June 24, 2014

Race Recap: Pleasant Prairie Olympic Triathlon

Well, I did it.  I tackled one of my "Big Goals for 2014" and completed my first international distance triathlon Sunday!  Phew!  Last June as I was struggling through the swim of a sprint tri, I vividly remember thinking to myself, "I will NEVER do an Olympic distance!"  Never say never, I guess!  Here's my six word recap:
Through fog, wind, mist--didn't quit!
The race got off to a bit of a rough start.  For starters, I did not get NEARLY enough sleep before my 3:30am wakeup call.  I had to be up at that ungodly hour in order to give myself time to drive up north to the race, set up my transition area, and have plenty of extra "just in case" time before the race's 6:30am start.  (Holy early.)  However, it became very clear on the drive up that weather might be an issue!  It was ridiculously foggy out--so bad that there were times when I could barely see the road.  YIKES!  
I was so pumped to discover my race cap matched my tank AND shoes!
Shortly before the race start, the director announced that they were postponing the start time due to fog.  Not only could you not see across the lake, but all of the buoys were basically invisible in the thick fog making it both impossible for swimmers to see the course and for lifeguards to see the swimmers!  Then the start was postponed again, and again...two hours later, I was finally lining up with my wave.  They ended up changing the swim course for the international distance and had us swim two loops of the sprint distance course instead of swimming further out to the still fog-hidden international buoys.  This was kind of...confusing...but I was just happy that they didn't switch everyone to a sprint!  After all my training, that would have been such a let down.  By this point, I had adopted the attitude of, "If I don't get in that water and get this over with soon, I want to get back in my car and take a nap!"  Nothing like a great race-day mindset!  
Finally, finally I got in the water.  The air was cool, but the water felt great, albeit a little choppy.  I struggled with my breathing a little at first, but stayed calm and got into a rhythm fairly quickly.  I swam the course without any real issues and finished the swim in 41:51.  Not fast by any means, but I'll take it!
I felt like a mess during T1--for starters, our bikes were racked by bib number, and I kept thinking my number was 175.  Needless to say I was confused when it wasn't on that rack or the next one over...turns out I was 157.  Eventually I glanced at my body marking, realized my mistake, and found my bike.  Even with the mistake, I made it in and out in 2:03.  Again not fast, but I felt like I was in there for much, much longer!
The bike leg was pretty brutal.  The fog had settled in again, bringing with it plenty of wind and a nice damp mist.  Lovely biking conditions.  The course was *slightly* hilly (for this Illinois girl, though, slight hills feel like the Rockies...), and during the first half I literally did not pass one single person.  Oh well!  I wasn't in this race to win!  Most of the athletes that passed me were rocking fancy tri bikes, so I didn't feel too bad!  They ended up cutting the bike leg short by 3 miles when they delayed the start due to roads that couldn't remain closed, but trust me there was nothing short-feeling about it!  I was super hungry by this point because the late start meant it had been HOURS since my breakfast, so I devoured a pack of Chomps during the ride.  Chomps have never tasted so good!  When I finished the leg, I was so relieved and ready to get into my running shoes.  
I finished the bike leg in 1:17:34 and made it in and out of T2 in 1:31.  The run was where everything fell into place!  The sun was FINALLY out, and it became a beautiful (warm!) day.  I loved every minute of the 6.2 mile run around the lake and through beautiful farmland.  Even though I was pretty warm and my legs were obviously tired, it passed quickly!  Based on my watch, I was averaging 10 minute miles, no easy feat for me on a good day much less in the third leg of a tri!  I zoned out a little bit around mile 4, and when I noticed the mile 5 marker ahead, I was shocked to see it come up so soon!  What a great feeling.  I managed to speed up my pace a little towards the end and finished strong and smiling!  My 10K run time was 1:02:11, for a total race time of 3:05:09.  

After the race, I felt great!  So proud of my accomplishment and happy it was over, but also I physically felt decent.  In fact, I wondered if I should have pushed myself harder because I definitely still had gas left in the tank!  (I reconsidered that thought later though when the pain from my crazy sore legs woke me up mid-nap!)  All in all, I'm so glad I took on this new challenge this year.  Again, I have shown myself that anything is possible!  Never in my life did I think I'd be able to do a triathlon at all, much less this distance.  Now, I'm thinking I'll do this race again next summer!  (Don't ask me when I'm doing a half iron though--that is NEVER GONNA HAPPEN!!)
Mandatory post-race activities: Gatorade + salty snack + Netflix
Bragging time--when have you shown yourself that anything is possible recently?

What is your next big goal? From here on out, my summer focus is going to be getting myself to the starting line of the Milwaukee Marathon with strong, healthy legs.  :)


  1. I think we should do a half ironman next summer! ;)

    Also, can't wait to hear about the other aspect of the race too. Bike date when you recover for sure!

  2. Congrats! I am still saying I could never do an Olympic distance.

  3. I can't even imagine dealing with that postponed start...nothing like hours of race jitters!! Congrats on a strong finish!


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