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Hueston Woods Triathlon - Sprint Course - TriathlonSprint

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College Corner, Ohio
United States
HFP Racing
65F / 18C
Total Time = 1h 57m 31s
Overall Rank = 147/167
Age Group = Athena
Age Group Rank = 1/2
Pre-race routine:

Got up, listened to Eric Clapton's "Let it Rain" over and over again because I wanted to have a positive attitude about the horrible experience that I knew was about to befall me, and had breakfast: iced coffee, chocolate Odwalla protein drink, banana with peanut butter.

We packed up the car and made the drive. Because I'd been hitting the hydration yesterday and had made the last minute executive decision to drink coffee, I had to pee the entire way. Halfway to the venue, all gas stations/civilizations disappeared and I had to run into the little beach outhouse at Hueston Woods for relief.
Event warmup:

Tried to check in but the event was a little disorganized still and they weren't ready for us. My boyfriend and I got to pick out our transition spots since they weren't assigned, which was nice because we got to be a) right next to each other, b) at the end of the rack, and c) right by the bike course exit. We set up, walked around, and made a million bathroom trips (thanks coffee).

I thought about biking up the hill out of transition and also thought about getting in the cold lake and warming up; never got past the thought phase on those.
  • 20m 27s
  • 820 yards
  • 02m 29s / 100 yards

The swim is supposed to be my thing. I had worked hard on speedwork recently since I got the swim endurance thing down early in my training and had the race I wanted worked out perfectly in my mind.

Well, as soon as I hit the water and that cold water seized up my lungs, I threw all visions of "the race I had in mind" out the window and settled on finishing/not dying. Holy hell was that water COLD!

I don't like running through water (kills my legs) so I threw my whole body in as soon as I could. When I tried to put my face down, my asthma (which hates cold water) told me to get my damn head out of that cold water immediately.

Dismayed, I looked around and saw that nearly everyone else was swimming head-up, dog paddling, gasping at the cold, and suffering just as much as I was. I knew I had to scrap my intentions for the swim and come up with a new plan.

The start was in the middle of the rectangle, so I spent the time up until rounding the first buoy doing a miserable head-up breaststroke, occasionally putting my face in and breathing out as much as I could.

Once I rounded the first buoy, I was able to do a full breaststroke. I had done some exhalation drills in the pool this past week, which ended up helping me a lot. I knew that once I could get my lungs to cooperate with the cold and let me breathe out fully, I could switch to freestyle and end the misery. Every stroke I tried to breathe out a little longer.

By the time I was passing the start on the other side of the rectangle, I was ready to freestyle. Hallelujah! I was tired and shaken, but I started booking it and passing people. Finally the swim I wanted -- it felt so good.

I executed a perfect turn around the last buoy and got really into my stroke. Unfortunately, at this point I also forgot to sight. And when I looked up, I had veered way out into some calm waters. What a mess! I put my arms into overdrive and got back on course. A guy next to me was walking the whole time and going just as fast as me, but I knew I needed my legs for the horror that was about to come and let my legs take it easy as my arms swam me into the finish.
What would you do differently?:

GET A WETSUIT. Never again. Never, never again.

But just in case I do end up in a cold OWS again, a 400 yard warmup or so would obviously help me get over the water temperature and get into my stroke faster.

I'm proud of myself for making a new plan on the fly and executing it, as horrible as my swim time ended up being. My original plan was to go 1:50/100. :(
Transition 1
  • 04m

(This is estimated since the awesome timing company lumped my T1 and bike times together.)

There's a long stretch from the beach to transition. I was so shaken from the swim that I kind of just walked in a daze for half of it, muttering to myself like a crazy person. My HR wasn't high -- I'm not sure what my deal was. But when I rounded the beach house, a voice in my head said, "RUN. NOW." And I took off. It felt really nice running through the damp grass. It was a nice warmup for my legs.

I got to T1 and lo and behold, my baby was at the rack! I thought I had seen him exiting the water right ahead of me. I was so happy to know he had survived that swim -- as awful as it was for me, I knew he had to have just gutted the whole thing out. We chatted as we threw our gear on and I even got a kiss before he rolled out. :) What a treat!

