Crystal River Sprint Triathlon

28 05 2012

Race number one in tri season 2012 is officially in the books!

On Saturday, I trekked up to Crystal River with Team XP Multisport for the Crystal River Sprint Triathlon (#1). The race started at 7:30 am and Crystal River is about an hour and a half north of Tampa, so Chuck picked me up bright and early to make the drive up there. We arrived with plenty of time to grab our numbers, get marked up, and set up.

I felt good about my set up and then headed to the beach where I met up with my friends Courtney, Meghann, and Jess. It hadn’t really hit me that I was racing in a few minutes. I think it stemmed from not really feeling prepared. Sure, I’ve been swimming a lot lately, and I’ve done a few bike rides, but since the marathon, I can count the number of times I’ve gone on a run on one hand, and I haven’t done any bricks. I guess I went into the day with a “this will be fun” and “this is a great workout for the day” attitude.

(Photo courtesy of Meghann)

As we walked towards the start, I was talking to Jess about which ends of transition were for entering and exiting. I hadn’t paid attention to which side was which when I was setting up, and I just counted the number of rows from one end of transition. After our chat, I realized that I had counted the number of rows from the exit of transition, not from where I’d be coming in from the swim and looking for my bike. DOH. She said there was an orange cap at the end of our row, so I could look for that. I figured it would be fine, and lined up for the swim.

Swim: 400 meters

The women were the 4th wave, behind the two waves of men and the 19 and under wave. It finally hit me that I was racing. And it also hit me that this was a sprint, which means the whole thing is HARD. This is gonna hurt. The gun went off and it was go time. I ran in, did a few dolphin dives, and fell into a groove. I felt myself pulling ahead, and then I saw Courtney approaching from the right. A little before the first buoy, she pulled ahead of me. We’re lane buddies in the pool and we push each other every time we practice. I was determined to stay with her as much as I could, so I got behind her and tried to catch a bit of her draft. I stayed by her feet (just far enough away so that she didn’t kick me 😉 ) the remainder of the swim, and hopped up just behind her when we got to the beach. She was the first female out of the water and I was the second.

(Photo courtesy of Mary, who was AWESOME and came to cheer us on with her hubby! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!)

Swim time: 6:12.4, 11th overall


I got out of the water and into transition where I saw the cap that Jess and I had discussed. Or so I thought. The row next to ours also had a swim cap on  the end, and it was a reddish orange, and I ran down that aisle looking for my bike. I found it, but it was on the next row over. DOH! So I ran back around the aisle, grabbed my gear and headed out. This was the transition I was most worried about,  since I knew I had my new bike shoes and I had never practiced a quick transition with them. After I made it out of transition with my bike, I got to the mount line and tried to clip in. Once, Twice, Three times…I slipped and almost fell off a few times, but finally after taking a deep breath and slowing myself down, I was able to clip in. MUST. WORK. ON. TRANSITIONS. I really need to learn to start with my shoes ON the bike.

I’m smiling through my teeth as I struggle with my shoes. On my agenda for today: practice!

Time: 1:00 (YIPES)

Bike: (15 miles)

Once I finally got clipped in, I hunkered down for the 15 mile ride. This was a flat out and back, and I quickly crouched down into my aero position. It took me a few miles to settle down, but I finally got into a groove. I knew Courtney was somewhere up ahead, and I knew that Jess probably wasn’t too far behind. I looked down at my odometer and tried to stay above 18 as much as I could. I also wanted to hold off as many female cyclists as I could, knowing that I had a bit of a lead from the swim, but also knowing that the bike leg is my weakest. Two females zoomed past me a few miles in, and then I saw Jess fly by shortly after. A few other women passed me, but I was able to stay close to this girl in a neon green swim suit. We jockeyed for position a few times on the course; I’d pass her, then she’d pass me. This happened a few times. There was also a 59 year old man and a 70 year old man who were with us too, and we’d all rotate who was leading the pack. Sometimes, I really like that triathlons put your age on your leg. I’m not sure how I should feel that I was biking at a similar pace to a 70 year old man though…I also noted that the green suit girl had a 24 on her leg. Though I wanted to catch her, when she came into transition ahead of me, I wasn’t too bothered by it since she wasn’t in my age group.

Time: 46:01.0, 19.6mph, 140th overall.

19.6 on a flat course? I’ll take it! However, I’d love to know how much I could fly with a lighter bike. I’m saving up 🙂


I don’t remember much about T2 except that I was worried about my foot. I was hoping that it wouldn’t hurt on the run. I was also hoping that the elastic shoe laces I had put on the night before and hadn’t practiced in would be the appropriate tightness and my shoes wouldn’t be too loose or too restricting. I zoomed out, feeling great.

Time: 0:53

Run: (3 miles)

I took off, fast. My legs felt great, and though there was a dull pain in my foot, it wasn’t debilitating. But soon the heat hit me. The run was on unshaded asphalt and it was HOT. I slowed down some, and settled into a more comfortable pace. I had no idea what pace I was running, since I left my Garmin at home. I had planned on running with a regular stopwatch, but when I was setting up transition, I pushed the “mode” button to get it to the stopwatch, and the watch died. Oh well. Anyhow, I had a faster transition than green suit girl, but soon, she made her move and passed me. I tried to keep her in my line of sight the whole time, and not let her get too far ahead of me.

