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Lum's Pond Olympic - Triathlon

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Bear, Delaware
United States
82F / 28C
Total Time = 3h 11m 5s
Overall Rank = 129/189
Age Group = M 50-54
Age Group Rank = 8/11
Pre-race routine:

"The Last Olympic"


First race of the year in 2023 after missing the first due to an injury (back, again...) and COVID in the family the week before on the second. I was originally planning on this being a fun sprint, not the culmination of what wound up being a 34-week (!!!) training plan and shooting for Age Group Nationals at the Olympic distance that was supposed to happen in early June. My daughter also was doing her first Olympic so we've been training together a little over the past couple of months, which has been great. She's a club swimmer so that gives her a huge advantage over most of us idiots in the water, and she's coming along on the bike as well and she's working hard on her running.

This course should be my favorite. I grew up swimming here when they still had a public beach, and this will be my fourth time racing here with a super-flat bike course and an ever-changing but flat-ish run course (more on that later...). I did my first tri here in 2010, another one in 2013, and the aquabike in 2019. All previous races were really good efforts. It was also the Delaware qualifier for Age Group Nationals so it should be a good-sized field


Leading up to the race, I had what was probably the best eight-week training block of my "career" with the most volume in a month ever in July and a really good two-week taper into the race. Came into race day with a Training Peaks fitness around 70 and form around 20 which should be about perfect. If I was criminally under-trained for the run at last year's Oly, I should be given the death penalty for this year, but I was managing expectations with an expected run/walk race strategy.

Given my recent peak fitness I was hoping for some PRs (so sub-30 swim, 1:05 or so bike, and try to finish around an hour on the run). I figured I'd spot my daughter 8-10 minutes on the swim, reel her in on the bike, and we'd both suffer through the run together. Well, some of that happened.

This was also to be my last at the Olympic distance. My body just can't handle the run training necessary to be remotely competitive at it (and I don't get a ton of joy in just finishing after doing this for almost 15 years), so there was some hoping I could just leave it all out there, have a great race, then shoot for being fast as hell at shorter distances in the future.


Daughter and I did a practice short tri 8 days out and we both nailed it. 400+ meter open water swim, 10+ mile bike, and a little under two miles at target race pacing and it felt like I hadn't even warmed up yet. Continued the taper madness with days off on Monday and Friday with a bunch of short workouts with some intensity on the non-off days. Slept horribly this week (maybe taper, maybe something else?) and really bad the night before the race. I've raced well on not a lot of sleep so I wasn't worried.

Like everywhere else we've had a hot summer so two weeks out with water temps in the mid-80s I wasn't planning for a wetsuit. Well we got a blast of early fall weather here and the water temps started dropping, and then it warmed up this weekend. Water temps two days out during the afternoon were 79.6 so there was some hope for race morning so I dragged my suit with us just in case. Probably added a degree of stress and uncertainty that I didn't need.

Sent our bike to the spa a few days before to get cleaned and adjusted. During my day-before-race primer, I noticed my pedals had WAY too much float in them I guess my LBS guy did some adjustments / cleaning and that was the result. Oh well we'll fix it race morning.

Oh, and my back decided to flare up a few days before the race, but I managed to yoga, hot tub, and stretch my way into it feeling OK race morning.

Event warmup:

"Bad Vibes"

As noted had a rough week sleeping which culminated in a fitful maybe 4 hours of sleep Saturday night. Also as noted been there, done that so wasn't too worried about it but I was a little out of if. Up at 4:30, Zone bar and an apple / coffee / shower / BR then hit the road before 5:30 to drive the hour or so to Lum's. Coming into the park the left turn from the highway had lanes blocked so it took us several traffic light cycles to get through, which got us (and others) into the park later than expected. Really bad planning and I saw some people getting to the park right as they were closing transition. Got a spot in the main lot area so we're sorta close.

We head over to check in which goes fine...Kinetic is just so damn organized. We wonder back to the car to get our bikes and crap for transition. We take our time setting up and I do my usual "against the fence" plan which gives me a little more room. There were over 500 participants in the sprint and Oly combined so lots of stuff everywhere. Apparently this was also the first race for 100 people, which was great.

