It's a very slow process - two steps forward, one step back - but I'm inching in the right direction. - Rob Reiner

June 19, 2011

Topeka Tinman - I did it!!

Well as most of you know I strained a hamstring muscle on Wednesday - and with my first triathlon of the season on Saturday, I was not a happy camper.  After three solid days of rest, ice, hot baths, self massage, ibuprofen, foam rolling, compression - you name it - it was honestly feeling pretty great by Saturday.  I had some other issues through the week but I'm going to save those for a future post.  Today's post is about the Tinman.

The Race:  Topeka Tinman, Lake Shawnee, Topeka, KS
Distances:  400 Meter Swim, 13 Mile Bike, 3 Mile Run
Finish Time:  1:39:01
Weather:  Hot & Humid - I'm not sure what the exact temps were but it was warm, but really still a great day!
Interesting Fact:  They pulled a car out of the lake a few days prior to the race that had been there about 30 that car was also a body....there's still another car in the lake.  I am not kidding.  Doesn't make you feel all warm and fuzzy about the swim huh?

Pre-Race:  Topeka is about an hour and a half from where I live.  Transition opened at 5:30 am.  I set my alarm for 2:45 am and woke up to strong thunderstorms.  According to the weather they were supposed to clear out around 6am.  I did all my pre-race stuff and headed out the door at 4am to pick up my friend Michelle.  Jim wasn't able to make this race so it was so nice to have a friend there.  The storms had cleared out thankfully, but reeked a little havoc on the course apparently blowing away the finish line and restructuring the swim buoys.

After we got body marked, picked up our timing bracelet, etc we hung out, ate some breakfast and ran into another friend Susan from our Tri 102 class.  It was Susan's first Tri and she was super excited.  Finally the race time came.

Swim:  Time - 7:42 (this would be an awesome swim time if the swim was actually 400 meters, I'm not exactly sure how long it was but it wasn't 400 - it was shorter.)  My friend Michelle is an awesome swimmer and swam in high school and college and she thought she would finish around 6 minutes; she finished in 4:48).  Anyway, I had a decent swim.  It was packed with women and was difficult to move during the first half - I had to doggie paddle around the first few buoys because i just couldn't get out of the congestion, but once I rounded the last buoy I was able to swim pretty strong.  Overall I finished the swim 246 out of 348 finishers.  There was a pretty lengthy run from the beach to the transition area and I was pretty winded.  My first transition was very slow at 3:07.

Bike:  Time - 51:33 (15.3 mph) The bike course was not too bad  The roads were very rough and there was some loose gravel that I almost lost it in - that made my heart beat fast.  But the course had mainly rolling hills, with two super steep, but very short hills.  I felt pretty good on the bike, but mindful of my hamstring I slowed down a few times thinking I was maybe going a little too hard.  I almost fell of my bike near the dismount, but managed to keep it together.  I did get my foot caught in the spokes of my tire though and took a few seconds to get it out.  I was prepared to dismount at the sign that said dismount, but someone was shouting DISMOUNT far before the sign!!  And so I did right there.  I stopped a little too abruptly.  Anyway, overall I thought the bike went pretty well.  I finished 274 out of 348 on the bike...not so great.  My transition time from bike to run was a bit quicker at 1:54 - but I still could have been faster.

Run: Time 35:02 (11:41 pace)  Even though I've been doing a Brick workout at least once a week for about 6 weeks, I was surprised how tired and dead my legs felt.  I started out way to fast around a 9:30 pace, and ended up having to walk after probably less than a 1/4 mile into the run.  My breathing was out of control.  I knew I needed to get it under control quickly if I was going to run a decent run leg.  I walked for about 45 seconds and then tried to run a more even pace.  My goal was to finish the 3 mile run in under a 12 minute pace.  I was super excited with the 11:41.  That's the fastest run I've had in a triathlon to date.  At about mile 2.5 my hamstring started to tighten up and I stopped and walked again for a few seconds, but I was so close to the finish I just kept going.  In spite of a good run for me.....I finished 321 out of 348 finishers.  ARGHHHH!!!  I hate being so slow.

Race Results:  Overall place 294 out of 348.  Division (Women 35-39) 34 out of 37 (BOO!!).  Women place 115 out of 147.

After the race I was feeling on top of the world.  Three days prior I wasn't even sure I was going to be able to race, but I had finished and felt like I had a great race.  When I got home and saw my results I was really unhappy.  I know I am slow, but sometimes it's hard when you really see yourself compared to others.  I feel like I work and train hard, but I never get better or faster.  Then I had to re-evaluate and remember that this was a pretty competitive, but also small race.  I did improve and felt strong afterwards, and at the end of the day I had just completed a triathlon - something that only a small percentage of people have ever even attempted.

