Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Race #6 of the Season: 5430 Sprint Triathlon

A little late with this one, but I needed to upload photos.

As Brandon mentioned in his recap, we both had a few ideas as to what we could do in this race. We both figured I could PR; which I ended up doing ... I just had no idea it would be by so little. I really thought I could do better than what I did that day and the fact that I didn't; well, that was highly disappointing.

Last year, I did this race in 1:58:39 ... which may seem long for a sprint tri, but this race has a 17 mile bike as opposed to the typical 11 or 12 mile bike leg that we see in most sprints around here (though it does have the relatively standard half-mile swim and 5K run). That, and, well, you know I'm slow.

This year, we got smart and packed up Fiona the Rav the night before with our bikes and packed our transition bags the night before, as well. As we get further into this sport and our gear decreases bit by bit so we have less to pack, I think I spaz more, worrying I'll forget something just because I have less stuff. Which seems so wrong, in some ways, but I'm glad I've gotten my stuff down to almost the bare essentials for racing.

Morning of, we woke up with plenty of time to eat, pack up the rest of our crap, make a snack (in my case) and get up to Boulder before transition opened. There were still a ton of people there before us and we had to wait in a line waiting for trans to open, but I'd always rather get there early than five minutes before trans closes (like some chick at one of our races did a few years ago).

We got into transition and split up, going to our separate racks to set things up.

Brandon working on getting his area set up.

Team Baby Dino dinosaurs hanging out in Brandon's trans bag.

Set up and ready to go.

Gustave, triathlon newbie, hanging out on my aerobars.

All set up, we took care of pre-race business, sunscreened up and got on the bikes to take them for a quick spin to not only work out the legs a bit, but to make sure everything was still in good shape (my cyclometer has a tendency to spaz out in transport sometimes; sometimes to the point that I'll have no cadence/speed data during a race ride). After the ride, we rolled back into transition to get ready to go. I ate the snack I brought (bread and peanut butter), we both got on our wetsuits and we left transition to go on down to the beach.

Brandon's wave started a fair bit before mine, so we decided I'd only wade in the water partway (so as not to get cold) while he did his warming up in the water. Warm up complete, he got out of the water, hugged me goodbye and got into his wave, ready to go. As his wave got into the water to prepare for its start, I ran/splashed my way over so I could be just on the other side of the rope as he left. We got another hug in and I made a crack about all the wives/girlfriends being there to support their significant others, since there were a lot of other pink swim caps (F12-29) where I was.

After the gun went off and he swam away, I did a warm up lap of my own ... the first actual warm-up lap in their set up I've done (usually, I've just swum out to one of the mini floating docks and back). I was really glad for it since my shoulders got their usual tightness and I was able to stretch them out before getting out and getting into my wave.

The Swim:

As I'm a bit more confident in my swim this year (as evidenced by the crazy mileage I've put into the pool this year), I placed myself to the inside and about middle of the pack. The horn sounded and we were off.

The start of the swim went really well; the first few buoys seemed to come up fast, which understandably made me happy. Then, as we were almost at the first yellow buoy, signifying a turn, I had to stop at a kayak to clear out my goggles.

Big mistake.

After that, my goggles just wouldn't cooperate. It got to the point that I almost constantly had to keep one eye closed due to the water in there. That, probably combined with the fact that subsequent waves were starting to pass me, and I got very frustrated. And I really don't swim well when I'm frustrated.

Or maybe the small end of the swim rectangle in Boulder Res is just my nemesis (it was in 70.3).

The last stretch of the swim to shore seemed to last forever. Usually, that's one of the quickest parts of the swim to me - "oh look, I'm almost done!" - but not that day. FINALLY, after what seemed like FOREVER, I reached the shore. I checked my watch to take the split as I was crossing the mat and was so upset to still see it as 21:something, as it was 21:something last year. Did I seriously not get better?

Time: 21:11 (rate: 2:39; rank: 1007th overall)(overall rank ironically same as previous year)


I was actually able to kind of run up to transition. I fought with the wetsuit a little over my feet, got my cycling stuff on and left.

I was happy with my relatively fast transition thanks to the girl a few spots down on the rack - she was prepping herself as I got into trans and we left at about the same time. I don't want to know what her T1 time was.

Time: 3:09

The Bike:

I'm pretty sure that the worst part of any ride coming out of Boulder Reservoir is the first five miles. The road out of the res (51st, I think?) is just slightly uphill enough with enough little hills that it's rough getting your legs underneath you. Then, you turn on Jay and while the little hills disappear, it's ever-so-slightly uphill until you turn on 28th/36 in which case it's still that incline before a couple bigger hills and then finally, happily, the downhill portion.

