Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Closing out the Season: Waterman's Sprint Tri Race Report

I had been planning on closing out my season with Augusta 70.3, but after a 4 day vacay to Playa Del Carmen and lots of rest I was reinvigorated to sign up for one more local sprint.  The weather for race day was looking promising a week before the race, a DC Tri discount would help with the cost, the race start time was 10am and the race site was a 50 min drive from DC - I couldn't say no.


The drive out to the race site was a breeze.  As soon as I got out of the city it started raining again.  5 minutes later it stopped.  This continued for the entire drive.  Rain, pouring rain, nothing, and so on.  Well obviously this rain situation was out of my control and I figured if anything it would play to my favor since I'm not as timid on the bike in the rain as some others.  I arrived at the race site with a plenty of time for packet pickup and bike racking.  I was a bit surprised to see 2 other pink Rudy Project Wingspan helmets in my vicinity while bike racking.  It seemed some people decided not to show race morning which left us with a bit of extra room to rack bikes and set up our transition area.  I wasn't sure how the rain situation would play out so I decided to cover my run stuff with a plastic bag, leave my bike shoes and helmet our and take my backpack back to the car with me (about 500 ft away from transition).  As soon as I got back to my car to keep warm and chill out before race start it started raining again...oi...well at least I was going to be soaking wet when I got out of the water anyways.  The rain stopped after only a couple minutes and held off pretty much the rest of the morning.  After resting and snacking in the car I got into my wetsuit and headed over to swim start.  After speaking with a friend who had raced the 1/2 Iron the day before at the same location I figured it would be best to get a swim warm up in to get used to the cold water.  The water closest to shore was very cold.  I looked at the people standing on the dock in only swim suits and swim caps and worried for them.  After swimming out away from shore about 150 meters it seemed to be a bit warmer, which was nice.  I was definitely glad I jump in to swim for 7-8 minutes before race start.  It helped me acclimate to the water temp and the chop.  For a small inland creek area the water was very choppy.

THE SWIM - 750m - 17:09 - 28th/104

The swim start was a bit crazy as it was all women 44 and under - pretty big group of women.  I felt strong in the swim and was passing people from the wave that started four minutes in front of my before I hit the first turn buoy.  The first leg seemed to be directly into the current which slowed everyone down a bit, after making the left hand turning and heading into the middle of the lake area the chop became worse and worse.  I got a couple mouthfuls of water but was able to find my own space and a few feet to draft off of during the 2nd leg.  The 3rd leg was the longest and the most difficult to site as you could also see the buoys from the 1st leg of the swim.  I continued passing people until the final turn buoy - where I was passed by a few fast guys from the wave that started behind mine.  I figured this was ok - to only be 4 minutes or so behind some of the fastest men was better than usual for me.  The swim exit was up a boot ramp - it was a bit slick and and some sharp edges.  I felt one on my foot as I ran out and hoped for the best and that it wouldn't bother me during the run.  As I checked my watch on my way out I was a bit disappointed with my swim time, but knew it was probably rough for everyone.  Now, checking the results I was close to the 25% of women on the swim, that never happens.  So, I'll draw the conclusion that my swim is getting better!

T1 - 2:59 - 6th/104

I remembered this transition from General Smallwood Oly last year - it's about 1/4 mile run on pavement up to the transition area.  I peeled down my wetsuit as I ran into transition.  I was happy to see my bike shoes and helmet were not soaked.  I got my wetsuit off and slipped into my shoes as I donned helmet and sunglasses.  Mr and I were off!

THE BIKE - 16 miles - 47:24 - 1st/104

The roads were wet but the rain was gone.  The course started out with a gentle climb out of the park before turning onto the main road for some rollers.  The bike course was rolling and mostly car free.  The pavement was smooth and mostly free of debris despite the rain storm that had lasted all week.  I knew the best swimmer in my wave, or one of the top swimmers, was going to be bib #217, so I was on a mission to catch her.  At mile 6.5 I was all by myself on a mostly flat part of the course so I decided it would be a good time to take my gel.  As I was resting in my aerobars and snacking I hit a pothole, right elbow off the elbow pad, left arm grabbing at bars to steady myself...somehow I stayed upright on 2 wheels without losing much momentum.  I took notice to keep my eyes on the road for the rest of the ride in fear of another pothole incident.  I continued to pass people throughout the entire ride.  As I came to the last couple miles of the ride I could see a female in front of me maybe 1/4 to 1/2 mile.  Misson...catch her...maybe it's #217.  Well I caught her and it wasn't #217, we rode in to the dismount line together as the announcer let everyone know the "2nd and 3rd female were coming in 'neck and neck' 1 minute behind the race leader".  Score for a flying dismount, I left the other girl in my dust as she stopped to dismount with her shoes still on.  I took note that she looked like a runner and that I'd need as much time on her coming out of transition as I could get.

T2 - 0:49 - 4th/104

Run shoes on race belt in hand and one gel in pocket and I as on my way. Nothing too exciting here, I was in a rush to close the 1 minute gap on the leader.

THE RUN - 5k - 23:01 - 8th/104

I started out knowing I'd need to control myself as there were definitely hills to be had on this run course.  Since I never saw #217 on the bike I knew she was probably the leader with a 1 minute gap.  No problem, I can close that.  I attempted to use my Garmin for my splits - no luck there - more on that later.  I kept a steady pace on the flats, controlled my heart rate on the uphills and let it fly on the back half of each loop (downhill through a campground area, much like Kinetic).  About 3/4 of a mile into the run I had the race leader in my sights.  She wasn't too far ahead and I was closing the gap.  I matched her pace up the first hill and passed her just after, knowing she'd probably turn it up, or attempt to, once she was passed.  Just as I was following her up the hill, the eventual race winner passed us both - at a great pace, a pace I knew I couldn't match.  So all within 1 minute the order of female leaders completely switched.  1st to 3rd, 3rd to 1st, and I guess I was pretty much in 2nd the entire time.  I held my pace for the 2nd loop and felt great.  I was able to pick it up a tad for the finish.  Had I known my run split I would  have picked it up even more to go sub-23, alas that's what happens when you record your entire race without  hitting lap.  I have a 20.3 mile open water swim recorded!

OVERALL FINISH: 1:31:19, 3rd/104


We were wet, the sun was not out and it was a tad chilly.  I grabbed some clean, dry clothes from the car - yay warmth!  I was able to collect everything from transition and get the car loadad while the race was still going on.  I finished at around 11:35am - took care of my transition area, grabbed some food and visited with friends in hopes awards would start at a decent time.  Awards eventually started at 1:15 and were pretty efficient.  Even though I crossed the line as the 2nd female, I ended up 3rd overall.  Ya know, the whole wave start thing can get ya sometimes!  It was great closing out the season on the overall podium!