Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Race Report: Indy Sprint Triathlon #1

On June 18, 2011 I participated in the Indianapolis Sprint Triathlon held at Eagle Creek Park.  It was a very well organized event.

The day started with my arrival to the race site at 6:00am.  The only bad thing about this day was the heavy rain.  It rained very hard up until about 8am.  Race started at 8:20am.  I brought the appropriate gear for rain (umbrella, plastic bags, etc) to keep my stuff dry.  I was hoping the rain would stop so I could at least get my transition area setup without be drenched, but that wasn't the way it worked.

At one point I had to make the decision to go ahead with the transition setup because the race would be starting shortly.  I got it all setup and covered my shoes and socks with a trash bag to keep dry.  Since this is the first time doing a triathlon in these conditions it kinda through my pre-race routine off a little.  I didn't eat my pre-race pop tart and didn't get a warm up jog in.
Weather aside, I had a good race and finished 121st out of ~450 participants and finished 14th out of 39 in my age group.

 My times were as follows:

Swim 500M     - 13:37
Transition 1      - 01:27
Bike 10 Miles   -29:43 (20.2mph)
Transition 2      -01:12
Run 3 Miles      -23:24 (7:48/mi)
Total               1:09:25


The swim was in the Eagle Creek Reservoir.  This was my first open water swim.  I was initially nervous about how I would do in my first open water swim.  If I panicked I knew I could fall back and do the breast stroke until I recovered.  However, I was able to shake those fears by doing a quick warm up in the lake before the race start.  This really helped me mentally.

The swim start was staggered with each participant going off about every 2-5 seconds.  I had a higher number so I was closer to the back, but I jumped in line a little early because I was ready to go. 

And here we go!  I ran into the water and dolphin dived until I was out far enough to stroke without hitting the bottom.  The goal of the swim was not to start off fast and maintain a good consistent stroke throughout the 500 meters. 

It was definitely different swimming in open water with no black lines and walls telling me where to go.  I didn't really have any issues sighting the buoys.  I swam over a couple of competitors on the turns and some swam over me.  It was really strange the first time a swimmer swam into me because I am just not used to being touched while I swim. At least I wasn't punched or kicked in the face.

The swim was slower than what I normally swim 500M in but I was fine with that since the goal was to go easy and "just finish" the swim.  As I exit the lake and head toward the transition area I've got the wobbly run and dizzy head feeling going on.

Transition #1 (Swim to Bike)

Still trying to get my wits about me led to minor issues finding my bike rack.  As I arrive at my bike I threw my swim cap and goggles to the side, slipped on my socks and bike shoes, put on helmet, grabbed bike and off I went.

The only thing I forgot was my race bib belt.  I about fell over while putting on my socks and bike shoes.  After being horizontal for 13 minutes then turning vertical and trying to do things in a hurry can make you a little disoriented.

The distance from my bike rack to the mount line wasn't that far.  Once I got there I jumped on the bike and took off.


The bike portion of the race went well.  I averaged 20.2mph over the 10 mile out and back course.  I would say the course was good with the exception of it being wet which limited speed on some of the corners.  It had rolling hills and one or two steeper hills but weren't that bad.

The start of the bike course it straight uphill right out of transition.  The course then led you through the park with rolling hills and one sharp 90 degree downhill turn.  Once out of park the course was relatively flat with either a steady incline or decline.

I felt really good on the bike.  I was able to get good speed on the downhill parts, able to power up the hills good, and maintain a good pace on the flats.  I don't have any hills to practice on where I live, but I guess riding against strong wings is paying off.

I did a lot of passing on the bike and don't remember ever getting passed.  The aerobars I put on my bike really helped with wind resistance and overall comfort.  The bars were money well spent.  The only other purchase that may help gain a little speed in these races may be a aero helmet.  I would really like a tri bike, but for now my road bike works just fine.

What goes up must come down.  The end of the bike course heading back into transition was all downhill.  With it being wet I had to go a tad slower to make sure the brakes were working ok.  Once I arrived at the dismount line I hopped off my bike and began the long run with bike around the transition area to my rack.

Transition #2 (Bike to Run)

I got my bike racked with no problems.  Slipped of bike shoes, put on running shoes, threw off helmet, and began running out of transition to the final leg....the run.  Once again I forgot my race belt with my bib number.

The run started off just as the bike did, straight uphill.  The run course was an out and back through the park.  Once you got to the top of the initial hill the remaining course was pretty flat.

My overall run was below average and slower than I anticipated.  Not sure what the deal was.  My first mile was 8:04, second mile was 7:52, third mile was 7:07, and the last 0.08 miles was 0:22 (4:47/mi avg).  

I was hoping to have an overall run average of around 7:00-7:15.  That is what I was averaging during my brick workouts.  I didn't get my legs until about halfway through.  I think I lost the mental battle on the run as I conserved for too long. 

I was able to pick the pace up heading towards the last 1/2 mile or so when I got passed by another runner.  This made me speed up a little more in hopes of catching him.  As we took the final turn to the finish line I was about 20 yards behind him.  At that point it was all downhill to the finish.  I let loose and went into an all out sprint and passed him right at the line.

The bike to run is the most physically and mentally demanding part of a race for me.  I tend to go slower during the first mile of the run until I get my legs back then pick it up to my race pace.  Physically I can do it, but I've got to win the mental game at the next race. 

This was a great event that was very well organized and professional.  The post race food and drinks (chocolate milk) were perfect.  Results were posted in a timely manner.

I wish I could do this same race in July or August but the schedule doesn't permit it.  It would be fun to do this same race without dealing with a monsoon.

This was my first triathlon with an open water swim.  With all the anxiety coming into this swim....the swim actually went well (slow, but well).  I actually enjoyed swimming in open water.  I am glad I got that fear out of me because that will allow me maybe try other triathlons next year with open water swims.  The Chicago Triathlon is a race that I want to do someday.  It's a longer race, but I like the challenge.

Another neat thing was my younger brother and my parents were at the race cheering me on.  It was their first time witnessing a triathlon.  I think they all had a good time.

Now I've got a couple of weeks until my next triathlon.  See you then!

Miscellaneous Photos