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

August 02, 2011

WIN for KC Triathlon Race Report

Me & my friend Jenn after the race

Well, you all already know the big news...I had a great race and a 9 minute PR, but here are the race details.

Race:  Win for KC Women's Sprint Triathlon
Location:  Smithville Lake, Smithville, MO
Race Distances:  Swim - 500 Meters, Bike - 10 Miles, Run - 5K

This was my 5th triathlon.  Because I have been training for an Olympic distance race I knew I should easily be able to complete these distances, but I was expecting a super hot race.  It had been in the upper 90s to low 100s with ridiculous humidity for at least the last month so I wasn't really sure how that would impact my race times.

Me & Michelle - Pre-race
I was up at 3am and out the door at 3:50.  I picked up my friend Michelle at 4am and we headed to Smithville.  We got there right around 5:15 am, just when the race opened. The race wasn't scheduled to start until 7:30 am so we knew we had awhile but if we weren't there early we would have to park over a mile away.  There was about a 20% chance of thunderstorms that morning, but I hoped for no rain and overcast skies to keep some of the heat away.

Storm moving in....looking very ominous!
About 6:15 am it started getting really dark and looked like rain might be imminent.  It started to sprinkle a bit, so I took all of my gear that I already had set up and put it back in my bag.  About 6:45 am I headed to the bathroom and just a few minutes later it started to pour.  It hadn't rained in at least 4 weeks, and it was pouring.  I took shelter in the bathroom, but soon a volunteer came up and said - doesn't matter if it's raining don't forget we close transition at 7:05 so if you need anything you better get it now.  Crap, I had nothing and I had thrown all my stuff back into my tri bag.  I sprinted down to transition and grabbed my swim cap and goggles.  My towel that my gear was on was completely soaked, so I decided to leave the rest of my stuff in my tri bag.  It might make for slower transitions, but I would rather it take a few minutes longer than have wet shoes.

We headed to transition and it continued to pour, then it started thundering and lightening.  They delayed the start of the race by 15 minutes, then 30, then 45, and then finally an hour.  We sat in the rain for an hour.  It poured the entire time.  I was getting hungry, I was thirsty and I had to pee.  I was freezing!!!  What??  Yes, freezing.  That was the last thing I had worried about.  I had worried about it being hot, but I had not worried about being cold.  All of us were drenched and huddled together, and we just couldn't wait to get in the water to "warm" up.  There's also nothing like the feeling of being a a large open field, right next to the water in a lightening storm.  Made you feel so safe.

Anyway, finally after an hour delay the race started.  It was a time trial start where one person entered the water every 3 seconds based on their swim time.  I was about somewhere in the middle of the swim pack, so I wouldn't start until close to 9 am.

Finally, it was time to go.  I jumped in the water, but honestly all I could think of was how bad I had to pee, so I started slow.  I had never been able to pee while I was swimming before, but I knew I couldn't hold it for the rest of the race.  So yes, I peed in the lake - sue me.  After that I got in a rhythm and felt like I swam really well.  Masters Swim was truly paying off.

Swim Time:  11:48; Transition 1:  2:10

Since I hadn't had time, or really wanted to leave my stuff out in transition my transition time was a little slow, but that's ok.  I also made a really stupid decision and grabbed my Garmin at the last minute.  I thought I could get it turned on, set to biking,  and on my wrist while riding my bike.  That's a big FAT no!!  Not possible (at least for me).  Plus I was  moving, so Garmin couldn't locate satellites.  After fumbling with it for the first 5 minutes of my ride I finally gave up and stuffed it in my top for the rest of the ride.  Those pics should be interesting.  I usually have it on my bike, turned on, and ready to go, but the rain totally messed things up for me.  I really should have just left it in my bag.  Once I finally got rid of the Garmin, I focused on the bike leg.  I knew I only had 10 miles, so I really tried to push it pretty hard.  The bike course has alot of rolling hills, but no major hills so in my mind I thought it would be pretty easy.  It seemed alot harder than I thought it would be.  Maybe it was just because the pavement was so wet.  It wasn't raining anymore, but the pavement was still soaked.  Anyway, before I knew it , I was coming back into transition.

