Waterman’s Half Ironman-Relay Edition

11 10 2011

Hey friends! I hope you had a fantastic weekend! The weather was absolutely perfect here in DC, and I was able to get in some super awesome workouts, starting with the swim leg of the Waterman’s Half Ironman relay with Sarah and her hubz!

Note: All photos courtesy of Sarah!

I woke up bright and early on Saturday morning to meet at Sarah’s place to carpool to the race start. It took us a little while to even get out of DC, because parts of 295 were closed for construction. We took a mini detour through parts of SE DC (yikes!) where we spotted a car in front of us with tri bikes on the roof rack. We decided they MUST be going to the same place as us. So, we followed them, and pulled a U-turn somewhere close to National’s stadium. I thought I recognized the Pink Lady on top of the car that was leading us, and sure enough it was Lauren and Phil!

We followed them the rest of the way, and got to the race site with plenty of time to spare. Once we were all checked in, body marked, and ready to go, we headed down to the water’s edge. It was a beautiful, clear morning, and quite pictureseque as the sun rose off in the distance.

There were three waves for the day: first, the men; four minutes later, the women; and then four minutes later, the relays, aquabikes, athenas and Clydesdales. After the first two waves had gone off, I headed to the water’s edge. I hopped in the chilly 65 degree water and waited for the start. I was REALLY happy I had a full sleeve wetsuit on. It actually made the swim quite pleasant!

The course was a 2 loop course, a square shape, with a tail that led to the exit. The gun went off and I started swimming, and quickly fell into a groove. 1.2 miles is  the longest open water swim I’ve done in awhile, but I found my stroke right away and I “just [kept] swimming, just [kept] swimming.” It was a fun swim! The water felt refreshing, and I felt super buoyant with my wetsuit on. It was a clear day, and I found it pretty easy to spot the yellow turn buoys. One leg of the square was a little challenging to sight though, as the sun was in my eyes every time I took a breath on my left side, but I think I had pretty good course throughout.

My biggest complaint about the race was the seaweed in the water. It was DISGUSTING. I can usually handle seaweed in my ocean swims, because usually if you hit a batch of it, you can usually swim out past it. Or, if the water’s just generally dirty, you only hit a few pieces every now and then, which is annoying, but you get over it.

This stuff was different. I don’t know what kind of seaweed it is, but it appeared to grow up from the floor of the lake. And it was THICK and there were big patches of it throughout the course. It felt like I was swimming through hundreds of mops. It was so thick that a few times, I almost came to a complete stop as my hand went through the seaweed.


But I powered through and ended up passing a bunch of people. As I ran into transition, I heard the announcer say that the 4th female had just arrived in transition. I don’t know if he was talking about me, or the females from the wave in front of me, but I took that to be a sign of a good swim. Time: 30:05

I handed off the chip to Jason, and he was off.

I hung out in transition for a little while cheering on the other racers as they came in, feeling a little bad that I was finished, and they still had a 56 mile bike and a 13.1 mile run to finish. Oh the joys of a relay.

While he was off on the hilly course, I hung out with Sarah and Emily, who had come down to cheer on Katie. We were expecting Jason at about 3:30, so a little after the three hour mark, Sarah ran to the bathroom. She had just returned, and I saw Jason coming in on the bike! Sarah ran into transition just ahead of him, and they exchanged the chip by our rack. Time: 3:23:15

Sarah was off!

The run course was a two loop course, so we hung out near transition for a little bit, and then headed over to the run course, where it split one way for those starting their 2nd lap, and the other direction for those heading to the finish line.

We watched all the runners go by, cheering on Sarah, Katie, and Lauren as they completed the half marathon leg of the race. Sarah told us to expect a 2:00 half marathon, especially considering she ran a half last weekend. Well, Sarah killed it on the run, going a 1:51:47!

It was a really fun day, and great to hang out with my blogger/twitter friends! Relays are a fun way to make the uber individualized triathlon into a team activity!

Check out Sarah’s blog for her perspective on the race. And of course, check out Katie’s race report, and Lauren’s too!