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Sweetwater Triathlon 2015 Race Report

Created: Saturday, 06 June 2015
 

First triathlon medal!First triathlon medal!This supersprint race was big for me even though it was just a fun race for many racers. To understand why, I just need to look back to this time last year when this was my first open water triathlon. Someone mentioned that I'm the only one who has ever wrote a race report for this race!  Ha!!! Well here I am again.

Pre-RacePre-RaceThis time last year, I had just learned to swim several months earlier, progressing from only swimming in the shallow end, to panicking every 25 yards in open water.  So my plan was to swim from buoy to buoy, but I failed to come up with a plan when I reached the last buoy. I'm probably the only person to ever swim backwards in a race! Not seeing any more bouys, I swam back to the one I just left, and a life guard came after me and told me to get out onto the boat.

I'm back a year later with a lot more confidence in my swim ability but still have plenty of fears. This time I was on a mission to accomplish several goals. Most notably, get on the podium in a triathlon. This is a hard task being in the most competitive age group.

New Garmin 920xt multisport watchNew Garmin 920xt multisport watchI arrived very early and found a great parking spot.  This allowed me to take my time and be very relaxed prior to the race. My transition area was set up neatly, avoiding the ant hill another racer warned me about.  This was my first race in my new Zoot Ali'i shoes. Water bottle was filled with Heed from Hammer Nutrition, and I popped an Endurolyte tablet to add to my pre-race fuel. I just Transition AreaTransition Areapurchased the new Garmin 920xt multisport watch. It's functions are slightly different from my previous 910xt, so I carefully set it up for triathlon mode. All my hair fit inside the assigned swim cap! I was now ready to race.

I lined up for the swim start behind the fast swimmers, and left plenty of space for others to jump in front of me. I turn around, and see a guy with an Ironman tattoo behind me. I told him he needs to be in front of me, I don't want to get swam over. He moved Transition AreaTransition Areaup, and tried to give me a swim lesson 30 seconds before the swim start. I know his intentions were good, but I wasn't trying to hear it. My mind was focused on staying calm, deflecting the kicking/punching/grabbing bodies, and implementing the techniques I learned from my swim instructors. With all that, there was no room for me to absorb anything else!

T2T2*Boom* The swim started, and it chaos and mayhem in the water! In these short swims, there is little opportunity to find open water unless you are fast and in the front. I stayed away from the buoys, where I knew there would be the most obstacles. There were bodies grabbing me on all sides for the first half of the swim.  I was stretching to grab more water to pull, I found myself picking up speed and swimming over other swimmers!  It was very unintentional, but there was little space to do otherwise.  

 

 

T2T2Once I neared the turnout buoy, there was plenty of open space.   I made the turn wide to avoid the crowd, and swam steadily towards the shore. There were many swimmers who needed assistance. I don't know why they had fewer life guards this year compared to last, and it was clear the racers suffered for it. I finished the swim near the front of my wave, and was right behind my running partner, Ma Doshi.
He's in my age group, and the fastest runner I know. 

 

Cruising to the finishlineCruising to the finishlineSince I finished a great swim, I realized I have a chance to be competitive in this race for the first time in any triathlon! So off I go to try to gain as much distance as I could over Ma Doshi. In a 5k, I'll need about a 10 minute lead in order to beat him!!  Ha!!! I had a smooth transition to the bike, and the chase was on.

Chasing the podiumChasing the podiumI had a strong bike ride, passing everyone I saw.  There was one guy who was unbelievable! He passed me on one hill, then we played cat and mouse for the rest of the bike ride. We even chatted a bit. I had to give him props, he was killing the bike course, and was doing it tennis shoes!  No clip-ins.  I couldn't understand how he was so strong, so I figure I'll just make it real painful for him by pushing him harder with each hill.  I eased up towards the end of the bike to get my legs ready for the run. He stayed strong and beat me off the bike.

Chasing the podiumChasing the podiumIn T2, I fumbled with my bike getting it onto the rack, and it took a little longer than normal to put my shoes on.  Eventually I got my race bib on, TriSports.com visor, Zoot Ali'i shoes, and I was off on the run. 

T2T2I passed the guy quickly that was biking in tennis shoes. Despite finishing the bike ahead of my Coach Iilonga, we running together the entire last leg. Another cat & mouse kept us both pushing hard. About a mile and a half in, Ma Doshi comes flying past all of us! I wasn't even going to try to catch him, he's way too fast. So Coach Iilonga and I run the rest of the race taking turns chasing each other. In the last mile, I looked back, and didn't see anyone.  I'm not racing Coach, so I watch him sprint to the finish.  I cruise in comfortably to the finish line, and felt great about my performance. 

T2T2I had to wait until the awards ceremony to see how I finished. As I mentioned earlier, my goal when I first decided to train for triathlons is to get on the podium. I need to be competitive to stay motivated. All winter, I skipped my usual bike rides, and stayed in the Post-RacePost-Racepool 3 - 4 times/week. Running other days. Today, it paid off.  The Race Director announced my name for 3rd place in my age group!!  I couldn't hear my name being called, but others let me know that it was my turn to get some bling. I was very surprised. And very proud of myself that my hard work paid off. This is exactly the confidence boost I need going into the Team-Magic Chattanooga Waterfront Olympic Triathlon in a few weeks!  

Age group: 3rd Place

Overall: 13th Place out of 117

Time: 57:26

 

Read more at http://DerrickB.com

Medal ceremonyMedal ceremony
 
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