Oh look, a triathlon! I actually did a whole race. My race schedule is very light this year (intentionally) because I wanted to make sure I would actually have time to train for my Ironman instead of racing every weekend. (Also, I know things come up that I didn’t initially plan to do, like Raleigh, so that plan left some wiggle room). The only tris I brought to my coach to do this year was Chattanooga and Lake Logan, so she suggested this one as well. I figured if she thought it was a good idea, I should do it.
I had not done this race before (last year I was in France during this time), but it has changed from a one-transition event to a point-to-point race in the last two years which is always a logistical pain. I had initially planned to just leave really early Saturday morning to make it all happen but one of my coaching teammates said they might have room in their hotel and I ended up sharing a room with 4 other people (affordable ftw). Really glad I did since T1 was a solid 25 minutes from T2 so dropping my bike off Friday night was a very good idea.
That meant I didn’t have to get up crazy early on Saturday morning (with my 4 roommates). The hotel was very accommodating for breakfast – a nice change from the last few I’ve stayed at – and we were out the door by 5:45 to T2 to drop run gear. Then we caught a bus out to T1. It didn’t seem like there was any trouble related to the bus timing, though I heard some comments that the drivers weren’t….very safe. It’s always hit or miss with these buses.
Be prepared to sacrifice a pair of flip flops to this race because there’s a bit of a walk through the woods to get from T1 to the swim start. It’s not a long walk but it wasn’t paved and I was glad to have an extra pair that I didn’t have to worry about retrieving. The swim start is kind of cool though – you have to climb down some stone steps into the lake.
SWIM (1500 m):
This is a pretty small race so there were only 3 waves: open, everybody, and then novice. This is great for me because I don’t have to worry about the wall of dudues. Unfortunately, the first 600 m of the swim is right into the sun which means…wall of sun? This made for some really amusing garmin files later. I don’t normally have a lot of trouble swimming straight but it was absolutely impossible to see the buoys (also they were green and matched the tree line). I swam for a while but finally gave up and stopped so I could figure out where I was. I’m very glad I did because there were a bunch of people who totally missed the first turn buoy and had to go back (and a few cheaters. but they’ll get theirs). Once I got out of the sun it was pretty much smooth sailing from there. My time seemed very slow (slowest ever for olympic distance) but my (fancy new) Garmin came out with over 1800. I definitely swam a little extra but not that much. The course was definitely long, but it was long for everybody and I was the first woman out.
Time: 27:44 (1/4 AG, 1/46 Overall)
Pretty quick transition. I had to take off my swimskin and stuff everything in the bag so that always takes a little extra time.
I swear upon everything that I know that this bike was entirely uphill.
OK that’s an exaggeration. It felt like it was all uphill. It was definitely net elevation gain. For some reason, I let this course mentally defeat me. I know I’m strong on the bike. I’ve been training hard and 24 miles should not be a big deal. But for some reason I let the uphill get to me. I kept sitting up out of aero when I didn’t need to and I didn’t take in all the nutrition I was supposed to (hint: this is bad later) and it was just ugly. I averaged 16.8 mph which is just not that great for me considering I’ve done far more difficult courses faster than that. I’m not usually such a headcase so I need to get it together.
I also did get railroaded. Luckily I was one of the last ones and was only stuck at the train for a little over a minute but there were people who had passed me miles before and had been there for 5-6 minutes waiting for the train to pass. It really sucks for them because it was <.5 mile from transition and completely cleared the swim and bike from those guys’ races. Setup told us that they had a permit to prevent this but railroads pretty much have the attitude of “we’re going to do what we want and to hell with everyone else” so it’s no surprise that we had the problem anyways. Hopefully next year they’ll put timing mats at the train tracks or something.
Time: 1:29:30 (3/4 AG, 28/46 Overall)
Remember how I said I didn’t take in enough Inifinit during the bike? I also neglected to grab a gel coming out of T2 because I was too busy gabbing with the woman next to me in transition (she’s a fellow swimmer/bad runner). Ya done messed up, Steph. I took Heed at all the run aid stations but it was way too late to fix the damage. If coach tells you to take in 250-300 kcal per hour on the bike…you should do that. I had about a half a bottle of Infinit…so like 150 kcal or so.
I started out feeling pretty good (hungry) but I knew the nutrition was going to bite me. And mile 4 was when it hit me. I thought I might die. It was hot but I feel like I barely noticed it because all I really wanted to do was lie down and take a nap. So, now I know you can hit the wall in and Olympic and it’s not any fun.
Other than that, the run course is actually kind of nice. It’s on a shaded rail-trail and is relatively flat. From what I hear, when the race was all out at the lake, the run was miserable and awful so I can’t complain about it because it was really not bad at all.
Time: 1:09:37 (placing unknown – some people had a timing issue at T2. But bad.)
Overall Time: 3:10:20 (3/4 AG, 27/46 Overall)
Well, this was my worst Olympic time ever. Except for Over the Mountain last year and it was and Olympic+ (extra long bike) so it doesn’t count. I’m pretty sure that is the slowest 10K I have ever run and it was pretty much just because I didn’t follow the coach’s instructions.
I was happy to get on the AG podium and I’m trying not to let this one bad race freak me out because I know it is not the goal for the year. But it was a little frustrating. I definitely don’t want to let one bad race keep me from doing this one again because it is a good one!
After the race, team Malone met up for pizza and beer which was great. I haven’t had a ton of chances to meet some of the other athletes on the team so it was a nice opportunity before heading home 🙂