Got the Nerve? Triathlon - Triathlon

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Lebanon, Pennsylvania
United States
IM ABLE Foundation
54F / 12C
Total Time = 1h 48m 30s
Overall Rank = 242/375
Age Group = Athena
Age Group Rank = 2/9
Pre-race routine:

Spent the 1.5 weeks leading up to the race stressing about the race.

First stress point: knowledge that the road that the last 'big' climb is on had recently been tar and chipped (less than optimal road conditions). Second stress point: knowing that the weather was going to be crap, as in cold and raining and the water in the spring-fed lake would be extra cold this year because we didn't really have any warm days to heat it up. Stress point three: Agonizing over clothing choices.

Race morning I got up around 5 and it was raining and the temp read 53*F. I took care of the dogs, dressed, loaded up the car and ate my breakfast of champions, Frosted Cherry Pop Tarts, on the way to the race site.

Parked, chatted briefly with the guy next to me as we unloaded our cars in the rain. I walked to the race area to get body-marked which involved the removal of a few layers of clothes - raincoat, long-sleeved shirt. Found one of my pals from masters and set up transition near her since they didn't have racks or spots designated this year.

Set up my transition and put a tall kitchen bag over everything to try to keep my bike shoes, sneakers and helmet dry, at least for now. Trash bagged my transition bag and put it by the fence.

Made a port-a-john stop, then went back to struggle with my wetsuit. I gained some weight since last year so it wasn't the easiest to get into (not that it ever is, really). All 3 of my masters pals and I were now all together, waiting until the start.
Event warmup:

We waited in our wetsuits in transition (in the still steadily falling rain) for race announcements and the national anthem. I think it may have been the most beautiful singing of the Star-Spangled Banner that I've ever heard. Everyone was dead silent, and somehow the acoustics of the rain and the woods and the surrounding area accentuated the singer's already beautiful, crystalline voice. It was downright haunting, in a good way. I can still picture and hear the scene, and I hope I don't forget anytime soon.

After that, we were instructed to stage by the lake to wait for the waves to be called. All the while of waiting during the instructions and the walk/wait by the lake in the rain, I/we were getting colder and colder. My friend Kaye was already shivering badly. Hope wisely opted to wait under an overhang, I guess it helped her being out of the rain for a bit, IDK.

I was in wave 6, so I watched and waited as the elites, IM Able athletes, and beginners went off, shaking my arms and doing little motions to try to get my body and muscles warmed up.
  • 09m 47s
  • 500 yards
  • 01m 58s / 100 yards

Still raining.

Finally it was time to enter the water, which at the edge seemed warm (or rather, 'warm') when compared to the air temp and my likely lower than normal body temp. I splashed water on my arms and face to get them acclimated to what they were about to endure. The feeling or 'warm' water changed once the countdown ended and we began swimming. That water was downright cold!

I remember not liking putting my face in but knew I needed to, so I did and took off. The first 150 yards or however far it was to the first buoy was tough. My arms were cold, my face was cold, there were people all over the place, stopped, backstroking, breast-stroking, you name it. It was tricky navigating around the other swimmers.

As I rounded the buoy, I realized I was in a sea of many colored caps, not the usual handful or so from the previous wave, but many people from all the waves, or so it seemed. The second leg of the swim wasn't quite as congested but there were still people to navigate around. I was warming up a tiny bit but far from warm. I couldn't quite get in a good groove.

Third and last section was more of the same.
What would you do differently?:

Swim faster. For sure I didn't put it in sprint gear. I was in more of a cruise gear. In hindsight, I wonder if it's because I think I viewed getting through the day without hypothermia or wrecking on the bike as being in survival mode and less of race mode.

I'm very disappointed in my swim time.
Transition 1
  • 03m 53s

Still raining.

They changed the location of the timing mat to be directly when exiting the water. Maybe there was another one along the way also? I don't remember. I know they wanted to be able to track people in and out of the lake so they had mats at the start and the exit.

Ran up the grassy hill and macadam path to transition (saw LT and P cheering, yay!), which was slowly turning into a mud pit. My wetsuit was halfway down and cap and goggles in hand since exiting the water. Got to my spot and got out of my suit very quickly, layed it on top of my transition bag by the fence. Put on my helmet, sunglasses (to protect my eyes from the stinging rain if nothing else), race number (not mandatory on the bike but it's what I do), bike vest (to offer a little warmth) and tri shoes. Used a tip from LT to be able to comfortably ride barefoot: put toe warmers under the insole! I had activated/installed them prior to the race when I was setting up. Grabbed Rico (my bike) and hustled it out through the wet grass and mud to the mount line and was off!

1/9 AG
What would you do differently?:

I surely lost a little time messing with the bike vest, but I was glad I had it. Even though it took a little extra time, I still had a better T1 time than many. Otherwise it was a pretty routine, decent transition that I'm happy with.
  • 1h 01m 11s
  • 16 miles
  • 15.69 mile/hr

Definitely still raining steady.

Right away and for much of the race there were slower racers from earlier waves to contend with. Unfortunately, many of them are newer to the tri scene and don't know to stay to the right to allow others to pass left. This was a major encumberance throughout the ride.

The rain really stung when it hit flesh, especially on the downhills. Rooster tails sprayed up from other racers and my own bike. I could feel the water soaking my shoes.

