Sunday, August 2, 2009

Blue Lake Sprint Triathlon Race Report

Saturday I became a Triathlete! 2009 has been an awesome year race-wise for me. I set 2 marathon PR's (Jan and May), a half marathon PR with Julianne in April and I started training for a triathlon. A little background, I've been a spin class junkie on and off for a few years and I've been swimming since grade school. I played water polo in HS and college and swam with a Masters team for a little while. I started running 5k's in college. I haven't gotten any faster since college but I've certainly loved to enjoy the challenge running brings. I've wanted to do a triathlon for a long time but never had the courage to sign up for one until I met these lovely ladies. They've been my training buddies and supporters, along with my awesome hubby Mr. Pi of course. Okay on to the race report.

First impressions post-race for those that don't want to read the LONG report below:
2. Can't wait to do it again!
3. All women's races are great everyone was so supportive.
4. Now that I have a baseline time and I know I can finish all three sports, I'm ready to kill it next time around.
5. Loved it, loved it, loved it!

Mr. Pi and I arrived pretty early since I was nervous about picking up my packet and getting a good transition spot (even though I really had no idea what a "good" spot was from a "bad" spot). I got my race packet and had my first experience with being body marked (in fact, all you seasoned veterans, how do you get it off? I've scrubbed and scrubbed and it ain't coming off!). I set up my bike and transition area next to this really nice woman, who gave me some good pointers. Pretty soon it was time for the swim.

Few shots of me setting up transition.

SWIM 1/2 mile
This is my sport! I love the water and am really comfortable swimming. I've done a few open water swims in training so I felt ready to go. I was also prepared for getting kicked, scratched and dunked. Non of that happened. I didn't even make any contact with another swimmer until the first buoy. I took the swim very conservative since I wasn't sure how my body would react to all three sports. Next time, I'll attack it! Swim time: 16:46.

I learned a few things for next time:
1) Push harder on the swim! When I finished I felt like I could have done another 1/2 mile easy! Next time, I'm going to attack the swim. My swim time was a little disappointing given that I've swum the distance faster in a pool.
2) Don't line up in the back. I spent a lot of time dodging other swimmers.
3) Continue open water swims.
4) Add a little more speedwork into my swim workouts.

I'm in here somewhere. Pink shirt, blue cap.
Again, somewhere!

Exiting the swim. The girl to the right is the one that I had swum with a few times and would later meet up with on the run.

T1: 3:14
I'm pretty happy with this for T1. There was a relatively long run from the swim to the bike area and from the bike racks to the bike start. So I'm happy with this time.

Me in T1 getting ready for the bike.
On the move with my creaky mountain bike. HEHE!
Almost to the mount point.
And...I'm OFF!!

BIKE 12 miles
Holy headwind on Marine Drive heading out, thankfully it was nice and flat. However, this is where I got passed, A LOT! Like I mentioned, I've been a spin class junkie on and off but I've only been biking on a real bike outside for about month. I expected my creaky mountain bike to get passed so it wasn't a big deal. I pushed as much as I thought I could. Most of the women who passed me were so nice about it, telling me I was looking strong. I did pass a few other women on mountain bikes so all was not lost. My overall goal for the bike was to come in under an hour and I succeeded. Bike time: 49:16/14.61 MPH

Lessons for next time:
1) Get a new bike. Smooth non-creaky mountain bike would be great.
2) Practice, practice, practice! I know I can average a 15+ next time!
3) Learn how to drink and ride. I was a thirsty girl after the swim.
Dismounting the bike and into T2.

T2: 2:23
Again, I'm pretty happy with this time. Since I have nothing to compare it to it's a great baseline. One thing I'm really happy I did was grab my hand held water bottle. I knew there were water stops on the run but I was happy to have my own water source.

Exiting T2 and going off on the run.

RUN 3.1 miles
I'd done a few brick runs after spin class but I think I really need to work on running faster with tired legs. The run went up a small hill after mile 1, I felt every tiny incline. However, right after the mile 1 marker I saw this girl! It was awesome to high five with her! Her swim wave started two before mine and I had already seen her once on the bike. So fun to have racing buddies. Her high five helped me kick it up for a few steps. I did have to walk a little. However, after the first water stop I met up with a girl who I'd swum with a few times during some of the open water swims, for the life of me, I can't remember her name! She and I chatted as we vowed to keep our feet moving at faster than walking speed. When we re-entered Blue Lake park she wanted to kick it up a notch and I was saving my sprint for when I had the beach in sight. All along the run there were lots of friendly spectators, it made me miss my iPod less. Right before the finish line I got a big high five from Mr. Pi and the announcer called out my name. I kicked it up and sprinted in! Run time: 37:50/12:12 AP (yikes, that was a SLOW 5k)

Lessons for next time:
1) Do more brick runs.
2) Work on improving overall run speed.
3) Practice running sans Ipod.
4) Try a few two-a-days to get used to running the second run faster despite having tired legs.

Few pictures in the final finish chute.
And, finishing!

