Jay-Hawk Late Bird Triathlon Race Report


My mom and I were woken up by an ambulance siren at 6:45. It was just 25 minutes before my alarm was set to go off, and I couldn't fall back asleep. Oh well.

We drove up to Wisconsin and arrived at UW-Whitewater earlier than expected. Despite this, when I went to put my bike in transition, I found that my designated rack was way full. So I covered up my number and stuck my bike on the next rack over. I figured it was better for me to put my bike on the wrong rack than to make room by moving someone else's bike and transition stuff.

About half an hour before my start time, I attended the most confusing race talk on earth. The woman basically described each leg of the course in extreme detail. "First you go up a hill, then it's an immediate left and then you'll pass a cow and it'll slope to the right and there might be some gravel and did I mention you're on a bike?" Gah. I tried to just tune it all out... didn't want to overthink or confuse myself any more than necessary.


Our wave went off pretty much on time (10:05 am). Each lane had three swimmers in it: A, B, and C. Swimmer A would go first and then 10 seconds later, they blew a whistle and swimmer B went. I was swimmer C (I liked that... no pressure worrying about who was behind me or who was trying to pass me). I was in a lane with an older woman and an older man. The man asked what kind of swimmer I was. I told him, "average... 9 1/2 or 10 minutes to complete the 500 yards." He looked at me wide-eyed, "So you'll be nipping at my heels the whole time?" Uhh...

My mom and I were both very surprised at the swimming ability of some of the competitors. I saw quite a few doggie-paddlers gasping for air and angering the other swimmers in their lane. If that's the best they can do, then good for them. But some of these people acted like they hadn't been in a pool in years. That's not a good idea for a triathlon.

Our lane was pretty cohesive. All three of us stayed in our order for the first 8 laps. After the man in front of me began swimming backstroke, I passed him. We all finished our 500 yards within 15 seconds of eachother. My mom estimates I was one of the first 5 people out of the pool (which doesn't say much, because we think my lane was the "fast" lane for that wave).


Pretty smooth. It helps when you don't have a wetsuit to take off. I was trying to hurry and beat the other woman from my lane out of transition (that's the thing about being in the Athena group... you never can tell who you might be competing against). I threw all of my gear on, grabbed Reagan, and we were off.


Oh what a trip. The Race Director warned us that the hardest part of the bike was the beginning and the end. She promised the other 10 miles were relatively flat and easy. I headed out with water dripping off the front of my helmet into my eyes (I didn't dry off very well). The first hill was a doozy, but I got up to 27 mph on the way back down (which is speedy for Reagan and I).

The rest of the course was "relatively" flat and easy. That woman should have used air quotes when saying that. Compared to what I'm used to, it felt hilly. I kept one eye on my cyclocomputer and told myself I wasn't allowed to dip below 14 mph. For the first half of the course, I tried to stay between 14 and 17 mph (I was worried I would wear myself out), but later on I realized that was stupid, and if my legs felt like going fast, I should let them do just that.

It was a rather lonely course. There would be miles and miles where I wouldn't see another biker. I passed one man (who eventually passed me back), and was passed by 2 older women on mountain bikes (that feels good haha). Of course they just HAD to make it look effortless.

What was funny was each person who passed me felt the need to say something.
#1- "How do you feel?" How do I feel? That's an odd question. What if I said horrible? What would you do then?
#2- "You were smart. I shouldn't have worn this sweatshirt!" Nope... you shouldn't have. That wasn't too smart.
#3- "Do they have oxygen out here?" What? Oxygen? What is it that you think we're breathing? Or do you want a TANK of oxygen? Cause I'm pretty sure those aren't allowed during the race.

The hills were hard for me. My legs are strong, but I'm scared of shifting (don't know how to do it, always afraid my chain is going to pop off), so all my hills were done in a rather slow cadence.

But I have to say that nothing prepared me for the final hill. I saw it from 1/2 a mile away, and a very loud "Holy Crap!" came out of my mouth. When I reached the bottom, I said to the volunteer, "This is just a little too steep for my liking." He laughed a little (but I don't think he knew what I was talking about). I got a good strong start, but it (figuratively) went downhill fast. By the top, I was going about 3 mph. I could have made better time if I'd been walking! After cresting the hill, I saw my mom. I couldn't smile for her pictures because I couldn't breathe. NEED... TRANSITION... NOW.


Piece of cake. I dropped off Reagan, chugged some water, and put on my Race number (attached using my handy dandy SPIbelt!).


It started out pretty bad. My legs were tingling and I couldn't feel my inner thighs (they were wet, thus cold, thus numb). Once I thawed out and got my legs used to the cross country paths, I was rocking. I can't say it was fast, but I am SUPER proud to say that I passed FIVE people, and NO ONE passed me. So, ha!

Despite nearing my second hour of going and going, I actually enjoyed the run. I recalled my last triathlon where we ran on a bike path along Lake Michigan (out-and-back course). That course bored me to death. It was hot and I was tired and I kept waiting for the turn-around point. But this course was entertaining and challenging and scenic. We started our run through the woods, then came out to an open prairie. We then headed back into the woods and ran 1/2 a mile on a boardwalk-type path with trees arching overhead. We finished it off running past a lot of Ultimate Frisbee games (who knew that people actually play that?!), and back behind some houses.

The run went by fast, and before I knew it, 32 minutes had passed and I was nearing the finish. I picked up my speed for the end and finished strong. I'm still not sure what my final time was, but we think I came in around 1:50:00.


Overall, I can't say how I did with the goals I posted yesterday (I won't know until they post my times), and I don't know how I did in the Athena group (although, I'm guessing NOT top 3). But, I was very proud of myself. I was genuinly HAPPY through most of the race. It was hard, but I was having fun.

My mom and I headed out pretty soon after my finish (the awards ceremony wasn't for hours). We went to Applebees (yummmmm... that alone deserves its own post), and headed back down to Illinois.

The very next post will include pictures (including some UGLY ones of yours truly), and hopefully my officially time!


Michelle said...

Yay, pictures!! This is my favorite line, "It was hard, but I was having fun." Loved your "how are you feeling" answers. Great job!!

Karen (Mom) said...

After watching the race, I would say you met your goals. I am very proud of you.

Marcy said...

CONGRATS!!! It sounded like you had fun, and that's the most important thing. And hey, you NEVER know you could've placed ;-)

The Lazy Triathlete said...

Great job!!! There is nothing like the feeling of completing your first triathlon. Keep up the hard work. You will enjoy it.

Sara Cox Landolt said...

I have a similar reaction to hills. Looking at a huge hill in front of me freaks me out. Sometimes I'm barely going fast enough to keep from tipping over.

Interesting to read about the race. I live near Madison, and have been curious about that event. Thanks for sharing!

Good hill climbing tips here:

Nice job!

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