Twin Lakes Sprint Triathlon - TriathlonSprint

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Palatine, Illinois
United States
Salt Creek Rural Park District
65F / 18C
Total Time = 1h 38m
Overall Rank = 139/401
Age Group = M35-39
Age Group Rank = 32/54
Pre-race routine:

***Warning! This is probably a little long for a sprint race report.***

All right! The big day was finally here. Well almost. Sat. night I was like a kid who's going to Disney World the next day. I packed up and loaded the car with gear and bike, then parked the car in the garage. Looked like rain was possible so I put the top on the jeep. Debated whether or not to put the bike inside or on the rack but figured it was getting wet anyway so I left it on the rack. Went to bed around 10pm. Woke up at 1:15 and couldn't go back to sleep for almost an hour. Woke up around 4:15 and got ready to go. It had rained overnight but wasn't raining when I left my house. I checked the radar before I left and it looked 50/50 for rain. That would prove to be completely wrong as it either drizzled or rained steady the whole morning. I arrived around 5:10. Just before I got there my buddy who was coming called my to ask if it they were going to cancel it due to the rain. I think I heard him groan when I laughed and said, "Not a chance." He came out anyway, plastic bags over his really nice camera. I give him a lot of credit, hopefully he got some good shots. He's going to do Pleasant Prairie with me so he was excited to be part of the scene once he got there. So I arrive and I'm not the first one there but I am early so I got a good parking spot. Set up my bike on the "rack". It was just a cable stretched between posts. Got numbered and then nervously set up my transition. I forgot about bringing a plastic bag to lay over my stuff to protect it from the rain but I did bring two towels and that worked well enough. So here's the three memorable things from hanging out in transition pre-race. First - I'm on the same rack with this guy who's done the race about 5 years in a row, and him and his friends are usually among the top finishers (male and female). All of the other bikes on the rack are minimum $3K. There's me with my Schwinn road bike with clip-ons. Steve was a really nice guy, gave me some tips on the course. He made a great point about this race. There are not a lot of first-timers there because it fills up in two weeks, but it is a very good race for beginners because the event is VERY well run and almost everyone around you is experienced and willing to help you out with whatever you might need. Second cool thing pre-race - My folks showed up and wished me well. I really appreciated them coming out. At one point my mom took a picture of me and people were afraid it was lightning which was pretty funny. "No, not lightning. Just the noob's mom taking his picture." :) I know, I'm a 38 year old man who loves his parents, I'm not ashamed of it, in fact, I'm honored. They are wonderful people. Third cool thing pre-race - I'm standing there and I look over and see this girl who just HAS to be Laura (Whizz). I don't even know how I know this. I've seen her pic on the site here but I'm really bad with remembering faces. She sent me a PM with what she'd be wearing but I didn't see it until after the race. I just knew it was her. So I walked up and introduced myself and met her and her friends Pete and Katie. Mark up the second person who was really nice. A close fourth place finish was the girl on the next rack who turned her wetsuit into a bustier by putting it on backwards and had to change but not before she danced around a little and all of her friends made fun of her because she's done about 20 triathlons.

Swim warmup time came and I got in the water. I was glad I did this because I noticed two things. The ground dropped off almost immediately as you got in the water and it was kind of a shock. It went from ankle deep to over my head in about 3 steps. Also, the water was very murky. I swam right next to the rope but couldn't see it underwater. So no sighting off the rope. Ok. I got out and stood around nervously waiting for the start. Met a couple of other guys in my wave and chatted, helped a guy zip up his wetsuit because he was ruining his fancy tri top with the zipper.
Event warmup:

Pre race swim was about it. The rain really didn't make me want to take a pre-race ride.
  • 12m 51s
  • 800 meters
  • 01m 37s / 100 meters

