Monday, June 15, 2009

Battle At Midway - Race Report


Here is a good way to make sure you're not forgetting anything when packing for a triathlon. Lay everything out on your bed, then go over the race in your mind, thinking about what you need before you pack anything.

I thought I had everything in the first photo, but you can see I ended up adding a bunch of things. We could play a game of "Find What's Different In These Two Photos."

For more tips on how to prepare for race day, check out this article by my twitter friend, Danica Kooiman.

We got to Heber Friday night, and hung out at my dad's house until it stopped raining. Then I headed up to Soldier Hollow for packet pick-up. There were only like 3 people there so I was a little worried I was too late or at the wrong place, but I wasn't. I got my packet, my too big race shirt and my timing chip. They also gave me this flashy bracelet that identified me as a racer, therefor letting me into the transition areas and all that fun stuff.

I had to go to T1 to drop off my bike which was at a different place because Soldier Hollow is not on the lake. As I was walking to my car, though, I was very happy to see that there were 4 port-a-potties inside T2, just before you exit for the run. I LOVE this setup!

Pete came with me to drop my bike off, but they wouldn't let him into the transition area anyway (no bracelet on him) so he was a little annoyed that he couldn't even help me get set up. I picked a spot in my section for my bike and put garbage bags over the seat and headset because it was obviously going to rain. In fact, it started raining just as I was finishing up.

It's Race Time!

In the morning, I got up bright and early, even before my alarm went off which was nice! I had plenty of time to eat some oatmeal (though I couldn't finish the whole bowl because of my nerves), and get all ready. I drove myself up there in my dad's car so that Pete could have the Jeep in case he wanted to go somewhere with the kids. This is the first time I've driven myself to a race. It was a little different.

I got to pick a spot wherever I wanted in T2 to drop off my running gear, how cool is that? I picked a spot pretty close to where you come in on the bike. I didn't want to walk my bike any farther than necessary.

After setting up my stuff, I hoped on one of the busses going over to the lake. The lady who sat next to me told me that last year it was so cold, her feet didn't get warmed up until half-way into the run. I was a little worried I hadn't brought warm enough stuff, but once I got to the transition area, people were talking about how it was much warmer than last year. Whew.

I got my swim cap there, which was a little weird, but whatever, and it was green. As I was standing there waiting for my turn to get into the water (all full distance women and full distance men over 40 started on the second wave), I noticed that our swim caps were almost the exact shade of green as the lake. That made me feel so secure and visible. Not. I wasn't really worried, but I did think it was a weird choice of color for a swim cap they make you wear for safety.

Swim - 1500 m

All of a sudden, it was time to get into the water, and it was so cold. I was thinking, like I always think at the beginning of these things, "Why am I doing this? I hate this!" I didn't want to put my face in the water, and we only had a few minutes to get used to it before the cannon went off. I just focused on staying calm and getting into a rhythm.

After not too long, I didn't have a problem putting my face in any more and I was feeling fine. The water was so calm, it was almost like swimming in a pool! I kept thinking I was swimming off course because there was no one around me, but I'd look and see the red buoy right in front of me. Every once and a while I'd find some bubbles and try to draft, but I'd keep loosing them or passing them. I really wanted to practice drafting because I know it will help me a lot in the Ironman, but I was really just happy to be swimming by myself and I felt good! We had to go around the loop of buoys twice, but it wasn't bad, it was just like, "Ok, next buoy" until I got to the last one. Then I got to focus on the blue arch where we'd get out of the water, and I started to really push it.

I looked at my watch as I got out of the water and I just couldn't help but grin when I saw 31 something minutes! My best swim time ever! Yeah!

I got to my spot in T1 and was just gushing to the guys next to me about how awesome the swim was! Funny how I go from hating it to loving it in just 31 minutes. They all seemed so serious and just agreed and went on with their business. I took a lot of time in T1 because I wanted to make sure my feet were dry so they wouldn't be cold like that lady was saying. I also put arm warmers and my jacket on.

Bike - 22 miles

I was very glad to have my jacket and arm warmers when I got going on the bike. It was still pretty cold. It even rained on us, but just for a few minutes so it too wasn't bad. I loved the bike. I decided I was going to push it as hard as I could, especially because I knew this route so well. I passed a lot of people, but it was hard to tell who was doing the full distance, and who was doing "lite" (half the swim and half the run, but the same bike) because they didn't do any body marking. I hated not having that to look at when I passed someone. It still felt good to be passing a lot of people, though.

