Pacific Crest Olympic Triathlon Race Report

 

Yesterday I competed in my very first Olympic Distance Triathlon.  I had a blast.

The race was the Pacific Crest Olympic Triathlon, held in Sunriver, Oregon.  Going into the race, I was very, very excited.  This was my first race of the year, and my first Oly.  The previous day, I watched the Long Course racers, and that got me very excited.

The night before the race, I started calculating my goals.  I expected to do the swim in 28 minutes, the bike in 1 hour 20 minutes and the run in 45 minutes.  I set my goal for the race at 2 hours, 45 mins.

I have not been training very consistently leading up to this race, so I knew there was a possibility that I would implode on the course.  I knew I could make it through the swim, and the bike, but figured there was a real chance of hitting a wall on the run.

I arrived on race morning and suited up.  Entering the water, the nerves hit me just a bit.  These were the good kind of nerves though.  The countdown began, and when the horn sounded, I was off.  My strategy for the swim was to pick a line that not many swimmers were in.  I did not want to fight others the first 100 yards.  I had 1 swimmer that kept bumping me, but nothing to bad.  I just moved over a couple feet, and let him swim on by.

I was probably 200 yards in, and I couldn’t get my normal rhythm going.  I became very aware that I was breathing way to often, and that my heart rate was through the roof!  I had gone out way, way to hard.  Fortunately, I realized this, and I slowed my cadence down.  When my heart rate settled, I found my rhythm and settled in.  My arms were a bit sore, but considering I have only done one swim session in the previous 2 months, I expected that.  Once I was warmed up though, the pain went away, and it was smooth sailing from there.  I started catching and passing other swimmers in the previous waves, and I felt like I was flying.

I exited the water, and hit the lap button on my new Garmin, 29:56 ! “not bad” I thought.  I instantly thought the course must be a little longer than listed, because I knew I had a pretty good swim, and my sighting was good.  Turns out I swam 1 mile which is almost 1 tenth of a mile longer than the 1500 meters I based my goal on.  I hit my number on the head!  Great start.

I hit transition one, and did ok.  I was a little under 5 minutes on the transition.  Since I don’t have tri shoes and I don’t wear my jersey under my wetsuit, I expected around 5 minutes to strip down, dry off and put on my shoes, gloves, helmet, and jersey.  In the future, I plan on buying a tri suit to speed up my transitions.

I set out on the bike, and felt great.  I ate a power bar and drank a bit of water within the first couple of miles.  This was my plan, and even though I didn’t feel hungry, I stuck to it.  The bike course was on very scenic mountain roads.  The downside to this is that the road was not real smooth, so there was a lot of vibration for nearly the entire route.  No big deal for me though, I train on very similar roads all the time.  About 5 miles into the ride, I regretted drinking water before my swim and not using the restroom before heading out on the bike.  I HAD TO PEE!

At approximately mile 11, there was a port a potty, so I pulled over to use it.  This killed my average pace.  Right after the port a potty was the only real significant climb.  It’s approximately 3 miles.  It wasn’t as bad as I expected though, and I made it through no problem.  I maintained double digit speeds all the way up.  The reward was the decent.  Lot’s of flats and downhills after that climb.  Almost no more climbing.

I had a goal of 20 mph average for this ride.  With my potty break, I hit 19.4.  The ride was 28.75 mile and I finished it in 1:29:50.  Not bad – and very close to my goal!  I enjoyed this ride very, very much.

I transitioned in 3:48 and headed out for the 10K.  The run was BRUTAL!

It was 95 degrees out, and we were at about 5,000 feet of elevation.  I train in much milder weather, and at sea level.  About 1 mile in, I thought, no way I can run this entire 10K (I haven’t been training very consistently).  As I was mulling over my new strategy, I saw the marker for mile 2 and thought “I might be able to run this entire thing”.  I felt like I was crawling, but I kept chugging along with my new goal of not walking.  About 1/2 mile later, I got my running legs and then I knew I would make it to the finish line.  I almost didn’t!  The last 1/2 mile was fricking brutal.  There were people standing along the path saying “almost there”, which to me meant the finish was around the next corner.  When I turned the corner and didn’t see it, it was a huge let down.  This happened with the last 5 corners.

Finally, I saw the finish line.  I crossed with a total time of 3:00:12.  I missed cracking 3 hours by 13 seconds.  Oh well. I had a blast, and I felt very accomplished.  I was very close to all my pre race goals, and considering the heat, elevation, and lack of consistent training, I’m very pleased with how I did.  I can’t wait until my next race.

 

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