I don't really have anything major to report. I thanked as many volunteers and police/fire police as I could because they surely weren't enjoying the rain, either.

I took the downhills somewhat more conservatively than usual because of the rain and didn't attack the uphills as hard as I should've, nor the flats. I definitely could've/would've/should've pushed harder throughout.

Mine Road, the freshly tar and chipped road, was very rough and made for a bumpy, bad rolling-resistance ride, but I think they must've swept a lot of the loose stones away with a street sweeper because it wasn't as bad as new resurfacing of this sort usually is. The corners and edges still had a fair buildup of loose chips, though. A relay racer was helping an IM Able racer (hand cycle) up one of the hills, I'm sure it was extra challenging for them to get rolling on the rough surface. I applaud him for helping and I'd hope no one would DQ either one of them, given the circumstances.

I was glad for my vest and the foot warmers did a great job.

Definitely disappointed in my ride time as well. I can only blame the weather for part of it.
What would you do differently?:

Ride faster. I definitely didn't push as hard as I should've, I'll say mainly because of the rain and also not being in a racing frame of mind? Again, refer to the 'surviving the day' comment I made earlier. Also, being 15 lbs heavier than last year doesn't make the hills any easier.
Transition 2
  • 01m 46s

Yup, still raining.

Transition is now a complete mud pit, deep and slippery. I was kind of glad I was running barefoot but also not...I think my bike shoes might have gotten mired down.

As I started to turn to go down my row, a racer who was already finished was taking up and blocking the whole row. I yelled, "Coming in!" and he attempted to move but kept moving in my way. I was in the back and that's where he ran to, causing a bit of a cluster frog. He tried to get out of my way but he'd have been better off staying out of the way in the first place, realizing that it was a wave race and people were still racing. We both laughed at how I ended up cornering him in my spot!

4/9 AG
What would you do differently?:

Do a smoother job of getting my feet out ahead of time, not sure why I struggled a little today. Not have to deal with the guy in the aisle! Otherwise it was an OK transition.
  • 31m 55s
  • 3.1 miles
  • 10m 18s  min/mile

Still raining.

Ran through deep, slippy mud to get out to the road and trail. Almost fell a time or so. Mud run! Feet were a little 'blocky' from the cold but improved quickly.

Sigh. My worst part of the event, always, because I'm not a fast runner. I don't really want to talk about it, LOL. Summary: getting passed by everyone and their brother and their grandmother.

High points: seeing LT, P, S and W cheering, some HTCers, and my masters friends on the out and back.

Low point, other than being passed regularly: having a bit of breathing issues. Possible causes: my VCD, perhaps, or maybe air quality in general. Pollen has been very, very bad lately.

Nope, not too happy with this time, either.
What would you do differently?:

Run faster. Not be 15 lbs overweight and be a little better prepared. My running fitness isn't what it was last year at this race. Be able to breathe properly.

Post race
Warm down:

Went to the little tent for some water. Saw some HTCers, chatted with them a little, then headed back out into the rain to cheer my friends to the finish. Kaye finished first, then Lisa, then Hope. I was shivering until they all crossed the line.

I was very glad we all finished and didn't have any serious problems. The ambulance went out a few times and I know some people had trouble on the swim and we saw a woman who crashed her bike.

I gathered my things from transition and made my way through the deep mud to the car. I slipped and slid many times. PI EM Tri shoes have next to no traction, I quickly learned. As bad as it was for us getting around, I really felt bad for all the handcycle and wheelchair racers and spectators, they were really having trouble.

I threw all my wet, muddy, gross stuff in my car and changed into warm, dry clothes that felt WONDERFUL! Reunited with my masters pals and we went back to watch awards. By now it finally stopped raining, or was just spitting a little. Thank heavens!

All my masters pals got 1st in their AGs and I got 2nd in mine.

After the awards we went to a BBQ joint to get some warm food and adult libations to celebrate Hope's 70th birthday a few days early. Yup, she's pretty bad azz! :)

Got home and washed all the mud off multiple shoes, my wetsuit, clothes, etc. Poor Rico looked like he just did a cyclocross race, not a road triathlon!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Being overweight. The cold and the rain and the need to be safe on the bike and not end up in an ambulance. I don't get paid to do this.

All in all this wasn't my best race but it wasn't my worst, either. This was the first year since doing this race (and this race was my first tri ever back in 2010) that I didn't improve my time from the previous year.

Event comments:

Chris, the RD, always puts on a very good race for a very good cause and strives to add to the experience every year. This year there was a live band and a food truck or two, too bad the weather didn't cooperate to be able to better enjoy these additions and the other post-race goings-on.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2015-11-19 12:00 AM
00:09:47 | 500 yards | 01m 58s / 100yards
Age Group: 3/9
Overall: 0/375
Performance: Below average
Course: Triangle
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 59F / 15C Current: Low
200M Perf. Below average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 03:53
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
01:01:11 | 16 miles | 15.69 mile/hr
Age Group: 3/9
Overall: 0/375
Performance: Average
Wind: Little
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 01:46
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Average
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
00:31:55 | 03.1 miles | 10m 18s  min/mile
Age Group: 4/9
Overall: 0/375
Performance: Below average
Course: Leave the lake to hit the LVRT for a flat out and back.
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4