The week approaching Columbia I was a little nervous about the race since it was my first race of the season, trying to shake the first race gitters away, and I had been under the waether for about 2 weeks prior.
The day of the race we lucked out and had incredible weather for the triathlon. It was clear skys and in the 70s with low humidity. We arrived at the race site around 5:30am to set up and parked at the host hotel about 10 minutes away. I thought the lot at the race site would have filled up by now so we parked at the host hotel and took the shuttle down to the race site. When we arrived at the race site there was still plenty of parking. Rookie mistake….
The race went well despite the unexpected challenging course. I did not PR in this race nor was I really expecting to due to the challenging terrain on the run in particular.
I felt a little sluggish and tight in the swim although my time was better than I had thought. The swim takes place in Centennial Lake starting at a boat ramp about a 3 minute walk from transition. From the boat ramp the swim course leads out toward a dam where and makes a u turn back in the direction of transition. Coming out of the water into T-1 I felt great. It was actually probably the best feeling T-1 I have ever had. I did not have that heart throbbing, blood rushing feeling I usually get coming intlo T-1. I felt fresh.
The bike course was beautiful and challenging. The bike out is a straight uphill to the start of the course which at first glance looked real intimidating but it was not as intense as it actually appeared. My legs started cramp a bit on the beginning of the bike which concerned me. I popped some salt pills earlier which seemed to have helped a few minutes later. Out on the course there were many challenging hills. I had a blast bombing some of the hills. There were two water stations on the bike course which was nice to have in an international distance race. The roads were also open to traffic which became a little annoying at times as cars stopped on the road causing me to almost come to a full stop on the course. Coming into T-2 I made an attempt to try to slip out off my shoes to run my bike into transition prior dismounting. I waited too long to do it and almost crashed into the fence a few feet away from T-2. Near death experience of the day, check! Maybe not today. Maybe I should practice this more, I said to myself. Coming into T-2 my legs were feeling good for the run.
I started off with a quick pace, much faster than I usually start. The run course was probably the most challenging part of the race. About 200 meters into the course you go into an uphill and then wind around centennial lake across a pedestrian bridge. The course then heads north of the lake into a lollipop off shoot up into an adjacent neighborhood. After crossing the bridge into the lollipop loop the course becomes much hillier with a gradual hill up to the top of the loop. My pace had slowed significantly at this point. I almost had to walk up one of the hills. I kept pushing through though. Many locals were out cheering us on and set up sprinklers in their lawn on to cool us down. It was great and much appreciated. After coming off the lollipop loop it was a downhill run to the lake again with one large uphill then it was flat to the finish as we ran across the dam. The last .2 miles was all downhill after peaking on a small uphill. The finish line and last .2 miles was right on the waters edge which was beautiful.
In all I was very pleased with the race. The course was very challenging and beautiful and I thought Tricolumbia did a great job putting the event on. Not to mention the schwag I got was quite good. Besides the usual t-shirt I got a large overnight/transition bag, water bottle and visor. I would definitely do this one again.
My race results:
||398 of 1683 Top 24%
||42 or 127 Top 33%
On May 13th I got the chance to attend the Chrissie Wellington book signing at Feashbikes over in Arlington. There is something about just being around a group of triathletes that gets you motivated, excited and relaxed all at the same time about upcoming races and the season. I will also say there is something about just being in the presence of Chrissie that is quite motivating and captivating even if its just for a few minutes to get a book signed.
Chrissie Wellington and I at her book signing for her new book “A Life Without Limits”
The last two seasons of triathlon for me had been a journey and a wonderful, self-rewarding experience from completing my first triathlon (a sprint distance) to working my way to completing a half ironman. This year I decided that I wanted to do “fun” and different races, “up the training” and pursue a full ironman. For the past two years my training workouts have been non-structured for the most part. I would train to be able to “do the race”. This year I wanted to give a little more sturcture to my workouts to improve at the sport, become stronger on the hills, and get insite on ironman training since I didnt really know how to train for one. I am not training to qualify for anything but I just simply am looking to improve upon my times from last year and develop my skills and form more. I bought a triathlon training book called “Your Best Triathlon” by Joe Friel which is a great book for triathletes who are looking to improve on their skills and times previous seasons. I would not recommend it for first timers. The book is very detailed with information on training levels and statistics and is designed for the more experienced triathlete. In his book he lays out workout plans for you in stages for all training distances for you’re a race. Last fall I made the decision to go for the full ironman this year and I am now following Friel’s Ironman training program in his book. . My reasons for pursuing an ironman were first, I wanted to challenge myself to an even greater distance. Secondly, I had this gut feeling that if I didnt sign up one this year I would regret it, and finally, I realized that at this point in my life I have the flexability with my job to train and my current lifestyle would be ammenable to doing one since I don’t have many other obligations at this point.
Now that I had established my ideas and goals set for the season it was time to start picking my races. Since I am a once-a-monther racer and love to travel, I started to look at races that would fit my schedule. Travel to me is just as important to my racing. I try to integrate travel into the season without interfering with my races. I recently have been getting into the concept of destination races. As one of my goals to do “fun” races this season I want to do more destination races. I had a couple races in the back of my mind from previous seasons that I have been wanting to do. One of them being the Lobsterman in Freeport, ME. I stumbled upon this race 2 years ago in a random race search and started to read up on it. The reviews for the course were great and the post race lobster bake they had seemed just as appealing. I had also wanted to try Philadelphia for an urban race since I had done the DC triathlons before and its close in proximity to Washington, DC. I always like to try one urban race a year. In picking my half ironman this year I wanted to do one in the northeast again because of the climate. Doing a half ironman in the mid-atlantic in summer is not appealing to me. I am not a heat and humidity person. I chose to sign up for the Musselman in Geneva, NY since I have heard great stories from people in the triathlon club who have done the race before and the price point is great compared to other half ironmans. Plus I thought it would be fun to make a nice weekend out of it and go wine tasting following the race in the area. I chose Cozumel for my first ironman as I wanted a race that was toward the end of the year to allow ample time to train and have my peak training period in less humid conditions. I also wanted to do an ironman in a place where I can just do absolutely nothing afterwards and relax on a vacation. Cozumel seemed perfect.
Now that I have most of my races planned for the year. Let the training begin!