Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Race Report: Silicon Valley International Triathlon

More races are happening than I can keep up with! 

With now less than two weeks until Rev3, I tested all my training at the Silicon Valley International Triathlon in Morgan Hill this past Sunday.  An "olympic" distance triathlon - it consisted of a .93 mile swim, 24.9 mile bike and 6.2 mile run.


My goal for this race was to finish in 3 hours.
  • Swim: 25 minutes
  • T1: 2 minutes, 30 seconds
  • Bike: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • T2: 2 minutes, 30 seconds
  • Run: 1 hour
Based off my time from last weeks Splash and Dash, I figured the swim and run times were a reasonable goal, however, the transitions and bike left me slightly nervous but I decided to go for it.

Even if I didn't reach that goal, my goal was just to beat last years olympic distance time of 3:21:13.

Saturday was packet pick-up and I had to drop off my bike and run gear.  This tri was a little different than ones I had every done before as the "T1" and "T2" transitions were in two different locations so they transported your running gear to the second location for you but they wanted it the day before.  I guess in years past the swim had been at a different location but the water levels weren't reading to healthy this year.  I want to personally thank the race officials for saving us from some nasty flesh eating bacteria.

Race morning started like any race morning.  Alarm beeping at an insane hour (3:45 am), coffee brewing, husband waking, etc.  The race start was just over an hour from our house so we had to be out the door by 4:30/4:45 am.

I had complained about having to make the drive all the way down to the start the day prior but actually it was kinda nice to have my bike already there and not have to worry about my running shoes.  Once we got to the start I just had to get my swim stuff situated.  In fact, I got so wrapped up thinking that we had all this time I heard the horn send off the first wave and I wasn't even in my wetsuit yet (I still had 18 minutes at least).  I shimmed into it and dashed towards the water to warm up.

Swim: .93 miles

Since "getting old" this was the first event where I wasn't in the first women's wave.  Once you hit "30" you get bumped to the second wave.  Just means more time to warm up!

The weather was forecasted to be my ideal racing weather - cool, high 60s.  The water was surprisingly warm so it took no time to get used to.  Even so I still had a case of pre-race nerves.  Tris still make me so nervous for some reason even though I know exactly what to expect.  

I made my way over to the "start" line just as the "29 and under" women were getting ready to start their swim and saw Page!  She is pretty badass and training for her first full ironman this fall - I am in awe!  We exchanged some "good lucks" and they were off.  It has been awhile since I have done a race where I ran into someone I knew so it was fun to see her. 

A short 3 minutes later the horn blew and it was our turn.  For once, I immediately hit my stride.  I had made sure to line up towards the start and managed to escape getting hit or kicked.  I had no panic attacks - I just swam.

And swam and swam and swam.  I practiced sighting and make tight left turns next to the bouys.  Just past the first bouy I started to catch up with people from previous waves.  I swam until my hand hit the ground, popped up and glanced at my watch - 24:xx - I was {barely} within goal but in it nonetheless.

Time: 24:56 (under goal!)


Swim to bike transition has always been slow for me.  Probably because I used to wash my feet off, dry them, fix my pony tail under my helmet, put on gloves, etc.  Now, I am nowhere near ready to leave my shoes clipped into my pedals but I have streamlined the process.

Time: 2:49

Bike: 24.9 miles

The course was advertised as "flat" but I swear for the few first miles my legs were telling me otherwise.  I felt like I was pedaling as hard as I could and was going nowhere.

Does this look flat to you?
About mid-ride I came to the realization that while I have stamina and can ride my bike for long distances and long periods of time I have no idea how to "race" my bike.   I was just going as fast as I could and hoping I could maintain it for the 24.9 miles.  This is probably not the best strategy to have and while it has worked thus far, next time I would really like to get coaching on how to properly "race" on a bike.  

Despite this, after my legs got spinning I fell into a groove and I saw my cheer squad (husband and parents) around mile 12.  That always works to lift my spirits and give me an extra boost.

Another positive was I heard less "on your lefts" than I normally do and actually got to hand some out.

After spending a week on my bike the 24.9 miles seemed to fly by and when I looked down I only had 2 miles to go.  I took a gel and pedaled like crazy to the finish.

Time: 1:27:38/17.1 mph avg {under goal!}


Pulling into T2 was a new experience since I had no idea where my running stuff was going to be.  Luckily, they had a ton of volunteers who would grab you and take you to your stuff and show you where to rack your bike. 

As I sat down to pull on my shoes and visor I watched a lady literally throw her bike on a rack and take off barefoot.  Another guy left transition with his socks on!  And I thought I was doing good leaving my water bottles behind and not trying to put on my ipod!

Time: 2:38

Run: 6.2 miles

I knew at this point I was right around 2 hours.  Could I really squeak out a 10k in less than an hour on legs that just swam and rode 25 miles?  I decided I am the reverse triathlete.  Most people {seem} to be weakest on the swim and strongest on the run.  I however go in reverse.  Doesn't mean I don't love the run - I just know I am not one of the lucky ones who can pick up lost time here. 

The run course actually was flat and was nicely shaded in sections.  Even if I don't drink it, having water on me is like my safety net when I run and I made the decision to leave my water bottle behind knowing water was supposed to be at every mile and it actually was!  I took it every time drinking about two sips and dumping the rest on my head. 

We were on a trail for the entire run and did two out and backs on different sections.  The highlight - I was only passed by one person in my age group!

Mile splits: (1)8:49 (2)8:43 (3)8:56 (4)8:53 (5)9:02 (6)9:05 (.2)8:02

You have no idea what it means to me to see those "8s".  Never in my life have I seen my averages that low.  It feels amazing to finally have my back healed and seeing improvement in my running.

As I came into the finish there was a guy in front of me.  Sure, I knew he wasn't direct competition but I still had a little bit left and zoomed by him towards the finish.


Time: 55:02/8:53 min/mile avg {under goal}!

Finish Time: 2:53:03
Age Group 30-34: 9/27
Women: 51/157
Overall (age groupers): 239/468

This is a 28.10 minute PR off my last olympic triathlon last July!!!  The night before I told Kevin I would be amazed if I hit 3 hours and was ecstatic with my time.  My transitions were all seconds longer than I hoped but I hit all my bigger goals.  To get faster in this sport I need to work on my cycling as I know I have more potential there I am just not sure how to harness it.

A big "thank you" to my family for getting up at an unnatural hour to drive over an hour to come support me.  Seeing your faces out on the course always gives me something to look forward to!

I can't wait to line up at the start of Rev3 70.3. I feel as ready as I will ever be!
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  1. You rocked it!!! Good job Kristen! :)

  2. 28 minute PR that is NUTS! Way to go. I definitely think you have more bike potential in you but seriously look at your improvements in just one year. And your running, holy freakin' cow!


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