Top Gun Triathlon 2014

22 08 2014

So, I owe you guys a race report. Yes, I realize that August is almost over, and I raced Top Gun in July, but better late than never, right?


The Thursday before the race, a deal I couldn’t pass up came my way for the hot pink Rudy racing helmet I’ve been drooling over for past year. I paid the extra shipping to have it overnighted so that I could race with it on Saturday.  I think they look so silly, but I’ll take the little bit of extra speed any day!

I picked up my packet on the Friday night before the race, surprised to see that we got race tattoos and a silicone cap. Dear race director: Silicone caps for July races in Florida are a DUMB idea. I was overheating standing on shore waiting for my wave. And race tattoos? This is a local sprint, not a 70.3 or Age Group Nationals. Is that really necessary?

Okay, okay, I understand that for some those are perks of this race, and that’s why they do it, so I’ll end my rant there.

Anyhow, my morning alarm came way too early. 7:00am start time for the first wave and nearly an hour drive to get there meant a wake up time that began with a 4. OOf.



I arrived at Ft. DeSoto and used my cell phone flashlight to guide my path over to transition since it was still dark out. Thankfully transition had a bunch of flood lights on, so I could get myself set up. I filled my hydration bladder, started drinking my PreLoad, and made sure everything was set before wandering around transition to see my friends. Soon enough, it was time to head down to the water.

I looked at the flags and was disappointed, as I always am with sprints. The swim was just so short (but I think it actually was longer than when I raced two years ago!)- how was I going to get any advantage there? Sigh. I warmed up, swimming nearly the entire course, and then got out and waited for my wave. We started late and my wave was one of the latter ones, so it just felt like forever until I actually got to go! Finally, the gun went off!

Swim: 6:51 (1st female)

I lined up to the right of the pack, since that was closest to the buoy. We’d be going against the current for a very short time to get to that first buoy, so no sense in making it longer! I was out in front with a few other girls, but kept my stroke strong and steady. Shortly after making the turn and the first buoy on the straight, I started passing people from the waves in front of me. Hello men doing backstroke, breasstroke, kicking their little legs away, and just floating there. Sheesh. I tried to stick as close to the buoy line as possible, and definitely ran in to some people doing that. I didn’t have a good idea of where I was within the pink caps, but I knew there were definitely girls on my tail. I picked up my pace, turned the last buoy and didn’t stop swimming until my hand hit the ground. I popped up and hightailed it out of the water.

T1: 3:15

Hello long transition. As I ran up the beach I remembered that Ft. DeSoto races have such a ridiculously long run to get to transition. Add to that the fact that they’re paving the parking lot where transition usually sits, so transition was move a little further away than usual- and it makes for one long run! On my way in to transition, I was passed by Brittany Pierce, and I did a little happy dance, because I beat a pro on the swim!

Bike: 25:53

I grabbed my bike, helmet, and sunglasses and hit the road. My goal for the bike was to give it all I had to see how fast I would actually go. The bike is about 9.5 miles on a one loop course. I didn’t wear my watch, I wasn’t looking at numbers, I just wanted to get out there and go. At about 7 miles or so (if I remember correctly) I was passed by another female. Darn it. I kept pushing, and didn’t let anyone else pass me. I don’t think there was anything else memorable to report on that short bike!

T2: 1:02

I got in and out as fast as I could here. In transition, I saw the girl that had passed me on the bike, and I was determined to get out before her. (I did- she was in there for 1:42!)

Run: 25:19

I was really hoping to average 7:XX per mile on this, so at first when I saw my split, I was disappointed. But then I learned that the run was a bit longer than a 5K, so my average was actually better than I thought. My goal for the run was to have a better run than I did 2 years ago, when I had to stop and walk. It was hot, but I was not going to give in. I knew that the only woman in front of me was Brittany, so I had a chance to be one of the top females overall. I just put one foot in front of the other and kept ticking off the runners in front of me. Thank you late wave. I had no clue what pace I was holding, since I didn’t wear a watch, but I didn’t care, I just wanted to keep going. With about half a mile to go, I was passed by a woman in a blue tri kit. I immediately looked to her calf, and saw she was in my age group. My heart sank. I thought about slowing some, but told myself no, that I was going to finish strong. I was hurting and very hot, but I only had a half mile to go- I can do this! I forged ahead and soon, I finally saw the finish line. Thank goodness- it was over!

Total: 1:02:19, 2AG, 4th F OA (I think)

Overall, I was quite happy with how the day went. I dropped time in the bike and run from 2012, and I’m pretty sure the swim was longer this year. I would have loved another 1st place podium spot, but 2nd ain’t so bad;-)




Top Gun Triathlon

6 08 2012

So, it’s been awhile. Sorry ’bout that. :-/

Anyhow, I’m back on the blogging train and the first thing I want to do is give a big shout out to Bill, who qualified for USAT Age Group Nationals with his stellar sub 1:00 sprint tri last weekend at the Top Gun Triathlon!

