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

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Des Moines, Iowa
United States
Hy-Vee Triathlon
86F / 30C
Total Time = 3h 12m 27s
Overall Rank = 765/2000
Age Group = A 30-39
Age Group Rank = 9/39
Pre-race routine:

This was my first triathlon that mom was able to attend, it was nice to have someone out there cheering me on! My kid and I arrived a day early in the morning for pre race briefing and packet pickup. In previous races I was able to skip the briefing and just get my packet but this one was different. The briefing was only thirty minutes and covered the entire course at break neck speed. At the end we all got stamped on our hands which then allowed us upstairs to the packet pickup and expo.

It came to no surprise to me when they asked me to weigh in when I picked up my Athena packet. The night before I had weighed in and was right at the cut off. So I devised an evil plan and ate a lot of pizza and ice cream. On the way up to Des Moines I chugged two bottles of diet soda just for the water weight. When I weighed in I was thrilled to find out that my evilness had paid off! I was safety an Athena with a few pounds to spare.

I don’t think I’ve ever gotten so much swag at any of my other packet pickups or expos I’ve attended. The sheer volume of stuff, and it was high quality stuff, was mind boggling. After the usual packet items such as timing chip, strap, stickers, number tattoos, and swim cap the real fun began. As I proceeded down the line I got a Hy-Vee visor hat, a jersey complete with three pockets and one that zipped, and a nice and large backpack. Now the backpack was also filled with a wide variety of things. To name a few: arm iPod strap, two water bottles, travel coffee mug, ceral, single serving of chocolate soy milk, coupons for free Greek yogurt, draw string bag, and a bunch of other coupons and small things.

While walking around the expo a vender was selling boxes of dried fruit. We got to talking and she found out that I’m a paramedic and I travel a lot therefore am always looking for quick and portable snack. She proceeded to load me up with four large boxes of a variety of fruit. My son tried one of their fruit cookie samples so she grabbed a large handful of the samples and gave those to him. A popcorn vendor did the same thing, I’m thinking more for my kids’ sake than mine, but either way I was not going to complain! I found a shirt on clearance for almost 90% off that I loved, I was thrilled to get my hands on the last one in my size. Finally my kid got a free jump rope and we both got free collapsible water bottles. Talk about a haul!

After checking into my hotel and meeting my mom I proceeded to bike inspection and drop off. I’m quickly becoming a fan of assigned transition spots with a strict list of things that are and are not allowed. I had to park almost a mile from transition since it was located in a large park.

After getting the required stickers on my bike and helmet I simple road my bike right up to the transition entrance. There I was handed yet another free water bottle, but this time it was filled with cool water which was great in the hot afternoon sun.

As I was wheeling my bike to my assigned spot I saw all manner of bikes, all different makes and models, and all different kinds of people ranging from the elite groups to those who looked lost and scared out of their minds marking them as first timers. I was immediately reminded why I love triathlons so much. The course does not care about an athlete’s background or what equipment they brought to the race. It does not care about their skill level or their abilities. Everyone must cover the exact same roads as everyone else. The course does not show favorites, the greats can just as easily crash or get a flat at anyone else. No favorites exist here.

The numbering system on the racks made finding my spot idiot proof. With the leading number displayed in large bold black numbers I found my spot quickly. I was right at the joint of two racks put together giving me just a few more inches of room. This was prime real estate in the transition world, I knew I had a coveted spot and was thrilled to have gotten it. I chose to only rack my bike over night and set up my actually transition area in the morning.

One of the local sporting/bike shops had its bike support mechanics on staff so I decided to take full advantage of their free services. Since this was the first time I transported my bike in a lateral position in a car I wanted to make sure everything was in working order. The mechanic did find a slight problem with my rear derailleur which was fixed within minutes as well as retightening the cables to the front derailleur. After a quick tire air up to my racing pressure of 105 psi I was off back to my assigned spot.

I spent the rest of the night relaxing and walking around while drinking as much water as my stomach could tolerate. I wanted to make sure I was well hydrated for the next morning. I was in bed and soon fast asleep by 10:00.

I managed to wake up one minute before my alarm went off and quietly rolled out of bed and hit the shower to start my usual pre race routine.
I decided to wear my Team ITP jersey to show support for my kid and celebrate his recovery while supporting those still fighting the terrible disease. I had packed my bag the night before but holding true to my ritual I unpacked everything and repacked it just to make sure I didn’t forget anything. After filling three water bottles and plunking in a ZYM tablet in each I was out the door.