Post-race I gave Gazelle a BIG hug and congratulated her on her race. Gave Mr. Pi a BIGGER hug and smooch for being the best husband and race supporter ever. Grabbed a bit of food and we headed home.
As I said up above, I will definitely be doing another Tri. I absolutely LOVED it! I think I set good baseline times that I know I can improve. I'm really happy I decided not to wear myGarmin for the bike and run. It felt good just to push and not worry too much about time. I wore my Ironman watch which is basically a stop watch but it's water proof so I could wear it in the water too. Overall, it was really accurate only 23 seconds slower than my official overall time. Overall official time: 1:49:29 and I'm happy with that.

I got 10 hours of sleep last night and am feeling great today. My booty is a little sore, probably from the bike since it was on fire when I got off. My arms and rest of my body feel fine. However, I'm still taking the day off and will resume training tomorrow. Now that I have baseline times I'm all about creating a plan to smash them next time around. Yes, I did say plan!

I am a triathlete! HOORAY!


  1. Look how bad ass you are! Go girl go! I love all women races, too, also because of the supportive environment. The Mermaid series here in Cali are like that, too.

    For the marker, did you try a little bit of nail polish remover? I think that's what I did when I did my duathlon.

    Congrats again Alisa! And yes, you are having an AMAZING 2009!

  2. yay! congrats triathlete! I got 4 hours of sleep last night, and then another couple hours this morning. I am jealous of your 10 hours!

    It's been such a great year for you! I can't wait to train for the next one. i definitely need more bike/run bricks in my future, too!

  3. Woooooohoooooooo

    Great pictures too. :-)

  4. Awesome congrats! Sounds like a great experience.

  5. Woo hoo!! Great job! You are going to be tearing up the tri scene I can tell!

    Barb's is a GREAT race. I highly recommend it. You do have to prepare for heat, but it is in August so you have time to do heat training. This year weather was perfect, but last year it was 100 degrees. You will LOVE it!

    Great job, triathlete!

  6. Congrats on becoming a triathlete!! I CANNOT WAIT, you've totally inspired me! Btw, got your comment about SF, I would love to meet you!! How exciting!

  7. YAY you totally rocked it girl! I knew you would and that is so exciting! I think you found a new love! :) how fun, and you got so many great pictures and looked so great!!!

    Congrats again, and as you know, I totally respect you swimmers and bikers! GREAT GREAT JOB!!!!

  8. Way to go!! CONGRATS on your first!!!

    Practice those things that you learned out there, and you'll even do better next time! And don't worry about that 5K split - during the run of a triathlon, you just need to hang on for the ride. The run will shape up to be whatever it is...


  9. Yay, you ARE a triathlete baby! Way to rock is sista. YES, do MOST of your runs sans iPod. It's a tough adjustment but you have to work on the mental game and that's one way to do it. AND run off the bike as much as possible, even if it's 5-10 minutes. Not a huge or true brick just work on the turnover post bike.


  10. CONGRATS!!!!! you did great and I am so glad you loved it! makes me less scared about mine...I should probably get a bike sometime soon! haha

  11. Nice work!

    I noticed that the girl that swam with us at Klineline (the one you ran into on the run) is in the picture of you coming out of the water! Small world.

  12. Great recap hon. The post still isn't showing up for me on Google Reader for some reason though. Weird.

    Anyway, congratulations again!!!

  13. Congrats! You really are a triathlete now!!

    I can't believe how much you've done this year - you're on fire!! Love that you did the 'for next time' items too. You'll be able to look back at that for the next one and know how you've improved :)

  14. Looks like somebody caught the Tri bug!!!!

    congrats :)

  15. Congratulations! You totally rocked that first tri, especially because you sound like you had a great time. Your pictures are awesome, and you look really strong and fabulous!

  16. Way to go girl! You look fantastic in all your picutres. I had no idea you had such a strong swimming background. you are so going to kill it next time. You should be starting in the front!

    I'm glad you recognize how hard it is to ride a mtb in a road tri. It's way way way harder - I wonder if other people even realize? Great job!

    So, whats next triathlete?

  17. yahhhhh Alisa!!!! you totally ROCKED that tri!!! congrats on an awesome race and becoming a triathlete :) cant wait to see which one is next!!

  18. yay!!! you were awesome!!
    girl, it is hard to go that speed on a mountain bike. those things are heavy! way to go!
    you must be so proud of yourself--you should be!

  19. Congratulations triathlete!! You did so great, I'm amazed! Your pictures and race times prove you are the real deal. Amazing. Can't wait to talk to you about it now that you have a race under your belt- you have tons of great ideas for improving your experience. Yay!!

  20. YES!! great job alisa. looks like you had fun and turned in a good time.

    but really, get a road bike. get the clipless pedals and shoes/cleats and you can easily change that 15+ target speed to 20+ JUST from the equipment. it makes that much difference.

  21. What a great race report! Congrats triathlete. :o)

  22. Congrats girl! And what an awesome report. I love how you added in your goals for next time of the things you want to work on.

  23. You did AWESOME!!! Whoo hoo! :) Love it! Great photos - and good job on all that sleep after!

  24. Wait, how did I not comment here? I get so confused about blogs vs. twitter sometimes.

    CONGRATULATIONS!! Awesome job!!

    Learning how to drink and ride was not easy! The advice I got was to feel you way down the top tube and to hold the handlebars in the center by the stem with your opposite hand.

    I love the slouch/tippy-toe action in that last photo :)

  25. Great report and great race!! Congratulations Triathlete!!!

    Amazing job so happy you love the swim so much!