Monday, August 15, 2011

Race Report: North East Tri

Oh North East Tri, where to begin? This was Olympic distance that was not!

It was about a 2.5 hour drive up to North East, MD, so I drove up the day before so I could sleep in a little longer. During pack pick-up on Sat it looked like it was going to rain and as soon as I got back in my car the rain started coming down and it never stopped! Despite hating to drive in the rain, Jason agreed to drive the bike course while I sat passenger so I could get a good view as to what was in store for me. And what was in store? LOTS of HILLS! I was thinking to myself, what did I get myself into! I knew my legs would be trashed after this course and the run course was not easy either with a out and back with more hills! It rained all evening and when I fell asleep about 8:30 - 9 it was still raining!

I actually sleep pretty good and only had a few nightmares about skidding out while on the bike...well actually I thought I might die with wet roads, rain, and turns. Some thunder and lighting woke me up at about 5am (45 minutes before my alarm was to go off). At this point I walked over to the window and looked at the monsoon that was coming down! It was then, that I pretty much made up in my mind that I was not doing this race! The swim fine, the run fine, the bike not fine. I didn't want to risk a really nasty fall and possible injury over what....a silly little race? At any rate I proceeded to get my tri suit on and get ready. My plan was just to go there and turn in my timing chip. I saw some other triathletes in the lobby of the hotel and they said they were doing the same thing because the weather wasn't letting up.

I don't think I'm racing ....but I have my bike just incase

After we parked our car, I found myself taking my bike out of the car and walking it to the transition area with the other fools triathletes. Once we got there, they announced they extended to transition area from 7:15 to 7:45 delaying the start time of the race. I racked my bike and then looked at the muddy filled ground.  I didn't bring any plastic bags and didn't want my stuff getting any wetter than it had to, so I left everything in my bag and hung it in a hook on the rack. I still was not planning on racing! So who cares that everything was still in my bag? I asked one of the volunteers what time I had to make up my mind and she told me until the transition area closes. While I was asking her two athletes turned in their chips to her and told her they felt unsafe. I couldn't agree more and by this point my heart was not into this race at all. I didn't want to be there and I was scared for my life during the bike course. I figured since they had not called the swim yet and I already paid for the race, I would just do the swim leg and use it as open water swim practice. This made perfect sense in my head. I proceeded over the bathrooms and herd them announce that the everyone would be swimming only 750 meters due to flooding and debris in water. Everyone would also only be biking 11 miles because some of the roads were flooded that the course went on. Hmmm... swim 750 meters (bummer) and only bike 11 miles ... I can do this! I went back over to the transition area and got my bike shoes and socks out of my bag and put them in a small plastic bag my t-shirt had came in the day before. I left my running shoes in my book bag because I didn't have another plastic bag.

Ok, I'm doing this silly little race!

Ok... finally race time!

Swim - 750 meters: 16:44
I was in the very last swim wave (all oly distance women). It had started to rain again while we were waiting for our wave to be called and we were all freezing! I wasn't nervous about the swim anymore and really just wanted to get into the water to warm up since it was 81 degrees. We had to walk down a small boat dock to get into the water. Everyone in my wave had to get into the water and tread water until the horn went off. I placed myself at the very back and to the outside of the group on the right hand side. We were to keep all buoys to our right, so I figured this would be a good place to be? My sighting still sucks and I was swimming off course a bit. I felt really good on this swim, but still had to breast stroke every now and again to site! After figuring out where the heck I was, I would free style again. I stayed clam the whole time and my breathing was really under control so I couldn't be happier. I feared that I was going to be the last one out of the water since I was the last wave and in the back of the pack, but I must have passed some people because I was not the last one out! Even though my time was slow, I was just so happy that I felt comfortable and calm out there!!! Goal defiantly accomplished! I am no longer scared of the swim :)