With well over two thousand people at the race I fully expected a parking nightmare but I was happily proved wrong. They had the lots clearly marked with volunteers guiding each car to an assigned spot. The cars were parked single file with one care per row so at the end of the day each car could simply pull forward to leave. The rows were kept in a need and orderly strait line that made parking easy as could be. On the drive over I ate my usual pre race breakfast of a Peanut Butter Cliff Bar and a bottle of V8. Don’t really know why this combo works for me especially since I really don’t like Cliff Bars but it does.

I grabbed my transition bag and made my way over to my bike. After a quick stop to get my numbers markered on my arms and legs I was allowed access to my bike. I think this is triathlon number seven for me so needless to say I had my spot set up in no time at all. I know exactly how I want my things laid out and how things are to be positioned.

Event warmup:

During my Ironman last July I leaned the valuable lesson of drinking a bottle of ZYM while waiting for my swim start and how to use my gel packs to give me an extra boost as well. It was a lesson that I followed and took my bottle to a stretching area. As I went through my physical therapy stretches I took sips of fluid between each stretch. I could feel my body becoming more limber as I moved though my rotations. Soon I felt great with my hip feeling loose but strong. After a quick stop at the Porta-Potties I grabbed my wetsuit, water bottle, and gel then proceeded to make my way to the swim start area.
  • 37m 47s
  • 1640 yards
  • 02m 18s / 100 yards

While preparing for the swim I knew that this was my A race, it was also the last triathlon that I’d be an athlete in till 2014. It was bitter sweet to be standing there waiting for my wave to start, I was excited to start but at the same time wanted to stay in the moment for as long as I could savoring every sight, sound and feeling of it.

Like I said before there were over two thousands athletes there ranging from the elite to the weekend athlete; as such I had over an hour to wait before I was to start. I watched the elite athletes take off and marveled at their speed and explosive power in the water.

The swim start was quite a bit different from previous starts. Just to get down to the waters edge we had to walk down a hill that was carpeted. They started out in time trial fashion with four in a group two abreast starting every five seconds. As such there was not water warm up for anyone so while waiting out turn we stood around or did stretches where we could.

When my turn finally came we lined up, I looked right into the TV camera give my best rocker face and rocker hand signal than hit the water a full run. We ran all of three feet into the water before we encountered a drop off sending us into nine feet of water. As I launched myself into the water I felt the bottom of my left foot spit open on the sharp edge of a rock. A quick jab of pain followed but there was not time to stop and assess the damage.

The water level was low from the drought which meant what little beach we did have was actually usually underwater. Within minutes my arms felt the strain of not warming up like I usually do. However by the time I hit first turn buoy my body was warmed up and I settled into a rhythm. Stroke, stroke, breath, sight, stroke, stroke, breath, sight, stroke, stroke……NO!!!!!

I watched helplessly as my nose clipped slipped off and disappeared into the murky depths of the lake. My nose clips are priceless to me. Without them I’m guaranteed a massive sinus infection within a few hours. But what choice did I have here? I did the best that I could which continuing to breathe out of my mouth and keep my nose as clam as possible. At every breath I left the water rush up into my nose and sinuses and I could just feel the infection set in.

As mentioned before the water levels were low. About a quarter mile into the swim my fingers touched the sand. I was so surprised that I looked up to notice almost everyone was actually standing up and walking. When I stood up I was only knee deep in water over a part of the lake that should have been a good ten feet deep. I used this time to give my arms a quick break and do a mental regroup. A lady in front of me was trying to swim in the water; I had to laugh as I kept up with her at an easy walking pace.

At the half way point where we turned around I went slightly off course. It seemed like I’d been swimming along time and with the water going up my nose I was eager to get out. Through my foggy and tinted goggles I say the blue of the swim start and finish. What did not realize is that I was looking at the area that the professions were going to race on later in the afternoon. It took me a few yards to notice that there was no one swimming around me. After getting my bearings I got back on course quickly and was thankful that I lost little time.

Two more buoys later all the water up my nose and down my throat came back. After stopping to puke it up I was off again. The rest of the swim course seemed to go by at a snail’s pace. I felt myself swimming hard with as much efficiency in my strokes as possible but I felt like I was moving so slowly.

I did a quick mental check and realized that despite loosing my nose clips, getting off course, stopping to puke and facing pain at every breath I actually was managing to keep up with the pack. And for the first time ever I was actually passed several people over the length of the course. By this time I had rounded the last buoy and was soon standing up wading in the last few feet to shore.

