Here we are with another race report. The unique thing about this one is:
- We have a video check it out below
- This race added not only a bike but also a swim
Swim, Bike, Run. Today I report on this year's first Triathlon. This season's first Tri was in good ol' Burley Idaho. Ever heard of it? Yeah neither had I! haha I tried to do so much research to see where we could stay or what we could do after the race. I am just going to spare the details and just let you know if you aren't looking for golf or Walmart... Jack in the box is the only other thing to do other than swim in or boat on the snake river.
For those who aren't familiar, you have 4 common distances for triathlons.
- Sprint : 750 meter (0.465 mile) swim / 20 kilometer (12.5 mi) bike / 5 km (3.1 mi) run
- Olympic :1.5 kilometer (0.93 mile) swim / 40km (25 mi) bike / 10 km (6.2 mi) run
- Half Ironman or 70.3 : 1.9 kilometer (1.2 mile) swim / 90 km (56 mi) bike / 21.1 km (13.1 mi) run
- Full 140(Ironman) : 3.8 kilometer (2.4 mile) swim / 180.2 km (112 mi) bike / 42.2 km (26.2 mi) run
This Race was an olympic distance triathlon. I have always done Sprint distances because I have been able to get away with minimal to no training and complete the sprint but anything longer than that in my opinion requires training. Now that I finally had my road bike and was able to put in some good time in the saddle I was ready to commit to this distance. I signed up for this race a few months ago and was on track for some great times... that was until my Achilles decided to make itself known. I have not been able to run for the last month and insead had it dry needled, scraped, taped and foam rolled multiple times a day hoping to help it heal. Unfortunately all that has lead to is constant irritation and pain, frustration, occasional tears and a longing to be able to run.
Approaching this race with an injury was unsettling. It was all a little unnerving especiallywith all of the "firsts" I was about to do
- Travel for a race
- OWS (open water swim) in unfamiliar waters
- Olympic Distance
- New Road Bike
The last "first" I have listed was probably the most exciting part of the race. I have done quite a few Sprint distances as a means to break up the monotony of training for my half marathons. But this time, I was actively training for this Triathlon. So in a sense, This was my first triathlon that I have invested my time in.
Burly Idaho is just over 3 hours away. Morgan and I packed up the truck and made our way to Burley Idaho. We left a little later than planed but we were still on track to make it within a decent time to participate in the spaghetti dinner and athlete meetings.... well that was until we hit accident after accident and then a "hazard spill" and at that point we would be lucky to roll in while the sun was still up. (9:30) We decided we had better stop and just get our own dinner so that I could digest my dinner and avoid any potentially uncomfortable pit stops during the race. We rolled into Olive Garden and had a fun date.
***Side note. Why is Olive Garden set at 50 degrees. I am always freezing when I eat there and Why do they only put TWO olives in their entire salad bowl? "Olive" is literally in their name and they can't spare a few more olives in their salad?! ***
Anyways, we got on our way very quickly and headed onward to Burley. We blasted our favorite pump up songs, chatted about anything and everything and that is when Morgan decided to tell me that while he was researching Burley he read that the "snake river" (the river I was about to be swimming in) got its name due to the water snakes that originate in the river..... YOU'RE KIDDING!!! He had quite the laugh at my initial wide eyed, open mouthed reaction .... Oh brother. (but the way, that is NOT true)
We rolled into Burley in enough time for me to check - in and set up my transition areas before they were all locked up. I always talk about how each race you learn something new. This race taught me a lot but the most hilarious thing I learned I attribute to my rookie road bike status. For the past few months, I have tried multiple times to fill up my tires thinking that they just must lose air fast? I would stop and try to use my CO2 pump to fill up my tires but never really felt like anything was happening but guessed that I just was missing something and would keep on riding.
