Monday, August 6, 2012

Race Report: Win at Tri Adventure Summer Sprint

husband at right, possibly pretending not to know me! photo by J. De La Garza

The Tri Adventure Summer Sprint was a welcome no-travel race as it was only 20 minutes from the house. This is just the second year for this well-run pool sprint tri that draws a number of new triathletes from the area.

My parents came into town to see Grant's summer play production on Thursday and stayed through my race on Sunday. It was the first time my mom had been to a race and I was SO happy to bring home the overall female win! Local speed queen Edie Nault, who would have been tough to beat on this course, was up working the Culpepper triathlon. Taylor Jennings won on the men's side.

With men's winner Taylor Jennings; photo by B. Jennings
As a good scientist/engineer, results first, then discussion.
  • Swim (400m) – 8:05 (13/62 women; would have been 30/93 men) 
  • T1 – 0:42 (5/62 women; 9/93men) 
  • Bike (20k) – 34:39 (1/86; 3/93 men) - 22.7 mph 
  • T2 – 0:32 (4/86 women; 14/93 men) 
  • Run (5k) – 21:07 (2/86 women; 3/93 men) – 6:48 pace 
  • Total – 1:05:03 (1/86; 5/93 men)
My times in 2011 were 8:08 swim, 38:17 bike, 22:08 run, total 1:10:28. I cut 5:23 off this year; most of that was on the bike. 


We were seeded by swim times, and the 50m pool accommodated two sets of swimmers - evens and odds (bib numbers) each with their own 4-lane snake swim. The difference in time between my fast 400 and relaxed 400 is not that big so I figured I'd focus on technique, shaving time at the wall, and just getting as much as I could out of each pull. I was SO excited to see I was right behind my favorite very funny newspaper reporter pal, Mark T. That made for some rich, highly-motivating pre-race banter and I knew I'd enjoy a good draft and/or have fun passing him.

So yes, of course I passed him - about 250 yards in. I'm not sure I'd have worked so hard to pass if he'd been anyone else but it just seemed like a fun thing to do. After he got a nice rest behind my feet, Mark swam up alongside me in the final 50 and he and I, along with our friend Mark L who passed us BOTH, pushed up and out of the pool together, all in a row! Since bikes were racked in our swim order, it was chaos at racks 25-34!


The bike starts up a steep hill so I put shoes on in transition and mounted normally. I had to employ a few evasive maneuvers to avoid some very wobbly riders and then went on my way. The road surface was very good and I just did my thing, reeling in riders ahead, and keeping the intensity up. I'd done a tough uphill time trial about ten days prior and drew on that as a barometer of effort I could expect from myself. According to Garmin and Training Peaks, during my "peak 30 minutes" of the 34 minute ride I averaged just over 23 mph and a 163 bpm heart rate.

photo by B. Jennings

A set of stairs started our run, then it was up a small hill. After a taper week that left me stir-crazy, the legs were happy to be set free!

Run start - putting on number, watch, stashing gel. photo by K. McPherson

I didn't get my watch started until the top, but I saw that my first mile split from there was a 6:31 which is good for me. I got a rhythm going then I saw 22-year-old Chrissy Esposito ahead of me and hadn't realized this fast girl was racing! No one passed me on the bike so I knew she started the swim ahead of me, but I went off at 7:02:20 so there couldn't be that much of a buffer. My second mile popped up as 6:26 so I just stayed relaxed and pushed on, reserving a little for the final uphill and already thinking about how good that final kick would feel! (Training Peaks has my peak 20 minutes at 6:39 pace with an average heart rate of 168, max of 173. I was working hard!)

photo by B. Jennings

Coming into the finish, I heard my husband, my dad, and friends calling my name. It's downhill, and I just let 'er rip with a big grin on my face! This race just felt extra positive, relaxed, and fun. This is the feeling I want to take with me to Burlington and USAT Olympic Age Group Nationals. The win was just a total bonus.

photo by T. LeRoith
You are NEVER too old to feel good about making your parents proud ;-)

me and my mom; dad is taking the picture!


This was my 20th triathlon! What I'm discovering in this, my third season, is that racing is rarely about the heroic efforts that the media plays up in athletics. It's mostly about showcasing what we discover and practice in training on a regular basis; the race simply requires more sustained intensity and extra suffering.

My parents left straight from the race and my husband had returned to the campsite where he and the kids and friends were set up. Driving home I could think of no better way to celebrate (haha) than to do some returns and finish school supply shopping for the kids since it was on the way home. Mom first, triathlete second! I figured who would I see in Target on a Sunday morning? Lots of people, it turns out. When I was checking out, friends came up behind and said "We figure we'll get behind you because we KNOW you will check out fast!" LOL. True.

After that, I joined the family at the river and enjoyed a nice beer out of my award mug! I took the afternoon off, but it's back to reality today!

I can't race without a flood of gratitude to all - my family, sponsors and supporters, my "equipment manager", Coach Jim, Kurt, the race organizers, volunteers, and the community of triathletes and runners that I am blessed to be a part of.

This win definitely goes to my mom and dad. I love you both so much and appreciate the 45 years (and counting) of encouragement and genuine interest in all I do.