Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Race Report: El Dorado Triathlon

I had fun!!!!!

That was the main goal, and mission accomplished. I felt so blah after the Lawrence half, where I didn't meet my goals, and at Emporia, where I totally did, that I was afraid I might be done with triathlon for an extended period. Like a year or two. But this race may have changed my mind. At any rate, I didn't take myself too seriously. Actually, I probably should have taken myself slightly more seriously, as we'll soon see.

Well . . . I probably should have looked at the web site a little more frequently. I woke up at 5:20 Sunday morning (after hitting the snooze button 3 or 4 times), and realized that I was supposed to pick up my packet in El Dorado on Saturday; there was no day-of packet pick up. Whoops #1. The Photographer met me at my house (erm, my parents' house) to ride over to El Dorado together. I'm sure I was a trial to ride with. I was tight and nervous the whole time, worried that I wouldn't get to race because I hadn't picked up my packet on time. She kept telling me to relax and not worry; it would be fine, either way.

I also wasn't quite sure where I was going. I hadn't been to El Dorado Lake for about 18 years. Actually, I'm not sure I'd ever been to El Dorado Lake. Sure, I know where it is (roughly), because you drive over it on I-35 on the way to Kansas City. So I used my magic phone (Blackberry) to go to the race web site and find directions. Whoops #2.

While on the race web site, I noticed that the sprint race started at 8:00. Not 8:30, which is what I'd thought, what I'd planned for. That meant that the olympic race started at 7:00. Not 7:30. So not only had I not picked up my race packet the day before, I had timed the drive so that I would arrive approximately 10 minutes before the race actually started. Um, annoying, much? Whoops #3.

In short, the pre-race ritual was highly stressful. Which turned out to be completely silly. Because I walked up to the body marking table, they asked me my name, gave me my packet, and wrote my numbers on me. No questions asked. No comments or reprimands. No wheedling or pleading. So. Frickin'. Cool.

From there, everything went smoothly. I deliberately brought my road bike--not my tri bike!--so that I wouldn't take myself so seriously. Consequentially, I had my SPD cyclocross shoes instead of my tri shoes. Which meant that I (like a n00b) would have to actually sit my butt down on the ground, pull my shoes on, run out of transition in my shoes, and then clip in. Like a plebeian. And I was stoked about it.

I didn't warm up; I didn't listen to my pre-game music. I stood around and talked with my friends and The Photographer. 10 minutes before my race started, I realized that I hadn't lubed my running shoes (I was still going without socks; after all, I do have some pride). Not only that, the packet of Body Glide I had brought for that purpose was still sitting in my running shoe. Where I'd put it. So I wouldn't forget to lube my shoes. I checked the time. 10 'til. Well, one more thing to make sure that I don't take myself too seriously in transition!

I did swim about 100 yards out and back before the swim start. So. You know. Kind of a warm up.

Swim: 500 m, 13:52 (2:07/100)
Well, the swim course was (I was told) measured long. But who cares? I had fun! The men did a beach start for the swim, but apparently that's too tough for the girlie girls; we started knee deep in water. And they didn't specify how far out into the water we could go before the start, so I suppose I should have kept walking out into the water. Maybe then it would have been closer to 500 m.

I got a pretty decent start, going out fast in the first 50, then settling in. I felt strong and confident, if not necessarily fast. The lake was small and still. Sighting was a breeze. I felt like I got left behind, towards the beginning, but then I can never really tell in the scrum of an open water swim. I do know that I passed several people towards the end, and probably would have passed more if the swim had been longer than 500. I came out as the 7th woman. 15th fastest swim, overall.

T1: 50 seconds
Even with sitting down to put on my bike shoes, I still had the 5th fastest T1 time. Huh. Go figure.

Bike: 39:40 (18.8 MPH)
Eh, not bad. This was where I felt strongest and most capable, and I was hoping to average at least 20 MPH. But it was all fun, so why would I complain? I was the 5th fastest woman, so I guess I'm okay with that. Especially since I haven't trained since the half ironman! Unless you count cycling classes (which I don't, because they're my job). Or the ride I did last weekend where I averaged 13.9 MPH. Which was fun, but--again!--I don't think those count. And at any rate, I had a mess of fun.

T2: 50 seconds
Well, 15 seconds wasn't that fast, coming from bike to run. But remember when I forgot to lube my shoes? I sat down and smeared chamois butter all over my ankles so I wouldn't have chafing on my ankles. Also, I couldn't get my race belt to clip.

Run: 5k, 29:51 (9:38/mile)
Oofh. So slow. But you know how I didn't train on the bike at all in the 3 weeks before this race? Yeah, I trained even less for the run. I literally had not run more than a quarter of a mile since my half ironman. And it was hot. Oh! And I got a horribly bad blister on my right instep after about 2 miles. It was so bad that I ended up taking my shoes off and running the last mile in bare feet. I stepped on a thorn, at one point, so I had to slow down and take that out. And I also dropped my shoe and had to go back for it. So those things have got to account for at least a little bit of time.

I passed another woman right before the turn-around, and really turned on the gas to try to psych her out. But she passed me back after I took my shoes off. I passed one other woman in the last mile, and we leap-frogged (leapt-frog? leaped frog?) over the next few hundred meters, as I sat down to pull the thorn out of my foot and went back to pick up my dropped shoe. I finally passed her for good before the last two turns to the finish line.

Within the last 10 meters, as I was thinking How strong do I want to kick?, I heard from behind me, "I'm gonna beat you, Jamie!" It was my friend (and former employee), Erin Clair, in her triathlon debut. She outkicked me by a nose, but I guess my timing chip got across the line before hers did, because I came in ahead of her in the results. We had the exact same time, though. Exact same time. I was so pissed (but not really, because I wasn't taking myself that seriously). I did throw a shoe at her.

Total: 1:25:01
Not a bad little race. I had a good, good time. There were lots of people I knew. There was a small but respectable field. The Photographer was there. And I achieved my only goal: have fun.


  1. More than anything I'm happy you had a great time! Thanks for letting me join you...The Photographer.

  2. Congratulations on the time. Triathlons are so much fun. I think the stress in the beginning gets you ready to do the race.

  3. Glad to see you had fun as I've got my first tri this month! Yikes!

    Kudos on your finish and great job!

  4. This is a great tri report. I'm currently training for my first tri in August. Thanks for the insight on what I should possibly expect.