Well, I got my shoes out and all set up for my T2 and then Morgan and I headed down the path to the bike area. on my way over we passed the Salt Lake Triathlon Club area where all the members were set up and that is when I ran into Adam. He stopped me and warned me that I need to make sure to not roll my tires on the grass because they have had many people get flats from the pokies in the grass that have a knack of wedging themselves into the tires. While doing this he felt my tires and was like "wow yeah those are pretty flat you'll want to make sure that you fill these up" I knew that he was right I just didn't realize how right he was!
I made my way over to the bike area and got everything racked up and placed. I looked around and saw two guys standing there with a pump. I asked if they wouldn't mind if I borrowed it. Like most triathletes that I have interacted with, they were completely willing to help. He not only let me borrow the pump but he helped me get it all hooked up. After my first pump moved so easily even HE could see I really needed some air ha! After I pumped up my tires and felt how firm they were ... I realized I have probably never experienced what it is like to ride on full tires..... oh brother... no wonder it has been so hard to get my average speeds to a decent number without completely exhausting myself! I had my CO2 cartridges that I could have used to fill up my tires but without those two guys being willing to let me use their hand pump I probably wouldn't have realized just how flat my tires were and my whole ride would have been a terrible experience. If you ask me, I could have gone home right then and learned a valuable lesson.
After we left the bike area and walked back to the truck we had to make a quick run to Walmart so I could get some fuel for the morning, Muffins and O.J. and a banana for good measure. We also took advantage of the restrooms because we were actually going to be camping for the night! Morgan thought I was crazy, he was completely willing to stay in a hotel but I really wanted to camp. It is my two favorite summer time activities. Camping and racing, all in the same weekend! We were not the only ones, Burley is a tiny area and the race is large enough for 2K + athletes. There wouldn't be enough rooms if all the athletes wanted to stay in one. Where we ended up camping was actually on the driving range of the golf course so the ground was completely flat and well groomed so in reality it was the best night "camping" we have ever had. We were able to get our tent all set up and ready to go in the dark and laid our heads down by 10:30 record breaking time for me getting to sleep before a race despite my best efforts.
We were woken up the next morning to the sound of a train and the traffic directors yelling back and forth to each other. We were surprised to step out of the tent and see a frost covered truck and dew soaked grass. I was the second to last wave. wave 7 of 8 that started at 7:40 am It is the latest start time I have ever had but it was kind of nice to have time to eat my breakfast and settle my nerves. We ere even able to watch the breathtaking sunrise over the snake river! Before the race I made my way to the bike Transition area so I could make sure my water was filled and tires were still great and yes, they were still filled more than ever before haha. I added my phone to my flip belt so that Morgan could track me by using "find my friends".
On the walk back I could feel my Achilles again and I was feeling the pre race jitters all over again.
We made our way to the swim start, I massaged my wetsuit up over my legs which is a warm up all in itself mid you, and waited for my wave to be called. Oh man I was getting nervous mostly because I hate being cold and I really did not want to get into the cold water. To be honest I was just nervous because of the unknown. I kissed Morgan goodbye and said "well, I hope I see you on the other side! "
I tip toed into the water and I splashed myself, my arms, my face, and got water in my wetsuit so that I could get used to the temperature and tried to make my way to the start. I guess I was a little too anxious because I got out there and ended up trying to swim up current and away from the start because the river was moving so fast. They announced two min before start and I was just sculling upstream while staying in place but definitely feeling my heart rate rise. Ill make sure to not make that mistake next time. Two min later, the gun went off and we were off. Morgan and I planned a place that I could spot and find him so I could wave and he could find me. Sure enough about 10 min into the race I poked my head up and spotted the bridge and found my biggest support. Later on Morgan said he had to almost run to keep up with my pace. I credit it all to the down stream and my adrenaline from "water snakes" haha. I did feel great. I was able to jump out of the water ranked 3rd in my division and my wet suit slid right off without much effort and could have taken off real quick but I was a little taken aback by being soaked.
