21 June 2008

Cache Valley Classic Sprint Triathlon Race Report

Well, I did this race this morning and figured I would start writing my race report, but I will probably have to edit and add as I remember things. Like I mentioned yesterday, I was pretty tired and didn't really have many expectations for this race, mostly because I haven't been training and I was traveling last week and I did the BAM triathlon last weekend. However, apparently going to a race with few expectations works for me. Oh, once again, this will probably be a long post, so be warned.

This morning I woke up at 5:45am, got up, got dressed, brushed my teeth, braided my hair, and loaded up the car. I did remember to grab my PopTarts as I was going out the door. I had to stop and put gas in the car and then I drove the 15-20 minutes to Hyrum Lake State Park I parked my car, unloaded my bike, checked the tire pressure, and headed down to pick up my race packet. I grabbed my packet and timing chip and then headed over to the transition area.

Once I got there, I racked my bike and started setting up my transition area. I must have looked like I knew what I was doing, because I had several ladies on my row ask me questions about setting up their transition areas. I put baby powder in my cycling and running shoes, put my clips on my bib number, checked out my bike and made sure it was in an easy gear, and made sure that my water bottles were open. Then, I walked down to the lake.

I should mention that last year, when I did this race, there was about 50 feet of beach. This year, there was no beach. In fact, the stairs that we ran up to the transition area on were about 5 steps underwater, so I was a little confused about the swim route. So, I decided to walk over to the docks and check it out. While I was standing there, I ended up chatting with a guy who was doing the Olympic distance. We chatted about the race course and then started talking about injuries and IT band stuff and I recommended my massage therapist to him. We walked back over to the transition area and I put on my wetsuit, found my mom, Simon the dog, and my sister-in-law Karen. I talked to them for a couple of minutes and then it was time to get into the water.

So, this was a "deep water" start, which was a new and different thing for me. However, the water only came up to my chin, so I didn't have to tread water. The water was cool, but I felt pretty comfortable. I swam maybe 20 feet and was feeling good. I got back behind the starting buoys, got ready to start my watch and was ready to go. The horn blew and we were off. I started swimming and was cruising along for about 2 minutes or so and I started to feel myself freaking out. so, I started breast stroking for a minute or so, calmed myself down and started swimming. I made it to the first buoy with no problems. I turned and then got kicked in the stomach pretty hard a couple of times. This man was struggling a little and wasn't swimming straight, so every time I tried to swim around him, I got kicked, which wasn't cool. However, I did not lose my cool and I kept swimming along. Did I mention that I was totally smiling under water? I was actually having fun swimming in open water, which was a huge accomplishment for me. I made the second turn and started heading for the finish. I was actually kinda wide, so I had to make a couple of turns, but the good news was that I was able to sight really well and get to the finish. I got a little high centered on the steps, since I somehow managed to get my legs under me and headed up the stairs into the transition area.

Quick side note...As I was swimming into the finish, I saw a kayak go flying by me yelling "MEDIC". I thought that maybe someone behind me needed some help. I kept going and made it to the finish and as I was running up the steps, I saw the EMTs doing CPR on a man in a wetsuit. They were at the top of the stairs and had kind of blocked the path to tranisition, which was completely and totally fine with me. I was completely shocked and actually had tears in my eyes. All I could think was "Please let this man be okay. Please let this man be okay." Since he was surrounded by EMTs, I made my way to my transition spot, still worrying about this poor man. He was actually on my mind for the entire race and really all I could think was "Please let him be okay." Apparently, he made it to about 10 feet from the swim finish and couldn't breathe, so he waved his hands and then went under. He popped back up (thank goodness he was wearing a wetsuit) and they were able to get him to the stairs and then up the stairs. Like I said, they were working hard doing CPR (I've never actually seen it done on a real person) and it was pretty scary. When I finished, I asked the race director if there was any word on his condition and the guy said no, so I'm definitely keeping he and his family in my thoughts and prayers. Tomorrow morning, I'm going to buy a newspaper to see if there is any word on how he's doing or if he made it or not. There were several people saying that he had a heart attack, but I don't think that anyone really knew what happened. (P.S. - According to the newspaper, the man died in the water, but the paramedics were able to get him breathing on the way to the hospital, but that was all of the details the race officials knew at the time the story was printed.) So, back to my race...

