Monday, June 3, 2013

Columbia Triathlon 2013 Race Report

I had heard the descriptions of Columbia, the up and downs (literally), and despite the bad and the lack of good friends that would actually be racing I decided that I would sign up.  I felt I had to, it's practically a local race and it seems everyone else has done it at least once.  A small pro-field heads out for it and tons of age groupers trying to crush some hills.

PRE-RACE: Saturday

One requirement of Columbia is that you pick up your packet and rack your bike on Saturday.  At first I just figured I'd drive up on Saturday then back home and up again on Sunday morning.   When I learned transition closed at 6:30 AM and the drive is more than 1 hour I started leaning towards hoteling it.  Lucky for me Abby was on board.  We headed up Saturday afternoon, picked-up packets, tinsy-tiny arm warmer, race belts, bento boxes (lots of schwag) and racked our bikes.  We headed straight to Macaroni Grill to fuel up for the next days race before checking in to the hotel.  It was definitely nice to not have to worry about waking super early to get to the race site on time - and bonus our room have a mini kitchen so we were able to have our normal pre race meals.


We arrived with plenty of time to use the port-o-johns, set up transition, and don our wetsuits -- before watching the pro's take off.  The transition area was huge, but well organized and included personalized stickers with your name and number at your specific racking location.  The downside of large events and
especially those with a pro field is the spread of the wave starts.  I had a good 1:45 minutes to wait for my wave to take off.  Luckily I ran into some friends that I didn't even realize would be there and time flew by.

THE SWIM: 30:35 - 1500m

My wave start was big and aggressive.  With the 20 some waves that were already in (and some out) of the water before us the lake was very choppy which didn't help.  I didn't feel to great the first couple hundred meters - I was fighting too often just to keep swimming my line - my arms were moving way to fast and the chill of the water was taking my breath away.  I knew that I needed to find my own space, my own rhythm and get into it and then find some feet to hang on to.   After the first turn bouy things seemed to open up and I was feeling much better and much more comfortable.  Not too long after that I found some great feet to hold on to and rode those in for the rest of the swim (probably about 2/3 of the swim).

T1: 2:30

Uneventful really - slipped out of my wetsuit, grabbed helmet, sunglasses shoes, and bike and headed for the mount line.  There was a short, steep, grassy (wet/muddy) hill to exit transition so a couple volunteers were helping athletes and bikes up and out of transition.

THE BIKE: 1:16:03 - 25 miles

I was honestly hoping to do better on this bike course - but with the soaked roads from the evenings/morning rain storms and the previous weeks crash at Kinetic I was a bit nervous.  I was breaking on every corner and being a complete nervous nelly.  The humidity was causing my sunglasses to fog up like crazy so I was also kep busy trying to maintain decent vision.  I was passing many people the entire bike and felt strong on
the hills - though nervous descending them with the wet conditions and the fact that the guys behind me slid out about 3.5 miles into the race taking a corner.  I ran out of Gu brew in my aero bottle around mile 20 and was too stubborn to reach back and refill it with the 1/2 bottle I had in my rear cage.  I took my favorite PowerGel with abour 2.5-3 miles left on the bike to set myself up for a good run.  I decided to forgo the flying dismount so I wouldn't be running through the muddy transition area barefoot.


T2 was, like T1, uneventful.  I racked my bike, took off my helmet, slipped into my running shoes while grabbing my race belt and nutrition.

THE RUN: 50:00 - 10k

I started out on the run with a good pace and aimed to match the pace/effort level the entire time.  I planned on taking a gel at mile 2 and 4 and taking water at every aid station.  I was passing people at a consistent pace and feeling really strong on the run.  As the hills started I was feeling great, through a girl in my age group did cruise right past me as we hit the first big hill.  There was nothing I could do to stay with her, so I decided not to worry about her.  The course takes you up and out of the park and then up and down through a neighborhood for a couple of miles before heading back through the park.  It was great seeing so many familiar faces on the run course and being encouraged by fellow DC Tri-ers.  A young female came up behind me and started to pass me the last 1/4 of a mile - I couldn't let it happen and sprinted it out with her.  It was a great finish - even though she was an age group above me!  I was hoping to go in the 48 minute range on this 10k but I really can't be too upset with the result.  I'll keep working on my 10k throughout the season to bring it down to where I really want it.

FINISH TIME: 2:40:34 (7th AG)

I would have loved to go under 2:40:00 in this race but considering the course and the conditions I am was more than pleased with my result.  It was my first time back out at an Oly racing hard since 2011.  I felt like I lost a lot speed last year while training for Louisville and I am enjoying getting back into it.  The biggest drawback of this race is honestly the cost and the logistics - though it does qualify the top 15 finishers for the Hy-Vee US National Championship (decisions, decisions...) which is a bargain at only $99.  I was most happy with my swim and my run on this course.  This was my best 1500m (legit) swim since I've started triathlon.  Last year at collegiate nationals 1500m took me a dissappointing 36:?? minutes.  It's great to see the time and work I've put in to actually learning how to swim make a difference.

1 comment:

  1. YOU are AWESOME! I am so very proud of you!
    I love you bunches too!