Monday, August 4, 2008

Midsummer Sprint at Blue Lake

Mid-Summer Sprint Triathlon
Distances: 800 meter (0.5 mile) swim, 12.5 mile bike, 3.1 mile run

This race wasn't really on the schedule for the year, but a sprint distance sounded fun and some other Headhunters were doing it. I'm a lemming, what can I say. Also, my friend Bill was tri-ing for the first time and I thought it would be cool to come out for some support. For the first time that I had a choice, I decided NOT to race in the Athena category (women >150 pounds) and instead race in my real actual age group -- F 25-29. I knew I didn't have a chance in the universe to contend with skinny 20-something year olds, but I wanted to give it a shot!

Bill and I after the finish (photo credit - Bill's wife, Melissa):

The day/night prior to the race I was in McMinnville for my friend Angie's bachelorette party. Now, at no time during the party was I ever "drunk". However, glasses and glasses of wine prior to a race does not suit me. Especially since I don't really drink anymore. I woke up with a nice little hangover and a really bad attitude. I probably would have bailed on the race, except that I had Nadine's race packet and she was counting on me to show up with it.

After arriving about 45 minutes later than planned, I pulled into Blue Lake park and proceeded through the normal pre-race rituals: set up transition, chat with nervous triathletes, rearrange transition, pee, rearrange transition, stare at the water, pee, put on wetsuit, lube up, get in the water and pee, line up to start.

I was in the 2nd wave and placed myself in the front, inside. In bigger races I would get mowed over here, but I figured best to battle it out with some dudes rather than fight my way through some slower crowds of swimmers. This turned out to be a wise choice. I had mostly clear water until we started catching up to the first wave.

I focused on taking nice long strokes, and making sure to get a hard pull with good follow-through each time. This worked nicely until I got tangled up with a really big dude. He wasn't fat. More like he left me wondering if he ever played for the 49ers. We tangoed and duked it out for a little while, and then finally parted ways. I then swam until my hands touched sand, then popped up and ran through the Red Bull arches on into transition.

My fastest T1 time here at Blue Lake. For the first time ever I left my shoes clipped into my bike and put my feet in while riding. It was flawless (thank goodness).

I got up to speed and put my feet in pretty quickly. Then I focused on keeping my cadence up and not dropping speed. This was tough when the headwinds hit, but I kept telling myself I couldn't go below 18mph. A dropped below a few times, but made up for it when the wind was blocked by homes/trees.

Not a single girl passed me on the course, and only a handful of guys sped by. It was fun to be passing people. It made me feel fast, although after looking at overall results I maybe wasn't as fast as it seemed. It was fun though!

Next season I need to do more sustained speed work in training. And ride more. I did a lot of riding earlier in the season, but I have only been on my bike twice since the half ironman. I just needed a break from the saddle, ya know? I was 7 seconds slower than the last time I rode this course, although I do think it was windier this time.

I took my feet out of the bike shoes before dismounting and then ran quickly through transition. My time seems slower than it actually was, but I did stop to drink a fair amount of water. I was so dehydrated from the previous night!

I dropped down the most spots during the run, but it's the leg I'm the most proud of.
1) This was a 5k PR for me.
2) For the first time ever I kept a sustained pace below 10:00 min/mi.
3) I actually passed someone and was only passed by 2 women (1 was my coach and another was someone in my AG who got me 0.1mi from the finish line).

Me coming down the finish line (photo credit - Julie Seale):

I am so proud of this run, but have so much room for improvement. I have my work cut out for me this winter!
Headhunters, post-race:

I had a poor attitude coming into this event, but I'm glad I was able to turn that around and push myself to do well. In turn, I ended up enjoying myself. And...I ended up with another podium finish!!!! Final results:
Female 25-29 age group -- 3/12
Overall females -- 12/50
Overall -- 105/205

Swim -- 15:34, pace = 1:57/100m (2/12, 76/205)
T1 -- 02:28
Bike -- 38:01, pace = 19.73 mph (2/12, 93/205)
T2 -- 01:56
Run -- 30:24, pace = 9:49/mile (10/12, 170/205)
Overall -- 1:28:23

Huge congrats to:
Julie, who got 1st place female overall.
Denise, who got 1st place masters female overall.
Bill, who finished his first triathlon, and kicked ass doing it.
Kevin, who did well in all 3 legs and came in with a great time...and ran the whole way despite knee injuries.
Nadine, who made huge improvements on the swim and did great overall.
Denise, me, and Julie, with our awards:

Here is Julie's glass plaque. Do you notice anything UNUSUAL about it??? She's a "traithlete"...