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Hy-Vee Triathlon 5150 U.S. Championship - Triathlon

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Des Moines, Iowa
United States
Hy-Vee Triathlon
Total Time = 3h 42m 20s
Overall Rank = 10/20
Age Group = Athena
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

I just want to start this off by saying that this was by far the most jacked up race morning EVER!!!

I attended the required race briefing, got my packet and all the goodies that Hy-Vee gives out (nice back pack, bike jersey, and visor), walked around the expo and made my way to Gray’s Lake to set up my bike. I decided to ride up and down part of the run course to test the gears and to my horror the rear gears where not wanting to catch or stay in the gear I wanted. I’ve never been so thankful to the bike guys from Scheels who were on hand to get my bike fixed and back in working order.

Racked up my bike and walked around the lake for some last minute mental prep. Made my way back to my friend’s house and enjoyed a relaxing night.
I actually managed to wake up on time and got my shower done and my hair up. My breakfast was in the car so I didn’t need to worry about that right off the bat.

Let me interject here and not that not only was it raining at 0400, it was pouring torrential sheets of rain with impressive flashes of lightening and loud claps of thunder to boot. I knew for sure that we would be delayed and I hoped that we would not be actually canceled.

Checked up bags for the umpteenth time, got my water bottles filled and…….oh no, I couldn’t find my keys anywhere. I knew I put them in my purse which I put on the table. After spending close to 20 minutes frantically looking around but trying to keep quiet so my friend, who worked third shift, could sleep. Finally I figured that I must of left them in the car. So I grabbed my bags and out the door I went.

Well you guessed it, after a mad dash through the rain that still left me soaked to the bone my keys where still nowhere to be found. So it was another mad dash back to the house only to discover that her alarm system automatically locked the doors when I left. Again it was a mad dash back to my car which at this point was totally worthless because I was soaked through and through.

By this point I was about 30 minutes behind schedule and about ready to cry. I called several friends who were also doing the race only to discover that they were already in the transition area. And with parking being so tight and limited they could not come to get me. So I did the only thing I could do at that point, I called a cab. Close to 40 minutes later and $20.00 poorer I arrived.

Now that things began to look up I mad the maddening discovery that I managed to leave my race bib, timing chip, breakfast, and ear plugs in my car. Another mad dash around and around the area looking for the right people and I was finally hooked up with a new swim cap, timing chip and bib. The only thing I was missing was breakfast. Looks like I was going to have to do this with no food in my gut. I was already dreading the swim.

Announcements made that due to the storm the entire bike and run course where literally blown off the roads and had to be reset up. Of course as luck would have it they finally got that done and another bit of storm blew through and messed up parts of the course, again. So maddening. By now I’m hungry, wet, cold, NOT in a good mood, and ready just to leave.

While setting up my transition area guess what I found? Yup, my keys. I somehow got a rip in the lining of my purse that was less than a year old and my keys fell in there. Yet one more thing to get upset about. And I also found that my front tire was flat. Once again the bike guys from Scheels where there to save the day. Also was thankful that I had multiple spare tubes with me besides the ones I carry on my bike. So that was one less expense I had to deal with.

I busied myself talking to the other athletes there and tried to forget how crappy my morning has gone so far.

Event warmup:

I walked the half mile around the lake to the swim start and settled down to watch the pros take off. They are certainly fast, they rounded the bend in the swim course and was out of site in no time at all.

While I was waiting for my turn I drank two bottles of water and took in the only gel packet I could afford to use. Then I made the mistake of getting in the water for a quick warm up swim. I quickly discovered that the water was actually warmed than the ambient air. By the way this was a no wetsuit swim so I knew it would be warm, but I was not prepared for how warm it would be.

As soon as I tried to get of the water I became aware of how cold the wind really was. So I simply found a spot in the shallow part of the lake and sat down using the water to keep warm. I did have to laugh though as everyone else had the same idea. There where what seemed like hundreds of capped heads sticking out of the water like little colored spheres.

