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Bandits Challenge Triathlon - TriathlonOlympic

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Wilkesboro, North Carolina
United States
Set Up, Inc.
70F / 21C
Total Time = 3h 06m 6s
Overall Rank = 21/46
Age Group = 45-49
Age Group Rank = 3/6
Pre-race routine:

As I think of more things, I am updating my other blog, so I'd recommend you actually go over there to read my report. (I also added pictures there).

This race report is long. If you don't want to read all of it, just read the Run section. This race was all about the run! I came off the bike in third place, and was able to put in a strong run to hold that spot, despite a woman chasing me down the whole run :)

This was a "C" race for me, so I only tapered for a half week. It was also be a recovery week in my training plan, so that helped me be fresh for race day.

The day before, I packed everything up as usual. I changed into my "race tires", which are really just a fresher pair of tires and tubes. Got a pinch flat immediately, so had to change again. Did a 5 minute bike ride to test out tires, and left them fully inflated overnight. I figure if they are still inflated in the am, then they are good.

Headed out to race site at 3 am with my swim buddy, Tom H. We had a pleasant drive there, and arrived slightly before packet pickup. It was still dark.

A bit hard to clean my chain and fully inflate my tires in the dark, but I managed. I train with my tires at 120 psi, and race with them at 150psi. My "race tires" are rated for 160 psi.

Water had condensed on the top tube of my bike, so, taping my Gus to my bike didn't work. So, I had just laid them into my helmet. I also pre-opened a Boost drink and put that into my helmet. I laid more Gu and another Boost near my running shoes.
Event warmup:

I meant to bring my bike trainer for the bike warmup this race, but forgot! I didn't want to tackle that hill leading out of the parking lot before the race. I watched other people riding up that hill and it didn't look too bad, so I decided I'd go ahead out for a warmup ride. I put my bike in granny gear with the intention to get off and walk if my legs burned at all. I really had no trouble going up that hill in granny gear. If I do this race again, I will probably use this bike and not my new tri bike (which I don't even have yet!). After that hill, the road out of the park is mostly flat, so I road up and down that twice, doing a few 30 second accels. After going back down that hill into the parking lot, I put my bike in granny gear and then racked it. It was 6:45, and I had to go to the bathroom one last time. That pretty much took up the rest of my time, so no warmup run, other than running back and forth to the porta potty! Did some stretching in the porta potty line.

Here's that hill:

  • 34m
  • 1500 meters
  • 02m 16s / 100 meters

The air temperature was only 60 degrees, and the water temperature was in the 80s. A light mist was floating on the surface of the water. It was very picturesque; however, it was hard to see any buoys. There was a buzz of conversation amongst all the women in the water about where exactly was the first buoy. Finally, someone spotted it and pointed it out to everyone else. The horn went off, and we all started swimming across the lake.

I stayed within a tight pack of swimmers for a good ten minutes. Usually the pack thins out fairly quickly and I'm mostly on my own. People got in my way more than helped me in terms of drafting. Finally it thinned out a little.

Sighting the buoys was extremely difficult the entire course, because of that mist. I stopped and treaded water alot more than usual trying to find the orange buoy, then looking for a unique shape in the treeline to aim for beyond the buoy. The dang treeline was uniform - nothing stood out! All I could really do was follow all the yellow caps and flying elbows in front of me, and hope THEY were going in the right direction.

As we neared each buoy, I could see the bright orange through the mist, and could then sight against that. Then going past it, it became the same story as before where I couldn't see the buoy and followed the yellow caps.

At about the half way point, some green caps caught up to me. That was the 45 year old guys. I got behind one guy and successfully drafted for a few minutes. It was hard keeping his pace. Then another green cap cut me off and I was on my own again.

During the times that I was able to see the buoy, I was swimming straight. I think while I followed all the yellow caps, I was swimming straight too. I felt I put in a great swim. When I exited the water, I was a little disappointed in my time of 34 minutes. Last year's top females got a time of 31 minutes. So, I was either 3 minutes behind them, or they measured the course long. I hoped it was the latter.
What would you do differently?:

Don't skip swim workouts! I've only been doing 2 per week, instead of 3 like I'm supposed to.
Transition 1
  • 02m 34s

I put on my socks, briefly hesitating thinking if I should wipe all the grass off my feet. Decided not to and then put my shoes on.

I grabbed the Gus and Boost out of my helmet and stuffed them into my tri top bra. Then strapped on the helmet. Then took the Boost back out of my bra and twisted the cap off.

I grabbed my bike and started running. As I did this, I drank the Boost, spilling some of it all over myself :-)

I probably don't really need Boost during an Olympic, but was testing my half iron nutritional strategy.

What would you do differently?:

Use my fuel box for Gus. I don't think it would hurt my aerodyanmics to have that strapped onto my top tube, especially since sits behind my aerobottle anyway.
  • 1h 31m 12s
  • 27.96 miles
  • 18.39 mile/hr

I did my flying mount, which turned out to be a mistake for this race. There really is not much distance between the mount line, and that hill. Not enough coasting room to get my feet clipped in. I just barely got clipped in and then hit the hill.

