This last weekend was my last Olympic distance triathlon, well any triathlon, for the rest of the season. Boo. I was excited, but very nervous for this race. This is the first race I’ve done that was put on by racetri.
I always take the Friday before a race off in case I have to travel to the race and just to decompress from the work week.
This race, we had to travel about 3 hours to Yuba Lake, so my dad and I decided to camp for the race. On our way down to the race, we decided to stop in Pleasant Grove and pick up my packet in hopes of a map of the course would be in there (no map online at the time).
After we picked up my packet, we stopped by Wal-Mart to pick some stuff up we forgot. I had to sit out in the car while my dad went in because my bike was on the back of my car. While my dad was in the store, the battery on my car died!!! CRAP!!! I was a little freaked out. I could just see dollar signs thinking I was going to have to buy a new battery and tools so my dad could change my battery in the parking lot. Thankfully my dad came out a short time later and so did the people that were parked in front of us. They were able to jump my car and we were on our way again.
Now, Yuba Lake is out in the middle of nowhere. Literally. The closest town (Nephi) is 20 minutes away. So, we stopped in Nephi for lunch and then finished the rest of our drive. It was quite a boring drive.
We got to Yuba Lake and to my surprise it was a VERY nice campground. We got there probably around 3 pm and to my surprise, NOBODY from the racing company was there yet. There was no sign of transition area, nothing. My dad and I walked around for a little bit to take in the sites. I tested out the water to see how cold it was and surprisingly it wasn’t too cold.
As we were getting ready to walk back to camp, we saw a guy from the Division of Wildlife Resources and asked him if he knew much about the race course. Thankfully he was able to tell us a little bit. But I still didn’t have much of a clue as to where to ride, etc.
Unlike when we camped at the Spudman race, I remembered to bring a deck of cards to keep us occupied for a little bit. So, we set up camp and then sat down at a picnic table to play some cards to occupy us. We drove what we knew of the race course as well, but I still didn’t have much of an idea as to the course. It didn’t look like too hard of a course, but it didn’t look easy either.
We found out that the race director and his crew wasn’t going to be to the lake until 7 pm to start setting everything up and give out any other packets. So, right around 7 pm, we decided to walk down to where transition was to see if there were any maps of the course. Nope.
So, we headed back up to get ready for my favorite part of the night!!! For dinner, we started a campfire, roasted hot dogs & had potato & pasta salad. Then, for dessert? You guessed it! S ’mores!!! I had read on pinterest about how you put a peanut butter cup in with your smores, so I tried that. Not impressed. It wasn’t nearly as good as I was expecting.
Surprisingly, at this time, I wasn’t nervous at all for the race. I was actually feeling kind of confident. I slept pretty well, considering we were sleeping on a hill, in a tent, without any padding.
Race day morning, it was FREEZING. My dad kept saying he wasn’t cold, but he’s about 150 lbs. heavier and I was just wearing my tri-gear. That’s it. I got a blanket out of my trunk and headed down to transition.
I got a pretty good transition spot too. This isn’t as big of a race as I thought it would be.
As I was setting up transition, this guy comes around and is handing out those Snicker’s protein bars. He comes up to me and says “You’re AraAnn, right?” “Yeah, I am (thinking the whole time ‘who the hell are you?’)”. “You’ve lost a lot of weight doing this, huh?” I’m thinking HOLY HELL, how does this guy know me? Wait…maybe he read my newspaper article. Come to find out, his name is Eric and we have a mutual friend. He’s lost a lot of weight doing triathlons and he just finished his first Ironman.
While in transition, I cram down a couple of donuts for breakfast. I know, not the healthiest, but we forgot to bring breakfast. We stopped by the grocery store in Nephi to get some muffins or something, but they didn’t have any. This was the next best thing.
I’m still freezing, and my dad has seen the ambulance that is going to be there for safety pull up. My dad used to be an EMT/firefighter, so he gravitates towards those folks. So, I decide to put my wetsuit on a little early. Man, those are a pain in the ass to put on. I dread it every time.
Before I knew it, it was time to start the race. As I was looking out at the water, I finally started to get nervous. I didn’t want to say anything prior to the race about how I wasn’t feeling nervous, cause I didn’t want to jinx myself. But, I got in the water, did a little warm up swim and I was fine.
One thing I noticed prior to the race was that the triangle that we had to swim seemed extra large. If you follow me on Twitter, you already know that it was. If not, this will come in to play a little later in the post.
I wasn’t a huge fan of the buoys this company uses. They are very hard to see out in the water. We had a mass swim start of ALL of the Olympic athletes first. There were 80 of us in the water heading for the first buoy. I had to stop every so often and tread water and go “where’s the buoy? I can’t see it.” Part of the reason we couldn’t see the buoys was because of the sun, the other reason, the buoys were kind of small. They looked like the orange construction barrels you see out on the freeway. Until you got about 50 yards from the buoy, you couldn’t see them.