It was so nice to see Mary on the course. She was an awesome cheerleader and photographer!

The run was 1.5 miles out and back, and the first mile felt like it took forever. When I got to the turnaround, I told myself “Only 1.5 miles left; that’s cake!” I think I picked it up a little, but I’ll never know, since I didn’t have a watch on.

When I saw the finish line, I sprinted. I could hear the other XPers cheering me on, and it put a big smile on my face. I also heard some guys cheering on someone else, and it sounded like she was right behind me by their cheers. I was NOT going to let another female pass me! Thankfully, she didn’t, and I didn’t turn around to see where she was either. Oh well.

Run time: 24:31.2,  8:10 pace,  105th overall

Final time: 1:18:37.2, 102 overall, 18th female, 5th in age group

I was pretty darn happy with that. The race was a lot more competitive than I had expected, but now I’m ready to train hard and improve my times with the other races in this series. Oh, and remember green suit girl? She was actually in my age group, and finished just ahead of me. Next time, I’ll get her!

It was quite a successful day for Team XP. I love training with these guys; not only are they all awesome athletes, they are super fun too!

Proof: After the race, we all headed over to Rainbow River to go tubing! This post is already wordy enough, so I’ll leave you with some pics:-) Check out Meghann’s post for some more!

Race numbers are essential for tubing.

Hope you guys had a great weekend! Happy Memorial Day!

Tubing Troubles

2 08 2011

I’m going to be honest friends, but since my “A race” at Rocketts Landing, I’ve been feeling a little unmotivated to do any run, bike, or swim workout. I still have two races left in my season, mostly for fun, but I’m tough on myself, and I’d like to do well at them.

I sucked it up last week and did workout Tuesday through Friday, but honestly, I think I can only count 1 as being “quality.” What I really needed was a mental break from training. As it turns out, I’ve had a tubing trip planned for July 30th, and it couldn’t have come at a better time!

A few weeks ago, my friend Sue Ellen invited me on a tubing trip to Harper’s Ferry, organized by her roommate Darren.

Sue Ellen and I, a few months ago

Sweet! This was one of the things I’ve been wanting to do since I’ve been in DC. Sitting in a tube and floating down a river with a cooler next to me? Sign me up!

I soon came to find out that this was an annual thing- this year would be the 7th year her roommate has organized a group!

A souvenir koozie for the occasion!

And by “group” I mean a fully chartered busload of people with 50 of his closest (or soon to be closest) friends!

Pretty awesome, right?

So instead of waking up early on Saturday for a long brick workout, I woke up at 8ish so I could be ready to go by 9. The plan was to meet at Sue and Darren’s place at 9, and then drive 1.5 hours there and beat some of the crowds to get on the river. Well, things didn’t go as planned.

That, my friends, is the back of our bus. Stuck. In the asphalt. Yes, our bus tore up the cement.

And, yes, that sign does say no trucks or buses. Why? Because the grade of the incline is too steep and they get stuck!!

We were still in Arlington at this point, because the bus driver started going on the highway in the wrong direction so he needed to turn around. Unfortunately, we spent at least an hour here trying to fix it ourselves and with the help of AAA.

Unfortunately, nothing worked, and a new bus came to take us to West Virginia. For the most part, the ride was smooth sailing. Its not like when we arrived at the place the driver cut the corner a little tight and demolished the white picket fence in front of the rental place…oh wait, that did happen.

I’m not exactly sure what became of that situation, but the poor bus driver looked painfully embarrassed afterwards…Poor guy.

But finally, we had arrived!!

That’s the river we’d be floating down! So pretty, but LOTS of rocks! EEK!

We checked in, got tubes, and waited for the school bus to take us to the starting spot for our trip down river.

After tying our tubes together in a group, we were off!

(Photo compliments of Darren)

So, that looks a little scarier than it actually was. There were a few TINY rapids along the way, and because the river was pretty shallow, there were a few times where several of us needed to get out and direct the tubes around or over rocks. My number one tip: WEAR WATER SHOES OR OLD SNEAKERS.

I wore an old pair of sneaks (thrown out immediately upon return home), and it was the best decision of the day. Because we walked on gravel from our bus to where we needed to get our tubes, climbed into our tubes after traversing some more rocks, and used the rocks in the river to push off of when we were stuck, sneakers were KEY. I would have had some torn up feet without them!

Check out everyone’s stylish water shoes!  (Photo compliments of Darren)

We floated down the river for awhile, and snapped some shots on the big rock before we had to turn into shore. Now, if you look closely at the above picture, we didn’t do the best job of roping our tubes together. Yes, some of the tubes are on one side, and some are on the other. Not exactly ideal. But, what this picture doesn’t show is how fast the current was running right here! If we hadn’t straddled the rock the way we had, we might not have been able to stop!

Anyhow, we did eventually get unhooked from the rock, and then we detached a few more tubes from our pack because we thought it might make it a little easier to get towards shore. Um, that SORTA worked, but let’s just say I left my tube a few times to make sure that one person from our group didn’t get stranded. (You know who you are 😉 )

All in all, it was an awesome day, with lots of laughter and some relaxation. I’m definitely looking forward to next year’s trip! Maybe we’ll need two buses?

(Photo compliments of Darren)

Question of the day: What’s your favorite summer activity?