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

July 29, 2013

New Triathlon PR - WIN for KC Tri!

On Saturday, I took on the WIN for KC Triathlon.  This was my very first triathlon (and would be my 3rd time doing the event).  It's an all women's sprint tri and is very beginner friendly.  In fact, about 50% of the participants are first timers, which I think is awesome!  The race consists of a 500 meter lake swim, a 10 mile bike, and a 5K run.  It's truly a great race.  Well organized and well supported.

I love all the balloons to help people mark their'll only see this at all women's races

As most of you know, I've been running a lot this year...but biking and swimming....well not so much.  On Wed (just 3 days before the race) my Dr. cleared me to race.  My wrist bone that I broke in May was 80% healed, but she thought that was good enough.  So, I could race, the only problem was that I had basically done no biking or swimming for the majority of the year.  Yes, I had been riding on my trainer at least one day per week for about 30 minutes, and in the last month I had started swimming laps in my neighborhood pool for about 15 minutes once a week.  Not much for training, but better than nothing I guess.  I knew based on the distance my overall running fitness would get me through.  I might not have a great race, but I could finish.  My nerves were my biggest factor since I hadn't been outside on my bike since my wreck.

You might recall that I purchased a new tri bike in April....I did not ride my new bike.  I have literally only ridden this bike once (and that was the day I wrecked), so I knew I didn't feel comfortable enough to try to use it for a race.  So I loaded my old, heavy road bike instead.

I had few expectations for the race since I really hadn't trained for it.  I was hoping my run would be faster since I had been running so much, but I wasn't even sure about that since I hadn't done many runs off the bike either.  I had been doing a short 10 minute or 1 mile run off my trainer on Sundays, but that doesn't quite replicate conditions.  Anyway, my main goal for this race was truly just to have fun.  I needed a good experience to remind me of my love for triathlon to help get myself over the nerves of getting on the bike again.

Race day came and I woke up at a glorious 3 am.  I left my home at 4 am and meet 3 of my girlfriends (who were volunteering) to ride up together.  We took a few wrong turns, but finally made it to the race at 5:15 am (a few minutes late for their 5 am volunteer check-in).  Luckily, I was there early enough that I got the first spot on my bike rack - score!  I got my transition area all set up in a few minutes and was ready to go by about 5:30...but the race didn't start until 7:30.  I talked with my friends awhile and also found several people I knew who were racing.  The time went very fast, and before I knew it, it was 7 and they were kicking us out of transition.

It was actually kind of cold for race morning (which is crazy).  It was only about 58 degrees!  It wouldn't be out of the norm at all for it to be 80+ at the end of July in KC.  Everyone standing around waiting for the race to start in their bathing suits and tri suits were freezing.  We were all kind of in shock, but knew the water would feel great because it would be warmer than the outside temperature.

The calm before the storm.  I love seeing all the kayakers in divers in the lake
For this race they do a time trial start where you line up according to your approximate swim time and then one person starts every 3 seconds.  It takes a lot longer to start this way (in fact there were still people waiting to start the race when the winner of the event crossed the finish line), but it definitely make the swim less chaotic.  I lined up with the 10 minute swim group, even though I knew I couldn't swim this fast.  I just wanted to start a little earlier and knew other people would do the same so I wouldn't be totally out of my league.  As I was waiting in line to start I was surprised that I didn't feel nervous at all....but then all of a sudden there were only about 10 people in front of me and suddenly I thought, oh crap, I guess I'm gonna do this and started to get nervous, but luckily I only had about 30 seconds to worry about it and then it was my turn to get in the water.

I jumped in and started swimming.  I felt pretty good throughout the swim.  I didn't want to push it too much so I tried to swim a good steady pace.  I was happy with how I felt because I never had to stop and rest and made it through the swim pretty easily.  A few minutes in to the swim though my garmin buzzed....crap I thought.  I thought I had it set for auto multisport, but I knew when that happened I had it set on run and it was giving me my run/walk alert for my long runs.  Oh well.

I came out of the swim, and hit the lap timer on my Garmin for a 12:37 swim.  It wasn't a bad swim time, but it was slower than the last time I had done this event by about a 50 seconds.  Of course later I did hear several people (much faster swimmers) complain that the course was long.  I might have been able to confirm this if my Garmin was working.