I knew my swim would be a little slower because I had to stop every so often, try and find the buoy and then keep going. You know those endless pools that you see commercials for? At one time, I was swimming to the second buoy and I felt like I was in an endless pool. That damn buoy didn’t seem to be getting any closer. Lol.
FINALLY, I finished the swim and made my way up to transition. As I’m heading up to transition, I’m trying to take off my wetsuit, but it keeps getting caught on my oversized watch. I Might have to get a new watch/GPS just for that reason.
I heard my dad with the cowbells as I got out of the water, but he never saw me. After a little while of not seeing me, my dad kind of freaked out. Finally, him and the race directors and EMT’s went in to transition and saw that my bike wasn’t there, so they knew I was ok.
As I got in to transition, I noticed that there were Sprint distance athletes done with the swim as well. That really messed with me mentally/emotionally. I thought my swim was SUPER slow. I could only hope to catch up a little on the bike.
As I headed out on the bike, I even had some sprinters passing me. The bike is definitely not my strongest point. It really got me down. I was convinced for a while that I was the last Olympic person out there. It seemed like whenever I had that thought an Olympic distance athlete would pass me. At one point, Eric passed me and gave me some encouragement.
There were A LOT of hills on the bike. The road was a rough road too. I had some emotional breakdowns on the bike. I had to keep reminding myself that I can do this and that at least I’m out there getting it done. At the turn around point about 2/3 of the way through the bike portion, my spirits started to lift because I could see that there were people behind me. I don’t know why, but I’m always afraid of coming in last. It would just be humiliating to me. But, I saw 6 people behind me.
As I got ready to head in to transition on the bike, I was able to slip out of my shoes on the bike, I just need to learn how to do the flying dismount. Transition seemed to go pretty fast. Got my running shoes on, grabbed some gels, my water bottle and headed out on the run.
I knew part of the run would be a trail run, but most of it was on the street. I was determined to try and head out strong on this run. It was nice to have a sprinkler set up in the parking lot/transition area that we got to run through too.
I got up on to the main highway and started running. My steps were small, but I was running. I didn’t feel like I was going very fast, but I looked down at my watch and for about the first 0.1-0.3 miles, I was carrying an 8:50 pace. I was shocked. I told myself that the only time I wanted to walk was when I was taking in gels on the run. Well, that changed pretty quick. There were some pretty nice hills on the run too. Plus, my knee hurt. But, the main reason I ended up walking some of the run was because I kept getting a side ache. I don’t know why I was getting it. I was taking gels every 25 minutes and drinking plenty of water. But, even though I walked part of the run, I felt really strong on this run. This is the first run in an Olympic distance triathlon that I have felt strong. Feeling strong is what matters most to me. Maybe next year I’ll be able to do an Olympic triathlon and run the entire thing.
Nothing too exciting about the run. Around mile 3, I almost twisted my ankle. A few curse words came out of my mouth there, but I wasn’t hurt, so on with the show! On my way back on the run, there were cows on the side of the road. To distract myself, I talked to them. They didn’t seem to care. I don’t know why. They were too busy eating the weeds. I did notice throughout the race that I think someone fueled themselves with rice krispy treats cause I saw the wrappers in the street. I was kind of jealous.
As I was getting ready to run in to the finish, I think I muttered that this race felt REALLY long and a spectator who was cheering her husband on said “Well, if it makes you feel better, one guy said his Garmin measured the swim at 1.5 miles.” HOLY HELL!!! No wonder the swim felt long. The buoys weren’t anchored down enough and so they kept drifting. Good Lord. 1.5 miles is longer than a Half Ironman Swim!!!
I ran in to the finish feeling REALLY strong. I was excited. As I crossed the finish, they called out my name and then to my surprise, we got a finishers medal! Sweet!
We stuck around for a few minutes to see if my final time would be posted, but we were kind of anxious to get home, so I didn’t get my final results until later that night.
As I was looking at my results, I think they ended up averaging our swim time. The results say my swim time was 33:48. There is NO way I can swim 1.5 miles in that time. I know some people who can, but I’m not one of them. My bike was 1:38:00 and some change and my run was 1:10:00 and some change. Overall, it was 3:24:48. That is a 3 min personal record from the Jordanelle Triathlon 3 weeks ago! Yay!!! I came in 9th out of all the women and 39th overall. I register in the Athena group (weight) and I came in first in that group.
Overall, I’m happy with my race results. Will I do this race again? Not sure. I’m not a fan of the buoys they use and the race company seemed a little disorganized. I’m sure they were setting up transition in the dark since they didn’t get to the campground until 7 pm, but that doesn’t really affect me. I MIGHT do the race again just so I can camp again, plus, when it comes to races, I’m a creature of habit. I like to do races where I know what to expect on the course, etc. So, I guess I’ll wait until next year and decide if I want to do the race again.
Next race: The Really BIG Free Marathon in Las Vegas, NV on 11/3.