It was really fun to ride around Midway because I saw people I knew. One of my old running partners was out walking with her mom, I knew one of the policemen who was direct traffic (though he was too busy doing his job to notice me, but I'm fine with that, I really appreciate all those people who helped out!), and when I passed one of my friend's houses they were all out there on their porch cheering. It about made me cry for a minute, then I focused on going as fast as I could again.

When I got to the slightly downhill street that we used to think was so fun as kids, I got going 27 mph, and it was really fun! Usually I'm at the end of my ride by the time I get to this road so I don't really push it too hard, but this time I just went as fast as I could. I passed my house and my family was all out there watching for me. It was so fun to be able to ride past and wave at my kids as they were out playing in the yard. Some of my old neighbors were out watching too.

Here I am waving to my baby as I rode past. She was so cute, running over to see me. I was feeling so good and so happy because I knew I could get up to Soldier Hollow before I hit 2 hours, which was my goal.

Of course, they didn't have us go right to Soldier Hollow like I'm used to doing, they had us go almost all the way back into Midway, so it took a little longer than I was thinking. I still made it in under 2 hours, though! In fact, I think I pulled into the transition area at around 1:55.

Run - 5.92 Miles (dang, I thought it was a full 10k!)

My goal was to get done in under 3 hours, and I had about an hour left. I knew I could do a 10k in an hour, but that it would be hard so I didn't mess around in T2. I took my helmet, shoes, and jacket off, threw my hat on and just grabbed my shoes. My feet were totally numb! Despite my efforts to dry my feet off in T1, my socks were soaking wet. Oh well, I hobbled over to those lovely port-o-potties and took a minute to rub my feet while I was in there. This way I wasn't wasting much time, and I had a nice seat for putting my shoes on. They also had gel, water and heed as you're leaving the transition area, which I thought was an awesome idea, but I didn't take any since I had just had some on my bike.

I did get some heed at the first 2 aid stations, which they had every mile, but skipped the next 2 because I was taking a little longer than 10 minutes a mile so I didn't really have time to stop. There were several really steep hills to go up, but we also got to go down. I was so glad I had practiced this! I ran down those hills as fast as I dared go, and I passed a lot of people doing this.

My heart-rate was in the 170s for most of the run, which is really high. I figured I could push myself for an hour. I got to mile 4 at like 2:38, but it was really catching up with me. I drank some heed and ran a little slower for a little while, and just had to focus on keeping my legs going for the next mile. They had us run past the finish line then loop way around before we got to finish, and this just about killed me. I was like, "Where are they sending us?"

It was at this point that I noticed a lady in pink behind me for the first time, but she was a good 50 yards behind me and I felt like I was running really fast into the finish line. But then all of a sudden she was gaining on me. I tried to pick my speed up, but I was already sprinting, and she was going really fast! She passed me just before the finish line and I was just screaming, I couldn't go any faster! She got across one second before me! My finish time was 2:58:43! I was just happy that I finished within my goal, though, and told her good job. I about started crying again after I recovered a little and had my bagel and water.

I didn't stick around for the awards because it wasn't like I was going to win anything. I just went up to T2 to pack up my stuff, and I took some time to stretch and drink my recoverite. Then I had to call Pete to come get my bike because I had driven my Dads little car up there without thinking about how I would get my bike home. I was so happy the rest of the day because I did it in under 3 hours!

Now that I'm home, and things have settled down a bit, I've had a chance to look at the race results. Turns out, I WON my age group! I can't even believe it, I was ecstatic when I saw that this morning! Ok, so there was only one other woman in my age group, and she was the last one to Finish, but still! I won! Too bad I didn't stick around for the awards. I was actually #24 out of the 48 Intermediate women who finished, the winner finishing almost an hour before me. Not great, but I'm still happy!

It was just a great race, I'm glad I did it. It was very well put together, in such a beautiful place, and just a lot of fun. I just hope I recover from it by next week. My legs and feet are still sore.I really hope it's not another stress fracture creeping up.

This is a picture taken from the car on the way home. It is so green right now with all the rain we've been having, I love it!


  1. Colleen, this race and your training seems incredible to me. You are exceeding your personal best. What a thrill. I hope the race goes as planned and that you are experiencing a tremendous feeling of connectedness and life satisfaction. <3

  2. I really enjoyed your race report. Thanks for sharing. Helps me, as a beginner triathlete, to read other people's reports. Sounds like a great race and you did fantastic!

  3. Sounds like you really pushed yourself I can just see you screaming at the finish line. that would be frustrating. I'm sure you will be recovered by the ironman