Saturday, August 15, 2015

Race Report: Roanoke's Splash and Dash

With Christina and Lynda (thanks Ann for the photo!)

Today was Race Roanoke's first ever Splash and Dash! I was looking forward to this unique challenge, so much so that when I checked in this morning they told me I was the first person to register for it - many months ago. It was a 2.5k run + 700m swim + 2.5k run. 

I opted to race in a swim suit for the first time. It meant a little less wet material on the second run and it turned out to be really comfortable. I can't see biking in that, but for run/swim I'd do it again. Plus I'm sure the shark suit gave me a psychological advantage, bwahahahaha!

So scary, right?!

It was a "mass" start but fortunately not too massive with just 43 of us racing. Regular triathlon transition tactics would not apply so I thought carefully through what made sense for this race. Part of the fun for me, as an industrial engineer, is to see just how efficient I can be.

I took off with no hat on run 1 and my cap tucked into my swimsuit so I could put it on running into transition. (Coach Jim talked me out of my initial idea to wear the swim cap on the run, lol). I paced off of friend Mike Dalsey and was thrilled I could keep up with him. His plan was to hold back on the first run, and my plan was to go all out. It turns out his "holding back" and my "all-out" were fairly close and I finished 5 seconds behind him. Garmin showed me at a 6:29/mile pace. The race results have me at a 6:07 pace, which I would love to claim, but in fact, the course was short. 

In transition I shed my shoes (no socks, powder in the shoes) and grabbed my goggles. I forgot to take my race belt off so I tossed it aside on the run to the pool and noted I would need to pick it up on my way back. (They could have probably skipped the numbers and just done body marking.

My transition area looked oddly lonely and barren.

To jump in the pool with a threshold running heart rate was different but the water felt awesome! I soon settled into my stroke but then got caught behind a guy. I drafted for a bit but it got ridiculously slow and I tapped his feet to signal a pass. I tried a few times to pass him up the middle and he would speed up and not let me. He didn't get it that if he let me go ahead and I could swim faster, he could too by drafting. Finally at the wall he came up and I said very exasperated, "Will you PLEASE let me go by," and I escaped.

I may, or may not, have released one additional expletive, laden with race emotion, in the direction of Mark Taylor (he was taking photos at the end of the lane).

It seems the swim was a challenge for many folks with quite a bit of passing going on. Not everyone knows the etiquette of tapping the toes ahead to ask for a pass at the wall or understands the collective benefit of letting the faster swimmer go. But we all got safely through and it was a nice pool for the event!

I picked up my race belt heading into transition, tossed the cap and goggles, and put on shoes and a hat for run 2. Alice Kassens, who pre-race said "I am not a swimmer" (haha) was ahead of me the whole race and by the second run it was clear it was hers to win! She crushed it, and I came in second woman, 4th overall, in the small field.

with the winner, Alice!

It may have been a small field but there was some great competition! The winner, Pieter deHart, was the bronze medalist at the ITU World Championship Aquathalon in M35-39 last year. He finished this race in 28:07!! Mike finished second in 33:02, Alice finished in 33:49, and I was 34:43. (full results here)

Postscript: After this race my training schedule called for an "easy" hour run. By the time I got started on the greenway temps were already into the 80s. My heart rate climbed and no matter how slow I went, my "easy run" felt so much harder than the race. Not sure what that was all about but it was not the fun, relaxed, celebratory run I had been expecting to have. I came home feeling awful and had to nap it off. 

Tomorrow is a day off of training, and a break from racing for a few weeks now. I think that will do me good.