Monday, May 14, 2012

Kinetic 1/2 Race Report

One year ago I kicked off the tri season with the Kinetic Sprint Triathlon.  While picking up my packet last year  I realized there was a 1/2 Iron distance race the day before.  I thought to myself "how crazy, kick off the season with a 1/2 Iron?  These people must be nuts.  I'd never do that."  One year later I'm 3 tri's into the season - including 2 Olympic Distance races and a 1/2 Iron.  The course of events has seemed to follow this pattern recently - I declare I would never do it and the following year I'm registered.

I wrote out a detailed race plan on Thursday night.  For previous races I always have a plan but just in my mind.  I wanted to practice putting together the race plan and writing out my nutrition plan similar to how I will before Louisville.  The race plan started Friday morning and concluded with my post-race recovery on Saturday while detailing most of the steps in between.  I was able to carpool down to Lake Anna with a friend that was staying at the same place so I packed up, made us some pasta for dinner, and loaded my car in time to meet up when he was done with work.

Cervelo Love and 3/4 Zipp Love.
We hit the road around 2:30pm out of the DC area.  The radio was telling us there were long delays on 95 so we decided to take the 66 route to Lake Anna.  I'm not sure this was any faster - it took us about 3 hours to get to the race site.  Once at the site everything was simple and right there, which I appreciate about smaller races (compared to M-dot events and the like).  Once we had our packets we set out for some short swim, bike, run sessions.  I felt great in the water.  The air temperature was about 80 and the water was 70 so I didn't put my wetsuit on for the short swim.  The water was smooth and calm and obviously there were only a few of us in it - but I felt strong and steady.  I could only hope this would carry over to the next day.

We picked up some carbo loading essentials on the way lake house - enter bread, Teddy Grahams, Goldfish, bananas, and of course peanut butter.  We were blessed with a wonderful opportunity to stay at a lake house just 15 minutes from the race site.  We warmed up the pasta and garlic bread before tri geeking out and getting everything set for race day.  I loaded up my bike with nutrition, got my race #'s in the proper places and debated wetsuit or no wetsuit...left that to be a game time decision.  I headed to bed and settled in with some reading from Chrissie Wellington's: A Life Without Limits.

Woke up around 5:00am, got in to race suit and headed downstairs for some breakfast.  I stuck with my go to - Special K Red Berries (maybe I should get a sponsorship from them, ha) with almond milk and banana. Prepared 2 water bottles - 1 with Gu Brew and 1 of water before heading out the door.  We were out the door around 5:30 for an easy drive to the race site.  Traffic getting into the parking lots was a little congested but not too horrible, and no big deal since we had already picked up our packets and prepared everything.  A double digit race # put me pretty close to bike in/out - awesome - I'd rather not run through transition with bike shoes and my bike.  I got transition set up, picked up my timing chip, got body marked, hit up the portaloo and shimmied into my wetsuit.  I was starting to worry about having enough time to get a swim warmup in but in the ended the race was delayed 15 minutes to let the fog lift off the lake and I had more than enough time to get in the water.

The race started at 7:15am with the wave or men <29, followed by another wave of men 3 minutes later and then my wave at 7:21am.  The race start was on the Lake Anna Beach/shallow water.

THE SWIM - 1.2 Miles - 41:19
The horn blew and I ran a few steps until the water was a bit deeper and dove in to start swimming.  The start was tough but not horrible, nothing I had never dealt with before.  There were sight bouy's every 150m or so which was very helpful since the yellow turn buoy that was 700m away could not be seen easily from the start.  The course was one simple large triangle.  It took me a good 300m to get into a rhythm.  Once in a rhythm I felt good - I felt strong and relaxed, and even efficient.  I was shooting for a swim time in the 36:00 range so definitely not the swim I wanted but not a complete disaster either.  More focused swim practice is a must - especially open water.

T1 - 2:13
I thought I was taking forever in transition but I guess not.  This was a top transition time among the women and I even had to take my wetsuit off.  I also had a pretty awesome bike rack spot close to bike in/bike out and a bit farther from run in/run out.

