My longwinded RR:
After parking near the convention center parking lot (not in...saved $10! Woohoo), I hopped on the bus for transition at about 4:30. Wife and dog decided to walk to TA from there, rather than worry about parking and traffic restrictions near the TA. After seeing almost no one on the streets that early, I had more nerves about them safely getting to Ohio Dr, than actual pre-race nerves.
Anyway, got to TA, did a quick set-up. Had a bit of trouble inflating my tires, but eventually got it sorted. It was strange to hear the sound of tires popping all around the TA. I can't imagine how horrible that would be to get to your bike after the swim and see a flat. Anyway, got out of TA about 5:10 am and then got in the line for the porta-potties. The slowest, longest lines I have seen before a race. #1 comment for the race director. NEED MORE BATHROOMS!
While I waited, the family arrived from their early morning stroll through DC. I could relax about that now, but not the bathroom lines. Thanks to the half hour delay, i was able to take care of business and get to the swim corral in time. Finally it was go time.
The Swim: Held on to my goggles for the plunge off the dock. Last year I lost them in the jump and did the whole swim goggle free. It SUCKED, so I was happy to have them this year. The swim was fine. Started further to the right then I would have liked, and had to work to get closer to the buoys. Felt like I swam a good line. A big back up at the second turn slowed me down quite a bit. Only had one real combative swimmer who pulled my ankle and tried to swim over me. I just gave a good Heisman push to his side and went on with my day. Came out with a very large pack of purple swim caps. Right in the middle of it all.
Total time 16:08 - slower than I would have liked, but not bad. The race site said 1:51 per 100, but that sure doesn't seem right. 2:01 seems right, but whatever, I'll go with the faster time.
T1 - I was in one of the rows closest to the bike out. What a huge TA! I felt like I was running forever. Total time 3:28. Horribly slow, but enjoyed a good sit to put on my socks and I said a quick hello to my lady and pup.
Bike - Felt like I was pushing hard for slow speeds right away, but settled in after the turnaround near the White House and was able to maintain a good speed. Speaking of that turnaround, I heard what sounded like a gun-shot right after I went by. Starter pistol maybe? Not sure. Anyone else hear that? Lots of bumps and weird ridges in the road. Was afraid to grab my water-bottle for fear of crashing. Anyway, felt great and carried pretty good speed for the rest of the course. I was having fun and was disappointed when it was over. My goal was to finish with an average of over 20 mph. I thought I had it easily given I was holding at about 23 for most of the race. So I was surprised when I ended up at 19.9 mph!! SO CLOSE! The turnarounds must have got me!! D'oh. Total time 37:29.
T-2 - 2:51. Very slow, but with a very long run with the bike, and having to back track a bit after knocking my computer off in the bike run-in area, I don't feel too bad about it. Again, what a huge TA.
The Run: Generally my weakest sport. I weigh too much from all the beer, and my knees and ankles are pretty well shot from four years as a college baseball catcher. All that said, I felt pretty good about this run. I have been working on bricks, so the heavy legs weren't as bad as previous races. Great support from the volunteers at the DC tri stop! My shoe came untied around mile 2, but I didn't want to stop, because I was feeling pretty good. I was just delaying the inevitable I guess, but many thanks to everyone who let me know that I was untied. Most were just behind me, so naturally I questioned their motives. I ended up seeing the wife and pup at the next water stop, so I stopped there, tied my shoe and chatted (and petted) for a quick couple of seconds. I felt pretty good about the temperature, and was prepared for the extra distance, and even the hill! At the same time, I couldn't believe how long the section in front of the capitol seemed. It just took forever. The hill was good, and I even picked up the pace a bit. I saw the lead woman sprinter coming up behind me. She was flying. I knew I couldn't hold her off, but I tried to keep with her when she passed me. That worked for about 4 steps and she was gone. Well done. Ran to the finish and collected my medal (which are very nice!).
Total run: 37:26 (9:01 /mile). Was hoping for faster, but with the stop, the hill and considering it was at the end of a triathlon, I feel pretty good about it.
Total time: 1:37.19
58/140 - top 41.4 % AG , 226/613 men - top 36.9%, 276/1136 - top 24.3% (I love this percentage breakdown!) What I love even more is the fun facts: I was the 3rd of 4 Steve's to finish(DAMN YOU FIRST AND SECOND STEVE!) and I would have won the F-50-54 AG. Good stuff.
Although i prefer sleeping a bit later, I was happy the early start helped avoid some of the heat. Other than the porta-pottie issue, a very well run race!
Regarding blown tires: I saw two people in front of me blow tires right before the bike mount because they tried to drag their bikes over the median and hit their rear tires on the edge of that square curb. Hope that didn't happen to any of you. What a crappy way to start the bike leg.