Some of the XP Gang headed out to Ft. DeSoto last weekend for the Top Gun Triathlon. This was my second time at Ft. DeSoto and my first time racing there. Courtney, Mary, and Marcus were also racing, and Jess and Felipe came to cheer us on (THANKS guys!!).

The morning started bright and early, with a 4:45 wake up, and out the door by 5. It was still dark when we arrived, but boy, was it humid. I was dripping in sweat by the time I walked my bike the short distance from the car to the registration table. It was gonna be a hot one!

For some reason, I thought this was going to be a small race, of about 300-400 people. I don’t know where I got that from, because there were about 1200 people there!

(Photos courtesy of Jess)

I found Mary, Marcus, and Courtney and we hung out at the water’s edge while we waited for the race to start. As we looked out at the swim, we all commented on how short the swim looked. It was supposed to be a quarter mile swim, but I’m pretty sure it was shorter than that. Courtney, Mary and I were in the 4th or 5th wave, while Marcus and Bill were near the end, in the 12th and 13th waves.

The race started a little behind schedule, but I wasn’t too worried about it since it was such a short race. When the gun went off for our heat, I ran in and immediately started dolphin diving. When the water got deep enough, I began swimming. Unfortunately, there was a sand bar, so after only a few strokes my hand hit sand again. I stood up and did a few more dolphin dives and then found my stroke again. The whole time out to the first flag, there was a girl just to my left, battling to be the first out to the flag. I breathed to my other side, and saw a stroke I recognized, as Courtney was approaching from the right. I was the first girl out to the flag, and I kinda sorta cut off the girl to my left to cut the flag tight. Whoops.

Courtney and I swam stroke for stroke for a little while before she pulled ahead. I stayed on her feet for as long as I could. We were about halfway done the swim when we started running into the women from the heat in front of us. We were running down a lot of the women, and it was hard to find a clear path. I lost Courtney in the sea of neon pink caps as we turned the last buoy. I spotted her out of the corner of my eye as we headed towards the beach, but it got even trickier to find a clear path, as the women from the heat before us started to stand up. I felt like I was caught in a bad traffic jam while trying to speed to the hospital!

Courtney and I got to the beach at about the same time, and headed for transition. As you can see, we were dodging people left and right. It was a LONG run to transition. And then we had to run on hard concrete. Ouch. I made it to my bike, and I was off!

Swim: 4:53

T1: 2:39

I was SO excited for the bike leg. It would be my first race on Snowball, and I wanted to see how fast I could go. It was a short, flat 10 mile loop, so I pushed hard. Man, I felt good! This was probably the first race where I was passing people instead of being passed. What a morale booster! I kept my head down and pushed, so I don’t remember any specifics about the bike leg. All I know is that I was having a blast!

Bike: 26:40

T2: 1:13

So, my second transition wasn’t all that fast, but I threw on my shoes, hat, and number and headed out for the run. Man, I was hot. I had ridden really hard, so my heart rate was definitely up. I could feel that my face was really red. Maybe a quarter mile in, Courtney passed me, and told me I was looking steady. I kept running, but felt really slow. I was also worried about my foot, not wanting to push it too hard. At the first water stop around mile 1, I grabbed water and threw it on my head. That helped some. I kept trudging along. A little while later, Mary flew past me. She was having an awesome first triathlon!

I looked over to my right and over the grassy patch of land, where I saw people on their way back towards the finish. I thought to myself, Hmmm, that’s where the beach is. There must be a paved path over there too that I don’t know about.

I made it to the turn around and my heart sunk. We were running on sand.

This wouldn’t have been a big deal (I don’t think) had I been mentally prepared for it. But, the thought of running on the sand was certainly not appealing to me with the minimal running training I’ve been doing.

Ok, stay positive Steph. You used to be a lifeguard, this is no big deal.

The sand was actually packed pretty well, with only a little bit of soft sand on top. The course also took us back through some of the grassy area, where I had to jump over a few puddles and mud left over from a recent storm. By this point, I was blazing hot, and mentally I had lost a lot of steam. So I walked. I’m cringing as I write this, because I don’t walk during races, especially not during a sprint!

I didn’t let myself walk for long, so I started to run again. Thankfully, close to the second water stop were volunteers handing out cold towels. Hallelujah! I grabbed one and wrapped it around my neck. Life. saver.

This was the motivation I needed to finish the race. Yes, I was tired, and yes I was hot, but there was only one more mile left.

I pushed through to the finish, but man did I feel terrible.

My foot bothered me some during the race. It wasn’t debilitating, but it wasn’t pleasant either. This season has just not been my running season.

Run: 29:17 (yipes)

Total time: 1:04.27

When it was all said and done, I was happy that I raced. And, I was happy to have my XP teammates there too! Courtney and Mary killed it, placing 2nd and 4th, respectively.

You Go Girls!!

This was a really fun race, and gave me an opportunity to get some speed on the bike. I also learned that I really need to read the details about the course. (Shouldn’t I know that already?) I’d do another Ft. DeSoto race, and I’ll be mentally prepared for running on the sand!