Anyways, T1 went fairly smoothly. My cycling shoes went on easy, thanks to the baby powder. I grabbed my bike headed for the bike exit, which was really close and then headed out for my bike. I started off very strong and was actually going 24 mph out of the race area, but then came the hills. I was trying to keep my speed above 18 mph, but that wasn't happening. I passed several people on the uphill and then turned south to head for Paradise, Utah (yes, it's actually called that). That was when I finally got in my groove. I should mention that for about 8 miles, the race is a good gradual uphill. I was riding in my aerobars and drinking my Mild Melon Heed and was feeling good and comfortable. I probably should have pushed myself a little harder on the bike, but no worries. When I made the turn, the downhills started, so I was cruising. At one point, I was going 33 mph, which was fun. I picked off a couple of people and since I did this race last year, I was familiar with the course, so I was feeling good. I made my way into transition, clipped out (seamlessly...I'm loving the big girl pedals), hopped off and ran my bike down to my spot. I knew that my bike time wasn't as fast as I wanted, but I figured that I did okay for not riding much lately.

T2 went great, I think. I racked my bike, slipped off my cycling shoes and slipped on my running shoes. I remembered to take off my helmet, grabbed my visor and bib, and headed off to the run. My legs were feeling surprisingly good; however, I was feeling thirsty, which is weird because I know I drank some lake water and I drank my entire bottle of Heed.

I grabbed some water at the first water stop, walked while I gulped it down and then headed off. I felt like I was getting in my groove, but then the killer hill came. My left hamstring started cramping up, which was uncomfortable, so I ran and walked up the hill and finally got going. I grabbed some gatorade at mile 1 and then headed out to the turn around. I made it to the turn around and then knew that it was mostly downhill and I was home free. So, I started pushing it. My watch stopped at some point, so I really didn't know how long I'd been going or my pace or anything, but I was watching my HR monitor and my HR was 173, so I kept rolling. I passed a few people (5 I think) and made it across the dam and up the short hill and then started opening it up. I crossed the finish line with a huge smile on my face (I may have been in my head).

My times were okay and I did beat my time from last year by 9 minutes which was cool. My swim was awesome, and I'm looking forward to doing more open water swims to get more and more confident and comfortable in the water. My bike was not as good as I hoped, but it's all good. My run was exactly the same time as last year, which cracks me up. However, it is also a good sign, because my runs this year have all been slow so far, and it looks like I may be making some sort of progress in the speed area. My transitions went well. I used the Tri-Slide with the wetsuit and it definitely aided in getting the suit on and probably off as well. The baby powder worked and will be used again. I should mention that I was fairly distracted during the bike, because I kept thinking about that man and hoping that he was okay. My swim was awesome and I wish that I had a picture of me smiling in the water. I'll have to remember that image and use it in my next race. My run went well and I felt good while I was out on the course.

So, yeah, this race is done and in the books. I'm happy with it and feel like it went pretty well, especially considering all of the factors. I'm actually a little sad because I don't have another open water race until the 1/2 IM in August, but I may be able to come up with a solution for that. I was able to beat my time from last year in all of the areas, especially my swim by 5 minutes.


Swim - 16:57 (12/18)
T1 - 2:05 (4/18)
Bike - 45:16 (14/18) (16.4 mph)
T2 - 1:03 (3/18)
Run - 28:31 (14/18)
Total Time - 1:33:54 (11/18)

Gender Place - 31/82
Overall Place - 105/218

2007 Results

Swim - 21:57
T1 - 2:08
Bike - 49:21 (15.1 mph)
T2 - 51:04
Run - 28:31
Total Time - 1:42:50


MEB said...

Great job AJ! Can't wait to cheer you on for that 1/2 IM. Mia