had driven the course the previous night, I knew what to expect. It doesn't look like much climbing, but there are slow and gradual hills with some false flats. And lots of turns as you make your way out of town. Denise had told us, "if you find yourself going like 12mph here, don't freak out." Going slow wasn't freaking me out, however, I have been stressing about the possibility of my first flat tire. So for the first few miles I was convinced that I was going slow due to a flat. I kept looking down and behind me to check, but I couldn't really see anything. I finally asked Jenn (yet another Headhunter) who passed me, as well as some volunteers, if my rear tire was low. Nope. I was just going slow...

After the final turnaround it was mostly flat and downhill. I picked up a lot of speed here and managed to pass a handful of people. That was a blast, since I'm usually the one getting passed. As we got closer to OSU, I had so slow down quite a bit for the turns again, and also due to more congested traffic.

What would I do differntly on the bike?:
Go harder. Since it was a short distance I should have stayed outside of my comfort zone for longer. I also need to work on the 90-degree turns. On a dare I made "woosh woosh" sounds to simulate race wheels every time I passed/got passed. At least I was having a good time!

00:01:11 -- fourth fastest in my AG, even with all the nonsense.
Someone had racked their bike poorly and it had basically fallen over onto my stuff. Their gear was also strewn over about three spaces. I had no place to rack my bike and I couldn't even get to my running shoes. I always take care to keep my transition area neat and out of other people's way, so I don't have a lot of patience when others don't do the same. Really, you can have a fast transition and still not make a big mess out of other people's spaces. I threw the bike out of my way and went on with my business.
I really wish I could do a super cool flying dismount, but I'm scared to even practice it, let alone do it in a race situation. Maybe someday...

00:32:13 (pace = 10:23 min/mi) -- 5k PR!!!
I had heard about this one "hill" on the course that gives people issues, so I was concerned about being able to run the entire course. I was also curious to see how my injured (but getting better) knee would perform. I didn't care how fast my run was, I just didn't want to have to walk.

Coming out of T2 my legs had the usual rubbery feeling, but I felt much better than I have in the past. The hill appeared about 3/4 through the loop and ended up being basically a hump in the road. I am lucky enough to live/train in an area with A LOT of hills, so pretty much anywhere else seems flat in comparison.

My first lap was WAY too fast. I have yet to run less than a 10 minute mile on a TRACK, let alone a rolling course after swimming and biking. My first mile on this course was right around 9:45. I sort of scratched my head and tried to figure out if I had read my watch incorrectly. I felt solid, so just kept pushing.

Lap 2 was a little harder and I had to work to control my breathing, especially after the "hill". I focused on getting deep breaths and keeping my body loose. I also concentrated on my gait and keeping my feet lined up properly. This seemed to help, since I finished lap 2 with a 10:30ish pace and my knee still felt strong.

Lap 3 was a little tougher since I was still running faster than I normally do, but I was happy to almost be finished. And my knee still didn't hurt!!! I came into the finish chute with a sprint. A REAL sprint this time. Felt great.

I glanced down at my watch and realized that I had beat my goal time by over 5 minutes. No one could have wiped that grin off my face if they tried.

Warm Down:
I walked over to the drink coolers and crossed my fingers that the unmarked container was water and not Heed. It came out clear so I was hopefull. I took a big chug and OH MY GOD, BLEH, GAG, YUCK, YUCK, YUCK. It was warm, gross Heed and tasted like someone had spit their mucousy grossness into my mouth. Thankfully a Headhunter (Terry) had a bottle of water with her and happily gave me the rest.

Kristin was still out there and I really wanted to watch her finish. But I was cold and my sweatshirt/camera was a few blocks away in transition. I ran over there, grabbed what I needed, and ran back. On the way back I saw her coming around the corner and decided to run her in to the finish. When she saw me she told me that she still had another loop left. I shrugged and started trotting next to her for that last mile. I veered off before the finish line so that I could watch her cross.

Event Comments:
For a small event, the OSU Triathlon Club does a fantastic job putting it on. It was well organized (with the exception of the pool signs leading me into the wrong locker room). There were TONS of volunteers at each turn on the bike course. Lots of cheering students along the run course. And plenty of raffle prizes and winners awards. This is surely going to be my favorite way to kick off tri season in future years!!