Saturday, July 14, 2012

Race Report: Decatur Triathlon

On July 8th I raced in the 2012 Rodney T. Miller Decatur Triathlon.  A great event that honored a guy who put his life on the line everyday protecting citizens.

This triathlon is a 1200 meter open water swim, 19 mile bike, and a 4.5 mile run.  I have done many triathlons, but this race would be my longest one so far.  I was a little nervous because I didn't know how the race would go and I didn't know how I would pace myself in a longer race.  The reason I signed up for this race was because it was a step up from the sprint triathlons and would be a good learning race as I get closer to competing in Olympic distance triathlons and half Ironman. The field was stacked with some fast racers.  In the end, I learned a lot about doing a longer distance triathlon and had fun at the same time.
Race Summary

Swim:                 29:37
Transition 1:          0:55
Bike:                   55:22 (20.6mph avg)
Transition 2:          0:51
Run:                    34:28 (7:40/mi avg)
Total Time:    2:01:14

Overall Place: 27/112
Age Group:      7/14

The Swim

It was another open water swim.  My open water swims to date have not been that stellar.  The furthest I have swam in open water thus far was 500 meters.  So doing 1200 meters looked intimidating as the swim course looked huge from the shore.  Before we started my goal was to swim this longer distance at a steady pace and practice my sighting.  I projected my swim time based on what I have done in previous open water swims and I finished the swim within my target range of time.  My swim time including the long run from the lake to transition.  I was not real excited about my time but was happy I didn't completely suck on the swim.  I know I can swim a lot faster, but between getting punched in the face, my goggles leaking, and going slightly off course once, I learned a few things about open water swimming.

Transition #1

Once out of the lake you run about 100 yards or so to transition.  I found my bike with ease and was on my way out of transition and onto the bike course.

The Bike

The bike course was generally flat with a few hills and lots of turns.  Right out of transition you have to climb a pretty decent hill, but after that it was a lot of up and down hills and turns.  The course eventually straightened out but we had a headwind all the way to the turnaround.  After the turnaround the ride bike to transition was fast and exiting.

Volunteers and police did an excellent job with directing racers and also blocking traffic.  The streets and the corners were very clean.  

It was a really nice bike course that had enough hills to keep everyone honest.  I was pleased with my bike time because once off the bike I knew I was within reach of getting my goal race time of less than 2 hours.

Transition #2

When you come back to transition from the bike you come down a big hill.  You have a lot of speed and have to get your bike under control.  I did pretty well dismounting and finding my bike.

The Run

The run was hot.  The 2 weeks prior leading up to this race temperatures were close to 100 degrees everyday.  I did not have my normal run routine in these two weeks.  Race day was a little cooler but it did not feel like it on the run.  The course was generally flat but there were a few little hills along the way that made it a challenge.  Since this was my longest run in a triathlon I wanted to come out of the gate with a steady pace and pick it up the last two miles.  Sounded like a good plan at the time.  I was consistently slow the entire run.  I tried to go faster, but I just could maintain a fast pace.  The lack of running in the weeks prior coupled with the heat are the main reasons for a slow run.  A lot of mental battles were won on this run.  There were a few times I just wanted to stop, but I kept going.  About halfway through the run I knew I wouldn't reach my goal time, but I had to stay focused.  Thankfully there were some other competitors to chase.

I wasn't real happy with my run and lost a few age group positions because of the run.  However, I know what I need to do to get back to my sub 7min/mi pace.     


This race was well organized and competitive.  The volunteers were excellent and encouraging.  For my first longer distance triathlon I believe it was a success.  Though I didn't place in my age group it was a beneficial race as a lot of lessons were learned in doing longer events.

The 2013 schedule may not permit me to do this race next year as I plan to do Muncie Half Ironman, but I look forward to doing this race again in the future.

Train.  Race.  Repeat.


  1. Great job Mike! This is a challenging but tough course. Congrats on a strong performance throughout!

    Mike H.