I still took my corners pretty slow (post-crash nervousness), but I stayed in big ring when I could (something I normally don't do) and generally tried to rock the rest of the bike course. I took in a gel and a salt tab at about mile 11ish when you turn on 63rd. The rollers on 63rd didn't seem as bad as they have in years past.

The best part was the damn Diagonal Highway. That stretch killed me in both Boulder Peak and in Boulder 70.3 last year. This year, it didn't seem nearly as bad. I do credit the Spinervals Time Trialpalooza workout for a lot of that. As much as that DVD sucks hardcore in its utter boring misery, I really do think it made me stronger - both physically and mentally.

Then came the turn back onto Jay and back onto 51st and back into the reservoir.

Time: 59:22 (17.4 mph, 913th overall)


Given the heat and my still-healing road rashed shoulder, I took extra special care to sunscreen up. I decided to forgo the body glide on the feet again (did before riding) as it's worked before in smaller races. In and out.

Time: 2:03

The Run:

I haven't done many brick workouts this year (okay, I don't think I've truly done one since March) and it definitely showed on the legs, as they were pretty dead. That being said, when I was able to run, I was able to run at a pretty fast clip.

I saw Brandon in the first mile - I tried to high-five him, but I think he was too dead as he barely noticed me; just enough to kinda sorta wave. Poopybutt. However, seeing him made me smile for a while; evident as I passed the race photog not too long after.

My legs felt tired; I was expecting that. While I haven't done bricks, I have done a lot of running on fatigued legs this year and I do think that helped a little bit.

What I wasn't expecting was to never quite get my lungs underneath me. I don't know if it was a product of my body expecting to run at a certain pace when I could run and that pace was faster than what my lungs could handle or what, but it was tricky. That being said, I still passed the first mile in just under 10 minutes (good for me in a tri; I think it was about 9:50ish).

Mile two was more of a struggle and a little longer; I think I hit that marker at 19:50ish. I was steadily in a run/walk rhythm by this point. I'd run; I'd slow to a walk and people would pass me. I'd run again and I'd pass most of them back. There was one woman in particular (not in my age group, unfortunately) in some blue Noosa Triathlon kit that I'd keep leapfrogging. Happily, I passed her for good on the last downhill of the course in mile three.

I'd been keeping an eye on my watch and I knew I was going to PR, but I knew it wouldn't be by much. I saw Brandon as I made the turn into the finisher's chute and then gave it my all running into the finish, about dying as I crossed the line.

Time: 31:15 (10:05/mi; 904th overall)

Overall Time:
926/1114 overall
327/448 female
61/75 division (F2529)


Yes, we already tossed on other clothes.

Now, let's play the comparison game to last year.

This year:
Swim: 21:11; 2:39/100m
T1: 3:09
Bike: 59:22; 17.4mph
T2: 2:03
Run: 31:15; 10:05/mi
Overall Time: 1:57:00

Last year:
Swim: 21:32; 2:53/100m
T1: 3:10
Bike: 1:00:42; 17.0mph
T2: 2:01
Run: 31:14; 10:04/mi
Overall Time: 1:58:39

The swim was 14 seconds faster per 100m which seems huge, but it only translated into 21 seconds on race day. It was also slower than what I've been averaging in the pool (around 2:25/100m). I felt that with all of my swimming this year, I should have seen a much bigger improvement and I didn't. And that hurt. Badly.

T1 was a whole second faster. Woot.

I improved the most on the bike - 1:20 or .4 mph. The best part about that is I may have been able to go faster, too. I credit all of the stupid trainer time I've put in this year to helping my bike as well as a lot of the early season rides. I just wonder a bit on how much better it might have been had I not crashed my bike and taken myself out of commission for a few weeks.

T2 was two seconds slower. Boo to that.

My run was a second slower than last year. Seriously??? I had been hoping for a faster run given how well my running has been going this year (have pr'ed every distance save the 5K), but I will concede that I haven't put in the brick training like I should. Or maybe my cardio isn't quite up to par this year. That, and I just haven't put in the miles like I've wanted to this year.

All of the above results in a 1:39 PR. Ultimately good, but it could have been so much better, dangit.


  1. I'm really proud of you the way you took that bike accident in stride and kept at it!!

  2. PS Love the photos! I want to tie a black belt around Brandon's waist, lol!