Murky. It's called Duck Lake. I don't really want to think about why it's so murky. I started at the left (away from markers) and apologized to everyone around me in advance in case I swam into them. We were going off in waves of 62 every 2 minutes. I was just trying to lighten things up because we had a minute to wait and everything was so tense. We start out and get moving. Virtually no contact. Whizz mentioned her start was pretty bad (in terms of contact swimming) so I guess I made a good move with my strategy. After a few strokes I found myself out in front of the wave. There was one guy who took off like a shot way out in front of me, but everyone else was behind me. I knew I was going too fast but I decided to push it for a while to let the pack thin out before I slid back into it. This was a good move. I just wish I had the stamina to stay in front like that. Just before anyone caught up to me two things happened. I caught a couple people from the wave in front, and forgot to site for a few too many strokes and swam into a marker. SMACK! Right in the face. Knocked my goggles off so I had to stop and fix those. This slowed me up enough that my wave caught me so it was crowded for a little while. Mentally, this was the toughest moment for me all day. I was really tired from going out too hard, I felt like I had squandered my opportunity to lead my wave, I was now in a crowded pack and I wasn't even halfway throught the swim. To add to my doubt I felt a wave hit my face (wave in a man made lake?) and I looked up to see a waverunner go by pulling in a swimmer who needed rescuing. I just kept the arms turning over and battled my thoughts until I reached the first turn around the island. I was still tired but it was like a wave of relief washed over me. I made the turn! I've accomplished something. The crowd thinned out quite a bit here and I went into cruise mode the rest of the way in. The only bad thought I had the rest of the swim was that I need to swim more! All of this being said I swam a lot faster than I thought I would. When I set my goal of two hours I had 18-20 mins figured for the swim and I smashed that by 6 min or so. I guess I need to make more challenging goals. And wearing the wetsuit was a huge confidence builder. I could have done the swim without it but I would have come out of the water WAY more tired than I was, and probably a lot slower too. Most people wore wetsuits. Only the uber-cool hard core stud tri people (like Laura) went without.
What would you do differently?:

Other than the obvious things like have better endurance and sight better I'm not sure there's anything I'd change here. My strategy worked, in a way, I just didn't execute it well.
Transition 1
  • 01m 30s

The run to T1 was ok, I felt pretty good. Wetsuit came off easy. I might have gone faster but I was shaking off the disorientation from the swim so I went as fast as I could with the wits that I had. I ran my bike to the mount. Clipped in my right side and started pedaling. I went to clip in my left side and foot slipped off the front/side and banged the point of my ankle bone against the end of my pedal. Hard. This effen hurt. I did the same damn thing two weeks ago and when I did it then it hurt for almost a week. My first thought was "Crap, that's gonna hurt." This time I actually broke the skin. I pedaled a few times to get up some speed and got clipped in. I'll have to work on this or switch to rubber bands for the OLY in August. (Yes, at approx. 15 minutes into my first race I'm thinking about my next race two months away.:) ) At this point I heard and saw my parents right next to me cheering for me. They are the best. Although a part of KNOWS my dad was thinking what the hell is taking him so long to get his feet in the pedals?
What would you do differently?:

