Saturday, August 4, 2012

Stumpy Creek International Triathlon

My Olympic distance debut after surviving intern year of residency

1500m swim   27mi bike   6.2mi run
Mooresville, NC

The highlights:
SWIM:  28:29  (1:53/100m)
T1:  1:05
BIKE:  1:25:05  (19.1mph)
T2:  1:00
RUN:  48:14  (7:46/mi)
FINISH TIME:  2:43:52
PLACEMENT: 2nd age-group, 15th/114 women

PRE-RACE:  Last night, as I was laying out my typical pre-race breakfast of peanut butter toast with sliced banana, I came to the tragic realization that there were no bananas in the house.  The horror!  Given that it was 9PM, I was entirely too lazy to drive to the grocery store for a single banana.  Fortunately, I survived the banana-less peanut butter toast and smothered on a layer of strawberry jam for good measure.  The race was a 40 minute drive, which gave me plenty of time to eat and drink some hot tea.  Unlike my last race, I arrived at the site with more than an hour before race start.  After a quick ride to transition, laying out all of my gear, hitting the porta-johns (can someone please explain why race directors think that 8 porta-johns are sufficient for 500 people?), and a short run to warm up, it was nearing the 7am race start.

SWIM:  The course was rectangular and featured a deep water start.  Water temp was a balmy 86 degrees. I positioned myself at the front of the starting line, but still couldn't escape the flying fists and flailing legs for the first 250 meters.  I finally broke into open water and had a rather uneventful swim.  With 100 meters to go I took a mighty kick to the goggles from a nice man doing the breast stroke and suddenly had goggles full of water.  Nonetheless, I was fairly happy to see 28 minutes on my watch as I climbed out of the water.  I had the 13th fastest swim of the field, and that's exciting for someone without a swim background.

BIKE:  The course was advertised as "fast" with rolling hills.  That description is a bit too generous.  I struggled to find my biking legs and never could quite get into a consistent effort.  Of course wiping out in the first corner thanks to the man who swerved for no particular reason didn't exactly provide an encouraging start.  If nothing else, a bloodied knee and leg provided some excitement for the volunteers during the remainder of the race.  The last 7 miles seemed to be a steady uphill climb, and all I could think about was wanting to be off the bike.  The majority of my training rides are indoors since they occur at 4AM, and I think I've lost some of my hill climbing strength as a result.

RUN:  This was a two loop course, with a mile-long steady hill at miles 2 and 5 and several other shorter hills.  I felt decent through mile three, but then began to get a side stitch and fought with that for the remainder of the run.  I held it together pretty well until the hill from hell at mile 5, and gave in and walked for a hundred feet or so to regain my focus.  I passed several women over the course of the run and was passed by none, so I was happy with my effort despite a time that was slower than I anticipated.  

POST-RACE:  Hello finish line - how I love thee!  And those hills - I hate them!  After cooling down, rehydrating, stretching, packing up my gear, and schlepping it all to the car, I was more than ready for some calories.  Sadly, options were pathetic.  Chips, hotdogs, and orange slices.  Yum, yum - sounds like perfect food to refuel endurance athletes, right?!  I downed several orange slices and a few sunchips while waiting for the awards but held-out for a huge nutrition-packed smoothie back at home.  This race was the North Carolina Best of the US qualifier, so it attracted an uber-competitive field.  It's certainly a frustrating process to find my way back into competitive shape after some time away from racing, but I'm thankful to back at it and hungry for success.  

And because I knew how much I would LOVE those hills today, I enthusiastically signed up to relive the pain and torture at the Red Top Mountain Triathlon in three weeks.  Obviously I don't make the best decisions when I'm sleep deprived.  

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