I forgot my watch and had to go back for it. Luckily I was only about six feet from the exit.
What would you do differently?:

Don't forget my watch and run the whole way from the beach. But I really don't care about being fast in transition at this point.
  • 55m 26s
  • 13.2 miles
  • 14.29 mile/hr

My bike is a 1985 steel hoss with non-indexed shifters, chipped sprockets, and a host of other problems. I ride with toe cages and running shoes. I've focused my training on running and swimming, only biking enough (and on flats) to keep myself comfortable in the saddle. So I knew this portion was going to be what it was. My goals were to 1) finish and 2) not kill the run, which I was anxious to feel proud of. Anything beyond that would just be icing on the cake.

The big hill out of transition was my biggest fear and it proved warranted. I got as much momentum as I could on the short flat beforehand, but less than a third of the way up, I got that sick feeling in my stomach that I was going to have to get off and walk. Furious at the swim and furious at the prospect of walking, I willed myself to the top. I. Was. Not. Walking. This. &%&$%*$&ing. Hill, even if it killed me. A woman ahead of me was walking it, others were bobbing and weaving all over the place. I just focused on my breathing -- probably sounded like I was doing Lamaze -- and held my line pretty well considering how slow I was going. It was misery, but somehow I made it to the top.

Once I survived that, I knew I could make it through the rest of the course. I had to walk the second hill, but that was fine.

Surviving the hills was tough. I just cannot make myself move up them. I had a lot of fun on the downhills, though -- getting into my biggest gear and squeezing every bit of momentum from them that I could. I actually passed some people by taking advantage of the downhills rather than just coasting.

Near the turnaround I saw my boyfriend -- hooray! His wheel hadn't malfunctioned like it had been doing all week, and I wasn't too far behind him, either! That lifted my spirits a lot.

I had taped a gel on my tube to eat at the 1 hour mark because I anticipated taking about 2 hours to finish the race. I squirted half of it down my right calf trying to untape it, but it was really fun to eat on the bike for the first time. Also, the caffeine helped a lot -- I felt a surge of energy towards the end. Next time I might try sport beans though.

I was poised to make a really strong finish and carry some huge momentum into the last hill, but an idiot car got on the course and was blocking me from passing it and the cyclists in front of it. It actually stopped at one point and I had to COMPLETELY STOP at the bottom of the hill to avoid hitting it. I was cussing up a storm and furious once again. Luckily, my rage got me up the hill, where a lot of people were walking, gasping, and weaving like crazy.

Finally, this blasted course ended.
What would you do differently?:

Hmm, let's see... stop training on flats? Train on the bike at all?

It's funny that the bike is what got me into triathlon. I never pushed it beyond a casual level. I know I can make up a ton of ground in my overall time by becoming at least proficient on the bike. And that is my plan. We are getting a trainer and working till we puke all winter. I am going to return next year and decimate this course. You mark my words.

That said, I'm pretty happy with my performance on this hilly course given my lack of preparation and the swim fiasco preceding it.
Transition 2
  • 01m 8s

No issues here. I blew my nose into my washcloth (lol), racked the bike, and grabbed my visor. I started jogging immediately.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. Very proud of myself for jogging right away and not dogging it at all!
  • 36m 30s
  • 2.93 miles
  • 12m 28s  min/mile

I am a slow runner and have worked tirelessly this summer to get my endurance up. My standalone 5K last year was dismal. This year, running slow and often has made me grow to love running and feel like I've improved vastly. So I couldn't wait for this run, to put it all together and see how far I'd come.

My legs were tired after that bike ride, but it was nothing too bad. Any time I felt my heart rate or respiration start to creep up, I just pulled it back a notch. People were passing me panting and gasping, or sprinting and walking -- I didn't want that, just wanted a nice, steady run that I could feel proud of.

I had to stop and re-tie my shoe after I got off the grass, and also stopped to pee at an outhouse. I really just had to go and wanted to feel comfortable. This probably added a few minutes to my time, but I didn't care.

I checked my watch at the halfway point and realized that, despite everything, despite the horrible swim and the hill walking on the bike and stopping to pee, I could still make it back under 2 hours if I kept my run pace up. Hooray!