I did managed to pull it together for when the national athem was sung. Now I have to say this was by far the best singing of our anthem I have ever heard. When she was singing about the bombs bursting in air and the fire’s red glare cannons on the other side of the lake went off sending trails of smoke into the sky. The shock waves could be felt by everyone and it seemed like the very trees rattled. At the end a short fireworks show was given, I think even the birds kept quiet to show respect (or they were just scared off). Anyway I don’t think there was a single dry eye in the entire multi thousand athlete crowd.

  • 50m 28s
  • 1500 meters
  • 03m 22s / 100 meters

I don’t know how to accurately describe the swim except to say it was BAD. As I was standing in the back of the line with under a minute to go I made a sickening mental discovery: I didn’t want to do this. It took every bit of self-control not to just take off my timing chip and swim cap and simply walk away.

Normally I have those pre-race jitters but I’m normally also excited/scared/crazy happy all at the same time. But this morning I simply had no desire to be there. I realized that I hated this. I hated being classified as a champion. I hated knowing that people where holding me to a higher standard and me knowing that I most likely would not be able to respond to those people.

A few seconds of total silence and the starting horn went off and in the lake I went. So let’s take a quick break to backtrack to my “training” After my son received a head injury and a few weeks later I split my head open and was forced to stay on dry land my swim training was lacking to say the least. I knew it would be a bad one but I was totally unprepared for how bad it was going to be.

I moved my arms and legs in the proper motion and my muscles had committed to memory but no matter how hard I tried I kept falling behind.

Soon my grounp was far ahead and I started to get swum over by other groups behind me. I stopped several times to vomit nasty lake water, my empty stomach was loudly complaining, and the gel as making a messy comeback. All this and I was not even halfway through the swim.

Finally got to the halfway point totally exhausted. By now the age groupers where around me and I was literally one of the last championship swimmers still in the lake. I was still making such slow progress, I was so frustrated! I tried harder and kicked harder and worked my arms harder, but I still moved at an agonizing slow pace. At one point I stopped because I was so tired and I promptly sunk below the surface. I’m sure I gave the life guards quite the scare, when I came up I had a boat, kayak, and a canoe by me asking if I was ok. I hung on for a few minutes to get my breathing under control.

While resting I remembered that this race was not for me, it was dedicated to my aunt Jody who had recently died of cancer. She had fought bravely till the very last breath and I owed that much to her. Off I went again, still at a slow back but slightly more at peace with things.

Pulled myself up to the shore and puked yet again, this time in full view of the crowds and the camera guy who insisted on taking my picture. I could have punched him if I had the energy to do so.

What would you do differently?:

I don't know.....more swim time, don't split my head open, don't be forced on dry land for weeks on end, don't put so much pressure on myself. A combo of all the above.
Transition 1
  • 04m 13s

There was a long walk up a hill to get to our bikes. I just didn’t have it in me to run up it this year. Heck at that point I was impressed I survived the swim!

My stomach was still complaining about the lack of breakfast while I got my socks and shoes on, which neither wanted to cooperate with me that morning. Finally was out in the aisle and heading towards the mount line.

Here too I made the same bad discovery. Normally I can’t wait to get on my bike and normally have a huge cheesy smile plastered across my face as I get on my bike. Not today, in fact I was dreading it as much as I dreaded the swim. No desire at all to be there. No desire to get on with my favorite of the three sports. I just wanted to quit walk away. If this was not my one and likely chance at the championships, I would have done just that. Walked away and been happy to watch everyone.

What would you do differently?:

Don't be so weak from the swim, remember to eat breakfast so I would have the energy.
  • 1h 26m 29s
  • 40 kms
  • 27.75 km/hr

Ah, the bike, where to begin on this one? Not even a mile into it I completely hated it. I wanted off and I wanted nothing to do with the course. Just then I heard the most awful sound I ever heard my bike make. Then I lost my ability to shift and quickly lost my ability to even move the pedal. So off I went and discovered a length of rusted wire had become wound around my gears, and it was tight. Took me close to five minutes to get it untangled. In the process my chain fell off, but I said a quick thank you prayer to Josh from my LBS who taught me how to quickly and accurately re-chain my bike.

I was off again and can we say headwind? It seemed like the wind never let up and to make matters worse I just could not seem to get my speed up even with a side or tail wind. I’m sure it had to do with not having any breakfast or other form of nutrition in my body.