Not injure myself.
  • 44m 58s
  • 14.2 miles
  • 18.95 mile/hr

The bike was very interesting and probably the most fun yet frustrating part of the race. Once I was on The Scarlet Pumpernickel and on my way I was really excited and quickly forgot the throbbing pain in my ankle. I started out near a couple of guys who looked like really strong riders. I managed to hang with them for the first few miles but they eventually dropped me. ( I found the one guy early in the run and the other....well, you'll see.) None of us were drafting, just trading places. This was a draft legal race and I planned on riding by myself. However, if a paceline had developed to give a competitive advantage I would have considered taking part in it. I can say I didn't see anyone draft the entire bike leg. I was glad for that. So there was this one big tall thin guy who looked tough on the bike, he was one of the guys I started out with. After they dropped me I tried to keep track of where he was because I had decided he was my rabbit for the ride but they eventually got out of sight up ahead. Between the turns and the rain concentrating on my effort and thanking volunteers I couldn't even think about how many passed me and how many I passed. I can tell you this. EVERY one who passed me looked like a hard core cyclist. It seemed like everyone I passed looked like they happened to be out for a morning ride and found themselves in the middle of a race. WTF? Doing the 400 club in July is going to help me a lot, I think. I didn't see anyone go down like Whizz did, but I think I saw those same people as they were standing near volunteers at intersections getting their heads together. Nobody looked seriously hurt, just shaken up. I only had one turn where I went in a little too fast, and in aero, and wasn't sure I'd pull it out. Never felt the wheel slip a bit and I was thankful for that. I decided that with about 3 miles left I'd start hammering it. I passed A LOT of people that last stretch. I was feeling really good and really flying. Seemed like everyone else was either out of gas or preparing for the run and I made up a lot of spots. I would have made up more but it seemed like every time I got up a good head of steam we came to another turn where I had to slow down. I would have loved to ride that again with that much energy on dry pavement. Where I really miscalculated was once we got back to the park we still had almost a mile to the transition area. I was ready to pound it and pass at least another 5-10 people in that last mile, but it was single file down a narrow bike path. Due to the rain I felt it would have been a jerk move to try to pass. Safety was an issue. So I cruised in behind, yes it was him, the tall skinny rabbit. I had caught him. Now you would think that this slow finish would be the perfect opportunity to get your feet onto your shoes and prepare to dismount. That thought occurred to me too. See T2 for the consequences of this line of thinking.
What would you do differently?:

Maybe, as Dan (morey1) had said last week, I should have gone harder and relied on my run base to carry me but I think I pushed almost as hard as I could have and on my computer my avg speed was about 2.5 mph faster than I ride in training so I'm very happy with that.
Transition 2
  • 01m 24s

I had planned on just unclipping and running the bike in. So I thought well, I'll make up for not being able to pass by getting my feet out of the shoes. This process took longer than I thought and I look up after getting my shoes loosened and I'm AT the dismount line. I stop the bike, unclip and start running the bike. Now my pre-loosened shoes are clip clopping on the bottom of my feet. I feel like an ass, stop, take my shoes off, and carry my shoes while running my bike to the rack. I don't think it cost me a ton of time but I need to do one or the other transition method, half of each is NOT the way to go. I racked my bike, sat down, put on socks and shoes. Jammed a gel in my pocket and took off. "Thanks to my Yankz!" I thought as I ran past a couple people tying their shoe laces.
What would you do differently?:

I've already said it, but basically be smoother getting off the bike. Otherwise I'm glad I put on dry socks for the run and I think sitting down only cost me a little bit.
  • 40m 34s
  • 4.9 miles
  • 08m 17s  min/mile

I took off on the run and tried to concentrate on not going out too fast so that I could minimize the cramps that I knew were coming. As I exited transition I heard someone yell my name and I looked to my right. My wife was walking the kids toward transition to meet me coming off the bike. She was on time with what I had told her but because I was faster they missed me in T2. That's ok, just seeing her there was big boost. I waved back and kept running. Then the cramps began to hit my calves, and since the hammies were jealous they began cramping too. You know, I'm sure that doing bricks has helped me physically, but I almost feel like the mental aspect is where they helped more. I knew the cramps were coming. I knew when they would hit and what they would feel like. I knew just how to shorten my stride and try to run through them. I knew how hard I could push it withoug completely locking up and having to stop. About a half mile into the run they started letting go of my legs. I felt better and lengthened my stride back to normal and took off. I had my first mile at 8:11. I felt better through miles 2 and 3. Whizz said that I passed her at some point in here but I was so into my own thing I was oblvious to people around me. Other than trying to make sure I thanked each and every volunteer I didn't worry about other people. Miles 2,3,4 were all between 7:15-7:45. I was feeling pretty good. When we got to the park entrance again we were coming in the same way as we did on the bike. This time we could pass! Woohoo! I took off for the last mile and basically sprinted the last half mile. I felt great! I felt so good I wonder if I should have pushed harder earlier in the run but I'm guessing most people feel that way after a race so I'm not going to sweat it. I ran the last mile (technically .9 mile) in 6:39. There was a big crowd still at the finish, this was only about 23 minutes after the winners had come in. About 50 ft before the finish I saw my wife and kids so I picked up my two older kids and ran across the finish line with them. It was an awesome experience.
What would you do differently?:

Again, maybe push harder but I was very pleased I had enough left to sprint the last half mile so maybe not push harder. I don't know, I just know I had a blast.
Post race
Warm down:

Stood around talking with my buddy, Larry, my folks, wife, kids and my mother-in-law who all braved the rain to be out there. What a great group of people. And to my fellow celiacs - check this out. My MIL brought me gluten free oatmeal raisin cookies and cheese and crackers. I chowed!!! Here's a weird coincedence too. I saw Laura (Whizz) come across the finish and I said to my wife, "oh there's the girl I know from BT." She says, "Yeah, we saw her." I'm like, what? What do you mean you saw her? How would you know who she was? Turns out that when they were walking in they saw her on the run and stood out because she looks just like a girl my wife went to high school with and she was wondering if it was her. So Whizz met the wife and kids. She even recognized Jack from me posting his mug so much on the website. I tried not to keep her too long because she wanted to find Katie who she thought might have had a crash out on the course.

So after some milling around, cheering in people, loading up the car, suffering the rain and watching one guy in a white cotton shirt stained with blood from his nipples finish in agony (ouch!) everyone else left and I stuck around. When I say everyone, I mean everyone! The elites all went under the tent on the other side of the park for their awards and I stood under the tent near the finish. I had said I would stay to cheer in the last finishers and that's what I felt I should do. Besides about 6 volunteers the only other people there were a husband/wife combo who had just finished. I chatted with them for a while. The guy said he'd been doing tris for 20 years and this one for 10. He said this was the first time in 10 years it wasn't sunny and beautiful. After a few minutes of chit chat I asked if he knew how many people were still out there. He said he thought they were the last ones but I didn't think that was right because the volunteers were still manning the clock, in the rain, after more than 3 hours. So after a couple of more minutes two girls come into site on the other side of the park. We started cheering for them and urging them on. They ran to finish dead even like champions with big smiles on their faces. The volunteers even asked them who wanted to be first. Not last, first. It was so cool. I wish more of the racers had stuck around for it, but I understand people have things to do and the rain was miserable.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Nothing. Overall I'm very happy with the race I ran. Although at every stage I can pick apart things I could have done better it's just nitpicking and I'm thrilled with how things went. I don't know if I could have had a better time, rain or no rain.

So I've finally done it. After 10 months and probably more posts than anyone will have before they do their first tri I am a triathlete. If anyone is looking for me at Pleasant Prairie they can look for the black jeep with the cool "tri" sticker on the back from because that's the kind of think TRIATHLETES put on their cars. ;)

Event comments:

I have to rate this race "best" because it's my first! This was really well organized. They said it started at 6:30 and it really did. Right on the button. These people know what they are doing. There are no finisher's ribbons or medals because they keep the price down and put all the money into organizing the event and it shows. Great event, great time.

Hang loose.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2006-06-05 12:00 AM
00:12:51 | 800 meters | 01m 37s / 100meters
Age Group: 0/54
Overall: 104/401
Performance: Good
Suit: Yes
Course: Out and around an island and back. Man-made lake, like an oversized retention pond. Absolutely no waves at all.
Start type: Wade Plus:
Water temp: 70F / 21C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Average
Breathing: Average Drafting:
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Time: 01:30
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Below average
00:44:58 | 14.2 miles | 18.95 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/54
Overall: 125/401
My bike computer had this faster at 19.5 mph.
Wind: Some
Course: The course had a few long straightaways and minor rollers but mostly was winding streets through residential areas.
Road: Smooth Wet Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Average Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 01:24
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Bad
Jumping off bike Bad
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
00:40:34 | 04.9 miles | 08m 17s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/54
Overall: 118/401
Performance: Good
I had my run time about 3 minutes faster so I'm not sure what happened here. There were no splits for transitions but even T2 would not account for this much of a discrepancy. I'm not going to worry about it because my overall watch time matched almost exactly with the results.
Course: Pretty flat, almost all residential streets. Some bike path. Volunteers were great.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 5