Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sunfish Triathlon 2012 - Race Report

Swim Like A Fish!

The Sunfish Triathlon was a week ago Saturday in Meridian, Mississippi!  Lucked out with a slightly cooler morning and a little bit of cloud cover during the race.  It's been raining every single day here in South Mississippi and the air is thick and muggy.  When you step outside it feels like someone throws a hot, wet blanket over your head.  Bleh....

Meridian is close enough to Hattiesburg that we can drive there on race morning.  Only had to leave at 4:00am for the race instead of the 3:15am for the last race!!  Set my alarm for 3:00, got up and had my oatmeal with peanut butter and banana for breakfast. Met Deanna and Judy and we headed to Laurel to pick up Lesley. 

It's nice that a lot of races have moved to letting you pick up race packet on race morning.  This is something slightly newer to triathlons, in the past there was absolutely no race morning packet pickup. The SetUpEvents races in North Carolina were the first that I saw to do this.  In Texas there was mandatory race morning packet pick up the day before the race.  I can understand this, with all that is going on the morning of a race I can see why having volunteers needed to hand out packets is one more thing to hassle with.  But for us it is awesome!!   With the rising cost of race entry fees it's good that you don't have to pay for a hotel the night before in order to get your packet.  Hey.. one less hotel stay means one more race that I can do!!  So I don't mind the early alarm and drive to a race.

Hattiesburg Triathletes!
Hattiesburg had a lot of triathletes entered in Sunfish!  It was going to be a good day!!

We got to the race and I got the bikes out of Deanna's truck and aired up my tires, Judy took care of hers and then I helped Lesley and Deanna out and took care of their tires too.  Judy noticed that I was getting more and more stressed out by being at the car too long.  She was smart and headed off to packet pick up and transition with Chris and Brad.  I've got to remember to take care of myself but I just want to help.  They're big girls and I know they've got things under control without my help.  Note to self.

By the time I got to the front of the line to get my race number I was informed that there were no more small shirts.  Okay.... this is a huge pet peeve of mine.  More so just out of principle that anything else.  When you register and are asked what size shirt you want and you indicate a size then that size should be available for you when you pick up your packet.  A lot of races take care of you and have the size listed that you requested and hold it for you.  But not here, I guess they ran big and people changed sizes.  Arrrruuugggh.... so another shirt for my husband Bill.  Shirts at Sunfish - FAIL.  Big disappointment.

Racks are not numbered for this race so its first come first serve.  I found an open area midway down a row of racks and got set up.  Felt a little pressed for time - hate that feeling.  Still needed to do a little warm up run and swim and heard them announce that the transition area was closing in 15 minutes.  Threw on my shoes and ran up the road, bypassing the long line at the port-a-loos to a park rest area.  Ran back and threw on my speed suit and headed to the water.  A nice man saw me and offered to do up the zip.  Thank you kind man!  Did a little swim warm up, not as long as I would have liked and heard them calling for all athletes to exit the water.  Darn.

This race has a time trial start (groan...) and last year they lined us up based on age group, so I started way at the back.  Apparently they had quite a few complaints so this year the line up was based on when you entered the race.  "Line Up as You Sign Up".  Much better, I was number 88 and my friends Judy, Lesley and Deanna were right behind.  They started us 2 seconds apart and the beginning of the swim was slightly congested.  I felt good on the swim and was working pretty hard.  I breath to my right and I watched Judy (she was number 90) swimming to my right.  We rounded the first buoy together and then I saw her pull away.   The swim was rectangular in shape and after we rounded the second corner there was one more buoy and then we angled slightly to the right toward the swim exit.  Good swim for me 7:13 and fastest female swim!!  (3rd best overall swim even with the men!)  One other thing - no swim caps in the race packets again this year.

Ran to my bike and was doing something different in transition than I usually do.  There is a pretty steep little hill just out of transition and I put my shoes on before getting on the bike this day.  Typically I have them on the bike.  Sam had said to try it, that he passes a lot of people when he gets on his bike just at the start as they are fumbling trying to get their feet in their shoes while they are riding.  I did it but am not sure I will again.  Trying to balance on a Speedplay cleat while putting on the second shoe wasn't easy.  I wobbled a bit and felt really unsteady.  Off onto the bike course after clip-clopping in my shoes through transition.  Didn't like that at all.

This bike course is Tough!  I ran out of gears up and down the hills and spent a good part of the time climbing in my granny gear.  Got passed like a fencepost on some of the hills. One idiot guy who passed me called out "On Your Right" as he passed me on my left.  Hmmmm... really??  I said to him "you're on my left", and he replied "Oh.. stay on your right." I used to know a cyclist in Dallas who would reply "You gotta be somewhere" in response.  My ride wasn't pretty.  I don't lift weights for strength, but I've decided after this race that I'm going to do some weight work on my legs.  The goal in triathlon is to have "Enduring Strength" so I'll be doing some high reps with some weight before my next race.  Working opposing muscle groups in sequence.  Started on Monday.  13th fastest bike - stinky average of 19.8.

Second transition was fine.  Looked at my Garmin once on the way out across the dam during the first mile and saw 7:40. Hey.. not too bad!  In my last race I was really pleased with my mile splits for the run... this one, just the opposite.  Went out too hard and each mile was progressively slower.  Bad.  Bad. Bad.  Note to self... you know better than this.  7:26, 7:40, 8:00 and 6:29 for the last .22 - granted the last mile had two little climbs in it but that was sad and bad.

Anyway.. finished strong with a little help from Robin Ryder telling me to catch the guy in front of me.  (Robin coaches the Oak Grove High School's track team in Hattiesburg).   Ran right to my transition bag by the fence to get my camera and try to get some pictures of my friend finishing!  Managed to get all three of them (see photos below)!!!

My hope was to place in the top 5 like last year.  Preliminary results had me 5th, then 6th, then 5th again!  Yay!!  The awards around here are awesome, lots of thrown pottery and other unique awards and Sunfish didn't disappoint.  The top 5 awards were HUGE!!  And the platters and coffee mugs for the age group awards were great!  Good job, Sunfish!!

Chris Boyd, Sam Hudson, Brad Smith, Judy Hudson, Me, Lauren Hill
Robin Ryder, Lance Ward, Deanna Lynn.
The Hattiesburg area triathletes did really well at the race - here is a hardware picture of everyone!!

After the race I grabbed my bag of Aquaphor samples and wandered around handing them out and telling people about the usefulness of Aquaphor!  It always amazes me that some people haven't heard of it, but understandable.  There was one man in the transition area that I gave a sample to.  He was grinning from ear to ear.  I asked him if he'd had a good race as I gave him a sample and he told me he had just finished his FIRST triathlon!  How cool is that?  Then he asked me if I wrote a blog online, and told me that he'd read it and it really inspired him too!  He said that he really enjoyed the race reports.  You know... I wonder a lot if people do read what I write and being told that I'm helping someone is really great!!

Deanna - 1st Masters Female!

Judy - 1st Age Group!

Lesley - 4th Age Group!