My friend Michelle did GREAT!!!  She finished 19th out of 147 women.  Susan was also ecstatic after completing her first triathlon!!  Susan has 12 Children - yes I said 12 and yes she gave birth to them all, and yet she still finds time to train and compete.  She did awesome too coming in 8th in her Division!

Later that night we went out to dinner and a movie with some friends.  It was nice to get "cleaned up" after a sweaty race day.  I'll leave you with a few pics from the race and post race!!

Me & Michelle was still a little chilly from the rain, but that wouldn't last long

My transition area

The Tinman Finish line

The lake - without the buoys

My bike #93

Michelle's bike #92

After the race with our results printouts

The finisher's Pint Glass - AWESOME

Cool Technical Tee

Ready for dinner and a movie - nice to be dressed up and not in workout clothes for a change

Jim was really scared

Oh me too

Me & My Sweetie!!


  1. I think you should be proud of your results! And if you really need to compare yourself, compare yourself to someone who has never done a triathlon :-P.


  2. Well, you might be unhappy but I think you did pretty stinkin' good! We all beat ourselves up over how we finish, think about how the person who finished 2nd feels!?...much worse than you ever will.

    I think the fact that you can do an open water swim with a possible dead body at the bottom makes you higher up on the awesome chain than I'll ever be.

    Congrats and WELL DONE!!

  3. Was the dead body from last year's triathlon?

  4. Great job!

    Love that you got a pint glass for finishing!

  5. Congratulations. Great result especially considering the hamstring thing.

    I'm not sure I would have liked to swim where a body had just been removed from. I've run through cemeteries but the water makes it just too up close and personal.

  6. Michelle! You did an *awesome* job! Kept at it even though your leg hurt.... PLUS you were super-encouraging to me~ I was *so* nervous!

    I'm so glad that I didn't know about the body in the lake! Yikes! Perhaps I would have swam faster though... who knows? LOL!

    Anyway... congratulations! You are continuing to pursue that which most people won't even consider trying!

  7. I am very proud you. Great Job!

  8. First, tell Jim that my comments are always 100% right, not 99.99% :-)

    Second, you two are like the handsomest couple EVER.

    Third, you will get faster. You are committed and doing great. I bet you are getting faster. Look, you achieved your race goal. Baby steps. I used to do my LSD runs at 10:30/'s taken me 5 years to get them to 8:20/mile. IT TAKES TIME.

    For your consideration... regarding getting faster. Have you ever considered a professional Coach? Mine is awesome and the results they (he and his wife) achieve are amazing. He lives in Colorado. Just throwing it out there.

  9. Congratulations, Michael!! I think what you do is amazing--to push yourself in not just one event, but three--you should be very proud of your accomplishments.

    That pint glass is one of the coolest pieces of race swag I've ever seen! My husband is an amateur brewer, so he would be all over that.

    Saw lots of branches down in your neck of the woods yesterday--glad to know you all didn't blow away!!

  10. Congrats on the race Michael! I am so proud of you. Remember that you are only racing against yourself and no one else. That is phenominal that you met your goals and felt great.

    You look gorgeous for your night out and your dress is adorable. :)

  11. Congrats on the first race of the season! I think you did really well. Open water swims look SCARY!

  12. Holy smokes! What an amazing race you had (and great recap too!). Please DO NOT be unhappy with your time. You just completed a TRIATHLON! That sounds pretty awesome to me.

    Dead body...could have gone without the details on race day, no? Not comforting.

    12 children? Not normal. Way to go, woman. You and your friend are the definition of time management, inspiration, and just pure awesomeness.

    Congrats to you both!

  13. Great job!!! You achieved your goal and that was awesome. You will continue to get better. I know where you are coming from with looking at the results and feeling discouraged, but you can't compare yourself to other people. Everyone's situation is different. Just keep up the good work and good things will least that's what I'm telling myself! :)

    By the way I have the exact same bike as you! :)

  14. First congrats on your race
    I admire you for doing triathlons
    not an easy thing to do

    on the slow thing
    I am slow
    I am a little less slow then a year ago
    but still slow
    it takes time to get faster
    CK is right....aouch that hurts just to type that... :)

  15. Great job on your tri! You also look gorgeous in your dress.. whenever I get a chance, I like to look nice because I feel like I'm in workout clothes a lot.

  16. Great job on your race! And I don't think you are slow at all, it would take me like 12 minutes to swim 400 yards! So you are pretty fast in my book :)

  17. Great Job!!!! I love reading about someones race accomplishments, and with an injury.... You sound pretty impressive!!!! Nice work!!!

