Monday, July 25, 2011

Seafair Olympic Triathlon - Race Report

Yesterday was the Seafair Triathlon and the weather couldn't be more perfect.  Summer finally reached Seattle, the sky was bright blue without a cloud and the day's high was low 80s.

I was doing the Olympic distance (1 mile swim, 20 mile bike, 6.2 mile run) and met up with some friends from college that I rowed with.  As my alarm went off at 4:15am and picked up the girls at 5:00am, I semi-jokingly asked them why we chose a hobby that starts even earlier than crew practice did.

I only have one picture of me right now, but more pictures will be added to the facebook later this week.  :)

Here are my times for the event:

Swim: 25:58
T1: 3:28
Bike:  1:06:40
T2:  3:33
Run:  1:23:11
Total:  3:02:50

Before I get into the breakdown of the events, I just have to say how awesome my friends are.  Not only the ones that did the event but those who came out at the crack of dawn on a Saturday to see us for a few minutes during transistion.  My good friend Jed, fresh off of his brother's wedding the night before, showed up at 6:30am to wish us well before we dove into the lake.  He took pictures the entire time and even ran with me for a bit during my second loop to encourage me and tell me I was doing great.  He also emailed status updates with pictures to another friend who was out of town and otherwise would have stood along him to cheer us on.

Swim:  25:58
The swim was in Andrews Bay in Lake Washington.  As you can see from the handy-dandy map below, there was a double loop that took you out and then almost all the way back in to the start for the second loop and actually went around the south end of the swim dock.  This caused an issue because as you went for your second loop, the sprint waves (starting about 20 minutes after the Olympic waves) were starting.  So, after you had just battled your own wave, either swam over others or was swam over or both, you got to do it again through the second loop.

For me, I battled most of the swim.  I was at the front of the pack for our wave with a friend of mine whose swim pace is similar to mine.  At the first buoy turn I was stroke for stroke with someone from my wave (you can tell by the color of the swim cap) and it later turned out to by my friend.  During the swim I caught up and passed some from the wave(s) ahead of me.

Transition 1:  3:28
Uhh, 3.5 minutes?  Not good.  I knew I didnt want to rush through transitions as this was my first Olympic triathlon (and my first triathlon this season) but I didnt realize I was moving that slow.

Bike: 1:06:40
The bike course was beautiful and super cool, I averaged about 17.5mph.  We went up Lake Washington Blvd and it took me about 3-4 miles to get my bike legs going.  Lady (my bike) rode like a champ and it was so great to have her back after nearly a month.  The express lanes on I-90 were closed for the race and they sent us East to Mercer Island first.  The sun was just rising and the view was amazing and gorgeous.  The ride was great as there was plenty of space for all riders and no intense climbs.  It was fun to be able to shout to my friends as we passed each other on the bikes.  Orange cones and a police car with flashing lights was the signal for the turnaround and they sent us West, all the way to downtown Seattle.  I have never been on this stretch of road before and it was super cool to be able to ride all the way to the football and baseball stadiums in the city.  More cones and flashing lights signalled the turnaround that sent us back.

Bike course in red
True to form, triathletes during a race are some of the nicest and most encouraging people I have ever encountered.  No less than 5 people (men and women) encouraged and congratulated me during the ride.

Transition 2: 3:33
Yeah, about 3.5 minutes again.  I did realize that after putting on my shoes I still needed to put on my knee brace, thought I could fit it over my shoe, then realized I needed to take my shoe off again to put it on.

Run: 1:23:11
As you can see above, not good.  I am a terrible runner.  The first loop I didn't walk at all and felt pretty good.  The second loop was definitely worse.  I felt thirsty and dehydrated and although I went reallllly slow, I didnt feel like I was going to die.  Which, for me, is a plus.  This part is where I always lose ground.  I passed 2 people during the entire time and it was because they were walking.  But again, triathletes show their awesomeness.  During the run, I had about 5 men holler encouragement to me as they went loping by.  I was called sweetheart, honey and girl.  I laughed.

At the 6 mile marker I was passing a 68 year old man (and I know this because they mark your age on the back of your calves) who was walking and looking like he was struggling a lot.  Feeling good, I told him lets go and that we can do it and he took up trotting with me to the finish. 

Finish:  3:02:50
It was good to finish.  My first Olympic triathlon on 3:02.  I really wanted to do it in under 3 hours, but with my slow transition and struggle on my run I came close.  Next time baby.