They announced the water temperature as 85 degrees. I don't believe them, but I think that number was picked on purpose, as it didn't allow ANY wetsuits regardless of age group results and it was already hot out. Like drink the air humid and in the mid-70s at 7 AM and the sun was coming out. No doubt a wise decision on their part.

As I'm finishing getting transition ready I can't find my timing chip, which I normally put on right when I get my body marking done but I'm a little off as 1) no sleep, and 2) I'm racing WITH someone for the first time so we're chatting the whole time. I almost got marked with the wrong number but all good.

So now I realize I probably left my chip on the top of the car (why I didn't grab it with my race numbers is a great question), and I need to warm up anyway so we jog back to the car. It's sitting right where I left it of course, so crisis averted. We jog around a little more down to the bath house (flush toilets!) and get in one more pee break before the race and do a bunch of stretching. We also now can't find The Wife who is the sherpa so my daughter has to just leave her stuff on a park picnic table and hope for the best. We find her down by the start so all good. I'm a little behind on my pre-race routine so I didn't get much mindfulness in the last 5-10 minutes. I also would have liked to have hydrated a little more.

At this point I'm just particular reason - no OWS concerns, this is a good course, I've trained great but I really just feel like I don't have it. Oh well too late now so we take a few pictures and off we go.
  • 36m 49s
  • 1500 meters
  • 02m 27s / 100 meters

"The Mugging"

2-at-a-time TT start so we all line up. Daughter seeds herself a few rows back and I'm probably 25th or so. I purposefully put myself a little faster to get cleaner water. The Plan was to ease into the first 150 yards or so to the first buoy, then find some feet and get into a rhythm, and push the 2nd lap to negative split.

I notice immediately that the water sure as hell isn't 85 degrees, but it's plenty warm anyway.

First length out to the buoy goes as planned, slow and smooth, breathe a ton to avoid the hyperventilating I've had in the past. Make the turn then try to get in a groove. It's pretty crowded so there's some positioning going on but the first 400 yards or so goes fine. Then approaching the 2nd buoy someone whacks my ankle loosens my timing chip. Crap. So now I'm swimming and can't kick for fear of it falling off completely. People are climbing over each other on the turns...easily the most violent swim I've been in.

I get halfway and I'm feeling good and I stand up in the shallowest part and fix the timing chip, which I probably should have tried to do earlier (Mental Mistake #1). Onward. The next turn buoy goes OK, then the long straighaway and I'm feeling good then I get kicked in the chest, hard, and then swam over. Now I'm just pissed (Mental Mistake #2). I start swimming harder and try to find open space but there isn't much. I get to the next buoy and it's like a mosh pit, then I get kicked square in the groin by someone doing breaststroke through the turn buoy. That's pretty damn hard to do so he must have timed it perfectly as I rotated. Now I'm really fired up (note this is not a good state of mind to be in when racing for three hours). Pushed harder the last 300 yards, finished strong.

Came out of the water 36:50 or so. WTF?? I swam well, I sighted well and executed the turns as best I could in the melee and I'm five minutes slower than September of last year. This course is notorious for slow swims (my daughter took over 27 minutes and she was 16th overall and 6th best female.

So I think, "guess it's time to hammer the bike and make up some time" (Mental Mistake #3)

Solid MOP in my AG and more towards the back of MOP overall, so not a bad result but it took a lot more effort than I wanted.
What would you do differently?:

Wear body armor or just accept I'm going to get beaten up in the water. Oh, and don't swim or race angry.
Transition 1
  • 03m 47s

"Not a Picnic"

Crossed the mat out of the water and started running uphill, remembering that transitions are an important part of the race. Got to my spot, quickly put on helmet and glasses, socks, and shoes. Like quickest ever for me. Now I have to tighten my Boa knobs and I can't grip them so I sit down to get some leverage and my left hamstring just cramps up on me. So I take probably 20 seconds getting that to come down, then off I go.

Oh, and it's hot out already - really glad we weren't wearing wetsuits.

6/11 AG, 117/189 OA so not a disaster but not good and I actually put some effort into it.
What would you do differently?:

Get tri-specifc shoes. This is just stupid wearing Boas during a race.
  • 1h 08m 55s
  • 38 kms
  • 33.08 km/hr

"The Wheels Loosen"

Coming out of T1 I knew I had some ground to make up on the field (and maybe catch up to my daughter). I used the park exit road to get up to race speed. Noted my quick mechanical fix of the cleats/pedal float worked for the most part.

