Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Peachtree International Triathlon

Another race is in the books - and it was a good one!

Peachtree International Triathlon
May 14, 2011    7AM
Peachtree City, GA

1500 meter swim, 26 mile bike, 6.2 mile run
The Highlights:

  • Swim:  26:22  (1:45/100m)
  • T1: 1:35
  • Bike:  1:11:43  (21.75 mph)
  • T2:  0:54
  • Run:  43:11  (6:56 / mile)
  • Finish Time:  2:23:42
  • Placement:  3rd overall female out of 112 finishers
For those of you who prefer the wordy version, here goes!

Pre-race:  When I initially planned my race schedule, 2 weeks each between the Cartersville Duathlon, St. Anthony's, and PTC seemed like a reasonable plan.  However, when you toss in the realities of training, a knee injury, and graduation festivities, it probably wasn't one of my better decisions.  After St. Anthony's we shut my run down for about a week to let the knee settle down.  The goal of the two weeks essentially became to recover and maintain fitness.  By the time my pre-race brick came around on Friday, I was feeling better, but certainly still fatigued and missing the leg freshness.  When the weather forecast predicted thunderstorms for race morning, I was beginning to wonder if maybe I just wasn't meant to race that weekend.  Fortunately, when the 3:45AM alarm clock went off on Saturday morning, I felt energized and excited to race.  My Dad made the 75 minute drive with me to enjoy the race as a spectator.  The combination of coffee, peanut butter and banana toast, and jamming to music left me pretty pumped to race!  The weather was in the low-60s with a fine mist in the air, but not the first sign of thunderstorms.  After packet pick-up and transition set-up, I squeezed into my wetsuit and made my way to the water.

Swim:  (26:22) This was a time-trial swim start based on our predicted 1500m swim times.  I was number 27 and was quickly into the water after the start.  Overall the swim was pretty uneventful.  By avoiding the mass start, it was largely without contact and I settled into my rhythm.  Now if only I could ever find a pair of legs to draft off!  It seemed to take forever to get to the first turn buoy and my shoulders were feeling the wetsuit-induced fatigue.  I thought I had a pretty good swim and expected a time close to 23 minutes, so I was really disappointed to see 26+ minutes on my Garmin exiting the water.  Everyone felt the course was long, and after looking at the results, I had the 6th fastest female swim split of the day.  So with that, I'm going to assume the course was long and that I really can swim much faster than the 1:45 pace my results show.

T1:  (1:35) This was ugly as usual for a wetsuit race.  Putting a wetsuit on correctly requires multiple helpers and 5 minutes of carefully executed gymnast-like maneuvers, all while avoiding putting finger digs in the $500 dollar neoprene masterpiece.  Taking it off, however, is a totally different story.  The pros make it look so effortless, but I can't say there was anything glamorous or speedy about my technique.  Hmm . . . need to work on that.  Despite my tortoise-like speed, fortunately there were only 4 women with a faster T1.

Bike: (1:11:43)  The bike course was made up of a few out and back stretches that covered rolling hills throughout Peachtree City and Forsyth county.  I was using Brett's 808s for the race, and very quickly noticed the difference in performance.  Some people claim it's more a mental effect than significant increase in speed, but regardless, I was loving it.  I caught a group of 3 men about 10 miles in and played cat and mouse for nearly the entire 2nd half of the course.  In case you didn't know, guys aren't fans of being "chicked"  on the bike, and so each time I would pass them, they'd make a mad sprint to get back past me.  Had it been a draft-legal race it would be no big deal, but when a USAT official came cruising past me (pen and paper in hand), while myself and the 3 guys were each within a couple bike lengths, I thought for sure we were busted.  All I could think for the remainder of the bike was how pissed I was going to be over a 2 minute penalty.  Maybe all the frustration helped me to push even faster to the end!  My bike split was 8th fastest for the day.

T2:  (0:54) Coming into transition I was feeling really good (maybe the extra 100 calories I took on the bike really did make a difference) and ready for a fast run.  My Dad was standing near transition and told me I was about 2:30 behind Tracy (my super-fast teammate and fish in the water).  A quick rack of the bike and change of shoes and I was off for the chase.  3rd fastest T2.

Run:  (43:11)  The first half-mile of the run felt like hell, as usual.  Fortunately, once I got my heart rate and breathing back under control and legs firing, I started to see some good mile splits.  The course is 100% on golf-cart paths, which means a narrow path, lots of turns, several tunnels, and a few random hills thrown in for good measure.  The first 3 miles I was holding 7 minute miles, consciously trying to keep things controlled.  At the 5K turn-around point I saw Tracy for the first time and calculated I was about 2 minutes behind her.  We are great friends and teammates, but ask either one of us, and I guarantee you we both felt the competitive drive to run faster!  Even though I was in second overall, you never know who is charging from behind with the time-trial start, so there was no cushion to relax.  Miles 4 and 5 were strong with sub-7 splits, and I made it my goal to keep picking off the men in front of me.  Mile 6 was tough and hills suddenly began to appear that I definitely don't remember running down at the start.  The finish line soon came into sight and I made a final charge across the line!  5th fastest run and a 30 second open 10K PR!

Post-race:  My immediate concern was trying to figure out if I had received a drafting penalty.  In all likelihood I had gotten an overall podium position, but all of that could easily be washed away by a 2 minute penalty.  Fortunately, none of the USAT officials had written my number in their books that day, so the coast was clear.  I hung out everyone from Sport Factory that had raced that day and enjoyed some Mix1 while we waited for results to be posted.  The end-result = I placed 3rd overall (beat by a woman with a crazy fast run split that started after me in the time-trial start), only a minute behind the winning female (Tracy - my awesome teammate!).  The race was definitely my best race to date and first OVERALL PODIUM!  It seems crazy that I could pull out a great day despite feeling somewhat blah leading up to race day, but somehow things just seemed to fall into place at exactly the right time!

Tracy (1st overall) and I (3rd overall) with our awards.  It's tough to beat a Sport Factory woman!
Sport Factory Overall Podiums:  Tracy, Louie (3rd overall), and I.
Sport Factory also had overall podium finishes for men and women in the SuperSprint race!
Thanks for following along as race season continues.  Next up is Westpoint Lake Olympic on June 12th!


  1. Well done, Crystal! We're really proud of you guys out there! How much more racing will you be able to do before you start your residency?

  2. Thanks Amy! My last scheduled race is Westpoint, but I'm hoping to squeeze in others in July/August/September (hopefully AG Nats) as my schedule allows. We'll see.