What would you do differently?:

Really nothing! Losing my clips is not something I can control and I think I did the best that I could have done with what I had to work with. I was happy to have kept up with the pack for the entire swim and even happier to have finally passed a few people.
Transition 1
  • 03m 58s

The walk up the hill post swim into T1 was no picnic, it sure was easier going down than going up! As I walked I stripped off the top part of my wetsuit making my way to my bike. After quick peal down removing the rest of the suit things started to speed up. Shoes on and tightened, helmet on and strap clipped, sun glasses in place, race belt applied, and bike taken off the rack, all in record time. I was a little over halfway down to the bike out so I had a bit of a jog to the mount line. And for the first time I was able to run with my bike guiding it only by the rear of the saddle. This was only possible due to the transition area being on a grassy field that made running in my cycling shoes easy. At the mount line I took on a ‘Take no prisoners’ mentality, I quickly clipped into my bike and took off.
What would you do differently?:

Again, nothing! I was happy with the speed that I moved at and happy with my bike running.
  • 1h 19m 32s
  • 24.85 miles
  • 18.75 mile/hr

My ‘Take no prisoners’ mindset took hold as soon as I took off. As I wound my way through the park to get to the roads I passed three people with ease. We took off headed towards downtown, hit two turn around points before heading back south for a quick loop through the Water Works Park.

This part of the course was a lot of fun. It was smoothly paved and flat allowing me to fly. I quickly found a sweet spot in my gears and hammered down on the cranks. I was passing people with amazing speed. I glanced down at my bike computer and could not suppress a smile as I read my speed to be 20 mph with little effort on my part. The trails we were on gently wound through the park, the turns were easy and I was able to mostly use my hips to steer and stayed nicely tucked on my aero bars for our time in the park.

We left the park and headed out on the roads leaving town. For a few miles the roads were not the greatest but still ridable. I was able to continue to pass people and by this time I had lost count of the number of people I’d passed and I had not even cleared mile 10. We then turned onto 63ed St which was mostly on a slight incline but not to bad.

I was able to maintain a decent speed onto the turn to Thornton St which was about one mile of winding uphill road. Here I was not able to pass anyone but I did manage to keep my spot. Turn onto Army Post Road and was greeted with rolling hills.

I rode those hills to the best of my ability using my gears to my greatest advantage. I’d come down the hills with my tires screaming, hit the cranks hard and get up the opposite hill never falling below 15 mph. Near the turnaround point to head back into town my mom and son were waiting for me with words of encouragement. My son was screaming at everyone “Go faster! Go faster!” He was waving his bell and jumping around; people were slowing down to give him High 5’s before speeding back up. He looked like he was having a great time out there.

After I cleared the turnaround point I knew I only had ten more miles and I wanted to make them count. I really dropped the hammer and quickly became a dominate force passing people so quickly that I barely had time to maneuver my bike around them. During this time I was only passed by two other people. At one point I hit and maintained my top speed of several miles of 31 mph! It was then that I knew that I was really flying.

For the entire bike course I had a steady mantra beating a cadence in my head: Push, push, push, push! Harder, harder, harder! As I approached someone in front of me I’d change to: Die, die, die! It beat like a drum matching me pedal stroke for pedal stroke, the fast my leg spun the faster the words beat into me. Push, push, push, harder, harder, harder, die, die, die, push, push, push, harder, harder, harder, die, die, die!!!

For all 25 miles I was a dominate force, fast and aggressive. I felt like my bike had turned into a living, breathing being. I had become one with my bike, it responded to the slightest movement on my part, the slightest change in position caused my bike to immediately respond with aggressive grace. I was tightly tucked up on my aero bars breaking this position only twice. Once to eat a gel and once to get a hit from my water bottle.

As I came back into town and wound my way back to the park entrance I flew by a guy on a high end bike like he was at a standstill. I stayed close to him long enough to hear him say “Damn that girl is moving!” I hit the park entrance hard and fast and made way back to the transition area. I was still passing people here. I looked up to notice a speed limit sign of 10 mph, a quick glance at my computer showed me going at 22 mph. I started to crack up laughing. Where else but in triathlons can someone go more than double the speed limit and actually have the cops cheering them on? I was giving it my all and having a blast.

