Race Report: Giant Acorn International

IMG_1622Before 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.

T1: 4:29

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.

T2: 2:35

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!


3 thoughts on “Race Report: Giant Acorn International

  1. Pingback: Last Triathlon of the Season - Elbowglitter

  2. Pingback: Race Report - 2015 Giant Acorn International Triathlon - Elbowglitter

  3. Pingback: How to Fix a Flat Tire - Elbowglitter

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