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Shortest Triathlon Ever - TriathlonMini Sprint

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Emeryville, California
United States
On your mark events
Total Time = 32m 34s
Overall Rank = 4/99
Age Group = 30-39
Age Group Rank = 1/39
Pre-race routine:

Shizu got to my place at 6:30 a.m. and we biked to the race start at Emeryville City Hall. It was a nice ride (although I'd forgotten how f-ed up California Street is -- it's a designated bike route but the asphalt is a mess), about three miles, but we were freezing. Registration was a breeze and by 7:15 a.m. we were signed up and just hanging out.

Shizu and I had great fun pointing and laughing at some of the "serious" triathletes who were setting up hard-core transition areas. Like, there were actually people there with buckets. I don't care about the whole bucket debate in general, but honestly, a bucket for a race this distance? And in T2? Plus they had huge towels laid out and big triathlon bags crammed full of stuff. How much stuff do you need for a mini-sprint?

The swimming pool and T1 were a few blocks away from T2/finish. We were told to leave something on the T2 racks to designate our spot (ha! right!), so I left a bag and my race belt under the spot I'd claimed.

By the time we got to T1 the racks were filling up fast, but I found a decent spot near the exit from the pool. When we got to the pool I was surprised no one was in there warming up yet -- it was already 7:45 and the race was set to start in 15 minutes.
Event warmup:

I was the first person to jump in the pool to warm up. I felt so brave! Ha. But I WAS NOT going to make the same mistake as last year and not get in the water before my wave. I'm convinced that was a big part of the reason I flipped out and had a panic attack last year -- for some reason new water (even if it's a swimming pool) scares the crap out of me.

While I was treading water and Shizu was sitting on the edge of the pool a woman came up to chat with us about the race. She asked if we had any advice, and we both told her how chaotic the swim was last year, but that she shouldn't worry because it's so short that it's over super fast. I told the woman about how I'd had a panic attack last year. Then she said, 'Do you post on Beginner Triathlete?' I smiled and said yes, and asked if she was there too. She said she lurks around here and mentioned how useful the information is, and then she asked if I'd written a review of this race last year. I said yes and she said something like, 'I knew it! You were the one who had the panic attack!' I totally laughed, and then she pointed at Shizu and said, 'And you're the friend!' Ha!!

Anyway, to the woman we talked to -- I'm sorry I didn't get your name. I hope you had a fantastic race (and didn't freak out on the swim)! Drop me a note sometime and let me know how you did.

A few minutes later I saw Cynthia (BT's movingsouth) and she joined us at the edge of the pool. It was really nice catching up with her. The pool was super warm so I stayed in there as long as I could, and then stood shivering on the deck waiting for my wave. I was so cold and eager to get started that I didn't even think to get nervous.
  • 02m 50s
  • 100 yards
  • 02m 50s / 100 yards

Shizu and I wondered if the swim would be the same as last year, since last year seemed like such a disaster. But yep, same format. A total of four waves -- men under 40, men 40 and over, women under 40, women 40 and over, children -- and waaaaaaaaay too many people crammed into each wave. Seriously, there were so many women in my wave that there literally was not enough room for us all to get in and start at the same time. (According to the results there were more than 70 women in our wave. And this is a tiny pool -- maybe five lanes, 25 yards.) Shizu, Cynthia and I all waited on the deck for the first women to take off before we jumped in.

Same as last year, the race director explained that we were to self-seed with the fastest on the left and the slowest (read: non-swimmers) on the right and circle swim. But with no lane markers and an overflow of athletes, yeah, that's not gonna happen. At least I didn't have a panic attack this year. Still, I was only able to swim about half of it normal freestyle -- the rest I had to have my head above water because it was simply too dangerous. There were constantly women in front of me, behind me, to either side, and coming straight at me.

Aside from that, I clearly have zero swim fitness. The 100 yards really wiped me out. Heh.
What would you do differently?:

Swim at least once in the month or two before the race? But honestly, I doubt I could've been much faster. There were just too many people to dodge. This swim is all about survival and getting it done.
Transition 1
  • 01m 22s

They told us to be careful and walk to T1 because the pool deck was so slippery. Which was true, but man, people were seriously *strolling* to their bikes. It's a race, damnit! I got to my bike, jammed my feet in my shoes (no socks, didn't bother with the clipless setup for a 2.5-mile bike, and I'd put elastic laces in my shoes the night before), shoved my goggles and swim cap into the back of my tri shorts, and I was off.
What would you do differently?:

  • 09m 27s
  • 2.7 miles
  • 17.14 mile/hr

Very fast bike through Emeryville. I passed a whole bunch of people and got passed by one woman, who I kept in my sights for the rest of the ride. Still, this felt rough -- it was obvious I hadn't been on a bike in a very long time. I kept wanting to push harder but my quads weren't happy. The turnaround was a little sketchy -- a really tight 180 -- but otherwise the roads were smooth and easy and pretty flat. It was a slight downhill on the way out and I was flying, but the slight uphill on the way back hurt more than it should have.

