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?

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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.

 

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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;-)

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Dunedin Sprint Tri- A Race Spectator’s Report

12 06 2012

On Sunday, I experienced a triathlon from the other side- as a spectator!

Courtney and Felipe were racing in the Dunedin Sprint Tri so I decided to go cheer them on. Dunedin isn’t too far away, and the race was on Honeymoon Island, which I had heard was a beautiful park with a gorgeous beach. Say no more; I’ll go cheer you on as long as I can get a good spot on the beach to relax afterwards 🙂

(yes, I did a little post-processing 🙂 )

I left my house a little after 6am on Sunday, and got to the race site with plenty of time to spare. It didn’t take me too long to find Courtney, and we stood around chatting until it was time for her wave.

While we were chatting, the first wave started. Or, at least we thought they were. We noticed that the mass of youth in maroon caps was heading out to the buoy; some were swimming, some were walking. That’s weird, I thought. A few moments later, when most of the swimmers were out to the buoys, the siren went off, and that’s when there was a flurry of splashing arms and legs. Oh, apparently this race had an in-water start because of the sandbar.

The start line was about where that yellow buoy is in the picture above. Courtney left me when the woman announced “2 minutes until start.” Yipes! 2 minutes to get out to the buoy wasn’t a lot of time. I don’t think anyone in the white caps was even in the water yet! I watched as the mass of white caps moved towards the starting buoy, and before I knew it, the siren was starting this wave. I’m positive there were a lot of people unprepared for that start. I did notice that the wave after the white caps learned from their mistakes and moved into the water immediately after the white caps left the beach.

I walked the quarter mile down beach to the swim exit and kept my eyes open for Courtney and Felipe. I was also searching for Jess, who I thought was racing, but it turned out she wasn’t.

Soon, Courtney popped out of the water. She was the 2nd white cap out, not too far behind the girl who came out first. Not too long after came Felipe who was in a wave or two behind Courtney. I almost missed him!

After they both passed, I walked over to the bike course to see if I could catch them there. The bike course was two loops, a total of 12 miles. I snagged a spot near the start of the bike, where I could catch the cyclists making their turn for the second loop, and then only a few meters away I could catch them again on their way into transition. I was standing with some other spectators, watching the cyclists go by, and we noticed one of the volunteers standing on the course, telling the cyclists to “Slow down, left merge.” I’m glad this guy was volunteering, and I’m glad he was concerned for the cyclist’s safety, but I think my biggest problem was that he was standing on the curve, about five feet into the course. The road wasn’t all that wide; it was barely wide enough for two cars to fit through. Some cyclists like to take the curves wide, and this guy was totally taking away valuable real estate on the course! I was frustrated, and I wasn’t even racing! I wonder if any of the cyclists were bothered by him. /rant

Anyhow, I was watching every cyclist go by, keeping my eyes out for Felipe and Courtney. Though I had seen Felipe exit the swim, I hadn’t registered what he was wearing. So, I kept looking for the tri suit he had worn at the Crystal River Tri. Every time a group of guys came buy I would look and snap some photos. When most of the lead guys had finished their first lap, I figured I had missed Felipe so I started looking for Courtney.

I saw Courtney looking like a total pro on the bike.

I gave her a holler and then moved to the straightaway right before transition. I cheered on some more cyclists, and then I saw Felipe! He was moving fast and ready to hop off his bike and run.

It was at this point I realized that Felipe was a) not wearing the same tri suit as Crystal River and b) not wearing the same helmet either. Had I known he was wearing a bright green helmet, I’d probably have spotted him on the first lap, instead of taking a picture of someone who I thought might have been him, and unintentionally ACTUALLY getting him in the photo.

whoops.

I got to see Courtney finish up the bike, and then I walked to transition. Where I was photographing the bike leg wasn’t too far from the transition area, but I was pleasantly surprised to get there just in time to see Courtney run out!

I was so caught off guard, that I didn’t have time to fiddle with the camera settings, so she came out a little blurry 😦

After seeing her start the run, I headed over to the finish area. Twenty-some minutes later (or less?) I saw my friends finish. I clearly have problems with focusing on runners because all of my pictures of Felipe are blurry:

And Courtney too:

Oh well, at least I got a good shot of them with their awards:

Courtney took 3rd in her age group, and Felipe took 2nd. Studs.

After the race, it was beach time! I brought a cap and goggles and planned on going for a short swim as my workout for the day. Felipe and Courtney said they’d go too. So we spotted a boat about 200 meters or so out and decided to swim out to it, go around it, and back in. When we were just about to the boat, it started to pull away. We stopped swimming, and joked with them that they were our turn around point and now they’d moved! They told us they’d spotted a 6 foot hammer head, which is why they were relocating. GULP. We asked if they were joking, and it was clear they were serious. We IMMEDIATELY swam to shore. I’d like to keep my limbs today, thank you!

After our little shark scare, Courtney and I relaxed on the beach and read for a bit, before heading over to downtown Dunedin for some lunch. Dunedin is so cute! Lots of little shops with art and home decor; it’s the kind of stuff you’d probably see on Pinterest. There are also yummy places to eat! We decided to check out the Broadway Deli and Cafe, drawn in by the fact that they were still serving breakfast.

We walked in, and were immediately intrigued by the soda case.

Lots of unique sodas, made with real sugar and not HFCS. We opted to get one honey cream soda and one blackberry soda, and share. One of the reasons why I got the blackberry soda:

The brand was “Hotlips!” Hahah. It also didn’t hurt that these were the ingredients:

simple, real ingredients. love it!

Courtney and I got two different egg dishes and split them.

The farmer’s market omelet, served with a potato pancake and whole grain toast.

And the bacon and egg wrap (on ciabatta so it uh wasn’t a wrap).

MMM both were delicious! The farmers market omelet was LOADED with veggies, many of which I had never had in an omelet before. We noticed broccoli, zucchini, squash, cauliflower, green beans, carrots, and tomatoes. The omelet was filled with some gooey meunster cheese, which made it oh so yummy! The ciabatta bread totally made the sandwich. Perfectly crispy on the outside. Fantastic!

And, we couldn’t leave Dunedin without a trip to Strachan’s for some ice cream!

I got a scoop of Butterfinger and it hit the spot!

This one’s for you dad!

I would HIGHLY recommend Strachan’s. The ice cream was SO GOOD! If you go, it’s cash only (but there’s an ATM inside).

I got home and was too exhausted to head to the Tampa Bay Lady Blogger meet up 😦 Yoga in the park sure looked like fun though! All in all, I’d say it was a great Sunday! Spectating certainly is exhausting and now I definitely have a greater appreciation for friends and family who have watched me race!