Sunday, September 13, 2009

Aluminum Man Sprint Triathlon Race Report

Saturday, I headed out to The Dalles, in the Columbia Gorge for my second triathlon. Jen was doing the Olympic and had told me about the race a few weeks ago. It was great to have her there as well as Mr. Pi and Zach. When I signed up for the race I assumed it was the same distance as my other sprint tri (1/2 mi swim, 12 mi bike, 5k run). Turns out this race was slightly different .5k swim, 20k bike, 5k run. However, when we got there and listened to the course routes it turns out that the bike course was 15 miles and 30 miles for the two races (20k according to google is 12.4 miles). This of course made me pretty nervous, especially when the announcer said “The bike course will be nice and challenging for everyone with rolling hills.” YIKES! I knew I was undertrained for the bike and with the addition of extra miles and hills, I was even more nervous. Here’s how it went.

Short version of the stats:

Overall Time-2:00:11 (The run, swim and both transitions were faster this time around. I anticipated the bike to be slower.)

Division Place 5/Overall Place in Sprint 124/131

Note: Jen, did awesome and placed 2nd in her AG! Way to go Tri Guru.

Me and Jen before the start.
Posing in my cap, ever since my first ever swim meet I've always thought caps look ridiculous in pictures! The only thing worse are pictures of me in my old water polo helmets!

Swim .5k

I wanted to push harder this time on the swim course and I definitely did on the second half but I think I can still push harder. This was also my first encounter with the “washing machine.” From the start to the first buoy there were lots of elbows and feet in my face. After the first buoy I said screw you people and took off. I started passing people right and left, it was great. For a little while, I was out in the open, all by myself. It kinda freaked me out, I thought maybe I was way off course but I kept sighting and kept going. The swim felt good but again I think I could push harder.

Swim totals: 12:45/Overall place 53/131 (2nd fastest in my AG, first place in AG was only 2 sec faster)


My only goals for the transitions were to beat my times from last time. My time at Blue Lake was 3:14, so I succeeded. I also took more time to dry off my feet because last time they were soaked. Other than that transition was pretty uneventful.

Time: 2:53

Bike 20k (Garmin said: 14.8 miles)

I was really nervous going into the bike as I knew it was going to be challenging. I haven’t trained as much on the bike and I knew the course was going to be challenging. There was a little hill on the way up and over the freeway. This is where I started to get passed. From here on out most of what I heard was “on your left.” I did feel pretty good knowing that lots of guys passed me, which means I passed several of them on the swim. The bike course was, as touted, challenging. There were a couple of larger hills but it felt mostly uphill until the turn over (minus one awesome downhill, which sadly was going to be an uphill on the way back). At the turn around, I stopped for some water since I still don’t know how to drink and ride (need to work on that). On the way back I tried to focus and not worry about the Olympic distance competitors who were now also starting to pass me. I really tried to enjoy the scenery which reminded me a lot of Northern California, minus the absolutely stunning views of Mt. Hood. I also concentrated on not braking the down hills. I’m usually a big fraidy cat on down hills but I just let it rip. Even so, I knew my time was really slow. Definitely need to work on biking and hills next season. Also, still need a new bike, creaky mountain bike is not cutting it.

Bike Totals: 1:06:14/Overall Place 128/131


Again, my only goal was to beat my time from my first Tri. Time at Blue Lake was 2:23, another success. I will say that the transition area was closer to the swim and bike exits. Even so, I’m happy with my transitions.

Time: 1:56

Run 5k

I started off on the run really strong despite the challenging bike course. I was plugging away with a 10:30 pace. Unfortunately, I got a side cramp that forced a walk break about a mile in, from there it was downhill with the pace. I saw Jen heading out on her 10k about half a mile from the finish, it was a much needed boost to get a high five. She looked so strong! I need to continue to work on building my speed outside of brick runs and I think I need to start doing longer brick runs. Nonetheless, my run time was faster than Blue Lake. (Blue Lake was 37:50.)

Run Totals: 36:23/Overall place 124/131

Better than any medal, a kiss from Mr. Pi!

A few pictures of Jen.
Coming off the bike into T2.

Jen off on the run.

Looking strong at the finish!

Yay, another Tri under our belts!
Dunlap's pose with our sampler tray. Mmmmmm.

10 random thoughts post-race:

1) I still love the sport of triathloning!

2) I need a different tri top. While I love that it’s pink, it rides and gets uber annoying.

3) I need a new bike!

4) I need to train harder on the bike (especially on hills).

