Race Recap – Finger Lakes Triathlon

TRI-fecta 2013 race three of three is in the books! 

Here are my split times, they just got posted this morning:

Swim (.93 miles)- 42:26, 2:35/100 meter pace
T1-4:16
Bike (24.8 miles)- 1:33:26, 16mph
T2- 4:20, I have a good excuse for this, I swear!
Run (6.2 miles)- 58:13, 9:23/mile pace
Total- 3:22:41

I placed 12 out of 14 (eek, not so good) for my age group and 76 out of 97 overall for the ladies. 


I’ll go ahead and start out with some pros and cons of the race itself because I feel like this one needs it. 


Pros:

-The courses were wonderful! As a horrible swimmer who has never swam farther that 750 meters before this particular race (oops), I very much appreciated the shallowness of Canandaigua Lake. 
-The bike course was lovely. They changed it last minute but I’m happy about the change, which I’ll get into. 
-And the run, a double loop for us Oly people, was actually perfectly set up and I was grateful for the course in general. It was very manageable.   

Cons:

-No finisher medals. Um, yup. Seriously, none. WTF. I just raced 32 miles, I’ve gotten finishers medal for much less. I’m severely disappointed about this. 
-The venue set up. Transition was very poorly organized in terms of layout within the venue. The finish line/swim in/run out came off one side and the bike in/bike out came off the other side. It was impassable. The potties were all on one side and the race expo on the other. The TA entrance/exit was on the potty side and my family was on the expo side. People started jumping the fence to cross over because after you finished you were pushed out the expo side, meaning to get back into TA to collect your stuff, you had to either cross over the finish (which was blocked off by hordes of people) or the bike in/out (which still had bikers on it depending on how quickly some finished). I had a really hard time getting my stuff and getting back to my family afterwards and they complained about how hard it was to get to the bathrooms because you had to cross in front of racers to do so. So, so poorly organized. 

Rob didn’t ride out with me or my parents. He came a bit later, but I was so, so relieved to see him as I was heading over for the swim start. He and Griswold were just showing up and I managed to spot him walking in. Getting and a hug and a kiss and some words of encouragement were seriously the best thing ever. I was pretty nervous for the swim and seeing him and Griz helped to focus me and remind me of how much I love my family and want to make them proud and happy. 


The swim. I was told the water was about 70 degrees, but it still bit you when you first got in. Plus it was windy and rainy all morning, so the water was kind of choppy. I was in the second of five Oly waves, with sprinters slated to enter shortly there after. The first set of buoys, about 300-ish meters out to denote the sprint distance, was all touchable, so I did keep my feet down for about 99% of this distance on the way out. And I put them back down as soon as I passed it on the way back. I’m a horribly slow swimmer and I was passed by people in all three waves after mine. Not even kidding. But I am happy to report I was not the last person out of the water from my wave, so I’ve got that going for me. A few times I took in water and had to stop and tread to cough it up. 


I do have to say that the swim was difficult, the most I’ve ever swam up until now is 750 meters and this was exactly double that. And I hadn’t swam again since IG Cuse, so I really kind of did myself no favors here. I’m glad I missed the first few minutes of the pre race meeting where they discussed the swim, because I had no idea if it was a DQ for a kayak or buoy grab and if I don’t know I just assume it is. I wanted to grab on a few times, but I’m glad I didn’t. I just kept the buoys in my sight and just kept focusing on getting to the next one. When I felt I was really struggling and having a hard time fighting off negative thoughts, I just closed my eyes and thought about the Mussel Man. I thought about how hard the swim was for Rob but how we got through it and how proud I was of him. I was so, so proud of him for pushing through it and he truly inspires me with how amazing he is. I wanted to make him proud of me for doing this, so that kept me grounded. 


My family gets up long before the sun even considers rising to come sit in the dark, wind, cold, and rain for me. To watch me do these races. I know it’s not easy and sometimes I feel like it’s asking too much of them. So to make it worth their while it’s really important to me that I do the best I can. I would never forgive myself for asking so much of them just to pansy out 20 minutes in because I’m a weak swimmer, knowingly so, and did nothing to help myself to get better. 