People this year seemed much more familiar with the basic rules than last year -- the slower folks stayed to their right and didn't freak out when I yelled "on your left."
What would you do differently?:

Ride my bike every now and then. Next year I'll either go with the clipless shoes or switch out my clipless pedals for some pedals with cages.
Transition 2
  • 00m 21s

My spot had indeed been claimed by someone else when I pulled into T2, but I was able to squeeze my bike in anyway. I dumped my helmet, grabbed my race belt and took off. I was a few feet into the run and fiddling with the race belt when I felt something drop and looked behind me to see my goggles. Oops! I'd forgotten to pull my goggles and swim cap out of my tri shorts. An awesome volunteer yelled at me to keep going and waved me on while she picked up the goggles. Yay, awesome volunteer!
What would you do differently?:

Remember to leave behind my swim cap and goggles. But I was super speedy!
  • 18m 34s
  • 2.2 miles
  • 08m 26s  min/mile

I really suffered for the lack of bike training here. I'd been hoping the very short bike would just warm me up for the run, but not so much. I got passed by one woman early on and another one maybe a half mile into the run. Suck!

Also suck was the hill, which was a surprise since they bill this race as "flat and fast." I'd say more people were walking the hill than running it and I passed a lot of dudes from the earlier wave here. The downhill was lovely, though, and by the time I hit the bottom I was feeling good and able to pick up my speed.

There was one guy literally window-shopping during the section of the race that went through an outdoor mall. He was sort of wandering along the sidewalk, pausing to look inside the stores. I thought maybe he wasn't in the race, but nope, he had a race number. I kind of wanted to yell "It's a race!!!" at him, but eh, whatever works for him. (Someone later suggested that maybe he was looking for a gift to buy himself as a reward for finishing the race.)

As soon as I got out of the mall section I saw Shizu, and then a few seconds later Cynthia, on my way back. Both were looking great! We high-fived and yelled some encouragement. Very soon after that a woman passed me on the hill going back. I wanted to catch her but she was *moving* and I just didn't have it in me. I learned from Cynthia after the race that I'd been in third place (overall women) until that woman passed me. Damn! At least she wasn't in my AG.

Still, I was feeling pretty good on the uphill heading back. I also had quite a bit of steam left for the last few blocks and was able to pretty much sprint it to the finish, so I'm thinking I didn't push nearly hard enough on this run. I know I should've been much faster.
What would you do differently?:

Run faster. I need to get over my fear of pain on these really short runs. I am way more freaked out by a 5k than a 10k or half marathon. Note to self: More 5k races!
Post race
Warm down:

Jack was there to cheer me on at the finish. Yay! I found him and we watched Shizu and Cynthia come in. I also found the volunteer who'd picked up my goggles and thanked her profusely for taking good care of them. Then the three of us girls talked about how crazy the swim was (again) and how annoyed we were by the hill on the run. Heh. Shizu and I didn't stick around very long and after maybe 20 or 30 minutes we grabbed our bikes and rode back to my place to meet Jack for breakfast.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Zero bike/swim training.

Event comments:

My first AG win! OK, it's not exactly the fastest field, but I'm still super excited about it. (They got my time wrong at first and I had to email them (with back-up email from Cynthia -- thank you!) to get it fixed.) Whee!

I love this race, crazy swim and all. Shizu and I were talking afterwards about how at this point, we don't necessarily want them to fix the swim. The clusterfuck is part of the appeal! I was a little annoyed that they made the run two miles instead of one this year -- what I love about this race is how ridiculously short it is, and two miles crosses into not *that* short territory, you know? But it's all so beginner-friendly and family-oriented and just silly fun, that I can't really have any serious complaints. Oh, and they have great volunteers -- very nice and helpful and good at keeping the racers on track. I'm pretty sure I thanked every single one of them on the course.

Last updated: 2009-04-20 12:00 AM
00:02:50 | 100 yards | 02m 50s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/39
Overall: 0/99
Performance: Average
Course: 100 yards in a swimming pool: 60-plus women, no lane markers, total chaos.
Start type: Plus:
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current:
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 01:22
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
00:09:27 | 02.7 miles | 17.14 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/39
Overall: 0/99
Performance: Average
Course: Simple out and back on city streets.
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 00:21
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
00:18:34 | 02.2 miles | 08m 26s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/39
Overall: 0/99
Performance: Average
Course: Out and back to Bay Street mall.
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? No
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2009-04-22 5:32 PM

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Berkeley, Calif.
Subject: Shortest Triathlon Ever
I know -- it probably takes longer to read this RR than it took me to finish this race. I'm a writer! I like to write!

Edited by Fielding 2009-04-22 5:35 PM

2009-04-22 11:18 PM
in reply to: #2103679

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Subject: RE: Shortest Triathlon Ever
Podium!!!!!!! Congrats, Erin.
2009-04-23 1:02 PM
in reply to: #2103679

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Liverpool, New York
Subject: RE: Shortest Triathlon Ever
w00t w00t!!!!

Congratulations Erin!

2009-04-24 7:16 PM
in reply to: #2103679

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Subject: RE: Shortest Triathlon Ever

Congrats on the AG win. I cant imagine racing something that short.

2009-04-25 12:31 PM
in reply to: #2103679

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West Chester, Ohio
Subject: RE: Shortest Triathlon Ever

AG win is AG win.  Congrats!!

2009-04-25 12:40 PM
in reply to: #2103679

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Pacific Northwest
Subject: RE: Shortest Triathlon Ever

What a fun race!  Have you perused my race calendar to see if any races up here fit into your schedule??    Glad to see an AG win!  Woooo!!!!

2009-04-27 7:23 AM
in reply to: #2109840

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Suwanee, Ga.
Subject: RE: Shortest Triathlon Ever
OK...I am officially in the cool guy club....because I *know* an AG WINNER...Great job my friend.  That race sounds like a blast.

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