5) Next season, I need a more structured training plan. (I’m hoping Jen, Gazelle or maybe, Mr. Pi, will be my tri training partners.)

6) Mr. Pi is the best race spectator/supporter ever!

7) Female competitors are way nicer than male ones.

8) Continue to include swim intervals in training. Push harder on the swim course, I would love to be in the top 20 overall on a swim.

9) I need to work on longer brick runs and more speedwork.

10) Triathlons make me feel strong.

Saturday night I was in bed and asleep by 8:30pm it was glorious. Here’s to another great race and more lessons about triathloning learned. Watch out Tri season 2010!


  1. Awesome job on the SWIM!! The cap is so cute, makes me think of women in the 5-'s. not sure why.

    "I still don’t know how to drink and ride" HEhehe...I can't even ride up hills, so you are ages ahead of me.

    Side cramps are the worst...such a bummer.

    Ummmm I TOTALLY agree that women are way nicer than men in races. I would LOVE to run some all female races.

    Hugs and LOVE your pictures...

  2. Way to be Alisa. You are a strong swimmer!! Sounds like you reached EVERY goal of beating previous times. I know how much harder you had to work on the bike too. I really hope you get a road bike for the 2010 season.

    Great job girl!!

    p.s. have you guys made a decision about Black Diamond?

  3. Awesome!!! Looks like you had a pretty great crew along for support. Post races kisses are always the best. :o)

  4. strong work! you did great, especially on the swim!
    i am a fraidy cat too on downhills--way to go on letting it rip. you probably won't be as nervous about downhills next time. you are a tri stud!

  5. I probably won't do the same 70.3 as you next year, but I am definitely in for some serious tri- training!

    Way to go on the times! With a new bike and more time in the saddle, you'll be solid next year!

  6. congrats on tri #2!!!! so now that I have a bike I can say that it is HARD!!! sheesh who would have thought! great job on tackling those hills and the extra miles you didn't know you'd be doing! whooohoooo tri girl :)

  7. Congrats on your 2nd tri, and this was a great race report. AWESOME swim. I wish I could swim like you! Great attitude on the bike and I see many fantastic tris in your future with awesome bike rides. :)

  8. Wow, I am still so impressed that you do tri's now. Hardcore, lady!

    You are an awesome swimmer, holy crap!

  9. Congrats on a great second race! You're making great improvement and know just what you need to do to keep going! Very inspiring :)

  10. Congratulations honey! Thanks for the compliments too. I got my reward by being taken out to Full Sail to try out their beers and good food.

  11. Great job!

    Triathlons don't make you feel strong, they let you know that you ARE strong.

  12. Great race report and awesome race! I am SO not a swimmer, I would have drowned, I'm sure.

    Fantastic job!

  13. Great job girl, and the pics are fantastic! I loved my tri top from (the outlet one on sale), it didn't ride up at all.

  14. I can't remember, I'm 99% sure a large but I'll look tonight and let you know. I got mediums in the shorts and skirt because they were out of larges. They worked but definitely gave me sausage legs. I'm a size 10 in pants for reference.

  15. yayyy girl!! CONGRATS! you did awesome :) i am so happy you love tri's as much as you do!!!

  16. YAY! That is SO exciting!!! You are a crazy triathlete now and rocking it! 5th in your AG?! You go girl!

    Great, great great job! Seriously, I'm super impressed!

  17. Yay! Congrats on a very strong performance on your second tri! I think it seemed like you were more comfortable out there and your improvement is impressive. Can't wait to see how you improve with more training and a decent bike!!

  18. NICE JOB!

    This report is very inspiring to read! Love the photos, your attitude, your analysis, everything!



  19. Woo hoo! You've now done as many tri's as I have. :D Your transitions are great and I can't believe your times on a creaky mountain bike. I think you've found your sport chica! Your smile in the pictures tells a great story. Enjoy the "off" season.

  20. Great job. Sounds like you really nailed the swim. Good for you!!! The pictures are awesome. I bet once you get a road bike you'll see huge improvement.

  21. I need to try another triathlon one of thse years. I just suck at swimming.

    Congrats on the solid finish!!

    Alaskan Assasin

  22. wow you got some really great pics at the race!! I love that you have so much fun with tri's you make it far more appealing...maybe now that I'm moving somewhere I can train better..hmmm

  23. Great race report, congrats on your fast swim too! I love tris as well!

  24. Kick ass! That swim is rocking! Love the title of the race!

  25. Congratulations!! You are a speedy dolphin swimmer! A road bike would do wonder for your bike leg, I think. They are so light and just fly.