Sunday, September 13, 2009

Square Lake: Race Results

I've been clicking the refresh button on my computer screen every five seconds, but the results from the triathlon I did yesterday still won't appear. Since I've always downplayed the importance of my results, mostly because they are mediocre at best, I'll go ahead with my race report without the benefit of knowing the exact outcome. Maybe I'll get lucky and they will be posted before I'm done writing.

The Square Lake Short Course was the final triathlon on my schedule. It was a .5 mile swim, 18 mile bike and 5 mile run. Square Lake is in Stillwater which is an hour north east of Minneapolis, along the St. Croix River. The lake itself is a beautiful, spring fed lake with clear water and a nice sandy beach. The area around the lake is comprised of rolling hills and beautiful trees that are just beginning to show their fall colors. The best part of the scenery was my own cheering section consisting of my daughter, my friend, and my mom who was visiting. My mom had never seen me run a marathon or do a tri before, so it was great to have her there. My mom reads my blog (Hi, Mom!), so she kind of knew what to expect. My husband was unable to attend, so having the three of them there meant a lot to me.

The water was calm and the perfect temperature for swimming in a wetsuit. Here I am with my mom and daughter before the race.

Getting in the water and warming up before the swim is one of the best lessons I've learned this season. I started the swim calmly and got into a groove right away. I decided to spot less often and concentrate on staying relaxed. I may not have swum the shortest line around the course, but I enjoyed this swim more than any other race I've done this season. I stroked consistently the whole distance and got out feeling good. Since I probably didn't swim the fastest line, my time may not have been my best pace, but I feel like this was my best overall swim.

After exiting the swim, there was a run up a few flights of stairs to the transition area. I took it easy up the steps and I didn't have a very fast transition. I know I'm supposed to rip off my wetsuit super fast, but I'm just too worried that I will tear it. The wetsuit is a big investment, and I would rather take and extra 20 seconds to get it off than damage it. I exited with my bike and was feeling pretty calm.

The bike course was very scenic with lots of long inclines. With the 5 mile run following the bike, I planned to save some energy for run. During the first 5 miles or so, I was passed a little bit. We were not marked with our age for this race, so I couldn't tell if those passing me were from my wave or a later one. I only passed a few younger women on heavy bikes, so I'm guessing that my bike split will be a little slow. The road had a crack in it just about every 4 feet, so it was a very bumpy ride. This had to slow everyone down. My Garmin says that the course was only 16.5 miles instead of 18 miles. I think my time was around 1:01:30 which would be just over 16 m.p.h. It's not the greatest pace but I was working hard and felt like I was spending the right amount of energy so I would have some left for the run.

Transition 2 had slight slowdown when one hole of my number ripped out of my race belt. I was able to affix it, but it took me about 15 seconds and my number was crooked. Other than that, I made it out of T2 and onto the run without incident.

The run included quite a few hills and it was starting to get fairly warm. I'm still recovering from hamstring tendinitis in both legs and the uphill portions were difficult. I decided early on that I would walk the uphills and run the downhills and flats. This turned out to be a good strategy since I was already running pretty slowly on the uphills. I didn't loose too much time when I walked them but was able to at least conserve enough energy that I could run the rest.

Here I am coming up the last big hill. I was walking when my friend saw me and yelled to me. Of course I quickly started running again. I was caught!

I think I finished the 5 mile run in about 50:06, so just over 10 minute miles. While that pace is sure to put me towards the bottom of the results, I am satisfied with my run given the tendinitis and the hilly course.

Here I am coming down the final incline. I like this shot because you can see my terrible running form and the muscles in my right leg. It makes me kind of happy and sad all at the same time.

Finally, the finish. Since the results still aren't posted, all I have to go on is the clock time in this picture. It says 2:35. Since my wave started 20 minutes after the gun, my time should be right around 2:15.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll get to see my swim time and how I finished in my division. No matter how the results turn out, I'm pretty happy with my race. I was feeling a little worn after a full summer of training and I wasn't sure I was going to have the energy to give this race my all. I felt like I gave a consistent, hard effort and that I put into practice a lot of what I had learned over the season. It's great to end the season on a good note so that I have some enthusiasm to continue with swim and bike training during the fall and winter. Hopefully they will publish the results soon so I can stop hitting refresh!


Mark said...

Great race! You looked great, congratulations on a great effort! Glad you finished the season on a high note!

Londell said...

Are you still hitting refresh... You finished, that is the most important thing. Congrats and thanks for the description. I HATE ROADS WITH CRACKS on my road bike. You must have been close to going insane... but survived!

AZ said...

Congrats on the race and finishing well. My last tri left me a little gun shy. I think you had a good strategy. Must have been warm on the run too.

I Run for Fun said...

CONGRATULATIONS! That's an awesome finish to the season. Love all the pics. So nice you had your mom and daughter to share your special day with you.

al said...

hahah i must of hit the refresh button about 20291 times after my last race! and so was everyone else; the website crashed!

just came across your blog and am enjoying the read :)

fingers crossed for results before your refresh button wears off!

Jean said...

Wonderful job, Beth! It sounds like you had a really good race experience. Having run a race just to the west of you that same morning, I can also attest that this was not an easy day to race on with the heat and humidity. Congratulations! You have been having an excellent race season!