As I approached the dismount line I got my right foot unclipped and prepared to jump off. A poor guy in front of me unclipped left but leaned to the right causing him to topple over in front of everyone. I stopped by him and made sure he was ok. He jumped up and ran into transition with people calling out encouragement to him like “Way to get up!”, “Keep it up man, everyone falls!”

What would you do differently?:

Nothing! I was aggressive and dominate on the bike passing people like I never done before. I went hard but still kept some in my legs to face the run.
Transition 2
  • 02m 19s

Ran my bike back to my spot and had it racked up in record time. Helmet off, running hat on, sunglasses left in place, cycling shoes off and running shoes on. For the past few weeks I’d been experimenting in my training runs with carrying a water bottle with me so I could have water whenever I wanted instead of having to wait to the aid stations and then have to ration my intake.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. I noticed that my legs were heavy as they usually are in the bike to run transition but they didn’t seem as bad as usual. I seemed to have an easier time moving at a decent speed right off the bike than normal.
  • 1h 08m 54s
  • 6.21 miles
  • 11m 06s  min/mile

The first mile of the run went quickly and I hit the aid station in record time. My aggressive bike ride was starting to come back to haunt me. I continued to use the Galloway method of running keeping up a 2:1 ratio.

Before long I had dropped several people who were doing strait running. I was also taking it easy for my hip. I knew that going slower but steady would be a more aggressive and faster run than going out hard and having my hip give out on me. I was determined not to have a run like at my Ironman were my hip did give out on me causing me to walk most of the run course.

I soon discovered the advantages of having my water with me. I was able to take small sips several times between aid stations. With high temps and high humidity the water felt great. At the aid stations I used my ration of water to pour down my head and back which felt great. It felt like new life was being breathed into me. For every one person who passed me on the run I was able to pass someone else. I slowly moved up in ranking, more so as we got closer to the finish. People who were attempting to run the whole thing were starting to burn out and their run became a slow jog.

Mile six came quickly and then I was faced with the last 0.2 which was all up a steep hill, on the blue carpet. This is where the race was truly ran, this is what would make or break my placement. I hit it hard taking quick and short steps propelling my body up the hill. People were cheering calling out my number as I passed one last person and ran smoothly and strongly under the finish line.

It was all over so quickly. I turned in my chip and collected my medal. It hardly seemed like hardly three hours had passed. My last triathlon was over.

What would you do differently?:

Not sure on this one. I went slower to ensure my hip would hold out. I would have liked to go a bit harder but then I would have taken the risk of losing my hip. So it’s hard to say it going harder would have been the best choice in this race. Overall I’m happy with the way the run went.
Post race
Warm down:

I was handed a bottle of cold water and walked around the capitol grounds for a bit. My legs continued to feel strong but tired. My stomach was not in the mood to handle any solid food so I stuck with my water, Gatorade, and some chocolate milk. I found a shady patch of ground to stretch out on. After I finished all my fluids I made my way down to the food tent for a few pieces of fruit at which point my stomach was willing to handle. I started to feel the cut on the bottom of my foot begin to ache. I made a mental note to get it checked out the next day at work.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I kept it easy in the interest of my hip. Other than that I think noting hindered me.

Event comments:

This was a great race and I’m glad I chose this race to be both my A race and my last race. After reviewing my times I managed to set a new personal record for both the swim and the bike! When I do reenter the triathlon world I will be back to challenge my times on this wonderful course.

Last updated: 2012-06-08 12:00 AM
00:37:47 | 1640 yards | 02m 18s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/39
Overall: 0/2000
Performance: Good
Suit: Orca S3 Full
Course: This was a loop course in Grays Lake with the course marked very well. The orange buoys were for sighting, yellow marking turns, and three greens to mark the last few hundred yards. Iowa has spent most of the summer in an official drought leaving lake levels low; this made the swim entrance and exit an adventure in of itself.
Start type: Run Plus: Time Trial
Water temp: 77F / 25C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 03:58
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
01:19:32 | 24.85 miles | 18.75 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/39
Overall: 0/2000
Performance: Good
Wind: Some
Course: This was an out and back loop with several turn around points taking us in and out of town then back into the park. It has some flat areas but most of it was small to moderate rolling hills. It provided just the right amount of challenge that I had to work on the bike but not so hard that the hills left me exhausted.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:19
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
01:08:54 | 06.21 miles | 11m 06s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/39
Overall: 0/2000
Performance: Good
Course: This course wound through the back side of the park before turning around and heading back through the park then into downtown. We hit two different turnaround points before heading to the capital building to the finish.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 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