Person after people kept passing me, that just served to make me madder. I worked hard on my bike skills over the spring and summer and knew I could do better than what I was doing. At one point I was at my lowest gear and fighting to make it up the hill.

I knew my times would be bad, but man oh man where they bad! Almost 20 minutes slower than last year. I was NOT very happy when I finally came back into the park. At this point I just wanted to get off my bike and walk away.

What would you do differently?:

Not be so hungry and wore out.
Transition 2
  • 02m 50s

T2 was pretty much a repeat of T1. I seemed to be moving at a snail’s pace. I of course was dreading the run and again it crossed my mind to quit. Keep in mind that if this was not the championships and if this race was not dedicated to Aunt Jody, I would have quite a LONG time ago.
What would you do differently?:

I don't know, still frustrated.
  • 1h 18m 22s
  • 10 kms
  • 07m 50s  min/km

Well the run went just about as crappy as the rest of the race. I’m used to having heavy legs for the first mile but I just could not seem to get a good pace going. My no food was coming back to haunt me big time. I was reduced down to a 2 minute jog/shuffle to a 2 minute walk. I drank an equal amount of water and Gatorade but it was too little too late.

My race number had three numbers in it marking me as a champion division surrounded by almost everyone else who had four numbers. Now the crowds where great offering me encouragement along the way. But I felt like I was being singled out because they knew how far behind I was. Now it was just about finishing and not about actually acting and racing like the champion that I was supposed to be.

Finally made it to the last quarter mile, I just said screw it and “ran” across the finish line. My run was more like a pathetic jog/shuffle. Made it across the line and collected my medal that I hardly felt like I deserved let alone earned.

What would you do differently?:

Have a better overall race
Post race
Warm down:

I walked around the ultra-crowded finish area, got my water and Gatorade. Ate a few pieces of fruit and enjoyed some ice cream. Was finally allowed into transition to our bike. I called my friend who by this time had to get to work so I was again stranded. I called my mom and broke down and cried. I cried for my poor performance, for my lost dreams of a strong finish, for my hate of a sport that at one point I loved, for my feeling that I let Jody down.

Finally got myself pulled back together and now faced a 12 mile bike ride back to my car. As if my legs and body have not been through enough, now I had a hilly bike ride with my heavy transition pack strapped to my back.

Event comments:

For now I’ve cleared my schedule of all races and training. For now I need to get back to my roots and rediscover how much I love and enjoy running and biking. I think that in this race it was no longer about fun, it was not about the joy of speed and being around like minded people.

Last updated: 2013-09-03 12:00 AM
00:50:28 | 1500 meters | 03m 22s / 100meters
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/20
Performance: Bad
Suit: None
Course: This was a trianle/rectangle type course. I liked it better than last year, not so congested.
Start type: Run Plus: Waves
Water temp: 82F / 28C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Bad
Breathing: Average Drafting: Bad
Waves: Navigation:
Rounding: Bad
Time: 04:13
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike: No
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Below average
01:26:29 | 40 kms | 27.75 km/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/20
Performance: Bad
Wind: Strong with gusts
Course: This is basically an out and back couse with multiple turn around points with a nice arangement of hills and flats.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Average Hills: Below average
Race pace: Too hard Drinks: Not enough
Time: 02:50
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Below average
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Below average
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal Average
01:18:22 | 10 kms | 07m 50s  min/km
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/20
Performance: Bad
Course: This was an out and back course that looped past the finish line before turning back to a crowded finish.
Keeping cool Below average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Bad
Mental exertion [1-5] 1
Physical exertion [1-5] 1
Good race? No
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2013-09-03 7:02 AM

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Subject: Hy-Vee Triathlon 5150 U.S. Championship

2013-09-06 9:44 AM
in reply to: #4845193

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Overland Park, KS
Subject: RE: Hy-Vee Triathlon 5150 U.S. Championship
Wow Bethany, your race started long before the swim start! You had so many moments where most people would have thrown in the towel. You didn't. It takes a stronger person to finish a race under the conditions you encountered than one of two people gutting it out against each other for a podium spot. This will pay dividends for future races, you can bank on it.

Keep the engine going, keep the bike tuned, hope to see you there next year!

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