The volunteers on the run really kept my spirits up, and the police officer directing the last turn had a lot of encouraging words. Some spectators and other runners said a lot of nice things, too. I loved all the positive energy.

Coming in towards the end, I heard someone booking it and passing me. It was a big, strong woman. Figuring she was a fellow Athena, I made it my goal to keep up with her. I couldn't match her run pace, but she kept walking, giving me a chance to keep up. On the grass near the finish chute, I got pretty close, and she walked again. I could tell she was suffering, so I told her she'd better keep running because I was chasing her till the end. She laughed and took off -- what an awesome lady! i didn't intend on passing her, but if it wasn't for her, I would have still been dogging it back on the course, and wouldn't have ever known I could finish so strong!

My boyfriend and his parents were right across the finish line, cheering for me and taking pictures. That felt awesome.

What would you do differently?:

Nothing. I am so proud of this run! I could have kicked it into my higher gear earlier, but that's just knowledge for next time!
Post race
Warm down:

Walked around and waited an inordinately long time to get our results. As it turned out, I was one of only two women who had registered Athena (there were PLENTY of women who could have registered) and won the division. They ran out of medals so I didn't get a prize, but oh well -- not like that was really a huge accomplishment anyway!

I would have been 4 out of 6 in my age group. Really a bummer that there weren't more women in this race to compete with.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

My old bike, the cold water, and my lack of hill training. But that's fine. I didn't have high expectations for my performance in this race, so I'm thrilled with the way things turned out. And so proud of the run!

Event comments:

I don't think this is a good race for a beginner or first-timer. Strong cyclists might not be bothered by the bike course, but it was very difficult for me as a new triathlete. However, this is probably a good race for someone who just wants one last challenge at the end of the season. It was a no-frills race (no race bibs, no goodies) but the hilly and beautiful bike course make it a good event for someone who doesn't care about all that other stuff.

Distances were also off. I mapped them on Gmaps and added the correct distances to my race report.

The volunteers were very nice and encouraging and the bike course was well marked, although I wish the police would have done a better job of controlling the cars coming on the course.

I was frustrated that I couldn't check in at the posted check-in time, that the body markers didn't know what "Athena" meant, that the dangerous potholes hadn't been patched, that timing and results were such a fiasco (many people had T1/T2 times lumped in with their splits), and that they changed the run course at the last minute.

Last updated: 2011-07-13 12:00 AM
00:20:27 | 820 yards | 02m 29s / 100yards
Age Group: 1/2
Overall: 122/167
Performance: Below average
Suit: Compression capri pants and a tech tank
Course: Anticlockwise rectangle
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 65F / 18C Current: Low
200M Perf. Bad Remainder: Below average
Breathing: Average Drafting: Good
Waves: Navigation: Below average
Rounding: Good
Time: 04:00
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
00:55:26 | 13.2 miles | 14.29 mile/hr
Age Group: 1/2
Overall: 114/167
Performance: Below average
Wind: None
Course: Very hilly out and back. Hard as hell. Rough portions of road including a completely rutted, potholed sharp turn coming down a hill near the end of the course.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Below average
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 01:08
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
00:36:30 | 02.93 miles | 12m 28s  min/mile
Age Group: 1/2
Overall: 154/167
Performance: Good
Course: First part through wet grass on the side of a sloping lawn (WTF?), then some funny loops through a parking lot/dry dock storage and back.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Too hard
Organized? No
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? No
Post race activities: Below average
Race evaluation [1-5] 2

2011-09-13 10:35 AM

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Subject: Hueston Woods Triathlon - Sprint Course

2011-09-13 8:21 PM
in reply to: #3684208

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Extreme Veteran
Sidney, Ohio
Subject: RE: Hueston Woods Triathlon - Sprint Course

Great race and way to finish strong.  I attempted to sprint the last 100 but my legs did not agree.  I think that last hill was the worst of them all, you know your almost to the end but the hill just did not seem to stop.  I hit max HR going up that thing and then coasted the rest of the way. 

Good luck next year!  I am sure I will be there also

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