I headed in to transition and put on my helmet, sunglasses, shoes, and wrist splint!  I figured I could at least track my overall time on the Garmin even if I wouldn't know my mph on the bike.  I hit the lap timer again as I pulled out of transition (or did I?).  I was very careful to get on the bike (not to fall), but did great.  I quickly found myself passing people on the bike...wahoo...look at me go.  Then, I thought, wait - did I hit the lap timer?  So I hit it again (or so I thought)....a few miles into the ride I look down just to gauge my overall time and it was 15:05 and I thought - no way, I've been going longer than that....ooops I had hit pause.  So anyway, I had no data on the bike whatsoever, and no idea of my overall time....oh well.  I felt like I was riding pretty well and then my hamstring started to cramp up a bit, so I thought maybe I was pushing a bit too hard.  Even though it was only 10 miles, it was still basically my first outdoor ride of the year.  So I slowed it down just a bit, so my legs wouldn't be totally useless off the run.  The only minor thing on the bike at all was the turnaround.  The bike is on a very narrow 2 lane country road.  It's 5 miles out and back and you have to do a turnaround in the middle of the road.  I slowed down as I approached the turn, but the girl ahead of me took it too wide and ran off the I had to ride a little farther up and come back in to make the turn to make sure I avoided her.  When I did this, someone behind me took the opportunity to get in front of me.  I caught her later, but she ended up passing me again.  Boo.

Although I didn't know it at the time, my bike time was 35:17 (17 mph rate) and a minute and a half improvement from the last time I did WIN.  I was pretty thrilled with that since I've done no biking! I'm pretty sure that's my fastest pace ever in a race!  I wonder what I might have done on my tri bike???   I made my way into transition and probably dismounted a little too early because I was just nervous about getting off the bike without falling...I did fine.

I got through transition pretty quickly and reset my Garmin.  I figured at least I could have the run data.  My legs felt pretty wobbly as I anticipated but I felt ok.  I did the first mile in about 10:30 and was super happy with that.  I told myself no matter how much it hurt, I needed to try to hold that pace.  Around the one mile marker I passed a girl who said "only one mile...I thought we were at least half way through by now".  I told her she was doing great, and moved on.  About a quarter mile later she passed me, then I passed her again.  This went on until about mile 2 when I passed her again and I told myself "you are not letting her pass you again!"  This had happened on the bike and I wasn't going to let it happen on the run too.  I could hear her foot falls directly behind me, but I pressed on trying to run faster to stay ahead of her.  Finally about mile 2 1/2 I looked back at her and said we only have about a half mile to go.  She said "ok, I'm just following you".  I said, "ok, well you are pushing me, so we're good".  I continued to hear her behind me but before we finished she fell a little bit further behind.  But knowing she was there really helped push me through the run.  I finished in 31:50 (10:16 pace).  I was thrilled!  Not only was this over a 4 minute improvement from my previous run split at WIN, but it was the fastest run pace I have ever done in a triathlon!  And to top it all off, my last mile was at a 9:53 pace (my 5K PR pace).  I surprised myself by how strong I was at the end of the race.

I finished the race in 1:23:49, a new WIN for KC PR by 5 minutes!  I was 300th overall out of 838 and 81 out of 181 in my age group (I think this is the highest ranking I've ever had in large race - I was actually above the 50% group).  I couldn't have been happier with how my race went.  But the day wasn't over yet.  I packed up my stuff to head home and get ready for race #2 - the Rock the Crossroads 5K at 7:30 pm.  It was going to be a long, hard day.....but more about that race later.  This post is too long already.

Me at the finish with my trusty road bike


  1. Awesome job Michael! You killed it. So happy for you that your hard work is paying off!

  2. That's such a great result! Especially since you've had so much time out of the water and off the bike. All that running training's really paid off.

  3. I'm so proud of you. Maybe one day I will be able to watch you and share this proud moment with you. From one proud Mom.

  4. That sunrise picture is awesome. Good job on the race. Your bike and run times are awesome. You must be thrilled. Just think if you could have really prepared.

  5. Wow! Great job!.... and you raced that night as well?? I'm impressed!!

  6. Congratulations!
    So happy for you!

  7. I love it!!! You did great. Bet you surprised yourself too! Do you feel better on the bike now?

  8. You did awesome! What a great feeling to finish a race that you had apprehension about going into. :)

  9. Hooray for the wrist being doc-approved! Congrats on the improved bike and run and overall PR!

  10. Wow - great job on your TRI. And a 5k afterward? You're a machine! I see you're running Women Rock MN next month... so am I!!

  11. A tri and a 5k in the same day=rockstar

  12. Hey, great job! I wouldn't have ridden the new bike yet either. It had to feel fantastic to come back with a course PR in your first post-injury tri, too. Way to go!

  13. That is awesome - congratulations!!!

  14. Awesome awesome awesome! Congrats!

  15. Congrats on the PR! Sounds like despite the lack of training it still went well! Funny about the turnaround in the middle of the road for the bike leg, that sounds hard to slow down at lol