The Plan was to try to average around 210 watts for the race, and maybe push a little the third lap.

First lap went pretty well...pretty open course. I'm cruising along averaging over 21 mph and 200 watts so right on target. I start passing a ton of people eventually. Legs are kinda spent already and are starting to lose their snap. I stay in aero most of the time which is good, and try to maintain that wattage (Mental Mistake #4).

Second lap we are now joined by the aforementioned 100 sprint race newcomers plus another 150 racers so the course is getting a little crowded. Now I'm passing a ton of people combined with the fasties from the sprint passing me. Everyone is doing a pretty good job holding lines, yelling "left", whatever. My legs are turning to jelly already, even though I took this loop a little slower. Everything is starting to tighten up - legs, back, core. After two laps I'm still at 21 mph and just under 200 watts average.

As you approach the park entrance, the sprint riders turn right and the Olympic riders keep straight twice before making the turn the third time. It's clearly marked and there are volunteers announcing what is going on. One sprint race rider who I leap-frogged a few times continued straight...I really didn't notice at the time as I'm in aero and trying to fight off fatigue. I notice someone slowing down ahead of me. I figured someone has a flat or something and I say on your left and start to pass, when this @#$@!! idiot decided to turn LEFT to cross over the center line and head back to his missed turn. I slam on my brakes to avoid a collision yelling "Dude!!! What ARE YOU DOING??!!" Now I'm basically stopped and have to push back up to speed so I hammer it up to speed (Mental Mistake #5) and now my legs are done. Nada. Holding 180 watts is a chore. My HR is fine, just the legs have nothing.

Third lap is a little more conservative, proving that I'm not a complete idiot. I'm down to about 20.6 and 190 overall wattage as I turn into the park. With about a half mile to go, one of guys directing traffic in the park allows a car to turn towards the transition parking area right in front of me. Problem is, there's a slower cyclist that just went by so the car has to slow down to 10 mph or so. Now I'm stuck behind a car that shouldn't be there, that won't pass a slower cyclist. I now start yelling at the driver to pull over so I can pass, because I can't cross the center line (as I'd rather not be DQ'd). This goes on for at least a minute until the driver managers to pass the slower cyclist. I then follow the car in (still going slower than I can ride) into the transition area. I'm fuming now (Mental Mistake #6)

I'm totally done mentally right now, even though I had an OK race time-wise up to this point, but I knew that AGN was done. I'm about seven minutes or so behind my daughter.

I finished most of my Gatorade mix so that's better than last race, at least.

  • 7/11 AG, 66/169
    188 average power, NP 193, IF 0.73, average HR 128 which is WAY too high for that effort
    What would you do differently?:

    Go out slower, not let more things compound my mental state.
    Transition 2
    • 00m 27s

    "See? I Can Actually Do Transitions"

    Rode hard as long as I could after the car debacle and dismounted quickly. Ran through transition...rack bike, helmet off, switched shoes (had them pre-tied for speed for the first time), grabbed hat and race belt and gone. Probably my fastest ever. I did almost run out the Swim-In chute but was nicely directed by a race person to use my other left. :-)

    2/11 AG, 64/189 OA - 'bout time I do something right
    What would you do differently?:

    All good here. So for one minute and 30 seconds I killed it.
    • 1h 20m 7s
    • 10 kms
    • 08m 01s  min/km

    "Why Aren't My Legs Working?"

    As noted in my pre-race routine above, running has been rough for me the last dozen or so years because of a back injury. I had it managed pretty well last year and had a great start this year doing a modified 5-to-15K Daniels plan, then had a back flare up in March. I started running again about a month later and was more or less ready to run/walk Rock Hall in June, then COVID happened. I got in a decent couple of months run/walk training but still nowhere near what I should. I did have a good last few weeks including the practice tri so I thought I could muscle through a decent run time with smart walk pacing. Daughter and I both debated about carrying our own fluid but decided to live off the course (Mental Mistake #7, or is it 0.5 because it happened before the race???)

    That sounds great, but when your legs are dead to start, it's hot out, you've mentally checked out, and you're probably dehydrated it's not a recipe for success, but hell we paid the money to be here so let's give it a go.