Bike Time:  36:41 (16.4 mph); Transition 2:  1:44 (a little faster)

I got in transition and put my bike away as fast as I could and slipped into my running shoes.  I had on socks, but I stepped on my towel, which was soaked and immediately my socks were completely soaked.  I ended up taking my socks off and running in my shoes barefoot.  It was the first time I had ever run in my shoes barefoot - I knew this was not the time to try something new, but it was better than the alternative.  I got moving, and as soon as I hit the run course I remembered I still have my Garmin tucked in my shirt, I pulled it out and put it on my wrist, which made several volunteers and spectators laugh.  It was already set to run, so I went ahead and turned it on so at least I had run pace.  The run is definitely my weakest leg of the race.  It's hard for me to find a rhythm and I always go out a little to fast, so about 3 minutes in I was already walking to catch my breath.  For the most part after that I maintained a fairly even pace and finished with a good run time for me.

Run Time:  36:06 (11:39 pace).
Final Time:  1:28:30

Was this an awesome finish time for most people - no.  Was it awesome for me - YES!!  But the average race time finish was 1 hour and 31 minutes - so I bet the average!!  Wahoo!!  Below is a race comparison from last year.  I am so happy with  my improvement.  It's nice to see my hard work and training finally pay off.
            Swim      T1     Bike     T2     Run      Total    
 2010   14:51       2:35   38:23    1:43   40:06    1:37:38  
 2011   11:48       2:10    36:41   1:44   36:06    1:28:30  

               Place in Age Group      Overall Place
2010        102/136                        428/626
2011        81/155                         343/718

Oh, and am I having fun on vacation....You Bet!!

Me & my friend Sam


  1. great race!!!! youre awesome!!! i need to come race in your part of the country....where they give medals for tris!

  2. You peed in the lake! That's awesome! At least it wasn't in the pool! Bet you were able to swim faster after that. I normally can run faster after I pee my pants err, I mean, pee in the porta potty. HAHAHAHA!

    I'm so happy you had a PR. You know you're my inspiration for doing an open water swim! Seriously.

  3. So awesome Michael!! Congrats on a great race especially despite the conditions!

    BTW you are looking great! Love the pics. :)

  4. Oh, I love to see that improvement over last year!! Hooray for you!!! Especially in such funky conditions. Seriously, who expects to be cold and rainy on race day??

  5. What an awesome improvement! So excited for you~ hard work does pay off! I hope I can improve like that next year!

    Gotta learn that pee while you swim thing... having to go to the bathroom the whole race can be a major distraction, but it did encourage me to finish the run as quickly as possible!

  6. Improvement in every phase - the training pays off. Congrats on an awesome PR!

  7. What a great race!!!! Woohoo!!!!!! Congratulations!

  8. Congrats Michael!! so happy you got a PR!!!!! this is fantastic!!!

    You peed in the lake!!! what?! I am alerting the authority right now~!!!!

    hope you are having a great time on your vacation and that Jim is keeping the house cleaned while you are gone!!! ha ha!

  9. Congratulations on a great race! I have to say that you are so motivating to me, and you remind me that I don't need to compare myself to everybody else...just work to improve! Thank you!! :)

  10. Way to go, Michael! I'm realizing I really want to try a tri and this is major inspiration!

  11. so awesome! A 9 minute PR is huge! Congrats :)

  12. way to go! i have to admit i never thought about doing a tri in KC, cause the lakes freak me out for some reason. Maybe it's because my family never went to them? weird!

  13. Congratulations Michael, awesome improvement over last year!

  14. What a huge improvement! Woot woot! But that beginning sounds awful.........and you still did super well after all that waiting.

  15. Congratulations. I admire anyone who's prepared to do more than one event and to do it in conditions like that and pull off a huge PB - well, all I can say is you're a superstar.

  16. you did great! congrats! glad you are enjoying vacation

  17. Congrats on a fantastic race! You did fantastic especially given all the rain and delays. You are seriously going to rock the oly!

    Enjoy Vacay!

  18. You kicked ass!

    I have so much trouble peeing while I'm moving. Which means, yes, I've totally done it. hahahah.

  19. I am so happy for you. A nine minute PR is HUGE!!! Congrats on the race.

    I been at a race when it down poured before, its mentally tough on you, I know, everything is soak, your soak, it throws you off your game a little, and you still rocked it

    ps If any racer claims that they have never pee'd in the water during training or a race, they are lying. Welcome to the club

  20. Congratulations!! Great race. Really awesome! Scary about the storm, but glad it all turned out well. Congrats again!

  21. Congrats on the race! It doesn't surprise me that you set a big PR, you have been doing really well recently it seems like on all phases of triathlon.

    That is crazy about the weather, that pic of the storm moving in on the bikes is pretty crazy.

    Glad that you didn't get a blister with having wet feet in your shoes, I tried that on a hike one time and got some huge blisters.

  22. WAY TO GO!!! You did amazing and you took time off your swim, bike and run. Congrats.