Tri it out Vol. 2
In volume one of this two part series I talked about by descent/ascent into endurance sports. Today we have my first official race report. After reading, editing, and posting many others for the Podium Sports Medicine p/b Visit Knoxville Racing Team I’m excited to share my own experience.
Hammer Sprint Triathlon
The day had finally come for me to toe the line and swim out to the odd greenish yellow colored buoy.
The day before the race I got everything prepared and ready to go. My bag was packed, my wetsuit folded, and my bike cleaned with all components in good working condition. I ventured out to the race site for early packet pick up. I wanted to get an idea of what the transition area looked like as well as drive the bike course.
With the scouting done and my newly acquired bib and swim cap I headed to my house. I opted to stay at my mom’s house as she lives closer to the race, giving me valuable extra minutes of sleep. I slept well but kept waking up wanting to check the race results only to remember that the crisp water of Lake Tellico was still anxiously awaiting my arrival.
The alarm went off and my carefully planned race day had begun. Shower, coffee, breakfast and in the words of Derek Tingle, paper work.
I got to the race site around 6:30 am, eager to set up my transition area and get settled. I picked a spot next to the nice bikes hoping a little speed would rub off on me. I was also close to Renee so I trusted it was a good spot. It was comforting being around so many people I knew and had seen race before. The only difference being that today I was joining in the madness. With everything set up I jogged in a circle because I saw other people doing the same. As a trainer I should have a practiced dynamic warm up but unfortunately I typically just go. After a light warm up, a chat with Meg and some more paper work I dawned my wetsuit and made my way towards the lake. The water was not nearly as cold as I had anticipated and I felt very comfortable, this would soon change.
This being my first open water race I decided to let most of the field jump the barrier and take off for the swim in an effort to not get caught in the pack. Instead I swam way too fast out of the gate and found myself right in the thick of it at the first turn. I anticipated a few kicks and contact but this was different. I was getting knocked down, losing my rhythm, and struggling to find clean water. I panicked and my heart rate skyrocketed. I struggled to get my breath under control and ended up swimming the middle segment with my head out of the water, inefficient but necessary. After the second turn I settled in for the last 200m back to shore and ended up putting in a swim well below my goal time.
Goal 1: Don’t Drown ✔️
On to the bike.
I slid out of my wetsuit just like I practiced... actually I almost fell over and knocked over the nice bikes around me. I regained my composure only to climb aboard the struggle bus once again as I tried to tighten my bike shoes. Once I was past the mount line and on the bike I felt comfortable, the worst part was over and I enjoy biking the most. I turned on to the main road and settled into my cadence. I took the bike segment in three parts.
1. Don’t go too fast,
2. There’s a hill so don’t go too fast and crack yourself
3. Put your head down and go fast
I worked my way past several people and kept my distance from the other riders sticking to the no drafting rule. I felt good after the first turn of the course and decided to abandon my middle segment strategy and put in a good effort on the incline. The course made a sharp left and turned uphill and I decided to give it a go from there on out. I passed the small group I had been around for the first bit and settled into a somewhat foreign TT position. The goal was to keep my power around 95% which was a success and I found myself back at transition right around my goal time.
Goal 2: Sub 52 min bike split ✔️
I was pretty proud of my second transition for a newbie and was out and running in no time. I started off fast but my legs quickly put an end to that. The first mile was an adjustment but I kept a good pace. At the beginning of mile 2 the course turned down the levy and this is when I fell into a nice groove. The sun was shining, the lake was glistening, and I was cruising. Everyone running the opposite of me was encouraging and I felt great heading towards the turn around. Running back up the levy it started to settle in that I wouldn’t have another first experience like this. I had been meticulous in my planning and knew what I was capable of but now I was doing it and I was honestly surprised. All of the numbers and thresholds aside it all comes down to race day and I was pleasantly surprised with how it was going. I made the last turn and headed towards the finish line.
Goal 3: Under 1:30 ✔️
I finished in 1:24:01. Below my goal even with the slightly less than 5k run. It was a great experience finishing the race and crossing the line. It was also a pleasant surprise that I was able to put up a semi competitive performance for my first race. I ended up placing second in my age group, and it wasn’t just by default as I was anticipating. Somehow I went out and hit all my goals. I know this won’t happen every time but I’m glad it worked out this time.
Thanks to everyone who has answered my questions and given support along the way. A special thanks to My mom and girlfriend Meg for coming out and supporting me on Sunday.
Up next - Chattanooga Waterfront Olympic and maybe the Springbrook Sprint