This was the biggest race I participated in this year so I figure I should write the race report even if its a few months late. Nations Tri Website
As a quick summary this race was AMAZING! Highly recommend this Olympic Distance Triathlon. For those that dont know the distances are 1500 meter swim, 40km bike, and a 10k run. (0.93mile swim, 24.9 mile bike, 6.2 mile run for you Imperial Units followers) The course was VERY flat especially the run. I don’t remember a single hill on the run. Bike course had a few tight turns but otherwise was not bad (though I heard the 2012 course was even better). I finished in 3:00:38 which was about where I expected. Would have been nice to break 3 hours on my first Olympic Tri but heck it’s a PR anyways. Onto the details!
Woke up extra early for this one ~4:30am. I have about an hour long pre-race routine with coffee, plain bagel with peanut butter, ~32 ounces of water, shower, getting dressed and going over my triathlon race gear checklist (for another post). I was also staying at my parents house in the DC suburbs so I wanted to leave plenty of time to get there, find a parking spot, and get my transition area prepped. I found an unbelievably sweet parking spot about as close to the transition area as you can park! Day was off to a good start!
I am adding this section mainly to highlight a mistake I believe I made with this triathlon. I got down there pretty early (almost 2 hours before my wave was supposed to start). So I had tons of time to mill around. I was really pumped for my first olympic distance tri so I was on my feet the whole time. Seriously didnt sit down once. About 20 mins before my wave start I realized this and noticed my legs were already feeling a bit of fatigue. Not great before you even start a triathlon! I think this was a minor factor in my race performance but lesson learned…sit down a little.
Ah the swim…the most feared part for most triathletes. Definitely mine too. As a brief aside, most triathletes have a background in one of the 3 sports — I most certainly do not. I had hired a coach that I met with about 2x a week for the spring and summer leading up to this triathlon to “learn” to swim correctly. Luckily my coach was an ironman finisher so he was great at guiding me for my first middle distance triathlon. I had put in 3-4 swim sessions a week so I wasn’t extremely scared of the swim, I just knew it wasn’t going to be pleasant. I finished the swim with a split of 34:15 which comes to a 00:02:17 pace per 100m. I was happy with my performance especially because just a month an a half prior I did a sprint tri (so half the swim distance) at a 2:39 pace per 100m. I was feeling strong upon exiting the water with maybe a small twinge of fatigue in my quads (kicked too much I guess).
I was in an out of T1 in 00:02:51. Not bad but not great. I think I fumbled with my helmet and I did take a swig of gatorade and shoved a honey waffle in my mouth. I have read that eating in transitions is wasteful of time. I will cut that out for my next serious triathlon. I do wear socks with my bike shoes and I havent learned the whole “leave the shoes clipped in” technique yet. Lots of room for improvement here. Top athletes are sub 00:01:30 here.
This is the sport I probably trained the least in prior to the triathlon. I was feeling really good to start the ride. Drank most of my water bottle early (should’ve brought 2!!) and took a salt stick pill. I was cruising. I dont have a dedicated bike computer (my run watch has a mode for cycling which I use in training but didnt put on my bike). I didnt know how fast I was going until I got my results. I did start feeling tightness in my quad occasionally so I backed off slightly but on the bike sometimes you want to crush it … especially through the crowds and downhills. I finished in 01:20:11 which is about 18.7 mph. My goal was 01:30:00 for this split so I crushed it. Though you will see my consequence in my run below…
I think I nailed T2 (for me). 00:01:37. Really T2 is about taking off your helmet and bike shoes as fast as possible and throwing on your running shoes. I got the lock laces so no shoe tying necessary. Simply a must have for any triathlete. I was happy with this time and cant really think of anything I did “wrong”. Perhaps I stopped to catch my breath and I am sure I lost a few seconds unstrapping and pulling off my shoes (pro’s take feet out of shoes will still on bike). So room for improvement but maybe only about 30-45 seconds max.
The final leg! I was ripping out of T2 and feeling great cardio wise. My quads were definitely feeling tight but I was running well and with good form…for about the first mile. Then the cramping started….UGH! I was feeling pretty miserable especially considering my cardio was FINE. It was a strange feeling to have my legs locking up but my body wanting to push it. I took my time for miles 2-4 run walking most of it. I was drinking a TON at each aid station (they were placed every mile) and my legs slowly were starting to come back. By mile 4.5 the cramping was mostly gone and I was back to about 9 min mile pace (what I wanted to run the whole running portion). I was able to finish strong too probably averaging 8 min mile pace last 1.2 miles. I didnt wear my running watch so I dont have my actual splits. I finished the run in 01:01:45 for just under 10 min/mile pace. I was really disappointed with this time. MUCH room for improvement here.
The post race event was pretty nice except they inexplicably ran out of water bottles and finishers medals. Pretty bad mistake there. I didnt actually hang around long. Just got a gatorade, a few snacks, and my splits/final time. Transition area was already open since I was a middle wave (and not that fast). Overall I really enjoyed the race and the course. I was disappointed with my run but happy with all other areas so again happy in the end. I already signed up for this race again next year AND I have already signed up for a half-Ironman (Eagleman) GULP!!!