Posted by: Jen | July 12, 2010

SF Triathlon @ Treasure Island: A Race Report

I knew going into this race that I had not trained well at all; the run portion would not be a problem but the other two events… definitely lacking. My most recent swim had been the Monday before race day, and nothing for three weeks before that; two bike rides totaling 13.1 miles summed up a month or more’s bike “training.” Not exactly a recipe for success.

I had a credit with the race organizer and the registration didn’t cost that much so I went ahead and bit the bullet. I drove down to TI at a little before 6:00am on Sunday, arriving at approximately 6:45. As my wave didn’t start until 8:05, I figured I had plenty of time. I was walking to the transition area and heard the announcer say that the area would be closed at the start of the first wave (7:15). By now it’s going on 7:00 and I was relieved that I didn’t leave any later. I would have been screwed!

I get my transition area set up in record time, make the obligatory visit to the port-a-john, and start to put on my wetsuit. I left the top undone and walked around in a sweatshirt. It got pretty boring waiting for time to pass, and it seemed that everyone had a buddy or a team so I was kind of lonely to boot. At long last, enough time passed that I only had about 15-20 minutes until my wave. I got myself lubed up (with BodyGlide, of course) and put on the rest of my wetsuit, swim cap, goggles, and timing chip. I kept my ear plugs handy.

I made my way down to the swim start area and watched as the last group of men started and the first group of women made their way to the water. As soon as they took off, we were able to go to the start area. We got a safety briefing from the swim director and then it was time to get into the water… I was dreading this moment because I knew how cold the water would be (58°). Some of us decided to wait until the last minute, and all of a sudden we had a 3-minute warning. It was time! I got into the water, and was surprised that it wasn’t as cold as I’d expected. Perhaps Treasure Island is warmer than Aquatic Park. I’m not sure. My hands got cold right away but my feet felt OK.

Before I knew it, we were whooping it up and then the horn blew – we were off! I concentrated on maintaining an easy rhythm and not getting out of breath right away as had happened in my last tri. Salt water was leaking into my right eye, so I paused a moment to fix that and kept swimming, swimming, swimming. I sighted every 6-9 strokes and tried to concentrate on smooth strokes. Every time I started kicking, I went off course, so I’ll admit after a while I just stroked without kicking. Before I knew it, I was around the last buoy and in the home stretch (we swam in a triangular pattern). I made it to the swim start area and was helped up the stairs, promptly realizing I couldn’t feel my feet. This was not unexpected, so I made the best of it.

Swim: 11:23 (approx 550 yards, or ½ kilometer)

I got back to the transition area and immediately yanked off my wetsuit and tried to dry off to a point. I was going to be wearing armwarmers for the bike (it was pretty chilly) and needed them to be somewhat dry. This was a challenge as my hands were numb. I also needed to dry my feet – again, numb feet. I managed to get my feet into wool socks and my armwarmers on, then my bike jersey (I only swam in a sports bra and tri shorts so I’d be warmer after the swim). Shoes, helmet, sunglasses, fixed my hair so it wasn’t caught in my helmet, and I was off!

T1: 4:42 (dismal!)

The bike course was three loops. There were so many turns that it was difficult to get up to speed. I always struggle with the bike portion and this was no exception. My legs were not cooperating. I kept thinking to myself “push, pull, push, pull” and that helped for a while. I finished the bike portion after passing a few people (huge morale boost!) and my Garmin said 10.56 miles (actual race distance advertised at 20K, or 12.4 miles).

Bike: 39:58 (avg 16.2 mph according to Garmin; 18.6 on race results. I wish!)

Back in transition. My feet weren’t totally warm but I didn’t want to run in wool socks so I changed into my race socks and running shoes. I kept my race number on during the bike thinking that would help, until I tore the bib and had to safety pin the corner back on the belt… and I couldn’t find the emergency pin. Ahhhh! More delays. I had to re-adjust my hair to go under my hat and I was off!

T2: 2:29 (crappy, but better)

The run was, of course, the easiest part. Two-loop 5K course. There was no aid station save a little bit of water at the beginning of the course, which seemed odd… until I saw the never-set-up aid station along the course. Um, yeah. Not sure what happened there. There were spectators with vuvuzelas, loud music, and cowbells. It helped! I ran strong and finished ahead of my expectations.

Run: 28:06 (avg 9:03/mi)

Total time: 1:28:04, good enough for 7th in my age group.

We got really nice finisher’s medals and I drank some water, walked to transition, and gratefully gulped my chocolate milk. 🙂

Notes to self:

*French braid hair: no need to adjust after each portion of the race.
*Don’t worry about the socks thing, the feet will warm up eventually.
*Maybe, just maybe, graduate to clip-in shoes to avoid having to actually put on and take off bike shoes. They can be clipped in already on the pedals.
*Pin bib to race belt to avoid tears.

All in all, a decent race. I’m going to train for real for my next multisport event – the Golden State Triathlon on 10/10/10. I did it last year and finished 4th in the Athena division. My goal is to be ON the podium this year, not next to it in the grass. 🙂

Here’s the bling 🙂 I haven’t seen any official race photos yet but I’ll post what I find when they’re released!

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