a German on Team USA

Successful Dress Rehearsal

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Successful Dress Rehearsal

Brewhouse Sprint Triathlon, Duluth, MN – August 7, 2016

0.75 km / 20 km / 5 km

The marching order for this triathlon was straight forward: Swim hard, hold slightly back on the bike, run as hard as you can.

Morning of the race

The morning started out on the cool but muggy side, but it promised to be a good racing day with comfortable temperatures and no wind. Arriving at the race site just as transition opened allowed me to get a good transition spot within the assigned corral.

Swim > 11:55; 1:27 / 100 yds > 1st female; 1st age group
... and the first wave is off. I'm somewhere in this mess. (photo: Endurance Kennels LLC)

… and the first wave is off. I’m somewhere in this mess. (photo: Endurance Kennels LLC)

I started in the very first wave of the day, a wave designated for the elite, i.e. strong, swimmers of the sprint race. However, I was surprised how many athletes in my wave had problems swimming straight. I’m generally very good in holding a straight line and I had several athletes coming at me at almost 90° to my swimming direction. I know I swam over one, and I pushed another out of the way forcing him or her to go straight again. I caught a good draft for the first approximately 400 yds (the out portion of the swim). It is not that easy to draft in Island Lake Reservoir because even though the water is very clear, it has a lot of tannin and thus is quite dark, and under water you can see as far as your elbow.

On the way back toward shore, I knew I was in a good position ahead of the majority of the swimmers in the wave. Actually, there were no more than two men ahead of me, since I had the third fastest swim time overall. As I approached the shore, I thought I saw another female in a swim suit swimming next to me, but she suddenly drifted towards the right, away from the exit area. I just held my course towards what I though was the optimal line toward the exit buoy.

(photo: Endurance Kennels LLC)

(photo: Endurance Kennels LLC)

The swim time reported in the results included a lengthy run up an incline to the transition area. According to my watch the time spend swimming was closer to 11:24, which translates into a very good 1:24 / 100 yds, assuming the swimming distance was correct. :-).

T1 > 0:57 > 2nd female, 1st age group

I almost forgot to take off my swim cap before putting on my helmet. Normally I take off the cap on the run to the transition spot. For whatever reason I didn’t do it this time, and realized, just before I wanted to grab my helmet and put it on, that the cap still was on my head. Oops!

Bike > 33:09; 22.5 mph > 3rd female; 1st age group
(photo: Endurance Kennels LLC)

(photo: Endurance Kennels LLC)

The Brewhouse Sprint bike course with its great black top makes for a very smooth ride and looks deceivingly flat. You sometimes do not realize that you are on a longer, drawn out incline of up to 3% grade and you start wondering “Why can’t I go any faster? Why am I so slow? Is there something wrong with the bike?” However, this time I just seemed to fly on the way out to the turn around. Every time I looked at my bike computer I seemed to go at least at 24 mph, and I did not feel like I was pushing really that hard. I ended up averaging over 23 mph on the way out, and I slowed down somewhat on the way back. I think there must have been a light northerly breeze that supported those speeds. This was one of the fastest bike speeds I ever recorded in a race, and a very fun ride.

T2 > 0:47 > 7th female; 1st age group

It’s always a good idea to do race course reconnaissance prior to the race. For most races, I tend to check out the bike and run course, the day before the race, and then of course the flow of the transition area on the morning of the race.

The temporary bridge leading over the ditch into the transition area was quite bumpy, so as soon as I had dismounted the bike, I grabbed it by the top tube, carried over the bumpy stretch, before putting it down again and rolling it to my transition spot.

I had a harder time getting into my running shoes than at Timberman. I do not know what was different, but my feet just did not want to slip into the shoes as easily and smoothly.

Seventh place for T2, looks like a pretty bad transition for me, however, the Top 10 were all within a few seconds of each other, and it seems that some of the top 10 biked in their running shoes which makes for a slightly faster transition time, but generally for a lot slower biking time.

Run > 21:18; 6:51 min/mi > 6th female; 1st age group

Garmin > 7:20 min/mi

6:41 min/mi? Wouldn’t that be nice! Unfortunately, according to my watch, the run was not quite the advertised 5K, and I had closer to a 7:20 min/mi pace.

The run course was slightly changed from last year, and we ran more of the course on trail sections consisting of sand, grass, or loose gravel. I liked these trail sections through the woods, but I also found them really challenging. They really got to me.

On the black top sections of the running course I averaged 7:16 min/mi hitting my goal pace, but my pace really dropped on the 2 half-mile trail sections. It showed that I do not train on trails, especially not on trails with loose footing! Overall, I was quite satisfied with my 7:20 min/mi average pace.

Overall > 1:08:04 > 3rd female; 1st age group

New age group record! And almost 4 min faster than last year! 🙂

I ended up not only winning my age group but also the Master’s category. I received a nice hatchet for my efforts, not a mug like in previous years. It’s different and I think a nice conversation piece. I thought I could use it as a replacement hatchet for the one my nephew killed while splitting wood. But one of my friends education me: “Oh no, display purposes only, lol! … it can’t be defiled; don’t want to wear off the writing!” OK, so on my display shelf in my workout corner it goes, as a motivator during winter bike trainer workouts!

Overall, it was a successful dress rehearsal for Nationals in Omaha, NE next Saturday, August 13th; and a good conclusion to the speed emphasis of the previous week.

What’s coming up next?

On August 13, I will be racing the Olympic distance at the USAT Nationals in Omaha, NE.

Author: seecktri

an Exercise Science professor at Bemidji State University who spends most of her time working, swimming, cycling, and running; a German on Team USA Triathlon who nevertheless cheers for Team Germany for anything sport

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