  18. Way to go, Michael! I'm super impressed, even if you are disappointed with your results!

  19. ok, first, a DEAD BODY!?! Creepy...

    You did a fantastic job!! Be proud!! Congratulations!

  20. Great job on the race! Recognizing what was going on and adjusting on the run led to your best run split. Awesome! Love the pint glass swag.

  21. Holy crap! I don't know if I could have gotten in the water knowing they had just pulled a body out. :shudder: You're a brave, brave woman!

  22. P.S. I love that last pic of you and Jim! Very cute.

  23. So glad your leg was feeling better.

    Awesome Job! Thumbs Up!

    Love the shirt..

  24. AWESOME JOB!!!! I love they give you pint glasses :)

    AND - the pics of you and Jim are precious!!!!

  25. Now that is something I cant say I have heard before, pulling out a dead body after 30 years of sitting in the lake, I would retell this race as "The Dead Man Swim" sounds hardcore.

    I think you did great, first you are doing something that less then 0.2% of the people in the world can say they have done. ANd it was your first tri of the year, they are for getting the rust off. I bet anything that next race, you will be much happier with

  26. We were just wondering yesterday how many dead bodies might be in the pond we swam in. I guess after 30 years, there was not much left to the body??...flavored lake water...yum...

    I'm always a back of the packer in my age group and it is SO frustrating to know I tried so hard and still come in so far back. Grr...
    Feeling ya...
    BUT...I think you did great. Let's make a pact to try not to be so hard on ourselves and enjoy our personal improvements!!!

    Glad your leg held out for you!

  27. 12 kids???? For real????? That woman should do an Ironman b/c she is already prepared for whatever the day may bring.

    Congratulations on the race. You did awesome. And learn from me in that you cannot compare yourself to other racers that day. I did it at CapTexTri and almost lost it until I got a speaking to from my coach.

    She told me that you can only compare you to you. Did you improve on the swim/bike/run/transitions? What lessons did you learn and can you apply them moving forward?

    Do the same and rest assured that you killed it out there.

  28. Congrats! I'm slower than you so I don't even compare my results to anyone else...I'll just be so darn excited if I actually make it to the finish line before they take all the racks down! My bike was laying in a grass parking lot median after my first Olympic tri last year. They had taken down all of the racks already when I came across! :)

  29. Glad to hear the race went well! Considering your strained hamstring last week I didn't know if you were going to be able to pull off a race.

    Sounds like the race went well!

    Reading your report makes me possibly want to try a sprint triathlon - I've been swimming a lot recently, though I would definitely have to buy a new road bike, I only have a mountain bike right now.

    And the red chairs at the movie look really nice! Way better than the usual firm back ones that AMC usually has!

  30. congrats! and love the dress, you look great!

  31. So awesome!! Reading these reports and talking to some friends is giving me the itch to try a tri!! You did so great...just swimming in the lake - post dead guy in car - is crazy!!!

    You should be so proud!!! Congrats!!!

  32. YAY!!! Way to go girls!!! So proud of you!!!! :) :) :)

  33. congrats!! you are leaps and bounds ahead of me as i am too chicken to try a tri :) especially not in a lake where a dead body could float up and attack me! heeby jeebies!

  34. Congratulations! You did your tri. You were pleased with your running time, bike time and swim time, right?It sounds like transitions are tough. I so don't know what all this is like. I think it is great you are trying and doing a tri. Keep improving against yourself.
    What's with the dead body? How gross is that?
    Love the pint glass and the shirt.

  35. Michael, you did AWESOME! Don't sell yourself short.

    Dead body...GROSS!!!! Hope you didn't swallow any water ;)

    12 kids &shes sane?!? ... 2 kick my ass! Can I just say, Wow!

    Those are Jims dress up clothes?????? ;D

  36. You did AMAZING!! Your hammy was hurt and you didn't know if you'd be able to race and you did a tri. Wow! Congrats. in the world did you get in the lake after a body & car were pulled out. *squeamish*

  37. Congrats on the race! don't beat yourself up over where you placed, you had a pulled hamstring. You did awesome!!

    To the woman with 12 kids - all I have to say is WOW. If she can find to train, what excuse do the rest of us have?

    and of course, the dead body... OH MY! Perhaps that was the original tin man. Just sayin...

  38. Hooray for Michael! I know it is disappointing sometimes to look at your results, especially if they are not what you were expecting. But you know what? You did it! And most of your readers (and people in general) are too scared to do it (me included). You are a rock star in my book! I look forward to reading more race recaps.