I climbed out of the water right around the 40 minute mark, just as I had expected. The .25 mile run from swim out to transition wasn’t as bad as I expected. Long on tired swimming legs yes, but not as bad as I’ve felt coming out of the water at IG previously. I crossed the timing mat into T1 just over 42 minutes. 


T1 is always a bit long for me. A 4 minute-ish T1 is pretty typical. I like to a take a bit of time to dry my feet off. All my stuff was in plastic bags since it was raining in the morning and I wanted to make sure I had dry shoes for the bike and run, so that kind of slowed me too, but I was still pretty average with my time here. 


The bike was nice. Because of the rain they altered the course a bit. There were two major hills, one of which has an intense steep downhill with a very sharp turn at the bottom, but they worked the course around that particular spot because of the wet road conditions. I was really pleased about that because maybe ten miles in a realized my back brakes weren’t working. They squeezed, but they were too loose and not grabbing the tire, so I was on front brakes only the whole ride. And that really ticked me off since I just had it tuned up a month ago and have only ridden it twice since, last week being most recent and they were working fine then. So I just have to tighten those back up at some point. 


I had a bad dream the night before about getting a flat. During the pre race meeting they mentioned they expected a high flat rate from the wind and rain blowing debris into the road. I don’t have a flat repair kit, so this made me a bit nervous. And high flat rate it was. I think I saw at least one person every mile either sitting on the ground fighting their tube or trying to get rims on and off from their upturned bikes. Really, really thankful I did not get a flat because that would have been an automatic DNF for me without having a second tube. 


The course was really hilly, hillier than I had anticipated. There was one really horrid hill, I don’t think anyone was getting up it particularly quickly. In fact, everyone was moving so slowly up it I’m really surprised no one got off and just walked up it, it was that steep and long. One lady I came neck in neck with on it said hello to me and gave an exasperated sigh. She was struggling and needed someone to share that feeling with so without thinking I responded to her with “this is a bullshit hill, huh”. She laughed, so hopefully that made it easier for her. 


I finished the bike in just over the hour and a half mark, which I kind of expected. The hills did slow me down more than I had anticipated and I’m a bit disappointed to see my average speed was only 16 mph. I tired to take advantage of the flat and down hill sections by sinking down into my drop bars. I did feel like I managed some good speed there, so I blame the hills *angry fist shake at the hills*


Don’t mind me, just changing my socks with my helmet on. 


My T2 was kind of a mess. I had to potty after getting out of the water but I knew I could survive the bike ride without it, so I did. But I had to go before the run. I got into T2 and thanked myself for bringing two pairs of socks. My first pair got soaked on the bike ride, so it was nice to have a dry pair to change into. That slowed me down a bit, but my real mess came from using the bathroom. It was clear on the opposite side of transition than my area was. In this instance, I am very grateful they had the kind of bike racks you just set your tire into as opposed to the usual seat hanging racks. I spotted a straight shot through the racks to the porta-potties and ran through, jumping over racks and people’s things, instead of running around. The only open porta-potty was out of tp, so in true endurance athlete style I shrugged my shoulders and dealt with it. Better than how the professionals handle their business, by a hundred times over let me tell you. And it was as I was stepping out all set to start my run that I realized I still had my helmet on. If I was smart I would have just dropped it at the potties since run out was right there, but instead I panicked a bit and started my run back across transition. I jumped about three racks before I thought screw it and threw it at the ground regardless of where I was in correlation to my transition spot. And it wouldn’t be until after the race when I went to go find it that I would realize I dropped my helmet only inches from my spot. I really didn’t realize I ran that far back through transition before leaving T2. And so that’s the story of my abysmal excuse for having a 4:20 T2, something I’m usually under 2 minutes on. 