THE BIKE - 56 Miles - 2:42:56
Almost a 5 minute improvement from my bike time in Augusta last September!  I rode 3 loops of this course last the weekend prior to the race and loved it and knew it could be a fast course if I was ready to rock.  I rode with my rear ZIPP and my Easton in front and thought it went well.  Would like to be able to compare to riding both ZIPPS or both Eastons.  I nailed my nutrition the bike - water, gel, water, Gu brew, power bar, water, gel, water, gel.  It went something like that.  I attempted to take a water bottle at the 1st water bottle handoff on the course just to have it with me since it wasn't crowded at that point and I knew I'd need it later.  Plus the extra practice can't hurt.  The girls handing off water were young (<16) and didn't really know how to do it - I got stiff armed.  If you every work a bottle hand off station for cyclists don't stiff arm them.  Luckily no one else was around so the water flew and everyone else was fine.  Had this been a crowded station it could have been a disaster.  The 2nd bottle handoff went much better, but it was crowded so I did have to slow down a bit, but I actually needed this water so it was worth it.  The course was crowded at points, a little narrow, and open to traffic.  The officials handed out a number of 4:00 (wtf) drafting penalties.  I was nervous that I had received one as I was passing some guys along a narrow bridge.  The officials zoomed past shortly after and I wasn't sure how long they'd been behind us (silent motorcycle). By the time they were next to us writing down #s I was in front but I had been following close behind another guy as we were making our pass.  Yes those dudes got chicked.  My bike time was good enough for first in my AG - 10 minutes to knock off for some overall hardware.  Unfortunately I did not do a flying dismount at the end due to a rocky gravely path from the road to transition.  I weighed the pros and cons and of a race this distance I figured it wouldn't make me or break me.

T2 - 1:18
Another top transition time - not that that's imperative to winning but it's nice to know that I am solid with my transitions.  This transition was simple - switch shoes, take off helmet/glasses, grab race # belt and nutrition.  I put 4 gels in my shorts for the run and I was off.

THE RUN - 13.1 Miles - 1:59:42
Happy to be running - even uphill.
I knew exactly what to expect on the run.  In one way or another I had seen the whole course - biking, walking, running from the previous weekend.  This was a 3 loop course which I was worried about for mental reasons leading up to the race.  I also know that loops help me break it down into very manageable portions.  The run starts (and each loop starts) with a nice uphill climb - steep at first followed by gradual ascent for the first mile.  Though this is annoying it helped me reign in my pace and not go out too hard.  I kept my feet underneath me, repeated my mantra's (crushing it, when all the weak is gone all that's left is strong) and smiled throughout the run.  It started to hurt a bit but it didn't bother me - I had been here before and I knew how to acknowledge the hurt before telling it to piss off.  The entire run course is rolling hills with  some bigger hills thrown in and nothing very flat ever - except for the finish line.The run time was 18 minutes better than my run time at Augusta.  I felt good the entire run - I was gelling and drinking and throwing cold water on myself every couple miles.  The looped course allowed me to see many fellow DC Tri Clubbers multiple times for some motivation and kick in the pants.

FINISH TIME - 5:27:26 - 3rd Place 25-29 AG
I cracked the 25-29 AG vault - and I was the youngest in the age group - hell to the yeah.  At the beginning of the season I was worried that this was going to be a learning and building year being in the new AG - but it's still early and I've brought home hardware 2x (duathlon and triathlon).  One of the biggest take aways from this race was that my hard work for Ironman training is paying off.  I haven't been training my short and fast much and I was struggling and frustrated with the Oly distance races.  This showed me all the hours on the bike and run are worth it.  I need to do more swim work - maybe invest in some paddles.  I know all the miles I've put in on the bike really helped improve my run time.  I'm still up in the air on the ZIPPS.

Advice on swim improvement and ZIPPs is always welcome :)

The biggest disappointment of the race was the lack of medical support/volunteers at the finish line followed by the lack of chocolate milk (luckily I brought me own).  I let it all go at mile 11 on the run - knowing I could do anything for 2 miles and that this is what the track work is for. I was ready for someone to catch me, help me sit down, give me water, a cold towel.  There were a few y people - kids handing out medals and a couple adults collecting timing chips.  After leaning against a very unsteady tent pole for a minute the man asked me if I'd like help removing my chip - well yes I would - isn't that why you are wearing rubber gloves?    Aside from that I headed straight to the ice bath for about 8 minutes and it felt wonderful.  I saw Matt after getting out of the ice bath and he greeted my with a hug and congratulations on an awesome race and helped sort me out to find food.  When asked how it went my first response was, "Ironman is going to be awesome".  I truly feel that and believe that.  I still have a lot of work to put in but I felt great throughout the entire race.  "The future is bright."

They had a proper awards ceremony where DC Tri Club took home some hardware in the different AGs.  My kitchen collection is growing with every race - I've now added a trivet and a VTS pint glass. Everyone out there had great races including this guy with a huge PR and this girl on her first 70.3. Congrats to everyone from DC Tri on a strong start to the season and a huge thanks to Russ for awesome accommodations and Trevor for an entertaining ride and even signing BSB with me - even if we only caught the very end of the song.


  1. Hollie, you had such an awesome race. So speedy! I def. saw you on the bike course as you went zooming past me! I shouted out your name, but I don't think you herd me.

    Also, I need to ride with you so you can make me faster on the bike :)

  2. Congrats!! That is a SUPER speedy bike split. Wow!