Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Burley Spudman Triathlon 2014

I love this race! I'll just start out saying that because this is my all time favorite event. Don't get me wrong there are some great race organizers out there and I enjoy most of the events in which I compete but this was my first open water tri so it holds a special place in my heart. This weekend is usually a camping trip with my hubby and some good friends from Park City and my brother from Boise. Unfortunately with hubby gone and my brother predisposed, I was camping in my trailer alone. Park City friends were there as well so that was fun.

Spudman is an Olympic distance triathlon. 1.5k swim down the Snake River, 40k bike and 10k run through the farm fields. I've always considered this my A race and this year was no difference. It's a two transition race so after picking up my packet (which includes a potato!), I took my bike over to T1 to claim my favorite spot by the bike out.
Several of us were then meeting up for a pre-race pizza dinner. We had a newbie with us. It was going to be his first open water Olympic tri so we talked about a lot of things that he could expect. I was so excited for him!  Then it was back to camp to finish preparing for the morning and early to bed.

Transition open at 6 am so even though I was in one of the last start waves, I headed over to finish setting up T1 to try and beat the crowds. Ran into a few other Salt Lake Tri Club peeps and snapped some sunrise pics and went to set up T2.

I was so early that I was able to sit in my truck and stay warm until the race started.
And they're off!
As usually happens wave starts are age dependent so I'm usually in one of the last waves, having plenty of time to gather my wits and get ready. Waves are 10 minutes apart so about 5 minutes after the previous wave started, I got in the water. It was very comfortable and the current felt strong. You don't want to get in too early so that you don't use too much energy trying to stay behind the start line. I timed it just right and was at the start when the horn blew. Except for one guy who kept cutting me off for a ways, the swim was uneventful. I was happy to see I took off a couple minutes from last year when I exited.

For some reason, I took my sweet time in transition. It's a "clean" transition so everything you have has to be put in the provided trash bag and dropped off with volunteers at the bike out. The bike starts out on the main road and then winds around through some neighborhoods before getting on the straightaway country roads. It's basically a 25 mile flat rectangle. Even though drafting is illegal, there were several draft packs that passed me and I saw a lot of it throughout the day. But whatever, I was just worried about my own race and pedaled on! I averaged 19 mph which is something that I have not been able to do in a race before. Came off the bike a little over 3 minutes faster from last year.

The run is my Achilles heel this year. I've been having problems breathing but this day, I remembered the inhaler and some extra nutrition. My run plan is always a 5 min run/1 min walk even in a triathlon so after walking the hill out of transition to get my legs going, I stuck to the Galloway method the entire 10k. It was warm but not unbearable. I didn't want to take a chance on overheating so I took in plenty of fluid at the aid stations. The run takes you through some farm fields along a canal. I saw lots of people squatting in the potatoes so I don't think dehydration was a problem! My run was only 20 seconds faster than last year.

It's always such a great feeling to run down that last hill to the finish chute and have them call your name and where you are from!

I first did this race in 2011 where I finished 22 of 24. The second year I was 14 of 21, 28 minutes faster. Then in 2013 I was 8 of 17 with another 18 minutes faster. I really was hoping and planning on 15 minutes faster this year but it was only 4 minutes and 7 of 21. As one friend said, a pr is a pr! One of my friends and training mates won our age group, beating me by over half hour - she's fast!

I met up with Dr. Tom at the finish and we waited for his brother, Steve to finish. It was Steve's first open water tri and I am always very proud when someone does something that pushes past their comfort level. Can't wait to see the next one (hint, hint, Steve!).
This event is truly a community event. From the organizers to the high school football players and cheerleaders and other volunteers to the residents who held water hoses or put sprinklers in the streets to help keep us cool - they are all so very great! As if you can't tell, I highly recommend this race to all.

As is tradition, after cleaning up and grabbing a bite to eat, I finished off the day with 18 holes of golf with Ron & Susan. My one concession is to take a cart since it is in the heat of the day. It was weird this year without my hubby and brother but we had a good time and mostly played well.
Packed everything up the next morning and made it home in time for church and to prepare for the upcoming week!


