Sunday, October 13, 2013

Final Race Of The Season - Mighty Magnolia Triathlon Race Report


I did my last race of the season yesterday - a melancholy day. Drove back to Hattiesburg for the Mighty Magnolia Triathlon. Saw a bunch of my friends - that was great. Reminded me just how much I miss them - that was bad.

Yum!!!
Left Shreveport around 10:00am on Friday morning heading to Hattiesburg. Immediately went to see my friends Denise and Kyle Joplin at Runner's High on 4th Street. If you've read any of my blog you'll know that Denise was the girl I'd been training with the majority of this last year. I swam Masters with her and we did the majority of our rides together. Her husband Kyle was my Masters swim coach; together the own and run Runner's High - a really great running and now tri shop in Hattiesburg. Kyle is going to coach me for World's next year! They also own Tri Optimum Performance coaching! We caught up and I gave Denise a couple packs of Biscoff cookies that I found in the grocery store here. At Girl Power Triathlon this spring we were given a jar of Biscoff spread in our goodie bags and she told me how she loved the cookies. (Think about the little cookies that you get on the airplane - those are Biscoff!) Post race celebration food!

Denise and Kyle Joplin
We caught up about the races we've done since I moved and then I went over to the Family Y to see some of the kids that I coached on the HubFins Swim Team! It was awesome to see them, but a little disappointing because it is Fall Break and a bunch of the kids weren't there.

Meh...




Then I went and met up with my friends Deanna, Lesley, and Judy and we all went to the race site for Packet Pick-Up and then out to get some pre-race dinner and catch up! Miss those girls, we have a lot of fun race memories together!

I have to say that the shirt from this year's race is really disappointing. Actually that is being kind, it's downright ugly in my opinion (and that of pretty much everyone.) I don't know what the race director was thinking in putting this design on a shirt from a race called The Mighty MAGNOLIA - where is the Magnolia? I think he should find a graphics art student class to come up with a cool design for next year's race. What do you think?

I stayed at Deanna's house, she lives only about 15 minutes from the race site. Stayed up way too late talking and that 4:00 am alarm came much too soon. Had some coffee with the girls but didn't feel like eating breakfast - that's not normal! Drove over to the race site and got set up. Got a great parking place really close to the transition area! Bonus!!


It was an "iffy" wetsuit legal swim, it had to be right at the cut off mark, sure didn't feel like the advertised 75.5 degrees. The water was warmer than last year and the air was foggy. Denise, Brinn, and I swam across the lake to the start. We did a few pick-ups along the way of 20 strokes hard/ 20 strokes easy. Then it was "Line Up as You Sign Up" for the time trial start. I really, really dislike time trial starts. I understand completely why we have them, it makes for a safer race for the participants. There is a lot less chance of getting kicked or bumped but you never know where your competition is in a time trial start. There is no way to tell until the last of the results are posted.

I had, what felt like was a good swim. My new Xterra Wetsuit arrived on Monday so even though I don't like wearing a wetsuit I was kind of excited to check it out. Wasn't disappointed - the neoprene in this suit is SO much stretchier that my old one. Much less constricting! I checked my watch at the edge of the water when I finished and saw 8:11 - my chip time was 8:38 - pretty close to last year's 8:31. A bit surprised by that since I haven't been swimming as much at all since moving to Shreveport - I think it was the wetsuit, had we not worn them my time would have been significantly slower.

A wetsuit really benefits a swimmer who doesn't have good body position in the water. When you swim you want to your entire body to be horizontal at the surface of the water, this requires balance in the water. A lot of triathletes swim with their heads elevated and their faces looking forward. When you have this body position your feet will sink. Keep your head low when you're swimming, looking down, and having the water line bisecting the top of your head. This will help you get your bum and feet up. When you need to site try to raise only your goggles above the surface of the water, and you need to kick a little harder for that second to keep your feet from sinking as you raise your head to see. Then get your face looking downward again, quickly!

Denise started 7 people behind me - :35 seconds, and when I finally made it to transition I saw her already running out with her bike. Uh Oh... bad swim - OR maybe she had a really great swim (I'll choose door two - stay positive!) My last ride before the race was Saturday... a week had gone by and I hadn't been on my bike. And I felt it! It took me exactly 5.65 miles to stop breathing like a buffalo and settle into my ride. Ridiculous! After that I finally was able to pick it up and feel like I wasn't fighting to keep any kind of speed going. Still, I saw my computer and couldn't get my average over 20 mph. Meh... Driving usually takes a lot out of my legs, I think yesterday was no surprise. 5 hours in the car the day before the race. Not surprised.

Out onto the run and I'm feeling better. I saw Brinn up head at the start of the race and she just ran away, that girl is just getting faster and faster with each race! I think she should win "Most Improved" for the year. It's been really neat watching her improve. Last year just before Mighty Magnolia I did a transition clinic and I remember Brinn asking me questions on her set up before the race. At Crawfishman I just barely beat her and knew then that it was going to probably be the last time I was able to do that - I was right! There is nothing I like better than helping new triathletes!

Okay... back to the race - I kept trying to see my pace on my watch but every time I'd look it would be scrolling on overall time. After the second look I gave up and just ran. Mighty Magnolia has a tough little run course. It advertised as 3 miles but every year my Garmin has told me different - it's 2.94 and when results are posted I always feel happy... until I read the data after the download and see that I've really run about 15 seconds per mile slower than what was posted. Still my pace was right in line with my last race at the Rose City Tri 7:44 miles. I know I can run faster than that, just haven't been doing my homework like I should for the run. I see Denise and Brinn by the finish shoot and they're cheering for me! I miss my friends!

Typical post race activities - cheer other friends in at the finish line, drink my Slimfast, get cleaned up, and enjoy time with the other triathletes while waiting for awards. Handed out about 100 Aquaphor samples - nice reception to the brand. One man told me he was a dermatologist and loved Aquaphor and recommended it to all of his patients. Said they use it on cancer patients and nothing worked better at wound care. Very cool!

So... about that time trial start... like I said you have no idea how you did until the final people have finished. Typically it is pretty close because most people that sign up early are serious triathletes and are the ones you see on the podium. Kyle told me about a girl registered that came in second to Denise at Sunfish this summer, so I remember telling him that I would probably be 4th behind her, Denise, and Brinn. He nodded.
But for a short time this is the results that were posted. Would have been awesome if it would have held.

Nice transitions - T1 includes wetsuit removal!!

Brinn, Me, and Denise!
I ended up finishing 5th overall after seeing the results online. At the race it showed me as 4th on the final results. There was another girl that started 299 that beat me.  Denise though won Overall Female and Brinn finished 3rd Overall!  My friend Deanna was 6th, and Judy was 7th.  Lesley placed 2nd in her age group!

Deanna, Judy, Me, and Lesley

Everyone took home hardware YAY!!.... which was identical to last years boo, and didn't even have the year on the awards. I hope next year it will be better! I will sure be back!

By far one of the best triathlon communities you will ever find! Fast athletes and friendly people, what more could you ask?

No more triathlons this year to report, but I'll be doing some running!! First up the Sportspectrum Autumn Breeze 5K next Saturday! Long sleeve hoodie sweatshirts instead of t-shirts! Gotta love that!

See you at the races!