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Hi, I'm Whitney! I am a middle of the pack runner who discovered the fun of triathlons in 2009. Join me in my adventures in life and training. I run with the Rush Running team and enjoy the fun that comes with such a supportive group of friends who understand what running means to me. I'm newly discovering road biking and the fun that it entails.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

2011 Shark Sprint Triathlon Race Recap

Today was my third time to complete the Shark Sprint Triathlon.  This was my first ever triathlon so it is one that I try to include in my calendar every year. 

Temps this morning were super warm.  When I woke up, the temps were still 78 degrees and that was at 5AM.  The race didn't start until 7:30 and just standing in the pre-race meeting I was sweating.  The race hired a new management company this year and there were some improvements but most of the changes were not noticeable to the racers. 

This race is held at the Horseshoe Bend campground park on Beaver Lake.  The water level on the lake is still extremely high from the early Spring rainfall that we got.  This meant that the normal transition area and swim course were flooded.  I know you are probably chuckling that the swim course was flooded but the picnic benches were under water and there was a ton of debris in the area.  The organizers moved transition to a grassy area that was a long uphill run from the swim exit.  The swim was altered to be a point-to-point swim and required a start location a few hundred yards away from the main race site. The bike course was the same in all its glory! The run course was also changed and became an out/back that led to two different loops.  This change equated to a lot more shade on the run course which was a huge improvement. 

I headed out around 5:20 and got to the lake just before 6AM.  There was actually a little backlog of traffic getting parked which was a first for me to experience at this race.  As I unpacked my car I ran into several friends and said hi on my way down to check in.  I entered transition and chose a rack spot that was mostly near men.  The women start last on the swim so I figured that the men would get out of transition way before me and that it would be easy to spot my bike this way.  I was near Brent and his son Cole and some other tri friends too.  I had plenty of time to set up my transition spot and also make potty stops and get my timing chip.  There was a pre-race meeting and then everyone began the walk down to the swim start.

Transition area...the lake looks far away!
Swim: The start buoy was only 5 feet from the shore which seemed pretty close to me.  I lined up 2-3 people back but right next to the buoy.  I never felt a crush of people but was always near people during the swim.  The turn around the first buoy was a little rough with arms and legs but overall wasn't too crazy.  In the last 100 I even managed to catch up to some of the guys from the previous swim wave.  Gotta love that! My swim time was around 9:32...however the course seemed shorter than previous years. 

T1- The run up to transition was not so good...it was uphill and I was pooped after the swim.  I did my best to get up there quick and then prep myself for the bike.  My T1 time was around 2:39 which is slower than in past years.  The transition area was quite a bit longer than previous years and I had a longer distance to run the bike out.

Bike:  This bike course is tough! There is no sugar-coating it.  The first 5 miles are mostly uphill and then there is a very significant uphill climb around mile 10.  I did my best to cover the distance and stay positive on the bike.  The big hill at mile 10 is called Chicken Hill because it is in front of the Monte Ne Chicken House which is known for their fried chicken.  Every year I worry that I will have to walk my bike up that hill but I just tell myself slow and steady gets to the top.  I took a huge swig of ice cold water before starting up the hill which helped a little at least mentally.  My bike time was 54:18 for a 16.6 mph pace.  I was about 45 seconds slower on the bike this year but faster than my training ride on the course a few weeks ago. 
Looking up Chicken Hill from the bottom.
T2 - I don't know why I was so slow here except for taking huge gulps of cold water while racking my bike.  I probably wasted a few extra seconds by just being pokey.  My time was 2:20 which is about a min slower than my normal T2 time.

Kyla and I post-race...she saved me on the run!

Run: I didn't feel strong at the start of the run and that lack of confidence definitely pulled me down.  The heat had my psyched out from before the race even started.  The mental aspect of the run off the bike is something that I need to work on.  Around mile .75 I could start to hear the Rush Running crew at the 1 mile water stop.  They had the music blaring throughout the campground.  As I ran up they gave me a cool towel and water.  The towel felt great and I placed it around my neck to help cool me down some.  My friend Kyla was out at the water stop and she came to run with me for a little bit.  She had run with another friend ahead of me and so she was running back on the course and I don't know why but seeing her choked me up.  I just started to cry because it sucked so bad and Kyla was just so happy to see me and help me.  It took a few seconds but then as Kyla started to tell me about a movie I was able to get my head out of the race and I felt a lot better.  Kyla ran with me for about 1/2 mile and it was great! The finish was a short uphill but I knew there was a lady on my tail so that got me motivated to finish it up.  I think my run time was around 34 minutes but somehow I missed that split when I copied the results at the race site.

Rhonda got 3rd in our division and I got 1st, yeah us!
My overall time was 1:43:15 (I think...somehow my pic of the results cropped off the run time and total time.) I was about 1:30 slower than last year but it was a lot warmer and more humid this year.  I still managed to win the Athena division! Whoo hoo!!!

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