    I run out of transition and my legs want no part of it. I make it to the aid station about 100 yards in and grab some Gatorade and had to stop and drink it. I try to run again, legs aren't having it, so I start race-walking like I've practiced. This is going much better so we'll keep that going for a while. I'm already being passed constantly.

    The run course is advertised as follows: "The run is beautiful with a heavily forested paths. Lums Pond offers some amazing running and you’ll find yourself back here logging some miles after this race. These shaded paths will be nice and cool in the morning and will have aid stations about every mile serving ice water and Gatorade."

    OK sounds wonderful, right? So now about a quarter mile into the run we enter the woods and The Land of a Thousand Ankle-Breaking Roots" OMG what a course. Single-track, lots of roots and ruts and turns and little inclines and declines. I'm NOT a single-track runner - I have ankles that roll over very easy so now I'm paranoid of the course (Mental Mistake #8). I start to walk the uphills and do my best to tip toe run where I can. Then we come out of the woods about 1.5 miles in and it's Hell's Front Porch, a stretch along a cornfield with no breeze and in the sun. It's probably in the mid- 80s now. I do a little running, and little walking, still pushing along averaging about 12 minute miles. Now we're on pavement and I do a little better. Got halfway and saw The Wife and her friend Stephanie cheering us on.

    "Crazy Train" is playing on the PA system and yeah that's about right LOL. I feel a little better now and stop at the aid station, dump a cup of cold water on my head and take in more Gatorade. Onward. Mile 4 was probably the best one, solidly running the flat and downhills and walking the uphills. I chatting with a guy doing his first race. We're getting passed a ton. I also had to stop and re-tie my shoe as it was too loose so I lost the time I had gained from pre-tying them in T2. SMH

    Mile 5 is where the wheels finally just flew off. It's uphill with the aforementioned hot corn field and I walked a ton of it. 13:16 mile split - yikes. Every step hurts, and I really don't feel good. A little dizzy - just playing head games to keep going at this point, but dammit I'm finishing.

    Mile 6 is a little downhill but I still can't run much. We eventually come out of the woods and with a quarter mile left I pick up the pace a little pulled along by the crowd and the promise of this hell being over quicker. Then some people start cheering for a guy behind me and one of the fans points at me and says "you can catch this guy, let's go!!" like three times OMG that was it. I went full-on red angry guy in the Inside Out movie and sprinted the last 100 yards into the finish, leaving my likely-fellow-suffering competitor in the dust. So that makes 2 full minutes of good racing when you include T2.

    This is almost too embarrassing to type, but:

    8/11 AG (well I had that going for me that other old guys were slow, too) and 169/189 OA (oof)

    What would you do differently?:

    Not sure other than I probably should have carried my own hydration and nutrition. I think I was done before I even started running.
    Post race
    Warm down:

    "There's an Ambulance Nearby"

    Walked to the guys handing out the frozen towels and let them mercifully get my timing chip for me as I try not to faint or puke. Found my wife and daughter (she also had disaster of a run) and we just sat around and chatting for the next 15 or so minutes. Found the sprinkler to cool down (it's now near 90 degrees). Tried to sip water (meh) and Coke (also didn't settle well). Did my best to stretch out without cramping, with OK results for both. I smell like pond water and sweat...gross. :-)

    My daughter made AGN and third in her age group (out of 4, so she didn't want to stay around for awards). We eventually got out of there maybe 30 minutes after I finished...we were moving around SO slowly.

    As I lost the bet with my daughter, I had to buy lunch so we went to the a spot along the C&D canal which was nice. We sat outside as to not offend the other patrons with our race smell. :-) The rest of the day was the two of us complaining how beat up we were and how we're both done at the Oly distance.

    24 hours later I"m still a physical mess. Oly racing is hard, but I've felt way better the next day than this.

    My wife said like six people were taken away in ambulances during/after their races, and my daughter said she saw someone crash into a ditch on the bike, so I guess it could have been worse.

    What limited your ability to perform faster:

    I would say the mental mistakes I made above were the main culprit I think they were just a symptom of some overall negative energy I had yesterday. I had a great training block, nailed the taper, did my usual nutrition plan but something just wasn't right and I let it get to me early and often. I typically have a great time racing and I just didn't at all yesterday.