Handing my sunglasses off to my mom on my way out for the run. It was cloudy, so no need for them anyways. Just another thing I forgot to deal with in T2. At least I remembered my bib this time. 


The run, it was awesome. I cannot believe how good I felt coming off the bike. The run course was a 5k length course since there was a sprint distance going at the same time as the Oly. The Oly runners just had to run the loop twice and I anticipated not liking this. But it ended up being a really wonderful run. It was broken into small segments which made it easy to focus on getting through. A lap around the lagoon, a short run down the road to the wine and culinary school, a trip down and back on the pier, then back out past the school and down the road again.Then you just had to run it again and on the second lap instead of heading straight for the lagoon you veer right and head into the park towards the finish. 


The aid stations for the run were situated perfectly so that you passed them going out and back on the end of the pier and the road. It felt like there were four aid stations on a 3 mile course, but there were only two, you passed each one twice at different point within three miles. That meant eight times I passed aid, it was awesome. I timed eating my shot blocks with every other one and it was the perfect amount of shot blocks and water or HEED. I felt fresh and energized the whole time. I actually didn’t expect I would run the whole thing, but I did, and on top of that I managed a 9:23/mile pace, which is pretty darn good for me after logging 26 previous miles, so I was ecstatic about my run time. And I had a good time with the volunteers out there too. I try to make sure I thank volunteers as I go by them, but there were particularly good ones on the run and they cheered loudly for me and the other runners. Whenever they would cheer for me I would in turn cheer for the finish line, which got me a few good laughs and kept my spirit up. And I crossed the finish line smiling and pumping my fist into the air in triumph because it was a good feat to accomplish. 


 Winding up for my fist pump of triumph, haha 

Obviously I haven’t gotten the professional picture back yet, but I’m hoping they came out well. I tried to ham it up for the cameras every time I saw one. 


After the race I had the confusion of getting out of transition, but overall, it was good. I thwarted a post race nap which I’m happy about. The first time I finished a tri I remember thinking I needed to sit, eat, then nap immediately after, but now that my body is more efficient, I don’t need a nap and even sitting and eating can generally wait. Good job body!


Today, the day after, I’m doing pretty well. I did enough walking and moving around yesterday to push out most of the lactic acid and I’m really not very sore today at all. My thighs and bum are a bit heavy, but otherwise my body feels good. My only real sore spots around my upper pectorals by my arm pits and around my rotator cuffs. Just another reason I need to swim more frequently and get stronger. I am a bit sluggish though, so I need to get a bit more sleep and revamp my glycogen stores. I couldn’t sleep in because I had an early meeting this morning for work, but I do plan to sleep in tomorrow then get to spinning in the evening. And speaking of spinning, my Thursday night instructor was just about right across from me in transition. We said our hellos and she passed me on the bike course at one point. She shouted my name and gave me a big cheer before leaving me in her dust. And we passed each other twice going opposite directions down the road during the run and we swapped cheers for each other then too. And she was standing at the finish line cheering my name when I crossed too. It’s so nice to have people who genuinely care about your success out on the course with you. And now I’m excited for spinning Thursday so we can chat about it a bit. 


So that’s about it. My first Olympic distance triathlon is officially on the record books. I may not have placed well, but I did well as far as I’m concerned, my family was excited for me, and I feel really good about my overall performance and how I felt during and after the race. 


As for the remainder of the race season here in New York, I have one more 5k in October that I’m running with at least my dad, and my mom may be joining us too. Then Rob and I have our half marathon the following weekend.Then, it’s whatever small races we want to do the rest of the year, maybe a turkey trot or something. But after my half marathon the next big ticket item on my docket is Ironman Syracuse 70.3 in June!

One Thought on “Race Recap – Finger Lakes Triathlon

  1. I LOVE THIS!!!! I am so proud of you! You did better in your 10k than I’ve ever done in one, and that’s after swimming and biking too! I hope you posted this for the Junebugs to read, this is so badass! Congrats on an amazing job!

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