Climbing that hill out of the parking lot was fine, because I have triple and was in granny gear. But for a brief moment I was distracted and ran into the grass shoulder. What an idiot! I was able to recover, and rode back on the pavement, and continued riding up. Phew! Just then, I looked up and there was the race photographer. He smiled at me, as if to say "Nice recovery". Then he snapped my photo. He did a good job waiting to take my picture. I'll probably buy it.

This race was a practice run for my half ironman race. I wanted to practice using Boost during T1, and then going easy on the bike for twenty minutes to give my stomach time to digest that. I went easy for just over ten minutes. Then I got antsy and started to pick up the pace. Then my stomach cramped up. This happens to me alot during races, actually, so I am used to it. I ignored it and kept going, and kept up with the rest of my nutritional strategy: Gu every 30 minutes.

The first half of the bike, I rode a good steady effort, but didn't push really hard. I even looked around to enjoy the scenic mountain views and farmlands as I rode. I worked hard up the hills, but not so hard that my legs burned or that I got out of breath. Going over each hill, I stood up to accelerate back to race pace. Going down the worst hills, I got into as tight an aero position as possible, and coasted. Sometimes, there'd be someone in front of me who was pedaling down, and I was going the same speed while coasting :-)

I didn't see anyone in my age group. I figured I was just behind all the super fast women. Then a woman in my age group with a yellow shirt passed me. I wondered who she was? Was she one of the three fast chicks? Or someone else? I figured she was someone else, and I wasn't going to let her beat me on the bike. So, I started pushing harder and past her. She passed me. We did this a few times. Finally, I let her get ahead, with the plan to shadow her. I shadowed her for a long time, but she slowly drifted away. I decided to let it go and just stick with my own pacing plan. Hard, but not too hard. I hoped that she WAS one of those fast chicks.

Near the end of the bike, I passed a woman with 48 on her leg. She had a white and blue tri suit on. After passing her, I picked up my pace to a hard effort level. I didn't want to let her re-pass me.

What would you do differently?:

For that Half Ironman, hold back the urge to go harder, and wait the full twenty minutes. Maybe even thirty minutes. For my next Olympic, don't take the Boost.

Don't do flying mounts at this race, or any race where there is not any coasting room.
Transition 2
  • 01m 34s

Coming off the bike, I was very pleased that my bike split was 1:31. Last year's top females had bike split of 1:31, so how could I have gotten this time given that I hadn't gone all out? Wow, I guess my bike training has really paid off!

I had planned on drinking another boost during T2, but my stomach still felt cramped, so I skipped that. I had two Gus tucked into the pocket of my Palm Holder water bottle. I grabbed that, my running hat, and was off.
What would you do differently?:

  • 56m 47s
  • 6.21 miles
  • 09m 08s  min/mile

This was a two loop course, each loop having three legs, so there were six turn arounds. That gave six chances to see who is behind you. And I knew that woman in the white and blue tri suit was behind me!

When I first started running, I changed my stopwatch to not show the time. I was just going to put in the best run I could, and try to relax and not worry about my time. I was heading out to tackle that short steep hill out of the parking lot, feeling strong, happy about my bike split, when I saw my friend Rebecca Dewire. She said "Go Carol, you look great!", or something like that. I gave her a smile and a wave.

I ran steady and strong until the first turn around, not thinking at all about what my place was. During that time, I saw Kari Wilkinson, and yellow shirt girl who passed me during the bike. I wondered if Kari was in first place? Maybe yellow shirt girl was in second place. Didn't see any other females my age, tho I wasn't really looking, so maybe someone was ahead of Kari.

After the first turn around, I saw the woman in the white and blue suit. She had strawberry blonde hair. Oh crap, strawberry girl is not far behind me. She'll catch up! I better pick the pace up and try to hold her off. At this point, I thought I might be in third place. Still not sure, but I was going to race as if I was.

I remembered a training run where I was following a buffman. I had been trying to keep up with him, and focusing on "digging in deeper and working harder" did not make me go faster. Rather, focusing on fast cadence and good posture DID make me go faster. So, I grabbed onto that thought and focused on good posture and fast feet.

The next turn went down a huge steep hill. Huge. I ran as fast as I could down that hill. Faster than was probably safe for my knees, but I am good at fast down, so I decided I ought to use that to my advantage. Then there was a shorter uphill. Then another downhill. Then a turn around. Ahhh- another chance to gauge where strawberry girl is. It looked like she was in the same position.

Just hold on. I had to tackle all those hills again, this time with the worst one will be UP instead of down. As I ran up that worst hill, there was chatter amongst everyone whether it was better to walk or run. I kept running, albeit slowly. Then a young guy pulled ahead of me and switched to walking, stating that it's definitely faster to walk. I followed suit, eyeing him to see if I was going the same pace. I was not, so I went back to running.