After a pathetic attempt to dry off, I gave up, threw some socks on, snapped my shoes on and picked up my bike and headed onto the course. I knew I wasted some time in T - 1 but I know now what to expect. I found Morgan again on my way out and headed off onto my ride. This ride was a piece of cake since I am so used to 1. riding on flat tires and 2. living on hills. so wherever I go for a ride I'm climbing at least a little bit and there were hardly any hills worth mentioning since they all started with a downhill. So if you were smart with your gears going down, you could get yourself back up without too much effort. I was proud of my average pace but I wonder how much of that was due to the course or my tires actually being able to do their job. This ride was beautiful I was riding along these tall, vast, green corn fields. The ones you see in the movies there were quite a few times I found myself enjoying the view and feeling completely blessed to be where I was and doing what I was doing.
I have to be completely honest though. This ride took me to an awkward level between triathlete and human.... I always have tissues when I go for a ride or run because my nose is always uncontrollably running. I had a stack of tissues in my flip belt and I spent a good amount of time trying to fish for them. I finally found what seemed like the tissues and sure enough pulled out a wad of tissues completely soaked .... oh my gosh now what.... I have in the past blown my nose in my had and wiped them on my pants before but not my Tri suit that is not absorbent material so I did the unthinkable ..... I snot rocketed it..... Oh man it makes me gag just thinking about it... not only did I do it once but I stooped to that level 3 times!! I was on this beautiful ride in the country and here I am blowing my snot all over it.... It is such a shame.
But on a positive note, and hopefully enough to make everyone forget about my terribly shameful actions.I passed multiple people on my bike! Keep in mind my other triathlons were done on a mountain bike gifted to me by my parents when I was 8 years old, and being a swimmer I am usually one of the first out of the water so being passed on the bike is much more common than me passing others.
I know that me passing so many people was due to the staggering waves starting but it was definitely good for my ego to be passing people instead of the other way around. Don't get me wrong there were still people who were passing me like there were the front runner... ZOOOOOOMMM ... as they wiz past me....woah was that a bike or a train?! I felt good overall on my bike though but that was until the last 7 miles or so... I could really feel my hands and bum going numb. But I stuck it out without crashing or getting a flat... that is a win.
Then we get to the run... I got over to my shoes. clicked off my shoes and slipped into my running shoes, took off my helmet and took a nice long drink of water. The sun was high in the sky and I was running near 9:30 am in the morning. I also was worried about my Achilles. I ran up to Morgan and just heard him yelling "go, go,go!" At first I was a tab bit offended. Um hello! say hi or something ha! But what I didn't know is that he and my mom had been texting back and forth while tracking me and saw that I was 11th in my division now and wanted me to have the best chance possible to get that back. I took off and forced myself to run. The bike to run transition Is possibly the hardest part of a tri. It took me about 2 miles for my body to realize what it was supposed to do. I felt my Achilles screaming at me the whole time. At some points I thought about just walking but then I realized, my ankle is going to be hurting no matter what I do so I might as well let it hurt and finally be able to run rather than let it hurt and watch everyone else run. That was at mile 3 so the last 3 miles I picked it up and went from 12 min miles to 8 min miles and finally finished 15th.
The coolest thing about this race was the live coverage it offered so my parents and Morgan could follow along with that as well as find my friends. After I finished, I met back up with Morgan who did NOT miss my finish ;) and took advantage of the chocolate milk and massages. We walked around and watched the awards while back tracking so that I could pick up my bike and swim gear. After getting back to the truck I realized that Morgan, being the champ that he is had come back and picked up the tent and sleeping bags etc. while I was off on my bike. We were all packed up and ready to take on Burly Idaho..... and do what you do in Burley... go to Jack in the Box? haha when in Burley..... that is all we could come up with.
After we got done eating we took a drive over to Twin falls where we could spend the rest of the time exploring the Hot Springs and all that it has to offer over.
Below you can see my time and splits. Now that I have this race under my belt I feel like I know now what I should be working on and I have enough data to be setting goals and things to look forward to. In the mean time, Ill be calling again to try to get another opinion on my Achilles and to be more patient with my body when it is injured meanwhile being more grateful for the parts that aren't injured. So I guess that means in the meantime ill be spending more time in the weight room and in the saddle until I can get back out on a run.