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Shortest Triathlon Ever - TriathlonMini Sprint

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Emeryville, California
United States
On your mark events
Total Time = 23m 2s
Overall Rank = 44/162
Age Group = 30-39
Age Group Rank = 2/30
Pre-race routine:

Yeah, 5:45 a.m. is too early to get up for a mini-sprint. I'd packed the night before, so I basically just threw on some clothes, grabbed my backpack and a banana, and headed out on my bike.
Event warmup:

I biked about 3 miles to the race and sat around for 30 minutes waiting for Shizu (who overslept). There was no central transition area so you had to bike from the finish line to the swim -- which isn't really a problem when the bike is 2.5 miles. So I guess that's a warmup of 5.5 miles, or about twice the distance of the race. Hee.
  • 03m 30s
  • 100 meters
  • 03m 30s / 100 meters

Um, wow. I have no idea what happened, but I completely freaked out in the swim. As in, I was panicking and practically hyperventilating. It was bizarre, because I felt totally fine -- not at all nervous, because c'mon, it was 100 meters -- before I got in the pool. Actually, the swimn was hilarious to watch. They told each wave to seed themselves, with people in the far left lane the fastest swimmers and people at the far right the ones who could barely swim. They told us to circle swim (even explained what circle swimming was), but there were no lane dividers, so basically it was complete chaos. It was all very entertaining until my wave -- women 39 and under, and the biggest wave by far -- got in the water. The pool was tiny and not all of us could fit in the water before the start, so I was sitting on the edge with my feet dangling in when they started us.

(The whole situation kind of sucked because the men 40 and over went before us, and the race director was very firm on starting each wave exactly five minutes apart. So after about three minutes all but maybe three or four men were done and the women in my group started getting into the pool, which was a really shitty thing to do while guys are still swimming, you know? Shizu and I stayed back to let the guys finish, but because of that we weren't able to get in the water at the start.)

Anyway, as soon as the first women pushed away I jumped into the water and started to swim and wow, immediately I just freaked out. I couldn't breathe, and if I tried to put my face in the water I immediately gasped and flailed. I haven't had that reaction since the first time I got in the pool more than a year ago. It was similar, though, to how I feel when I get in open water in my wetsuit. It always takes me a few minutes to settle down and relax. I always assumed it was the super cold water, but maybe any new water situation freaks me out?

I never did calm down and I ended up "swimming" the whole thing with my head above water. It was really pathetic. But this race is designed for people who have never done triathlons before, so there were a ton of people who baasically couldn't swim and I wasn't even close to being last out of the water. Plus, it's 100 meters -- at worst, you're going to be 4 minutes behind the first swimmer.

One note: this was my first race in a pool, so my first time wearing tri shorts and a sports bra while swimming. I know, you're not supposed to do anything new on race day, but seriously, *100 meters*, and I had nothing invested in this race. Anyway, lesson learned: my green sports bra is not good for swimming in. Let's just say I got kicked once and there was some hot underwater action. *g*
What would you do differently?:

Get in the pool early and warmup, definitely.
Transition 1
  • 02m 21s

I'm just guessing on the time here, since I forgot to hit the lap button when I got out of the pool. It was a short run to T1, and Shizu (who's a better swimmer than me -- but then, who isn't?) was still getting ready for the bike. She took off about 45 seconds before me.
What would you do differently?:

  • 07m 33s
  • 2.5 miles
  • 19.87 mile/hr

I went back and forth on it, but ultimately decided to skip the bike shoes. The only reason to wear them would've been to practice the transition, which is a pretty good reason, actually, but whatever, I didn't feel like it. It's kind of a pain to bike on clipless pedals with running shoes, but I did all right. Only one person passed me, and it was a chick with clipless. But I ended up sticking to her the rest of the way and she never caught up to me on the run. It took me longer than I expected to catch up to Shizu -- she did great!
What would you do differently?:

Maybe wear my bike shoes.
Transition 2
  • 00m

Since there wasn't one central transition area, we didn't have designated spots, so you just pull up to the racks and find a place to park, then you're off on the run. We also didn't have timing chips, so the run basically started as soon as you'd dumped your bike.
  • 09m 39s
  • 1.2 miles
  • 08m 02s  min/mile

I probably ran a little faster than this since I didn't hit the lap button for the super short transition. It's hard running just a mile after the bike! I'm used to taking about half a mile to shake out the bike legs before getting into the run, but in a 1.2-mile run, you don't really have a half mile to spare. Basically I just found a pace that was comfortable and then picked it up a pace or two from there, and kept doing that for the rest of the run. No one passed me and I passed lots of women (and even a couple of men from the wave before us). A few hundred yards from the finish I passed one woman who looked at me and sort of sighed and said "Good job." Heh. I told her she looked great and she laughed.

