Friday, August 19, 2011

Luray International Triathlon Race Recap 8/13/2011

The international distance tri was the first part of the Luray Double for the weekend. My brother and I headed out to Luray, VA in the Shenendoah Valley for some camping and racing.  To complete the Luray Double you must complete for the international distance race on Saturday followed by the sprint distance race on Sunday.

My brother and I headed out to Luray on Friday evening after dinner in hopes traffic would be a little lighter.  The drive turned into to some 2-lane mountain roads towards the end and gave us a small preview of what we would be biking and running come race time.  It was quite dark as we approached Lake Arrowhead park around 9:45.  The bright lights and small village of Team Z beckoned us as we slowly drove in looking for the camping area.  We parked the car and got out to ask the Team Z folk where we could pop our tent.  Oddly enough out of all the people on Team Z we ran into the same fella' who we spoke to after Nation's Tri last year, Mischa.  He entertained us for a few minutes and talked up Team Z a whole bunch before pointing us on our way toward the camping area, a mere 200 feet more down the road.

We efficiently found a nice plot of grass next to a parkng spot and popped a 2 man tent.  There were a few other athletes camping out on near our spot so we were as quiet as possible.  The weather was cool and perfect for some camping.  We were lucky to not have any issues with the tent, be close to bathrooms, and in a quiet location.  We were able to get to bed by 11:00 and get some shut-eye until about 5:30.

Saturday morning came early.  Race coordinators began setting up the finish line and packet pickup area very early.  Racers driving in started arriving and all the camping folk began waking.  I was able to enjoy Special K Red Berries and a banana before heading over to packet pick-up.  Packet pick-up was conveniently a couple hundred feet away from our tent.  I got my race numbers, #202 (DC represent), and headed back to camp to get everything situated before setting up transition.  Meanwhile Rory was up and awake and getting his volunteer assignment. 

I walked over to transition and set up my bike.  The weather was slightly cool and the race directors were announcing water temp to be 78.5, not quite wetsuit legal.  As a completed transition set-up I that someone quite popular was across from me on the same transition rack.  Athlete after athlete kept coming over and shaking his hand and taking pictures with him, who could this person be?  A famous tri-athlete? A movie star?  I had no clue.  Finally someone said, "Hey, Mayor Fenty!".  Ahh, at last mystery solved.  Adrian and his brother Shawn were racing.

Before heading out of transition I donned a black armband lettered with "DAD".  This armband was quite difficult to don as I drew it on my left arm with my right hand.  All went well until trying to connect the back of the arm near the elbow.  This was my first race not being able to send my dad the classic tranistion picture, my first race in which my training had been abruptly interrupted, my first race since losing my dad.  This one was for him.

THE SWIM - 1500m - 33:09
The swim course was slightly confusing, but since I was in the 4th wave there were plenty of people leading the way before me.  I started out swimming hard and feeling pretty strong.  I felt as though I was constantly surrounded by a pack or passing slower people in front of me and merging with a new pack.  The kicking, elbows, swimming into, onto, and over seemed to be never ending.  Considering the roughness in the water I wasn't dissappointed with my swim time.  I would have liked to see it around 32:00 but I can work it it.

T1 - 2:11
Transition to T1 was quite the run - out of the water, across the sandy beach, up the slippery wooden stairs, across the grass and finally into transition.  Considering the length of the run for T1 I was pleased with my time.  I was trying to be fast and got a little "shakey" during the shoe change and had to remind myself that slowing down would be faster than falling over.

THE BIKE - 41k - 1:27:25
The bike course was, to say the least, full of rolling hills.  2 loops of steep climbs, false flats, and short but fast decents.  I pushed as hard as I could on the bike, feeling the burn and loving it.  During and ascent about 5 miles into the course my chain came off, this is not the first time I've had this issue darn it.  At least I was able to hop off and pop the chain back on without losing too much time.  The most difficult part was picking up enough momentum to get going on the incline.  The sections of false flats on the bike course made me second guess my ability to push hard the entire distance.  I was barely managing to keep it around 15-16mph on a seemingly flat road.  What was wrong with me, I can usually keep it around 20mph on a flat!  I passed a few fellow age groupers here and there and continued on my way back to transition.  Oh, but not so fast!  The last climb of the course was insane, people with horns, cow bells and signs lined the road to give cyclists that last little kick we needed to get up the hill.  The road narrowed as we came around and entered back into the park as it was shared with the run course.

T2 - 1:15
Back into transition I re-racked the bike, slipped out of the bike shoes and into the run shoes thanks to my Yankz.  After grabbing my race # belt and a couple power gels I headed out onto the course and passed a happy and cheering familiar face of my brother guiding athletes onto the run course from transition. 

THE RUN - 10k - 50:15
I achieved a steady yet hard pace shortly into the run and reminded myself to run my own race.  As much as I wanted to win I had to remember to do the best that I could for myself and sometimes others are just plain 'ol better.  About 1/2 mile into the run a fellow age group competitor came up along side me and very slowly passed me.  I decided her pace was not much faster than mine and that I would sit on her heels for most of the race.  The course was very hilly and transitioned into gravel road for the mid 3 miles.  The run was a pretty simple out and back design.  As we hit the turn around my fellow competitor took off.  I knew if I did the same I'd be do myself in.  I held my steady pace having confidence in my ability.  About 4 miles into the I noticed she was running with her hands on her hips - yes she was tiring.  At 5 miles she was walking, I cruised passed her, got an extra umph and my step and continued on my way for the last mile and change.  I knew she may be capable of passing me again and I pushed on to the finished line.  As I came around the last corner I finished with a hard sprint for the last couple hundred yards and a smile and kiss to the sky for Dad as I went under the finish chute.

This race had great post-race goodies.  PB&J cut in half and ice baths for leg soaking!  Who could ask for more?  Ok, me, where's the chocolate milk?  Good thing I brought chocolate milk - top notch recovery drink.  While icing I was intereviewed by a lady with a large camera in my face, I don't know where this video is.  My brother took some suprising shots while I was in the ice bath and then we headed over to get some food.  Rory had worked hard all morning in the transition area and got himself a nice hotdog and soda from the volunteer firemen and I hit up the PB&J, trail mix, and oranges for the athletes.

After cheering on other finishers and cathcing up with some friends from DC Tri is was time for awards.  We headed on over the awards presentation.  Longest awards presentation ever - Overalls, special divisions, Virgina Overall Winners, yada...yada...yada.  Finally onto the age group awards.  Female 20-24 3rd....2nd....1st - Holli Finneren!  We were both completely surprised.  Ok, well I figured it out when I saw who got 2nd but that was only seconds before the words came out of the announcers mouth.

FINISH TIME - 2:54:13 (First Place)

How great it was.  Finally - a first place finish - for Dad.  Rory and I celebrated with some beach time and a dinner out on town while recovering and preparing for part 2 of the Luray Double: The Luray Sprint Triathlon.


  1. What a proud Daddy you have, he was with you all the way! Proud Mama too! Love ya babe, Mom

  2. You go, girl!! Your daddy must have had the biggest smile on his face, eh? But then, I bet he'd be smiling no matter what place you came in. He sounded like that kind of daddy!