After that hill, was about 1/3 mile back to the start, around a traffic circle, then back out for the second lap. There, I saw strawberry girl again. I was still ahead, but still too close for comfort. Each time we passed each other, I looked straight ahead, held my posture strong to give her the impression that I was too strong for her to catch. From the corner of my eye, it appeared that she was doing the same thing to me.

I kept up my good effort, good posture, fast feet focus. The next turn around, she was definitely closing in. Oh crap, I still had a long way to go, I was getting really tired, and I still had to tackle the worst hills again. This is where it got real hard. I started chanting "no more bobble head, no more lolly gag" in my brain, (referring to blogs where I talked about hold my head up, not letting myself slouch; and not letting my feet lag on the ground - they must snap right back up, FAST). Over and over I chanted this, to where it became word vomit in my brain and merged into things like bobble lolly, gaggle head, and boggle lag. Then I switched to "Suffer Well", and chanted that the rest of the time.

As I rounded the corner to go down that steep long hill, I glanced back. I didn't see her. Still, I knew she must be close, so I ran down that hill super fast. I felt it in the back of my knees. I hoped my knees could take this beating! Then up another hill, then down, then around the next turn around. This was the last turn around, the last opportunity to see strawberry girl before the finish. This time I looked her in the eye, trying to send the vibe "You can't catch me". She was trying to send me a similar vibe, I'm sure.

As I approached that steep long hill, I considered my options. I knew I had a 1/3 mile of flat that I'd have to sprint to the finish after tackling that hill. I knew I had to get up it as fast as I could, yet still be able to sprint. I recalled a couple years ago, when I studied Chi Running. Chi Running has a unique hill strategy that involves running with a sideways step up hills. This shares the workload among different muscle groups. I decided to try that. 5 strides to the left, 5 center, 5 right. This felt right, so I kept this up, as hard as I could without killing myself.

When I got to the top of the hill, I glanced back. Strawberry girl was about at the half way point on the hill. I started sprinting as fast as my tired legs would allow. It probably wasn't really that fast, but it was fast enough. I glanced over my shoulders a couple times to make sure she wasn't speeding up behind me. She wasn't.

When I crossed the finish line, I was so relieved that my hard effort was done. And so happy I had put in such a strong run. I didn't know what my time was, and didn't even care.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing - this was my best run ever!
Post race
Warm down:

Jogged to the lake and jumped in for a cooling soak. Felt great, and had a nice long conversation with a 30ish guy from Tennessee.

Later, I saw my swim buddy Tom H with my friend Scott Dewire. We chatted a while, and they both had great races. I also Kari and chatted with her. She said I had come in third place. Strawberry girl walked up and Kari introduced us. She was one tough competitor.

I looked around for steveseer, because he said he'd be wearing a BT shirt. Sure enough, he was. I went over and talked with him and his friends for quite a long time. We wondered where firefighter5765 was, whose name was Andrew. Just then, we saw a guy sprint across the finish line, whose name was Andrew. We figured that was probably him, so we walked over there to congratulate him, and we chatted some more. What a great place BT is! I'm glad I rediscovered it.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Stomach cramps. I could have maybe gone harder on the bike.

Event comments:

This was a tough, challenging course. I loved it!

Last updated: 2008-07-20 12:00 AM
00:34:00 | 1500 meters | 02m 16s / 100meters
Age Group: 3/6
Overall: 22/46
Performance: Good
HR: 149 avg
Course: Clean water. Counter Clockwise. Watch out for rocks when wading into the water to start.
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 82F / 28C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Good Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Time: 02:34
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Bad
01:31:12 | 27.96 miles | 18.39 mile/hr
Age Group: 3/6
Overall: 15/46
Performance: Good
HR: 151 avg (wow, that's low!)
Wind: None
Course: Hilly. Not as bad as everyone describes tho.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 01:34
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
00:56:47 | 06.21 miles | 09m 08s  min/mile
Age Group: 5/6
Overall: 27/46
Performance: Good
HR: 158 avg
Course: Very hilly and tough run course.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
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

2008-08-10 3:28 PM

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Chapel Hill, NC
Subject: Bandits Challenge Triathlon

2008-08-10 3:56 PM
in reply to: #1592906

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Chicago, Illinois
Subject: RE: Bandits Challenge Triathlon
sounds like a pretty good race despite the stomach cramping. Good job.

glad to hear you god to pratice your nutritional stragery for the him. I hope your boost is worth the lost of time at the start of the course even at the HIM level.
2008-08-11 10:16 AM
in reply to: #1592906

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Subject: RE: Bandits Challenge Triathlon
Awesome race for you!  And a "C" race at that!  I'll probably get those pictures online tonight after my workout(s).  My calves are still kind of tight from that brutal course...
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