Race Report: Sprint Newbie
(Warning: this report is almost as long as the shuttle ride back to the transition area, or "TA")
Alarm clock goes off at 3 AM. Maybe slept 3 good hours –was in bed at 9:30 PM. On the way to the TA walk past the Lincoln Memorial. Cameras flash as a few spectators snap photos on the Mall. It's 4:20 AM
The waves at the Sandy Point OWS clinic last week were less daunting than the 3-minute swim waves in the Potomac. The high expectations I nursed entering the corral survived 200m before succumbing to the "washing machine" effect I've heard so much about. The combination of the physical contact and the river current unnerved me. My arms felt dead as I began hyperventilating. Found some space, collected my wits, and managed to put strokes together as I struggled to the turn buoy. I felt the current carry me a bit and finished strong - but with a sobering 20:05 split. I swore I would take up a less physically demanding aquatic sport, like water polo, as I clambered up the exit ramp. I am in 772nd place, but I made it through my first tri swim - ever.
3:19. It seemed faster, but I climb into 668th place.
Here's where bike commuting 4 days/week comes in handy: I start my ride 31/57 in my AG. I take out a Potomac River's worth of frustration on my pedals as I hammer my way back into contention. By the time I dismount, I am in 130th place as I rolled a 32:05 (23.2 mph) leg. My bike split is 5th overall, 1st in my AG – I feel competitive and I am now 8th in my AG. I can die happy, but first I must run to a finish festival they placed several sweltering miles away from the TA.
Transitions are hard for me, especially having to leave my beloved Bianchi! But I T2 in a solid 1:36.
This is my base sport and I am used to sub-7:00/mi. splits. But I wobble through the first mile as the heat bores into my skull. Small clumps of spectators cheer me on as I cross the Mall – I talk Nats with a fellow runner in a “Natstown” (non tech upgrade) t-shirt (“we need Bryce Harper – Now!”), and I begin to find my stride as I approach the Finish Line Festival, only to veer off toward the Capitol. I can hear the finish line announcements clearly as I make another cruel and unusual detour up Capitol Hill. I swear to take up a more forgiving running sport like ultra marathons, but the accursed hill flattens out, u-turns (again) and I relish the vanity downhill sprint towards the finish line, only to be greeted by two more hairpins: this course has more hairpins than the Inca frickin' Trail! What am I hearing over the sound system? Lady Gaga? The finish line party is clearly starting without me.
I amble in with a 32:21 (7:47?? Ouch) 1:29:24, good enough for 4th place in my division, 101st overall. I renounce my “Newbie” title and now defend the title I hope to hold for a long time: Triathlete!
I admired the cool finishers medal, got a massage (worth the u-turns), took in the awards ceremony, noshed on some bean and cheese burritos, then stood in line for the 54:32 "shuttle ride" back to the Transition Area. I could've crawled back in that time, but that's for another race... I must train...
overall place: 101 out of 1136
division place: 4 out of 59
gender place: 91 out of 613
It was a dark and stormy night…Oh wait, that’s another report.
Race report? The fun began at 3:30am. My husband Jimmy and I live in U Street area. Being a car-less couple, we figured the best way to get to transition was to hop in a taxi and scoot down to the Lincoln Memorial. If only so easy. Apparently taxi companies institute an “if they call us, we won’t come” policy in the middle of the night, so at 4:15 after our harassment and negotiation attempts failed, we decided to hop on bikes.
Unfortunately for me the only bike available was an old road bike circa 1970s that was about 6 sizes too big and required intense ankle flexion to reach the pedals. Off we went, with transition area bags hanging off our backs and arms and water bottles precariously balanced.
Into transition finally, got my land plot arranged and the tires aired up. Zipp had generously loaned wheels to the DC Tri elite team for the race, and it was my first experience racing on aero wheels. I was a bit nervous about living up to the reputation (not to mention the sound) of my newly outfitted steed. I also suspected there was a good chance my bike might actually ride away from me.
I had considered spending the long pre-race start time penning that autobiography I have been meaning to write or learning to know. Instead I enjoyed chatting with other DC Tri folks and my friend Catherine who was about to do her first triathlon, and attempting to warn the ducks swimming on the course of their impending doom.
I often find the swim start anticlimactic, and this race was no exception. We were herded frantically into the water, treaded water in silence for a couple of minutes, and then with no to-do, the horn went off. I got a good space on the outside front of my wave – good for me, at least, because I could see faster girls coming by me to both sides and try to jump on their feet. I am not a super strong swimmer, and thus have become a shameless drafter. Yes, you F35+ - oh, and also you F35+ -- that was indeed me tickling your toes.
Out of the swim and onto the bike – luckily it had waited for my arrival from the swim. I got into a rhythm early and managed to stay in it for the duration of both loops. This was my first race since I began working with my coach, Eric Sorensen of Cyclelife so I was eager to test out what I hoped was a bit of new fitness. The bike was super fun, and I exited with a strong time and hopeful that my legs would hold up for the run.
They did. And then they didn’t. The first four miles were great, and then came the lead infusion into the ol’ quads and hamstrings. I felt that I managed to fight it off better than I usually do, at least until the hill up next to the Capitol. I appreciated the excuse that the water stop half way up gave me to walk for a few steps under the guise of drinking water. More than that, I appreciated the cheers of support (and occasional mocking) from DC Tri members and supporters. The run back down the hill and the lead-in to the finish was a fantastic and fittingly dramatic ending to a fun and memorable race.