    So frustrating to train for what amounted to eight effing months to lay an egg like that. I really wanted to have one last good race before hanging up the shoes at this distance, but it just wasn't happening yesterday.

    I know I'll get past this post-race funk and I might do a sprint later this year, and then I might experiment doing multiple sprints next year but we'll see what life brings. I do age up next year so there's some hope. :-)

    Event comments:

    Kinetic Multisports is the top local triathlon coordinator around here and it shows. They consistently deliver a really good experience for the athletes, and kudos to the 100 new triathletes on the course yesterday - Lum's Pond was my first, too. :-)

    Profile Album

    Last updated: 2023-07-20 12:00 AM
    00:36:49 | 1500 meters | 02m 27s / 100meters
    Age Group: 6/11
    Overall: 108/189
    Performance: Average
    Suit: none
    Course: rectangular two-loop course with about 150 yards being 4-5 feet so you could stand if you want
    Start type: Run Plus: Time Trial
    Water temp: 79F / 26C Current: Low
    200M Perf. Good Remainder: Average
    Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
    Waves: Navigation: Good
    Rounding: Average
    Time: 03:47
    Performance: Average
    Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
    Suit off:
    Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike: Yes
    Jump on bike: No
    Getting up to speed:
    01:08:55 | 38 kms | 33.08 km/hr
    Age Group: 7/11
    Overall: 66/189
    Performance: Below average
    Wind: Little
    Course: in and out of the park about 1.3 miles, with three 6+ mile loops in the middle, almost pancake flat
    Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
    Turns: Good Cornering: Good
    Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
    Race pace: Too hard Drinks: Not enough
    Time: 00:27
    Overall: Good
    Riding w/ feet on shoes
    Jumping off bike Bad
    Running with bike Good
    Racking bike Good
    Shoe and helmet removal Good
    01:20:07 | 10 kms | 08m 01s  min/km
    Age Group: 8/11
    Overall: 169/189
    Performance: Bad
    Course: 2 miles of single-track trail, then one mile of road, rolling, times two
    Keeping cool Bad Drinking Not enough
    Post race
    Weight change: %
    Overall: Bad
    Mental exertion [1-5] 1
    Physical exertion [1-5] 3
    Good race? No
    Course challenge Too hard
    Organized? Yes
    Events on-time? Yes
    Lots of volunteers? Yes
    Plenty of drinks? Yes
    Post race activities: Average
    Race evaluation [1-5] 5

    2023-08-07 11:53 AM

    User image

    Middle River, Maryland
    Silver member
    Subject: Lum's Pond Olympic

    2023-08-07 5:11 PM
    in reply to: #5286398

    User image

    Auckland, North Island
    Subject: RE: Lum's Pond Olympic
    Sorry your race didn't go as planned. And congratulations to your daughter qualifying for nationals. 6th woman overall on the swim is awesome.

    You say it's your last dance, but lets see how you feel in a few weeks/months. 1 more crack to finish with one you're proud of isn't out of the question.
    2023-08-08 5:46 AM
    in reply to: bulfrog

    User image

    , Kronobergs lan
    Subject: RE: Lum's Pond Olympic
    Well, at least you crushed T2!
    2023-08-09 7:57 AM
    in reply to: #5286398

    User image

    Atlanta, Georgia
    Silver member
    Subject: RE: Lum's Pond Olympic
    Congrats on your day!

    I've always thought Oly's hurt more than other distances..just showing up takes some resolve. Throw in heat/no wetsuit/buoy mosh-pits/Crazy Ivan's on the bike course/etc/etc and you had the full Oly Experience..great job!
    2023-08-22 8:36 AM
    in reply to: #5286398

    User image

    Baltimore, Maryland
    Subject: RE: Lum's Pond Olympic
    Rough one for sure! Those hot days really hurt, especially if you haven't been training in it too much. Sorry it didn't go well, but congrats on finishing (and that T2 time, woooo!).
    2023-09-05 1:06 PM
    in reply to: #5286398

    User image

    Subject: RE: Lum's Pond Olympic

    Wow, you faced a lot of tough moments on all three legs of the race!!  That really can suck.  However, you excelled at writing your race report!   Sorry to hear your possibly final Oly  race went less than optimally.

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