General Smallwood Sprint Triathlon - Triathlon

View Member's Race Log View other race reports
Marbury, Maryland
United States
Kinetic Multisports
85F / 29C
Total Time = 1h 54m 49s
Overall Rank = 76/157
Age Group = M 50-54
Age Group Rank = 7/10
Pre-race routine:

First time firing my triathlon guns in anger in almost eight years.

After finishing Rock Hall Olympic in June 2014 i had a big run focus for the Baltimore Half Marathon later that year which really took a toll on my body. I had back issues to begin with and the training and finally the race itself just put the proverbial nail in the coffin. 2+ years later I'm on an operating table getting disc decompression surgery (as it turns out, probably the wrong choice of procedures). Rehab/PT, injections, lots of starts and stops for run training finally got me to the point where I decided I'd just be a swimmer and a cyclist, and I wound up doing an Olympic aquabike in 2019. All the while I was fiddling with running, and finally this year I said "I'm doing a triathlon even if I have to walk the damn run."

Signed up for a sprint right when registration opened and did a six-month-long couch-to-5K program and I finally passed the 3 mile mark in early May. Had a pretty good training plan on the bike and swim and LOTS of core work as well so as we approached the date I figured I was in as good a shape as possible, and my back is as good as it's going to get. Only problem (besides the very limited run training) was that I had only been on the bike outside a couple of times this year because of the weather. That and no OWS since said 2019 aquabike.

Had a good taper week after a really good 3-4 weeks of training leading in, so ready to go.
Event warmup:

We were originally planning on driving down the night before, but bailed on that plan when the Googles said up to 3 hours of driving time Friday afternoon so we stayed home and got up early (4:15). Slept like crap as usual the night before a race.

Got to the site, checked in, did the transition setup and walked around a bit. It was already warm and humid out (76 at 7 AM). Water temp was 76 so we were wetsuit legal.

At about 7:45 I started my warm-up of jogging around a bit and stretching, then squeezed myself into my wetsuit and waited for the sprint to start
  • 17m 24s
  • 750 meters
  • 02m 19s / 100 meters

Oy! The OWS...

Headed into this I had done a bunch of practice 1000 yard TTs in in the pool and I was consistently holding low 1:40s 100 pacing, so I thought with my usual sighting issues I'd come in maybe 14 minutes. Knowing I was going to run/walk the run I figured I'd burn some matches in the swim.

Only problem was that I totally forgot how to swim in open water.

I jumped in and just panicked - not like I was going to drown or anything just I felt REALLY uncomfortable in the water. I started swimming and started hyperventilating (which I do a little in OWS anyway and am used to it, but this was bad). I settled myself down mentally and did some Tarzan swimming and backstroke just to calm down.

Eventually I got myself under control but my cadence was too fast, like I was rushing to finish. By the time we got to the turnaround I was starting to do a little better and my pacing improved. The final half back to the dock was much better other than me veering of course a bit (also as usual), but I definitely did not enjoy that swim AT ALL.

Got to the boat ramp, stood up, immediately both my hamstrings cramped a little so I had to stand a second before crossing the timing mat.

63/157 overall, so 60th percentile on the swim which isn't horrible I suppose.
What would you do differently?:

Practice OWS. That's' it. There's no reason for me to swimming slower than 2:00/100 at any distance, with or without a wetsuit.
Transition 1
  • 06m 50s

Weird transition as you had to run uphill almost a 1/4 mile to transition and I had no idea how to mange that properly in bare feet and a wetsuit. I had trouble getting the suit off my ankles, especially the one with the timing chip.

I was like 140th out of 158 so that sucks, but I was kind of dilly-dallying anyway.
What would you do differently?:

Quicken the pace a little. This is a weird transition so I'm not worried about it.
  • 53m 31s
  • 16 miles
  • 17.94 mile/hr

The bike...thank goodness. I've been mainly a cyclist for the last 6-7 years because of my back issues so in theory it should be my strength. I'd been fiddling around with a TT bike (a Planet X Stealth) but I haven't quite gotten the fit right so about a month ago I decided to just put the clip-ons on the Ridley roadie and get it as aero as possible.

I put a wheel cover on my Flo 30 rear wheel but it didn't work (cover rubbed against the cassette) so had to bail on the aero wheel setup. After all the technology problems I've been having the last few weeks at this point I'm just happy the bike is working.

Meandered out of transition (no running flying mount for me...I'm not that coordinated) and got going. Slight downhill to start and I started passing people already. Then we hit the first big climb out of the park and I had already decided this would be a place to burn some matches so I held over 300w most of the way up minus the quick descent in the middle.

The course then becomes just rolling and by that I mean never flat so it was tough to find a rhythm but I settled into aero on the flat-ish parts, tucking in the drops on the descents and a mix of the hoods and standing on the harder climbs.

The course splits the Oly and Sprint riders so once that happened it got a little lonely out there but the farmland was pretty. Eventually we join back with the Oly riders and the course became much more crowded.

I played leapfrog with a couple or riders who had no idea how to "stay right, pass left" even after me yelling "passing on your left" they refused to move so I got more direct: "stop blocking" Finally I just got ahead of them and pushed hard and dropped them with a couple of miles to go.

