Hy-Vee Triathlon 5150 U.S. Championship - TriathlonOlympic

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Des Moines, Iowa
United States
Hy-Vee Triathlon
70F / 21C
Total Time = 2h 16m 49s
Overall Rank = 164/621
Age Group = 30-34M
Age Group Rank = 22/37
Pre-race routine:

Up at 4 am. Red Bull, Oatmeal, Nutri Grain bar for breakfast. Packed up the hotel room and headed to the race site. Once I was at my transition spot, before I even unzipped my bag I knew I didn't have my Garmin watch with me. And thus began my morning in transition at the 2012 Hy-Vee Triathlon.

My mind raced as to where my Garmin was. I made the long trek all the way back to my car to search one of my three other bags sitting in my car. After double checking each bag pocket and compartment in my car I settled on the fact that I left it in the hotel room somewhere. I dialed up the hotel and asked them to look for and then secure my Garmin for pick up after the race. I then walked all the way back to transition to set up my gear. The hotel calls me back and informs me that they cannot find it. Great. So I resign to the fact that I will be racing "naked" with only my trusty Ironman Timex watch as my guide. However, I'm still thinking "where the heck did I put that thing!?" I then make a second trip back to my car after remembering there was one spot that I didn't check. Of course, that was a waste of time because it wasn't there.

OK, I'm letting it go. I'm going to just get on with my pre-race routine and forget the watch for the time being. My transition spot is already to go so I grab my wetsuit and make my way over to the cramped swim start area.
Event warmup:

The 2.5 trips made back and forth from transition to my car, some of which involved light jogging. So I got some benefit out that whole situation, especially with no swim warmup available.
  • 23m 48s
  • 1640 yards
  • 01m 27s / 100 yards

So, this wasn't your run of the mill local triathlon where your above average swimmer (me) and can seat themselves up front and expect to dominate their wave. Being as I was racing the 5150 Championship AG race almost everyone here in my 30-39 wave was going to have some serious talent with them. Regardless, I still decided to seed myself up front but off to the left of the buoy line. Gun went off and we all took off. I went out at a hard pace, per my usual protocol and then settled into a comfortable race pace. Now, usually this leaves me in a comfortable position with my competition as I'll have clean water in front of me, but this time I had plenty of company around me. There was going to be no breakaway on my part, I was only able to manage a par performance in comparison to everyone else.

It took me by surprise before the halfway point that my hand hit some sand. Really low water levels plus being near the public beach side of the lake were probably the reasons for this. Still, you don't expect to be swimming in 2.5ft water in the middle of a race. That aside, I couldn't wait to be done with this swim. I was not having fun with it. I wasn't "feeling it." I blame most of that on my bare minimum swim training. Above average talent and sub-par training doesn't equal an excellent time amongst high quality competition.

Admittedly, I unintentionally cut the course short, but not by much. The last buoy was supposed to be on your right side before making a right hand turn to the swim finish, and not your left as all the other had been previously. I had been following the crowd in front of me and they missed having the last buoy on the right as well. The blind leading the blind. By the time I realized what was going on, it was more less a situation where I either reverse back to the buoy or keep going. I went with the later. I say I didn't cut the course by much because I was right next to the final buoy, just a few feet on the wrong side of it. Wonder how often that infraction occurred throughout the day.
What would you do differently?:

Ultimately, I would have trained harder for the swim. This would've have enabled me to be more competitive and to catch a good draft, as there were plenty of opportunities to hop on someones feet and wake and ride along next to them.
Transition 1
  • 02m 30s

Total guess on T1 time.

Turns out, in my never ending struggle to get my wetsuit off in a fast manner I managed to lose my timing chip - although I had no idea at the time. My breathing was. . . uncomfortable (I think that's the best way to describe it) ever since the mid-point of the swim, so I took my transition at a reasonable pace in order calm myself down. I didn't bother leaving my shoes clipped this time around considering my last race's T1 debacle. As a result, wetsuit struggles aside, I had a pretty smooth transition.
What would you do differently?:

Find a way to get the wetsuit off faster.
Not lose timing chip.
  • 1h 06m 49s
  • 24.85 miles
  • 22.31 mile/hr

Another estimate on time after subtracting out my swim and run times. Since I was without my Garmin I was planning on using my Timex watch to track my splits, but because I usually become slightly dumber during a race I managed to flub the pressing of the lap button on my watch. Instead I hit stop. I now have somehow managed to screw all time keeping options for this race.

