This last weekend was my second year in a row participating in the Spudman Olympic Triathlon. The Spudman is held in the cute little town of Burley, ID. It’s such a small town and such a big race that the few hotels that are in the town sell out faster than the race sells out, so they open up the driving range at the Burley Golf Course for parking and free camping.
I worked half day on Friday & then my dad and I drove up to Burley (2.5 hour drive). We got up there and were able to set up our tent right on the shore of the Snake River. While my dad was setting up camp, I went and picked up my packet and dropped my bike off at T1. I ran back to camp from T1 and saw my coach. My coach wanted me to do a little riding, running & swimming the day before. I told him this was my running. Lol.
I’d been a little worried about this race because I didn’t feel prepared for it. I hadn’t done my weights & core workout since Boise 70.3, plus I haven’t been dligient with my workouts since Boise. I’ve been in kind fo a funk since then. So, I didn’t feel as prepared as I should feel for this race.
This race is a little different because T1 and T2 are not the same place. The swim takes place in the Snake River and you swim from point A to point B. One of the highlights of this race is that it has one of the fastest swims because you’re swimming downstream, so if you’re not a good swimmer, you can literally float down the river and be to T2 in 30 min.
The day of the race, I woke up at 6:00 a.m. to run down & check the air in my tires, fill up my water bottles & drop off my bag for my wetsuit for them to bring back to T2. I had my hands full of water to take to my bike that I didn’t have enough hands to take my bike pump, and what do you know…I needed a little bit of air in my tires. Grrr. There was a gal just down the transition row from me though that was nice enough to let me borrow her pump!
I was feeling slightly rushed because I hadn’t even set up a spot for T2 (a different spot, by the start line). I jogged back to camp, got my breakfast of a blueberry muffin and headed over to find a spot in T2. I found a pretty decent spot and made mental note of where it was for when I came back on my bike.
Nerves were starting to hit, so I had to hit the porta potties really quick. I was feeling rushed because I couldn’t remember what division I registered in and thought I was supposed to start at 7:20. I was bummed because while I was in the porta potties, the elite group started. I always like to watch the Elite group start because my coach is in that group and this is his home town and I like to do a big cheer for him.
Now it was time to wrestle myself in to my wetsuit. I HATE this part. I sprayed TriSlide on and it helps a little bit, but it’s still like trying to get an elephant in to a paper bag. Finally I have my wetsuit on, I look at my swim cap and it says I’m in wave # 7. It then dawns on me I registered in the Athena division. The only bad thing about that is I was the VERY last wave to go out in the river. This gave me LOTS of time for my anxiety to creep up. I should have just registerd in my age division because then I would have been wave # 3 or 4.
Oh, did I mention that when I went to get my polarized goggles out of the car Saturdya morning, they had warped? Yup! That didn’t help with the anxiety either. Thankfully I had some regular goggles to wear, I was just worried that the sun on the water would blind me. But, I didn’t have a choice. Thankfully it was an overcast day and I had no problems.
Finally, it was time to get in the water. FINALLY. My wave was HUGE. It was all Athena’s and Clydesdales. I got in the water & it seemed like forever until they said GO! But, they finally said go and we were off. I felt like I was swimming pretty fast. At one time I panicked a little because I found myself a little too far in to the middle of the river than where I wanted to be (you actually want to be in the middle of the river). But, I felt like I was by msyefl out there and I didn’t like that. So, I tried to swim over to the side a little more. One thing I don’t like about this swim is because it is a point A to point B swim, they don’t really have buoys to guide you. You just swim down the river & there are boats around for your safety etc. Where you get out to go to T1, there is a part of the water where it actually kind of funnels you out to the boat ramp, so you don’t really need buoys.
It seems like you’re swimming forever and then you finally see the bridge and the boat ramp right before the bridge & you get out of the water. I finished my swim in 20:28. I hussled and got my wetsuit off and in to the garbage bag. Got my shoes & helmet on and started to head out of T1. As I’m getting ready to drop my wetsuit bag off for them to take to T2, my aero water bottle falls off! Crap!!! So, I’m standing there fumbling trying to hurry & get my water bottle back on just thinkgin of the time ticking away. The T1 was 4:08! Too darn long!
I finally got my water bottle back on, got on the bike & I was on my way. Right out of the shoot, I felt like I was pretty strong on the bike. I automatically started passing people. I glanced at my watch a couple of times and it always said that the speed was 19.0+ mph! I kept constantly passing people on the bike. Granted, it does help that the bike is mostly flat. You odn’t really run in to any hills on the bike until the last 5 or so miles and even then, they are kind of steep hills, but they are short hills. As I was approaching T2, I was able to slip my feet out of my shoes so that I could hop off the bike barefoot and save a little time there. My time on the bike was 1:15:20! I averaged 19.6 mph on the bike.
T2 was really quick. I hurried & racked my bike, got my shoes on (no socks on anything shorter than 13.1 miles) and grabbed my water bottle & headed out of T2. My T2 time was barely over a minute.
Right out of the shoot, there is a BIG steep hill you have to climb on the run. You literally run through someone’s backyard. It was funny, the people that live in that house were sitting out on their back porch watching us all. I made sure I hollered thank yuou to them. But, after you climb this big hill, it’s a pancake flat course.
Once the course was flat, I got a side ache. It stayed the entire time. About 1 mile in to the run I was running with a guy that mentioned that he was a little tired still from his marathon that he ran in 3 days earlier, but that he felt pretty good. We ran for a little bit together. I found out that this guy just finished his 170th marathon! I asked him what his time was in the Deseret News Marathon on 7/24 and he said he finished in 4:13!!! He said that was a little slow, but he was ok with it. As I was talking with this guy, I made up my mind that if he can do a marathon 3 days prior to an Olympic distance tri, then I have no excuse to stop and walk during this 6.2 mile run.
The miles seemed to tick by pretty quick. Around mile 2.5, the heavens opened up and it was pouring rain! Thankfully it wasn’t a cold rain though. It was a little refreshing. It rained for the next 2.5 miles and the last mile it stopped raining.
The only time I ever stopped to walk was when I had to eat an energy gel (every 2 miles) and at one point I stopped to walk to try & get rid of my side stitch, but otherwise I ran the entire 10k. This is the first Olympic distance tri where I’ve ran the entire 10k. I finished the 10k in 1:03:08.
I kept looking at my watch every so often and new I was on target to PR from last year. I hit the finishers chute & opened up in to a full sprint and finished in 2:45:48! That’s a 16 minute PR from the previous year!
As soon as I crossed the finish line and saw my dad, the first question was “Did B.J. (my coach) win?” This year, sadly, he didn’t. He came in second. I’m still proud though. He said he usually pulls off a 34 min 10k and this year it was a slow 36 min 10k. How would it be to be able to run that fast?!?!
We stuck around for a few minutes to see B.J. get his 2nd place award and to talk to B.J. for a minute about how I did, etc. He said he’s proud of me. But then we packed up and left.
About 1.5 hours in to the drive home, I finally got internet access on my phone and I looked up the results at Milliseconds and found out I came in # 2 in my division!!!! What?!?!?! I couldn’t believe it!!! I didn’t stick around for awards because my swim wave was so big I thought I wouldn’t have a chance of placing.
I immediately texted B.J. and thankfully he picked up my Spud for me. I’m SO excited though. This race gave me the confidence I’ve needed lately.
My next race is the Epic Cache-Teton Relay.
What race is next on your list?