September 25, 2008

Kirkland Triathlon Race Report 2008

Sunday, 21 Sept, 4:30am.
It's dark, cold and damp outside. The bed is warm and dry. Repeat morning mantra, “It’ll be fun once I’m out the door. It’ll be fun once I’m out the door.”

Got to Carillon Point at 5:45, parked and picked up race packet. This event is very well organized and there are A LOT of participants. I set up my gear in transition, met up with Paul, Robin, Bryan and Peter and commenced the long “standing around” process. Racers have to be out of transition by 6:45. I was in the 10th wave and the waves were 5 mins apart. The first wave was delayed, so I didn’t start until about 8:00am. As I was standing on the shore waiting for the race to start, I realized I hadn’t put my water bottle on my bike. It was still in the side pocket of my transition bag. It would add a few seconds to my transition time, but I decided I would grab the bottle and put it on my bike when I came in from the swim. I hadn’t had much water that morning and I didn’t want to risk being dehydrated. Turns out I didn’t need it because the sun didn’t come out and there was plenty of water on the run course.

Swim – 15:44 (01:57 pace)
The most painful part of the entire race was walking on the rocks at the bottom of Lake Washington as I was entering the water. I don’t know if I hit a couple of particularly sharp rocks or if it was because the bottoms of my feet are bruised from running barefoot in and out of transition over the past few weeks, but I was amazed at how much this hurt! There were sounds of discomfort coming from other women to my right and left.

It was a one lap swim counter clockwise around some white buoys. About half way around I started passing the blue-capped swimmers from the wave before mine. Some of these people were doing the frog kick, so I had to swing out wide to avoid a foot in the head. There was a swimmer from my wave that was my same speed but I couldn’t draft her due to dodging the blue caps. About 150 meters from the shore I decided I wanted to beat her out of the water, so I started going hard; so hard that I occasionally had to breathe every other stroke. I know from previous experiments that this can mean my form goes out the window and I’m working harder but not going any faster. But this time the harder effort seemed to be getting me through the water faster because I passed and stayed ahead of that other woman. I was definitely working at a high intensity, which was not the case in other short distance races earlier this season. I felt good and was happy with the swim. Leading up to shore, I was going over T1 in my mind and thinking about grabbing that water bottle.

T1 – 1:54
Out of the water I had plenty of time to strip off the top half of my wetsuit before reaching my bike, which was racked quite close to bike out. I was a little dizzy but managed to step out of my wetsuit legs without falling over. I grabbed the water bottle and put it on my bike, strapped on my helmet, then glasses and ran barefoot with my bike out of transition. I mounted by standing on my left pedal and pushing off. I don’t have the running “hop on” mount yet. And I need more practice with getting my feet in my shoes quickly once on the bike. A lot of people pass me as I’m doing this. I’m still ahead of where I would be if I put my bike shoes on inside transition though. One of the cyclists that passed me was Peter Beeson. I knew this because Robin was on the sidelines cheering him on. I waved and said hi to Robin, finally got into both my shoes then set out to catch up with Peter.

Bike – 41:26 (17.38 mph average)
I never caught Peter. He absolutely smoked on the bike course. While standing on the shore before the race, I was talking with Mike Pritchard. He said, “You’ll really like the bike course.” I actually found it kind of frustrating. There were a lot of sharp turns which I’m not good at. There was a footbridge where you’re not allowed to pass other riders. Mike warned me about this before the race and I pedaled hard and passed a few riders, but was still forced to put on my brakes for much of that footbridge because there were slower riders in front of me. There was also mile and a half stretch where the bike course was relegated to a pretty narrow strip on the right side of the lane. It was ok to pass here, but a lot of cyclists rode in the center of that strip and I had to wait for them to heed my “on your left” before I could pass them. I didn’t feel like I ever got my groove on the bike.

T2 – 1:18
I’ve been working on transitions this season and they’ve gotten a lot quicker. Pretty easy way to shave time of your race. I highly recommend lace locks on your run shoes and having your bike shoes clipped into your pedals. Don’t muck around with socks or gloves for short races. Don’t eat or drink or put your race belt on while standing at your transition spot. Grab the things and do what you need while moving forward.

Run – 23:29 (07:49 min mile)
The run was fun since I got to see JCT buddies along the course and give high fives. The finish line came up long before I expected (I hadn’t studied the course) so I definitely could have put a bit more effort into it, but I’m starting to get out of my plodding pace. The track sessions are really helping.

Finish time – 1:53:22
4th in my category (female 40-44), 20th female out of 416, and 144th out of 899 competitors.

September 01, 2008

Super Jock N Jill Half Marathon