Monday, June 18, 2012

Race Report - Key Biscayne Triathlon Triology #1 (AKA - the race in which I was glad not to drown)

I have ALWAYS loved the water.  When I first started getting active in 2008, the idea of a triathlon appealed to me because I've always enjoyed swimming and biking.  Not so much running.   I did this race 3 years ago in 2009, as my first real endurance event.  Back then the run almost killed me.  Oh, how times have changed.

I LOVE the course for this race.  I work on Key Biscayne and often run over the big bridge the bike course goes over. Its just a beautiful way to spend the day.  Not to mention Multirace makes racing possible for me by allowing you to volunteer to offset your race entry.  For a Tough Chik on a budget, this is a  dream come true.

Anyway, I spent most of my time up to race day being nervous about the run.  I really didn't give much thought to the swim or the bike.  Remember how I said I've always enjoyed those two sports, even in my less than active days?   I've also spent a fair amount of time volunteering at triathlons in the past few years, even though I haven't been competing.  So I wasn't nervous about setting up my gear.  Added bonus of volunteering to help with registration was that I arrived at oh-dark-hundred, which meant I claimed the coveted end spot in transition.

I really didn't pay attention to how windy it was until we were walking along the beach toward the swim start.  It was blowing around 25 knots and the water was CHOPPY.  Even then I wasn't nervous--I've never been uncomfortable in the ocean, after all. And it was such a pretty morning.

My neighbor who was going to do the race with me ended up being on vacation, and poor Brad was stuck at home with the kids (on Fathers Day no less) so it was just me, myself and I.  So the only pictures I have are the ones I took of myself.  Sorry for the short angle!  This is me on the beach, pre run.  Again, it was such a beautiful morning!
I get a major fail for overestimating my strength as a swimmer.  I genuinely concerned during the swim that I was never going to finish.  I had a life guard tagging along behind me asking me if I needed help.  After swallowing a ton of water, courtesy of the lovely swells, over the first half of the swim, I gave up on free style and flipped over on my back.  Once I did that, I was able to find my groove and make slow but steady progress.  The next wave of swimmers caught up with me.  The only thing that made me feel better was that were a few pink caps floundering around back there with me.   It was quite possibly the first time in a while I've thought "I'm not sure I can do this".  But I finally made it to the north buoy and made the turn for the beach.   Once we did that and the swells were coming from behind, I had no problem swimming.

The quarter mile beach run to transition, which had killed me the last time I did this course, was no big deal.  I was just so stinking glad to be out of the water (read: not have drowned) that I was gloriously happy to run. And it helped boost my ego a bit to pass a couple of people.  I took longer than I should have in transition--I had to mentally get over that awful swim and wasn't thinking as clearly as I should have been (thank you again horrible swim).   I also won't make the mistake of messing with my cycling gloves again.

I went into the bike still a little inside my head, thinking about the swim.  I was a bit worried about being the last person out on the course since I was in the 2nd to last wave to begin with and there weren't altogether that many people in my wave behind me, and chances were most of THEM had road bikes.   My little hybrid is going downhill and is having shifting issues, so I spent more time messing with my gears than I should have.  I didn't pass a single sole on the bike, and a bazillion road bikers wizzed by me.  When I win the lotto my first purchase is going to be a nice road bike.  (Hubs, who doesn't see the merit in road bikes, has stated I can continue dreaming on this issue).

Next challenge--up and down the Rickenbacker times 2 (Thanks Jess for the pic!)

The elevation gain of the Rickenbacker Causeway wasn't a big deal--thank you Thomas and all those hours spent in the spin room at the Y with no A/C.  And whizzing down the bridge at 35+ miles per hour was just freaking exhilerating.  The ride up the 2nd time was a little tougher, thanks to that pesky wind again.  It would have gone faster if I had been able to get off my seat, but for whatever reason the gears on my bike slip whenever I stand up.  So I just pushed through it in my seat. The wind was so strong I actually had to PEDAL on the way back down (and actually felt like I was pushing something), if that gives you any indication.  The rest of the ride flew by quick.

I was in and out of transition quickly, and passed quite a few people who had to switch out shoes there.  The run, which killed me last time I did this race, was so not a big deal.  I wasn't worried about beating anyone at this point, so I just ran for the fun of running.  That pesky wind, which had caused me some trouble up to that point, kept the run course cool and fast.  I passed quite a few people who were run/walking (something I don't enjoy that often), and even found a running buddy for the last half to shoot the breeze with. That helped pass the time and before I knew it, the finish line was around the corner.  I finished strong and was pleased to have finished at all, given the trouble during the swim.  And we got the CUTEST finisher medals ever, in the shape of a turtle.  The kids were fighting over it the minute I walked in the door :-)

Splits shaped up like this:
Swim - 15:57 (Seriously, HOW HORRIBLE IS THAT????)
T1 (which includes beach run, I think) - 6:54
Bike (10 miles) - 49:17
T2 - 1:24
Run (5K) - 35:39
Total time: 1:49:01.83

I came in 4/5 in my division.  I really wanted to improve on my last time from this race (1:40), but  I actually beat a couple of the people who finished ahead of me in terms of the run (again, not something I am used to).  I know I need to work on my swimming between now and July (Yes, I am glutton for punishment and can't wait to register for the 2nd race in the series)--namely my swimming.  I also want to get cages on my pedals.  I had bought some for this race, but Brad couldn't get one of my pedals off.   I also plan on actually spending more time on my bike before the next race--especially on the bridge.

I wasn't last, but it was a close thing . . .(497th of 511 overall and 145th of 150).  I can honestly say that I REALLY, REALLY don't care though, because its an accomplishment no matter what.  And slow is better than not at all.   So you can bet I'll be back out there next month.  Even given the crappy swim, tris are still my most favorite kinds of races.  There is a lot to improve on, and I KNOW my time will be better next race.


  1. Yay!! Congrats! The swim sounds horrible. Can you free style swim? That might help cuz you will be cutting thru the waves more. I always hope for wetsuit legal water temps when the water is choppy & crazy. That at least keeps your body up in the proper position and you have "less" to fight.

    Great job! Don't stress about the numbers, it's about the experience!

    1. Oye, meant freestyle, switched that. Usually it helps and I'm decent at it, just not w wave action. Oh well!

  2. Just found your blog yesterday!! You did great a great job!