Shizu did great and finished only two or three minutes behind me. She'd never done a brick before so I asked how she felt on the run. She groaned and said by the time she felt normal again the race was over. So true.
What would you do differently?:

Push a little harder right from the start, maybe.
Post race
Warm down:

Shizu and I hung out after the race for about 30 minutes so we could pick up our T-shirts and get some free coffee, then I biked home.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Completely losing it on the swim.

Event comments:

They probably could have used more volunteers, especially at some of the spots on the run or bike where it wasn't immediately clear where to go, but otherwise this was a really fun and well-run race. It's clearly designed for people who have never done a triathlon before and aren't really in shape for one, but there were actually quite a few very serious athletes there, including people decked out in full aero gear on their bikes. There were several people who said they had HIMs lined up for this summer and were using this tri just to get in some transition practice, but I think they were secretly showing off and trying to break the previous year's records. *g* Not that I blame them -- it's fun to just go all out for such a short time.

It was neat to watch the near-pros competing alongside all sorts of people you'd never expect to see at a race. The swimwear ranged from trisuits to people in shorts and T-shirts and bikinis. The race director was super nice and everyone was unbelievably encouraging. We all cheered widely for the men during their swims, and I heard lots of guys calling out "go, ladies!" when we were biking and running. It was just a really fun, low-key event.

Last updated: 2008-04-12 12:00 AM
00:03:30 | 100 meters | 03m 30s / 100meters
Age Group: 0/30
Overall: 0/162
Performance: Bad
Course: Four laps in a 25-meter pool.
Start type: Plus:
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current:
200M Perf. Remainder: Bad
Breathing: Bad Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 02:21
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
00:07:33 | 02.5 miles | 19.87 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/30
Overall: 0/162
Performance: Good
Course: Lots of turns on city streets.
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 00:00
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
00:09:39 | 01.2 miles | 08m 02s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/30
Overall: 0/162
Performance: Average
Course: A quick loop.
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race? Ok
Course challenge
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5] 3

2008-04-12 4:57 PM

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Berkeley, Calif.
Subject: Shortest Triathlon Ever

2008-04-13 11:11 AM
in reply to: #1333137

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West Chester, Ohio
Subject: RE: Shortest Triathlon Ever
Sounds like an interesting race and a good learning experience.  Glad you had fun with your friend!
2008-04-13 2:37 PM
in reply to: #1333137

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Liverpool, New York
Subject: RE: Shortest Triathlon Ever

Nice job Erin!  I've never done a pool swim either - I've wondered how it would work.  Sounds like it's a bit tough

great learning experience though! 

2008-04-13 7:35 PM
in reply to: #1333137

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Subject: RE: Shortest Triathlon Ever
hey Erin- thanks for the cheers!  maybe I'll catch you next year!  My next is a sprint in Pleasanton in June.
... after that we'll see if I just check the box as "done" or keep going.  I'm somewhat of a browser in life - like to sample a little of EVERYTHING.  but some things stick
2008-04-13 8:26 PM
in reply to: #1333137

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Subject: RE: Shortest Triathlon Ever
Great report.  My report for my oly today was not this long.
2008-04-13 8:43 PM
in reply to: #1333137

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Beautiful Sonoma County
Subject: RE: Shortest Triathlon Ever

2008-04-14 10:20 AM
in reply to: #1334925

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Subject: RE: Shortest Triathlon Ever
That sounds like a bizarre race. The circle swim madness and the short distances make for a different experience. Good job!
2008-04-15 2:06 PM
in reply to: #1333137

New user

Subject: RE: Shortest Triathlon Ever
HAHAHAHA That was a fun race. That was my very first race (17:38). I was in the Blue Trisuit. First wave in the fast lane of the swim. That was totally laughs. We were battling it out in the water. PURE CHAOS! LOL I just learned how to swim last year myself. Im glad you had a good time. I sure did!!
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