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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Race Report: Triathlon #2 = sprints are fun 

Two weeks ago I completed my 1st of 3 Sprint triathlons and a week later I finished my 2nd of 3 Olympic triathlons. This brings me to the mid-point of my 3-3 triathlon challenge. Now that I know what I’ve gotten myself into, I’m alternatively freaked out or excited. Below is the race report on the sprint tri.

Benaroya Research Institute Triathlon at Seafair (Sprint) – July 14
.5 mile swim, 12-mile bike and 3.1-mile run.

This triathlon was a ton of fun – there were over 2,200 participants and the energy was really good. There were lots of fast people and lots of first-time triathlon people. I ran into a bunch of people from team in training, it was nice to see familiar faces.

Since it was a local race, I got to sleep in my own bed. This was tough! I hit the snooze button many times – and only left for the race at 5:55 am after brushing my teeth and packing my tri-bag (a timbuk2 messenger bag) in a flurry. I was lucky I didn’t forget anything – like my bike! I arrived at the race site ~20 minutes before they closed the transition area. Which basically gave me enough time to find a location for bike + gear and lay things out and check the air pressure on my tires.

Swim:The swim was not warm, but it was short enough that the temperature didn’t slow me down. I had that initial “ohh, it’s cold I can’t breathe” feeling for about 50 yards and then I warmed up and it was fine. The hard part of the swim was the milfoil. This is a water plant that basically grabs onto you while swimming. It was scratchy and a little unnerving.

Bike:The bike was shorter than I thought and when I got to the turnaround I was surprised. That’s it? Oh man, I should have pushed harder!

Run: I think this may have been my best run all month. Even with walking up part of the steep hill at mile 2, stopping for water and needing to go to the bathroom…I ran my fastest 5K time in the recent past. I think it was partially adrenaline and partially just the realization that it was going to be quickly over..and hey, that wasn’t so bad.

Things I learned:

  • There are mistakes you can make in a sprint distance that you might not be able to get away with at longer distances. In this race the biggest mistake was probably nutrition. I ran out of the door so fast I didn’t have time for breakfast. In an Olympic or a long bike ride, I’d be recovering from that throughout the race…not so in this case as the race was over before I got hungry!

  • Taking the time to prepare your stuff the night before makes a lot of sense. During my transition from swim to bike I had to attach my race number to my tri-top. Having to open up teeny-weeny little pins and attach them to yourself when your hands are a little bit stiff from the cold water is, uhm, not so easy. I also forgot to untie my shoelaces on my running shoes…so before the run I had to untie them before I could start running. These are the kinds of things I could have skipped with a little preparation.

  • Triathlons don’t require a lot of “stuff.” Before this race I pretty much believed that in order to be in the right mind set I needed to have the perfect towel, a bunch of water bottles for rinsing post swim and lots of extra foods (i.e. alternate flavors of gu and shot bloks) and general stuff in order to be prepared for the “worst case scenario.” This time I had the bare minimum: some basic nutrition, 2 water bottles on my bike (only one with Nuun, the other got multi-purposed for rinsing), my running shoes, my clip-in bike shoes, socks, a towel and suntan lotion. That’s it.

  • I like races with lots of people. Since I’m slow I’m not in the “pack” and can sometimes be out on my own (esp on the run!). This race was crowded the whole time – and I loved it. I was in the third wave, of I think 12. This meant that there were lots of fast people after me – and it was fun to see them zoom by and it made me run faster to have them next to me on the run.

    I highly recommend this race and definitely plan to do it again next year. Just, you know, faster.