Swim start

I'm freezing before my wave is called

T1 - 3:28
It must have stopped raining at some point during my swim because it wasn't raining anymore went I ran out! This was really good news because I was still unsure when I was in the water if I wanted to risk my life on the bike. But no rain, meant I was biking! The swim exit to the transition area was really far away (maybe 500 - 600 meters). The ground was really muddy and you also had to run over a parking lot with some gravel and such in it. I found my bike and my feet were covered in mud and brown. The guy next to me had a bucket he had brought to sit on and I asked him if I could use it too since he was running out with his bike. He said yes. This was great because I had a clean spot to set my butt down on while I cleaned off my feet and put my bike shoes on. I wasn't really in a hurry at all because as mentioned earlier my heart really wasn't into this race and it was more or less not a race anymore and just practice to me. The bike out was in about a foot off water and mud and there was no way around it. Dry shoes and socks not more! Both my feet got big soak-ers and my bike shoes were not longer black, but brown. I felt like this was a triathlon turned mud run!

The Bike - 11 miles -38:56 (17mph)
So as everyone already knows I was still scared to do this course even though it was only 11 miles. The roads were still very wet and there was lots of hills. I took my time on the bike and really only put forth a medium effort. I didn't want to go to fast (especially on the down hills) and wipe out! I had no clue what my speed was during the bike since I had decided to just keep total time on my timex watch. I wasn't thinking about much while on the course except that I wished that I had brought another pair of socks because mine were soaked and I wasn't looking forward to running with wet feet. But, the course seemed to go by pretty quickly and before I knew it, I was back to the dismount line! My bike time was slow, but I was riding with caution, so I'm just happy I lived and made it back in one piece.

About to dismount

Almost done with the bike

T2 - 1:30
Oh thank the weather gods because as soon as I got off my bike it started raining again! I guess it didn't matter that my socks were wet because they would only get wetter! T2 was pretty uneventful and I used that guys bucket again to sit on :) We had to run through a mud pit to get out again and both shoes were now mud brown.

The Run - 10k - 50:59 (8:13 pace)
I was happy to be off the bike and running! My legs felt pretty strong since the bike was basically done in a blink of an eye. The course was an out and back and filled with hills. If we had biked the full course (24 miles) my legs would have been trashed, but they weren't :) I'm not sure what any of my splits were, but I was passing people! The rain went from a heavy rain to a really heavy rain!!! At the 3 mile mark it was raining so hard that it was somewhat hard to see in front of yourself. Lucky for me is that I would actually take running in a rain storm over running in 90 degree temps with high humidity. So, I was actually enjoying myself! I kept on running and only grabbed some water once at one of the aid stations. For the last mile I felt like I really pushing it and I was the only one coming to the finish line. I have never crossed the finish line with no one else in site and it was kindof fun because the announcer said my name as I crossed! This was a 10k PR for me! I have only ran one other 10k and I think I ran it in 53 minutes. So I couldn't be happier with the run, plus I had fun running in the rain and looking hard core, even though I'm not.

Running out of T2 and feeling good
See you at the finish line, M

running to the finish!

Almost there!

Overall - 1:51:37
Despite not having my heart in this race and wanting to back out of it several times, I'm glad I didn't! I might not have had the fastest times this race, but I did have fun! And I think it makes for a great story that I did a triathlon in a storm!!

Also I big thanks to Jason for being so good to me!! He was out in the rain the whole time and got as wet as I did! I loved seeing him out there cheering me on and it always brought a smile to my face :)

Love you M


  1. eeks, that sounds like a potentially very scary race. Congrats on your awesome times!

  2. I'm glad the weather cooperated a little bit and you were able to do the race! It sounds like the swim and run went really well and I'm sure the bike would have been faster if you didn't have to be cautious on the wet roads.

  3. You are brave for racing in the rain. Even when it's wet, I get a little nervous on the bike. You did great..congrats!

  4. Wow! Great race report! It sounds like you really stayed positive and made the best out of the situation. That's a great mindset to have. Congrats :)

  5. Way to finish what sounds like a really difficult race! You made the best out of it and it sounds like you had a great run!

  6. Congratulations M! :) Love you! Weather was pretty bad but glad you stuck it out.