Home > Tri Posts > Race Recap: Lakeside Olympic Triathlon

Race Recap: Lakeside Olympic Triathlon

September 17, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments


Dave: 1  Course: 0

Okay – I don’t know if that’s really a fair assessment.  I should give the course a half point at least – it really did give me all the run for my money I could handle.  But I finished.  1.5km Swim, 40km Bike, 10km Run.  3 hours, 24 minutes, and 44.4 seconds.

I’m an Olympic Distance Triathlon Finisher!!!  And you know what? I really enjoyed it!

Let’s start at the beginning…

The alarm went off at 6:00am.  One of the beauties about races in September is that the sun rises a bit later, and so the race guns go off a bit later.  This one didn’t start until 9:00, and was an hour’s drive from my home.  I didn’t see a need to get up any earlier than that – which is very odd for race morning.

One of the not-so-beauties about races in September is that race morning can be bloody cold!  We woke up to 6° air temperature.  Brrrr.  I wasn’t in any hurry to swap my sweater for a sleeveless wetsuit.  My wife, however, was quick to steal the sweater for herself.  Spectator’s right, I guess.  At least I’d be racing – I’m sure she was pretty cold.


The biggest challenge I had on race morning was my nutrition – this being my first race of this distance, I had no idea how much to eat.  Normally, before a sprint race, I eat a bagel with PB&J.  I decided 2 pieces of toast with PB&J for this race.  Next time I plan this a bit better… but more on that later…

The swim was in a small, shallow lake.  The course was two loops of a 750m swim, set up for the Sprint race the day before.  It looked like the 750m loop used up most of the lake.  But I think looking out at a 750m loop was less intimidating than seeing buoys 1,500m away.

The gun went off, and off we went.  The water was surprisingly warm given how cold the air was.  Possibly the warmest swim I’ve done all year (which isn’t saying much).  I find it hard to gauge – while swimming – how I’m doing relative to the field.  I’m sighting for the buoys, but otherwise unaware of how the race is going other than my feel of the water.  And I felt good.  I felt strong.  Even standing up in the shallows to round the start buoy and dolphin dive back out for loop 2 (which was odd) I was happy with my swim.

When I got out of the water at the end I discovered two things:

  1. I had easily PR’d my swim in 30:29, knocking over 6 minutes off my previous personal best 1,500m swim time, and a pace/100m PR that beats any shorter distance race I’ve ever swam.  Killed it!
  2. I had fallen well off the pack.  The bike racks were all empty already.  Even with my strong swim, I was on my own from here on out.


The bike was a bit tougher.  It started right out of the gate, right at the mount line, where I seriously debated getting on the bike, or running into the bush to lose my breakfast.  The first 100m on the bike were slow and wobbly as I tried hard not to hurl in front of the cheering spectators (I was already the last one on the bike from my swim wave, after all, there’s a bit of pride to salvage here).  It took me a good full kilometer to get my stomach settled and my legs under me.  All I could think was “I wish I had just stuck to my bagel”.  But it passed quickly and it was Race On!

The course was a single loop circuit through farm country.  I realized how much I like out-and-back bike courses because I can see how far behind the leaders I am as they come back the other way.  No such luck this time – just me and my bike and the cows.  Here I really noticed the cold – riding, wet, in my sleeveless tri kit into a headwind.  By about kilometer 30 I was sure I’d caught a head cold (and sure enough, 2 days later, it’s still here).

The ride was a really fair ride – no massive hill climbs, but lots of significant rollers.  And the last 10k of the ride (where most of the rollers are) was straight into a headwind.  They told us in the pre race email: Don’t go out too hard, you’ll have nothing left in your legs for the run.  They told us again in the pre race meeting.  Did I listen?  Nope.

I biked a 1:31:26 (26.25km/hr avg) 40k.  Given the rollers, and the headwind, and my first time doing the distance after a swim I was happy with it.  My goal was to be between 1:30:00 and 1:40:00.

Little did I know, the race winner had already won before I was even off the bike.  Oh well.


The run was a mixed bag.  It was two loops of a very hilly 5k out-and-back circuit.  My first quarter race felt amazing – I wasn’t wearing a GPS watch or anything, so I don’t know for sure how that split of my race went, but it felt fast.  My legs didn’t feel like bricks at all.  I felt like I could attack the hills.  I felt like I was out doing a tempo training run.  I felt great – apart from a bit of stiffness in my lower back from 90 minutes on the bike that is.

Then I hit the climb right before the turn around point.  And.  I.  Just.  Tanked.  7.5km to go still and I slowed right down.  Walking felt fine – nothing hurt.  But I just couldn’t run for more than about 100m.  Again, nothing hurt, but my body wouldn’t respond.  I felt crazy-hungry.  I kept thinking “I wish I ate more than those 2 pieces of toast”.   I started to get a headache.  I drank water and HEED at every aid stop.  The mental battle was on “C’mon legs – run to the next tree… run to the next fence post…”.  I was moving in 100m bursts.

I made it back to the 5km loop, back to the crowds and the noise of transition.  I saw my wife there cheering me on – I needed that support to turn around and head back out again.

Back out into the countryside I went.  I kept willing myself to keep going – 100m at a time.  At least the few racers still out there were in the same boat as me.  Lots of fist bumps and encouraging words as we passed each other.  Everyone just trying to finish.  100m at a time.

For as much as I walked, my run wasn’t as bad as it could have been: 1:18:19 (7:49min/km).  I mean, that’s a number I’m not happy with, I need a lot of work on my running, but while on the course I thought it would be much worse.

My total time was 3:24:44.4 – good enough for 9th out of 9 in my Age Group.  To have even finished 8th in my AG I would have had to shave a full 45 minutes off of my time.  Seriously not with my peers – M30-34 is a tough AG.  But 150/155 overall isn’t as embarrassing… I guess?  Whatever, I don’t care.  I finished.  I’m actually really happy and proud of that.  And now I have a baseline for future Olympic distance races!!

With that, my 2013 race season is in the books.  I’m sure over the next few weeks I’ll have lots of Looking Back and Looking Forward thoughts, but for now I’m putting my feet up and enjoying a few weeks of not-so-active recovery.

Welcome to the Off Season!

  1. September 17, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    OMG! YOU Are AWESOME! I would be so proud to say I finished an Oly! You rocked it, dude! Super congratulations! You did your race and you beat your swim time! That is SO cool! I’m SO looking forward to reading about your races next year. Congratulations, and definitely, take time off and let it soak in!
    YAY YOU!!!!

    • September 18, 2013 at 11:54 am

      Thanks Sandra – love the support! Gonna take a week or two off and then dive into some off season base work. Next year isn’t that far off 🙂

      • September 18, 2013 at 12:57 pm

        True that! I have a half in January and my first tri in April. Excited for a pain free year!

  2. September 17, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    Congrats on the race man, ‘upright with a smile on your face’ is always a great goal, it was mine for my first season.

    The mental battle can be the hardest part of a race. Sounds like you dominated.

    • September 18, 2013 at 11:53 am

      ‘Upright with a smile’ is a great goal. I fully agree. And the mental battle really can be the hardest part. I’m happy with how it played out

  3. sweatingforit
    September 17, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    Congratulations. That is a totally respectable time and a huge accomplishment!

    • September 18, 2013 at 11:52 am

      Thanks. I’m really happy with it. Looking forward to hearing how your race goes this fall!

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