Final 2 miles was fairly downhill so I made up some time and also got my HR down, then was almost crashed into by another rider trying to loosen their shoes while riding and clearly didn't know how to do it right as he was weaving all over the road. Got around him and kept pushing through the slight uphill to transition.

I kept my HR in the high tempo / low threshold range which was per plan, though my wattage output was a little low. Very solid bike segment considering the heat and my lack of outdoor riding fitness. I probably didn't take in enough fluid either, but I'm bad at that on the bike anyway.

I passed a ton of people on the bike and was only passed by people who looked like they really knew what they were doing on bike. :-)

Avg power: 191 nPower: 214 IF: 0.83 VI: 1.14 (yikes!) avg HR: 129
What would you do differently?:

I might have pushed a little harder but I was a bit conservative because I didn't know the course at all and didn't want to be hammering along and then get to a big or steep hill with my HR way up. Other than that well executed.
Transition 2
  • 02m 21s

Typical mediocre T2 for me, had trouble getting my shoes on so I need to figure out a better lacing strategy.

T-6th / 10 in my AG, ~ 110/157 OA so not terrible
What would you do differently?:

I should be able to shave off a minute here with better shoe management and a sense of urgency.
  • 34m 45s
  • 5 kms
  • 06m 57s  min/km

As noted in the background, I haven't run much the past 7+ years, like maybe 1000 miles total so going into this I wasn't expecting much and just wanted to jog through it and walk a little bit, hoping for my back to hold out.

It was in the 80s by now so this was going to be a hot one.

The Plan was to jog the uphills, run a little quicker on the flats, and walk the steeper downhills to minimize the pounding. Try to break 30 minutes. Well, easier said than done on this course. It was a mix of road, grass, gravel, wooden decking with uphills, downhills, even a little sidehills with basically nothing flat. Not exactly an optimal course for 200 pound me.

Anyway, jogged out of T2 for first 1/4 mile or so feeling a little stiff but decent. Then we had to climb the same hill we did on the bike so I wound up walking a bunch of that. Got to mile one at like 11:44 (GAP 10:36) and dumped some ice water on my head. The second mile was about flat overall but up/down and some of the more technical terrain along a fire road and some really old roads through some abandoned farmhouses. Mile two split was 11:26 (GAP 10:17).

Now we start going downhill, which would have been great but some of it was pretty steep and I was leary about letting it loose, so continued my old man shuffle. Got to mile 3 (10:45, GAP 10:19) and then we have the same uphill run from the swim exit, so I pushed a little harder to the finish. No sprint in me.

Avg HR: 132 (as planned)
What would you do differently?:

I don't think there was much more I could do on this course. Even at the peak of my "triathlon powers" this course wasn't a match for my skillset.
Post race
Warm down:

Grabbed a ice towel and some water...walked around to find The Wife and then she brought me an orange-flavored shaved ice. What a great sherpa!!

Walked around and stretched a bit, packed up the car, grabbed some snacks and headed out for the 90-minute plus drive home in DC traffic.

I was really out of it the rest of the day and beat down the next. Two days later as I'm typing this I'm still sore from the downhill running which I haven't really done in years.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Three main things (OK, maybe four):

OWS training: I have to get my pool fitness to translate outdoors

Running: maybe do some??

Transitions: have a sense of urgency and plan better

Race Selection: not sure if this was the best course to match my body type, nor my fitness level

All of these are fixable. :-)

Event comments:

Overall, a great re-entry to the triathlon racing scene. I could've picked a better course for me, but overall I can't complain about finishing one for the first time in eight years. I'm also at a point now where my AG starts to get easier so if I'm able to improve a bit I'll be hoping to compete for AG podiums in these races. I easily left 15 minutes on the table out there today.

My back held out great the whole race and even the next couple of days it was more my legs, etc. that were hurting. I feel like I've been in a car accident. :-)

Going forward I have to continue to manage my body and figure out the right amount of run training so I can get some speed back without overcooking myself like I did back in 2014.

Kinetic put on a great race as usual...decent SWAG, good food spread afterwards (which I'm usually not ready to eat yet, but it looked good!). Volunteers were everywhere and really helpful, especially with the heat It hit 98 degrees later in the day.

Last updated: 2022-05-19 12:00 AM
00:17:24 | 750 meters | 02m 19s / 100meters
Age Group: 6/10
Overall: 63/157
Performance: Average
Suit: Promotion Power Glide Sleeveless
Course: three sides of a rectangle, counter clockwise turns
Start type: Dive Plus: Time Trial
Water temp: 75F / 24C Current: Low
200M Perf. Bad Remainder: Good
Breathing: Average Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Time: 06:50
Performance: Bad
Cap removal: Below average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
00:53:31 | 16 miles | 17.94 mile/hr
Age Group: 5/10
Overall: 40/157
Performance: Good
Wind: Little
Course: hilly as @#$@! on country roads, no flats at all so tough to get into a rhythm
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Not enough
Time: 02:21
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal
00:34:45 | 05 kms | 06m 57s  min/km
Age Group: 7/10
Overall: 126/157
Performance: Average
Course: Hilly, mix of surfaces. HOT!
Keeping cool Below average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Too hard
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5] 5