Saturday, December 4, 2010

Tri Latta

As promised, I will continue updating on my tri experiences! Tri Latta was my 2nd Triathlon and took place at the Latta Plantation outside of Charlotte, NC. The biggest challenge of this triathlon was preparing physically and mentally for the open-water swim. I arrived in Charlotte on Friday evening and had a great stay at a local Bread and Breakfast. Saturday consisted of a light 20 minute run in the AM to get the legs moving, some delicious homemade down home breakfast and then a trip to Carowinds Amusement Park. Luckily the park was not crowded at all and Ryan and I were able to do everything we wanted in about 5 hours. We caught the USA WC match before picking up our race packets and attending the course briefing. Seeing everyone around and the swim course set up definitely did not ease any anxiety that I had. We enjoyed a quick and simple pasta dinner at the local Olive Garden and hit the bed early for a 5am Wake Up. Oh how I love Triathlon start times!

Staying in a B&B is great but when you wake up at 5am you kind of have to provide your own breakfast, but I actually preferred this. I was able to enjoy my usual of Special-K Red Berries with Skim milk. Off we went to the Latta Plantation to set up our Transition Areas and prepare for the race. This was my first time wearing a Timing Chip around my ankle and setting up my TA on grass. As I went to get body-marked I was very nervous and shaking, the nice lady with the huge permanent marker eased some of my anxiety by talking with me, she was an "elite" racer who had raced the same course the day before. Ryan was in the first wave of racers and I followed 2 waves later.

I never could have imagined how crazy the open-water swim gets! People kicking you, slapping you, swimming over you and under you! People are everywhere all battling to get to the next bouy and out of the water first! I was not used to not be able to see well in the water or swimming with all the competition and having such choppy water. Needless to say I swam a little off course at a couple points but managed to finish the swim course without any major hiccups. I did start off way to fast and had to slow down quite a bit about 200m out, in order to maintain a constant pace for the rest of the swim.

Coming out of the water with all the people cheering you on is quite exciting. The run up to the TA was a bit longer than average and slightly uphill. I ran up to my TA and got ready to bike as quickly as I could. I had to manage to get socks and shoes on my wet feet, but I had picked up a tip to use baby powder which worked like magic! I quick adjustment of the hair and getting the helmet on and I grabbed my bike and ran out to the mount line! The bike ride was awesome, the racers were all pretty spread out so there were no traffic jams to deal with. The roads were not closed to traffic, but I think I only saw 1 car the whole time and they were very well patrolled with police at every intersection. I chose to take a GU packet about 14 miles into the ride to ramp up my energy for the run. I dismounted the bike, ran it back in and transition as quickly as possible to the run.

I think dealing with long hair may be one of the trickiest parts of transitioning. You pretty much have to adjust it for every event. Once I was situated I was able to fall into a decent pace for the run. The run was mostly a trail run through the plantation. The sun was hot by this team and many people were walking. My ankle strap for my timing trip have began to cut into my ankle and it was killing me! There were some tough climbs on the trail but I kept on trucking. I saw Ryan about 1 mile ahead of me when I was about .5 miles in. My legs were tired, I was tired, I pushed through to the water stop and broke the run up to 3 small runs in my mind. 1 mile at a time, very doable! I pushed through and tried to speed up at the end. As I rounded the last turns towards the finish line I began to lick my lips and kick it to the line! I passed a few people at the end and had a great finish!

One of the greatest things about Tri Latta is the finish line festival! Though it is not a huge race, the finish line festival is awesome! There was free fruit, Harvest Bread Co. Bread, massages, and even a Beer Garden! Two free beers for every racer as well! Nothing like some Mich Ultra at 9:15 am! Ryan and I hung out long enough to see our results and the awards ceremony before heading back to our B&B for a great home-style breakfast! If you have ever wanted to try a sprint-triathlon or if you are a triathlete I highly recommend Tri Latta. There are 2 days of racing - Saturday for Elites and Age Groupers and Sunday all for Novice racers!

My final results were as follows: 750 m Swim: 18:00 Min 17 Mile Bike:56:10 5k Run: 26:36
Total Time: 1:46:03 (good enough for 12th overall in Novice Women and 1st in my age group)

Ryan ousted me by a little over a minute in this race. After this race I really started training for triathlons and making Brick workouts a weekly occurance. I don't know what I would do without them now!

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