Before I start the race report for Giant Acorn International, my longest triathlon to date, I would like to give you a recap of the past three days. Saturday, my hard drive tanked and now my computer is in the shop. Sunday… you’ll see. This morning, I dropped my earring, it bounced off the dresser and landed in my coffee. Of course, I fished it out and still drank the coffee. But it’s been an interesting few days.
So. On to the race recap.
This was my first Olympic distance race, but I really wasn’t too worried about it. I had put in the time and I was ready. I really didn’t have any predicted finish times, but I certainly wasn’t worried about the 4 hour time limit. I figured I would be just fine. Not fast, but not at risk of being swept.
Of course, I needed something to stress about, so it was whether or not to wear my wetsuit. I’m faster in it. I don’t need it, but it’s nice to wear for longer swims. And I’ve had issues with cold water. It’s sleeveless, but I just wasn’t sure what my personal “too warm for a wetsuit” temperature was. Race morning, the water was 72-73 degrees. So I just went with it.
This was an in-water start, which I love, plus there was a chance to get into the water before the race. I was in the last swim wave, which again, didn’t worry me. I knew that the swim cutoff was 1:10 (after the last wave, I assumed), so I wasn’t worried. I didn’t know what the cutoff for the other legs were because I didn’t think I needed to be concerned. How wrong I was.
Horn goes, swim swim swim. I was in the pack for a while, then dropped back. I felt like I was going so slowly, though I certainly wasn’t the last one out of the water. It did make me want to work on being a faster swimmer. But again, I didn’t panic so that’s the key.
I’m not sure where the transition mat was, but I definitely walked the sandy, rocky path to transition.
Swim: 1500m in 37:15. Not bad.
The long walk to transition worked against me, but I managed to get out of transition in a decent amount of time, considering I had to get out of my wetsuit.
I got on my bike and just couldn’t get comfortable. I couldn’t decide if it was my legs or the pavement or what was going on. Finally, about 2.5 miles in, I stopped to look at my bike and see if something was rattling.
My rear tire was completely flat. I may have been riding on the flat the entire time. That can’t be good.
So I worked to change my tire as I watched other athletes fly by. Any thought of placing well went out of my head. A number of people asked me if I had what I needed and I did. I knew what I was doing, but I’m not great at the CO2 inflating. I’m always worried about overinflating, so I ended up with an underinflated tire. Never good for riding.
I also somehow managed to screw up my derailleur, so I didn’t have access to all my gears during the remaining 20+ miles. It sucked. And I was all alone for most of it. I came upon a few cyclists near the end, but at this point, my motivation was waning. I was really down and frustrated with the whole situation. And wondering just how much this bike repair was going to cost me.
Also I was covered in dirt and bike grease. Awesome.
Because my computer is in the shop, I haven’t downloaded my Garmin stats to see how long I was at a standstill, but based on the 5 mile lap times and my average pace, it’s safe to say I lost 15 minutes. I’m sure I also lost time with the damaged derailleur and underinflated tire, but there’s no good way to quantify that, so I’m not thinking about it.
I started to watch my pace and wondered if I would be able to make the 4 hour time limit. I cruised into the bike finish and asked if I could still start the run. I had 12 minutes. Thank goodness.
Around the mile 20 mark, I found Liz, who was on the ground changing her tire. It was not a good day for bikes. But she was doing well, so I figured she would catch me on the run.
Bike: 25.25 miles: 2:01:33.
By this point, I knew the race had a 4 hour time limit and I knew I wasn’t going to make it, but I was under the impression that once you started the run, you got to finish. I figured that the run would take me about 90 minutes, give or take. So when I got into transition, I was mad. Laura was there and I asked her how everyone else was doing. I told her about Liz and told her about my bike debacle. I was just angry at this point and pretty down about the whole thing. The race was not going my way.
The entire first part of this run course is up a hill. This is a terrible idea. TERRIBLE. But it’s better than the finish being downhill, so I’ll take it. It’s a looped course, so for my first loop, there were plenty of people out there, finishing their second loop. I just worked at keeping my pace under a 14 minute mile, which is my typical triathlon goal. It gives me something to work for.
At one point, there was a short out and back and that’s when I finally saw Liz. She was only a few minutes behind me, and I figured she would catch me soon. I was hot and sunburning, but wasn’t too worried about the run. I cruised into the split for the second loop, and as I started the second loop, they were taking down the run course. This really threw me off and I got frustrated. There were also people all over the run course, most of whom very politely moved when they realized the race was still going on. I got lots of cheers from other participants, which was awesome. But there were also rude people, and I ended up on the verge of tears for most of the run from mile 3-4. That was also the giant uphill, so it was partly physical, I’m sure.
At the end of the out and back, I noticed that there was a cyclist following a runner. I asked if she was following the last runner, and she said yes. That meant Liz was gone. I had no idea they were going to close the run course! I hoped that she had been cut off and not injured. But I was so mad on her behalf.
So I just kept moving, and feeling sorry for myself because this race had become a debacle, and finally, I finished.
Run: 10k in 1:27:13
Total time: 4:13:02.
The finish crowd was great and it was so nice to be a latecomer getting cheered in. Much of the post-race food was gone, but the Papa John’s truck was there and we all got personal pizzas, so I still had that. Big thumbs up there.
But overall, I was disappointed. Even with 15 minutes on the tire change, I was still much slower than I anticipated. It was really soul crushing. I feel guilty about feeling bad though, since other people didn’t get to finish when they so deserved to. But the race just didn’t go how I wanted it to, and I’m allowed to be disappointed. And this is fuel for the winter training season.
And on the upside, I know I can change a tire on the fly. I just can’t figure out what I did to my derailleur. Guess I will be visiting my LBS this week!