Anyway, I enjoyed biking this course. The trip through water works park was flat, fast, and quiet - I had almost no one around me through the entire trip through the park. There were a few hills once I was out on the highway and on Army Post Rd, but nothing that tough. Lots of race marshals motoring around watching for race infractions. There had to be one going by you at least every five to ten minutes. I had never seen so many before in my races, which was great. Around mile 15 I had 4/5 guys pass me and then they formed a small pack up ahead. Soon after a race marshal came up beside them and followed along side. He just sat right next to them for what seemed like ten minutes. And yet this group did nothing to brake itself apart. The pack wasn't pulling away from me, so I had to focus on not getting myself absorbed with them, especially after I saw an official writing down numbers on a small note pad. Eventually, they did pull away and I could get back to focusing on my race.

The trip to T2 was uneventful. The one stretch of road on George Flagg was in bad condition, and I couldn't wait to get off that piece of asphalt. I cruised back into the park and saw lots of the other age group racers just getting started on their bike course.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. Raced this exactly how I needed to.
Transition 2
  • 01m 20s

Another estimate on time. I really wish I knew what my actual time was because I had another solid T2. Smooth jump off the bike and then an equally smooth gear change. One thing I do want to practice next season is running without socks. Putting on socks continues to add time.
What would you do differently?:

  • 42m 2s
  • 6.21 miles
  • 06m 46s  min/mile

I sure do love to run. This is never more apparent than when I pull on my shoes and take off out of transition. The freedom of not being tied down to a piece of equipment is great. I did manage not to screw up my watch this time upon exiting T2 and properly started my watch so that I could grab a run split. After exiting transition you head over the park bridge where you can still see the latter swim waves still going strong. The park trail then lead you to a bit of an out and back portion of the course where I got a good view of all the fasties up ahead of me, including some KC area people I recognized. The whole run I felt like I was just on the brink of experiencing a cramp in one of my legs, so I tried to tip toe that line as best I could the whole race. Get the most out of my body without crippling it. I did get a side cramp a time or two but I was able to fight those off without incident. My stomach felt like it was in lock down mode. I didn't want to anger it further, so I never got any extra fuel in me beyond a small sip of Gatorade.

The weather was near perfect for the run. Low 70s and a cloud cover had managed to come about, so there were no worries about overheating. I knew I wasn't going to match my last 10k triathlon run, which was stellar, but I knew I could manage something respectable. I powered up the the big hill at the end with minimal amounts a pain and then enjoyed my blue carpeted finish line run as much as I could.
What would you do differently?:

Its easy to say this now, after the pain has faded, but perhaps tested my legs a little more and squeeze out a slightly faster pace.
Post race
Warm down:

After I crossed the finish line I notice two things. 1) The announcer never called out my name and city as I crossed and 2) no one was removing my timing chip. Of course at the time I had no idea I was missing my timing chip so I was a bit shocked when I didn't see one around my ankle. I found a couple of timing officials and notified them of my missing timing chip.

I chatted with a few guys afterwards, including a guy from Biloxi who I played leap frog on the bike and then barely finished ahead of me on the run. I also chatted with a fellow from Ontario, and then on the shuttle bus back to transition I got to talk to a guy from Denver where we talked about our day and talked tri shop. When I did get back to my transition spot I found my missing chip dangling by a piece of Velcro from my wetsuit.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Not having a 100% competitive mental edge. The last few months of training I've felt uninspired in my training. With the exception of my swimming I did the physical work needed for this event, but I just didn't have that mental edge I like to have when I race. This is the first time in three years I've been doing structured triathlon training this late into the season after starting in January this year, and I think I may have been suffering some minor burnout. I'm going to take a the next couple of weeks at leisurely pace before just focusing on running, which I love, and only swimming and biking when I want to, not when I "need" to.

Event comments:

Excellent race. If I get the chance to come back here again I will. The organization and the volunteers did an amazing job. I was actually surprised by the number of volunteers that came out for this event and the jobs they did and the way the race organizers had them utilized. Also, this race had some cool swag. I don't know if I've ever come away from an event and actually had swag that I intended on keeping and using (full backpack, visor, bike jersey, etc.).

Last updated: 2012-05-24 12:00 AM
00:23:48 | 1640 yards | 01m 27s / 100yards
Age Group: 17/37
Overall: 127/621
Performance: Average
Suit: Xterra Vortex
Course: Counter clockwise rectangle with a right hand turn at the end.
Start type: Run Plus: Waves
Water temp: 76F / 25C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Below average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 02:30
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
01:06:49 | 24.85 miles | 22.31 mile/hr
Age Group: 30/37
Overall: 273/621
Performance: Good
Wind: Little
Course: 1 loop course with three 180 degree turns
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 01:20
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
00:42:02 | 06.21 miles | 06m 46s  min/mile
Age Group: 19/37
Overall: 142/621
Performance: Good
Course: Up and down the paved Grays Lake trail into the downtown streets of Des Moines. Flat with one hill climb at the finish.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Ok
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