Monday, July 14, 2014

Echo Triathlon

It was a beautiful Saturday morning for the Echo Triathlon. The day before, the weather forecast had called for a chance of thunder showers but as you can see there was nary a cloud in the sky. It's a little bit of a drive from my house to the reservoir so I opted once again to go up the night before and stay at the one hotel nearby. A fellow club member and I shared a room. It was the first time we had met and I know I say this over and over again but I love this sport because of the people! Every time I meet someone, I feel like I've made a new life-long friend. It was fun to spend time visiting and getting to know each other.

There was to be a swim clinic before packet pickup so we all headed over. I opted out of the swim but was there to take pictures.

After packets were picked up, it was back to the hotel to finish our prep and get our eyes closed early. The 4 o'clock hour comes way to soon on race morning!

There is little parking at the venue so we have to ride our bikes the two miles with all of our gear. Our group headed over about 5:30 am. The temperature was great, just a hoodie over the tri kit.

TriUtah puts on such a great race (I know I've said this before as well!). Bike spots are marked with our numbers so no question on where to set up. With setup done, it was time to catch up and visit with friends for awhile. I was doing the sprint and as often happens I was in the last wave so I got to watch my friends at their start.

Something new this year (I think) was participation of the Push to the Finish organization. Check out their website. Several athletes pulled kids with physical disabilities in rafts on the swim course and then they were pushed on the rest of the course. It was so great to see the joy in the kids as they were coming out of the water. I know I'm not strong enough to pull or push one of the kids, but this seems like such a worthy cause for me to check into.

The Olympic and Sprint waves started and soon it was time to get in the water for a warm-up. The water was perfect. The buoys were staying put (last year one of them moved so my swim was short). The air horn blew and we were off. Even with my bum shoulder, I felt like I was having a good swim and was happy to come out of the water at 18 minutes. Official time shows 20 something because it's quite a long way up to transition.
Photo credit goes to my favorite mommy-to-be and one of my surrogate coaches, Jen.
Love her belly!
With a quick transition, I started the bike. Since I'm not a fast swimmer, I usually make up my time on the bike. I passed a lot of people and was feeling really good. The course has a false flat out of transition with a little climb and then some rollers. On the return, there is climb up to where the dam is and I even managed to pass someone on that stretch! The run course parallels the road in spots so I was seeing my fellow tri club members out running.

Another quick transition and I was off on the run. I'm struggling with my breathing on my runs and had forgotten to bring my inhaler. Last year's run was about three minutes faster. I forgot to look at my time from last year so didn't know until later that I pr'd by a few minutes. I definitely made up time on the swim, bike and transitions. I believe it was one of my best open water swims yet, pace-wise.

So many of us made it on the podium. Even some newbies!
It was the first tri for one of my new friends, Melanie, and only her second open water swim!

This was one of the races last year in which I qualified for USAT Age Group Nationals. I thought that was a one time thing but when I looked at the results, I found that I beat out second place by a few seconds and have qualified again for next year.
I've taken a few weeks break from serious training and it probably helped with this race. Monday is my re-commitment day to my training schedule. It felt good to hit GPP this morning at 5 am. My favorite race of all time is in two weeks - Burley Spudman!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


Not much going on in the past week. I'm trying to figure out how to get motivated again to train. I realized this week that I am so afraid of my shoulder hurting worse that I avoid anything that might possibly do this. I've been lucky to have a month break between races and I supposed I am taking full advantage of it and getting all the rest I have needed.

There have been a couple of runs and bike rides. These have been great. Mostly I'm afraid of getting in the pool and swimming laps. I give myself another week and then my butt will be back in the pool.

I have been in the water, though. Open water. I've organized some open water swims at Pineview Reservoir. It was been great to see people who have never had a wetsuit on and are not completely comfortable in the water, face these fears!

Last week a few of my friends and even some new ones came out and we had a great time.

We are doing it again tonight and I can't wait to see who comes out. The key to getting comfortable with open water swimming is getting in the open water. The more you do it, the better it is.

Finished up my week by chilling on my deck and yard, stalking my friends doing Ironman Coeur D'Alene and a little sunset yoga. Even though my training has been less than stellar, I am trying not to beat myself up about it too much. As my kind and loving coach has said to me, I'm giving myself permission to recover. Working on the guilt thing!
Oh and to sign off, here are a couple of my tasty dinners.