The Nation's Triathlon - TriathlonOlympic

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Washington, D.C., Washington, D.C.
United States
The Nation's Triathlon
Total Time = 2h 51m 6s
Overall Rank = 1051/3141
Age Group = F 25-29
Age Group Rank = 48/239
Pre-race routine:

I walked over to the expo on Saturday -- picked up my packet and bought a Nation's Tri bike jersey. Rushed home from there to get my bike ready to go, because I wanted to rack it before the rain started...I thought it was forecast to start raining around 4 p.m. and to not let up until overnight, didn't see any way to avoid the bike being out in the rain, and wanted to avoid getting caught in it myself. My husband and I walked my bike down to the transition area, and I racked it and covered it as best as I could with garbage bags.

As soon as we got back home and turned on the TV, we were inundated with tornado warnings and severe storm alerts, and I immediately regretted racking my bike. The storm was much worse than had been anticipated, and I panicked the whole time about my poor bike. The race organizers put several updates on their Facebook page, which was helpful. As soon as the storms passed, I headed back down to transition to check on my bike. Luckily, all was well. All said and done, I walked about eight miles on Saturday.

Happily, the weather was perfect on race day. I was in one of the very last swim waves and knew it would take over an hour for my start, so I got there about 30 minutes before transition closed. I dried off my Cervelo and pumped up his tires, then quickly set up my transition area, grabbed my cap and goggles, and left transition to wait forever for my start.

Event warmup:

Stood around forever. The official race start was 7 a.m., and I finally got in the water around 8:20 a.m. I hate waiting around at the start of races -- gives me too much time to get inside my own head and start freaking out.
  • 32m 32s
  • 1640 yards
  • 01m 59s / 100 yards

This was a really bad swim for me, but eh. You get what you train for, and my swim training has been extremely pitiful. It had been a month since I had been in the pool, and even before that, I had only swam a few times a month. I made a conscious decision to coast on my existing swim ability and focus more time on the bike, which has been my weakest leg. It was also only my second open water swim -- my first was at the North East triathlon, which is much smaller, and I was out front with minimal contact then.

They started us in small groups every few seconds within our assigned waves. I had clear water for about 50 meters, and then I caught up with the groups ahead of me. This was the first time I had ever had that much physical contact with other swimmers. Around the 300m mark I got kicked hard in the face by a rogue breaststroker, and had to tread water to regroup and fix my goggles. Almost immediately after setting off again, I grazed another swimmer's arm and she grabbed me by the arm and pushed me under and away from her. I started to freak out a little bit and decided to swim further away from the buoys to avoid that much contact.

I suck at sighting and periodically had to breaststroke to see where the heck I was, even though the course was beautifully marked -- GIANT buoys every 100m. Things were pretty smooth sailing for the rest of the swim, until the final turn into the swim exit, which was crazy congested.
What would you do differently?:

Training would probably be good. I need to work on sighting too.
Transition 1
  • 03m 30s

It wasn't a wetsuit-legal swim, so just removed cap and goggles, threw on helmet, glasses, socks and bike shoes and was on my merry way with my bike. The transition area was basically a giant mud pit from the torrential rain on Saturday, so I wore my cleat caps until I got out onto the pavement, which cost me some time but was worth it, I think.
What would you do differently?:

Continue to work on speed.
  • 1h 19m 34s
  • 24.85 miles
  • 18.74 mile/hr

I can't even really begin to explain how great this bike was for me. I bought my Cervelo P2 in January and struggled intensely with bike handling and fear. I averaged just over 16 MPH at the North East sprint tri, riding in granny gear because I was too scared to take my hands off the bullhorns to shift gears.

The GM of my bike shop started working with me a few weeks ago and got me significantly more comfortable on the bike. I knew I would be able to shift and take in nutrition, but I had no idea what to expect in terms of speed. This was my first Olympic distance race and I had no idea how to pace.

I headed out on the bike and immediately noticed a few strange sensations: a) I was doing a LOT of passing and b) I was having an absolute blast on my bike. The course is predominantly flat, though with several inclines to get on and off ramps, and a number of rolling hills. I stayed in the big ring for the whole race. I was a little scared, looking at my Garmin -- I was riding over 20 MPH, which I had never done before, and I thought I probably should back off to preserve my run. But I felt great and was having a great time, so I decided just to see what I could do.

A few miles in on Canal Road, I was stopped for a minute because there was an accident and an ambulance was blocking the road. They let us go through a few at a time, which caused some decent bottlenecks, especially since this starts the most congested part of the bike leg. I hope the rider is OK. The next several miles were PACKED with bikes, with barely any space to pass. There was no possible way to avoid drafting. I just passed whenever it was safe to do so, and tried to give people as much space as possible.

Luckily, the congestion didn't last for long, and soon I was flying down wide open road, passing people right and left. I was completely shocked when I hit 19.5 miles an hour in and still felt great.

I stopped my Garmin at 1:17. I think my total time included some of transition -- I'm not sure where the timing mats were.
What would you do differently?:

I would not change one thing about this race -- I am absolutely shocked at what I was able to pull off, considering two weeks ago I was utterly terrified of my bike and I have very little riding experience. I actually finished strongest on the bike of any leg in the race -- 30/239.

In general, I need to continue to ride lots and work on bike handling and riding in aero. I honestly can't wait to keep riding.
Transition 2
  • 02m 41s

Longish run through the transition mud pit. Racked my bike, removed helmet and glasses, switched shoes and grabbed my race belt and another Gu, and I was off!
What would you do differently?:

Run faster with the bike.
  • 52m 51s
  • 6.21 miles
  • 08m 31s  min/mile

It's been about four years since I ran a standalone 10k, and my run has improved a lot since then, so I wasn't sure what to expect on the run leg. Mile 1 was around 8:15, and I took my Gu at the first water stop. Saw my best friends at 1.5 with a sign that said, "You're so smart and pretty!" Apparently the sign was quite popular. Mile 2 was also around 8:15. By the time I hit Hains Point, I started lagging a bit -- it wasn't too hot, but it was really sunny. Miles 3-5 were slower. I definitely picked it up for the last 1.2 into the finish line.

I had worried that I pushed it too hard on the bike, but I feel like this was a reasonably strong run leg. I think I could do a standalone 47-48 minute 10k, so this seems about right.
What would you do differently?:

Post race
Warm down:

I grabbed a Gatorade and water, made my way through the finish chute, and found my husband. We found the food tent and I got a sandwich and a bag of chips, and then I grabbed my stuff from transition and we headed home to watch football.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

1. Lack of swim training
2. Inexperience on the bike
3. This is my first season of triathlon, and my first Olympic-distance race.

Event comments:

I was not at all inclined to love this race -- the only reason I signed up was because I got an entry through the DC Tri being cancelled. I had always heard that it was too crowded and that the logistics were a nightmare. I guess those things are technically true...but the course is GORGEOUS. It's worth doing it just to ride those roads without traffic.

The race was beautifully organized. The staff kept the Facebook page up to date with constant updates during the previous day's storm debacle, and the race volunteers carefully re-racked any bike that got blown off of the racks during the storm.

I will definitely do this race again.

Last updated: 2012-03-14 12:00 AM
00:32:32 | 1640 yards | 01m 59s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/239
Overall: 0/3141
Performance: Bad
Start type: Plus:
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current:
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 03:30
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
01:19:34 | 24.85 miles | 18.74 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/239
Overall: 0/3141
Performance: Good
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 02:41
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
00:52:51 | 06.21 miles | 08m 31s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/239
Overall: 0/3141
Performance: Good
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5