Grand Rapids Triathlon - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Grand Rapids, Michigan
United States
Grand Rapids Triathlon
80F / 27C
Total Time = 4h 43m
Overall Rank = 1F/65
Age Group = Female
Age Group Rank = 1/
Pre-race routine:

Two weekends ago, my husband and I raced the American TTT. We weren't sure how well we would recover from that 3 day, 4 race event, so the decision to sign up for this race didn't happen until Thursday night. I really wanted to race this event, though, because it was a first year, locally produced race, and was also offering prize money for the top Overall winners. Once we signed up, I got really excited to race, but was working really hard at not getting overly nervous about it, either.

We drove up to Grand Rapids on Saturday afternoon, checked in to the race (at a Mazda dealership!!) then relaxed in our sweet hotel room, blasting the AC. It felt like we drove down south, because the temps were hitting 90- HOT for MI in June!
Event warmup:

For the last 3 years, I've had this annoying habit of puking before most of my major races. I tried SO hard to stay calm, but I only made it to the exit of the hotel parking lot before losing the last few bites of breakfast. Oh well!

When we got to the race site, we found out that the transition are was set up along the road by the swim, and it was by far the longest transition I've ever seen- perhaps half a mile long? At least now I'd have an excuse for my slow transition times :)

I jumped in the river for a few warm up strokes and my muscles felt pretty good. Stomach- not so much, but I was NOT going to let that ruin my race.
  • 30m 8s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 25s / 100 yards

All of the male racers left in 2 waves before us, and I lined up to make sure I was first in the water. When the gun went off, I was up front, with a perfect line on the buoys. I just LOVE open water swimming!! Especially in my De Soto wetsuit. For someone who just simply isn't built to swim, this wetsuit is a lifesaver- it allows me to actually think about racing the swim, and not just surviving.

Within a few minutes of swimming, I was already catching up to the men that started 3 minutes ahead of us. I spent the rest of the swim passing the men. I couldn't draft off of any other swimmers because there just weren't any women ahead of me that I could find. For some odd reason, almost everyone was swimming the course VERY wide right, whereas I was swimming a straight line from buoy to buoy and had no contact the entire time. It really was a perfect swim for me!

Including males, I had the 14th fastest swim of the day. I can no longer hate the swim :)
What would you do differently?:

Not much! I still have to stay focused in order to 'race' the swim, so I will work on that more often, until it becomes second nature to push it.
Transition 1
  • 02m 12s

They had wetsuit strippers! Sweet! Too bad I forgot that I was wearing my bib suit, so I screwed that up a bit, but they still helped! The transition area was set up for 1000 participants, and there were only 2 racks on each side, with 8 bikes on each- soo, that means it was an incredibly long transition area. I went as fast as I could, without spiking my HR too high. It was a bit crowded in there, since the sprint people were coming in as well, so I had to maneuver around a lot of people to get to my rack, which was one of the last ones.
What would you do differently?:

Not much I could've done!
  • 2h 31m 42s
  • 56 miles
  • 22.15 mile/hr

Ryan and I had driven part of the course and saw that the roads were the newer chip-seal crap that Michigan started using last year for at least the first/last 8 miles of the bike. Now that I've had some experience with this crap, I knew to keep my tire pressure low- 105- in order to save my legs/butt on those sections. My new Cobb saddle also helps with the vibration, and for someone who has been very angry about chip-seal in the past, I handled the road surface very well. I still hate the stuff, but knowing about it ahead of time helped me a lot.

My goal for this race was to bike hard. I wanted to see what my legs could handle on the bike, and see what would happen on the run if I pushed my bike. I really wanted to hit 185 watts for this course. Once I was on my bike, though, my legs told me that 180 was the number. My legs didn't hurt, exactly, they just didn't feel springy, so I just listened and made sure I didn't drop below 180.

This ride was really enjoyable, and when we weren't on chip-seal, the course was smooth. It is really flat, and we had almost no wind the entire time- amazing! We rode through the farmlands of MI, and with that, the wonderful smell of manure and dead, rotting roadkill :) This day was just about as perfect as can be for a race, and I made my brain think of that, instead of how much I wanted to tear out my GI tract and replace it with a new one. I ignored my guts, and just kept eating and drinking as much as possible.

The one annoying part of the ride for me was Mr. AGer who can't handle being chicked. I passed this guy about 20 times during this entire ride, and would often ride over 210 watts for 5 minutes at a time to try and permanently drop him, but no matter what, he would just re-pass me, then slow waaay down. It was like driving on the freeway with someone who doesn't use cruise control. Dear Mr. AG male- you will still have your penis/balls at the end of the race, even if a 115lb female out-biked you. Oh, and you started the race 3 minutes ahead of me, so get over yourself. Stay dropped!! ARG! :)

Overall, I had the 20th fastest bike split, including men. I am very happy with how well I rode- I stayed comfortable, and didn't lose any power or speed throughout the entire ride. I was passed by one girl at mile 25 or so, but I caught back up to her by the time we got into transition.
What would you do differently?:

Yell at the other racer who wouldn't stay ahead or behind. That would've been mean, but he deserved it!
Transition 2
  • 02m 3s

The other people on my rack put their wetsuits on the racks, so I had to shove them out of the way to rack my bike. I also ate all of my gu's on the bike, and didn't have any extra for the run, so I had to dig in my transition bag to find some. Dummy!!
What would you do differently?:

Have extra Gu's with my run stuff.
  • 1h 36m 53s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 07m 24s  min/mile

As I exited transition, I saw the first place female about 20 seconds ahead of me. She looked like she was running strong, and as we started the run, she was pulling away. When I saw her on the bike, I though for sure she was a biker, not a runner, but here she was, pulling away, and I was running 7min/miles, feeling like death. My stomach was being a pain and I just wasn't very happy out there. As the negative thoughts crept in, I realized that the music in my head had stopped and that means only one thing- I am low on fuel. I took a GU and within a few minutes, Adele's 'Rolling in the Deep' turned on and I focused on the race. I stopped watching my pace, and just focused on the lead female- just keep her in sight and reel her in.

The course goes through a very cute neighborhood along Thornapple river, and we did a 3.5 mile out and back twice. It was shaded for almost the entire run, which we needed because it was getting HOT out there. While the HIM racers got on the run, a lot of Olympic racers were out there, finishing their run, so there were plenty of other athletes out there. Everyone looked pretty damn miserable, and with a bunch of athletes just stopping to walk in front of you, keeping up a strong run was getting tough!

By mile 3, I was finally starting to catch 1st place. My pace was dropping from 7s, to 7:05s, to 7:10s, but it looked like her pace was falling off even more. At the turn around, she saw me, and I saw that I was only 10seconds behind her. I wasn't sure what to do, though, because I didn't feel strong at all. I was afraid that if I passed too soon, I would fall apart and cramp, so I just sort of paced off her for another 3 miles. Finally, I saw that our overall pace had dropped to 7:20s, and she was starting to walk the aid stations, so I knew I could make a move. I ate another GU, got my song back in my head, and at the half way turn around, I punched it and passed her with conviction. I stayed strong for another 2 miles, not looking back. When we got to the final turnaround, I saw my lead was over a minute already, and knew that I could hold on for first. The last 5K were really miserable, and I walked the aid stations and slowed down a TON. I didn't have the guts (literally) to pull off a strong finish, and with a solid lead and no real chance at a PR, I ran in at a comfortable pace. It still hurt like hell, though!

I really liked the run course. It was mostly flat, with just a few small inclines to keep you interested. I got to see Ryan a few times, and he looked like he was in as much pain as I was- but he was clearly having a much faster race. It was a little bit odd to not really be sure of my place, since none of the spectators knew if you were racing the Oly or the Half, so even though I was almost positive I was in first place, I just wasn't sure until I crossed the finish line and asked. It was such a relief to be done running! I think I was happier to be done with the damn race than I was for winning ;) Man those things hurt!

Ryan was there for me at the finish line, with a big happy grin on his face. I knew he had a great race out there and am FINALLY ok with not being the fastest.....i think.... :) As I was recovering, I got interviewed by the Grand Rapids newspaper and made the news!
Overall 15th fastest run of the day
What would you do differently?:

Not much, besides get a new stomach. I know I can run a much faster half, but it wasn't really necessary to destroy my legs for this race. I have a lot of races on the calendar and it's more important to recover fast so I can train hard than it was to take a few minutes off of my time. That's also a great excuse to use for not pushing it, hehe ;)
Post race
Warm down:

After getting interviewed, Ryan and I compared notes on the race while petting some puppies and making new friends. We jumped in the river to try and cool off, then ate some food. Once the results were posted, we saw that Ryan got 1st in his age group- amazing! We went over to the awards area and were able to get our prizes and leave a bit early, which was nice. I got a check for $500, a new pair of New Balance shoes, and 75% off of a new wheelset- nice payday for a smaller event!!

Huge congrats to Ryan who got a PR by 14 minutes and was 7th overall. It was also cool to see that I was 11th overall (including men). And a HUGE thank you to Jorge at e3 training solutions for all of your coaching and support for almost 4 years now!! I seriously owe you- you are the best!!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I am pretty sure that I was recovered from the TTT, but I think in the 2 weeks, I overdid the 'resting' and lost just a bit of fitness. Not a big deal, since I wasn't even sure about doing the race, but I will be ready to rip for Musselman in a month!

Event comments:

I think the race organizers did a great job for a first year event- especially one that offered a sprint, Olypmic and Half all on the same day. That takes a lot of organization, and even if there were a few snafu's (a few athletes missed some turns), overall the race was a success. I highly recommend the race, especially for those looking for alternatives to WTC races. It's important to continue to support local RDs, and they did an excellent job taking care of the athletes, having a fair and accurate course, and making sure there was enough food and water on the course for all 1000 participants in the 3 events.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2011-06-03 12:00 AM
00:30:08 | 2112 yards | 01m 25s / 100yards
Age Group: 1/
Overall: 3/65
Performance: Good
Suit: De Soto T1
Start type: Wade Plus:
Water temp: 68F / 20C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 02:12
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
02:31:42 | 56 miles | 22.15 mile/hr
Age Group: 2/
Overall: 2/65
Performance: Good
Wind: None
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks: Not enough
Time: 02:03
Overall: Bad
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
01:36:53 | 13.1 miles | 07m 24s  min/mile
Age Group: 1/
Overall: 1/65
Performance: Average
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Too easy
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5] 4