I’m very happy to report that I finally got my shit together for this year’s St. Anthony’s Olympic Triathlon! I managed to finish the whole thing without busting my ass, DNF’ing, or crawling on the bike. Well, my version of non-crawling anyway.
St. Anthony’s is one of the biggest triathlons in the Southeast and it’s competitive featuring lots of elites and pros! It’s a great race every year and it’s like a big, ol’ triathlon party.
The day before the race, Meghan and I met up to head to the expo, rack our bikes, do a pre-race swim, and drive the bike course. The S.O. was manning the Best Damn booth. This was Meghan’s first St. Anthony’s and she wanted to see the 4,000 turns on the bike course. This helped me as well since I hadn’t ridden the course since 2012.
We met up with Genna who was racing her first ever triathlon and raising money for Team in Training.
|Genna, Meghan, and I.
Maybe you’ve seen this lady in the middle? She’s kind of a big deal.
Meghan and I also got to tri-geek out and snap a pic with Mirinda Carfrae. We were pretty excited and Meghan was a little star struck which made us both giggle. I honestly had so much fun with Meghan at the expo and pre-race day that it really helped calm any jitters I had before race day.
On race morning, the S.O. and I got up and headed to St Pete for the race. Prior to leaving the house I realized I missed the timing chip pick up station at packet pickup. D’oh! I was majorly stressed about it and practically ran out of the car when we got to the race to get a replacement chip. Fortunately, we had plenty of time to set up our transition (bikes were racked on Saturday) and head to the swim start. My wave didn’t start until 7:39 so I had time to chill and watch the pro’s take off. I also got to meet a DR blog reader named Dave. HI DAVE!
I lined up with my age group and headed down the start chute. The swim is a water start and it’s a weird course. You swim parallel to the shore, then make a left turn and swim out to sea, then there’s a final turn back toward the shore. St. Anthony’s is known for having some rough swims due to the wind and location. It’s always a little choppy and they seem to cancel or shorten the swim every other year, and with good reason.
Fortunately, this year it looked fairly calm from the shore so I wasn’t concerned about it. The swim was wetsuit legal so I was happy to tread water awaiting the start with the added buoyancy. I chatted with my friend Jamie for a bit and worked my way toward the front.
The horn sounded and we were off. I felt great for the first set of buoys. I was swimming hard and the water wasn’t rough. As we hit the big yellow “field goals” that alert you to turn left and swim out to sea, things got tough. All of the sudden there seemed to be very large swells. I felt like every stroke was a battle and I couldn’t see the buoys if I happened to sight at the wrong time during a wave. I did some breast stroking, which I’m sure slowed me down and annoyed people but at the same time, I saw lots of others taking breaks too. It was a rough swim for me and I thought I’d never reach the final turn buoy to head back to shore.
As much as I love swimming, I know I need to work on my strength in the open water. I felt much better after I made that last turn and tried to make up for lost time on the way back in. The swim exits at some stairs where the race has awesome volunteers stationed to help you climb out. I was REALLY happy to be done with the swim.
|Swim exit. Photo from Tampa Bay Times by Lara Cerri
Swim Time: 31:51 (13th/57 AG)
I made my way to my bike and plopped down to take off my wetsuit. I struggled with it and really tried to move as fast as I could. I think that when I think about going fast during transitions, I actually end up going slower. I go so dirty during this transition that when I washed my wetsuit at home after the race the tub was filthy! I’m pretty sure I made at least a half of a sandwich during T1, even though my amazing friend Megan, told me not to by use of this spectacular sign:
|I love my friends.
I was cracking up when I saw this sign! Thanks again Megan!
T1 Time: 2:44
Every year, I chip away at my bike time and even though I didn’t meet my goal of 19 MPH, I wasn’t too far off. I tried to be more aggressive in the many, many turns on this course and yet I still know I can do better. I lost a lot of time on the bike to my age group competitors and that’s ok. I am a work in progress and I’m happy that I had a bike course PR.
Bike Time: 1:19 (18.8 MPH, 30th in AG)
Again, I tried to go fast. I even ran while putting on my bib. Still not fast enough in comparison to others, but again, working on it.
T2 Time: 2:05
The run has been weighing on my heart heavily lately and I really wanted to have a good run at St A’s. It’s always hot out there but I’ve run it fairly well in the past and was shooting for sub 8:15’s. I hit my watch as I left transition and went out fast. I ran a 7:47 the first mile (oops) and knew I had to slow it down to sustain it.
The run course is quite lovely and the folks out in the neighborhoods are awesome. There are always groups with beer, fruit, more beer, and water hoses offering a cool spray down. I passed on the beer but happily accepted a hose down. I took water at every aid station and put ice in the front and back of my kit. It helped. I was happy to see lots of friends on the run both coming and going. I love the out and back runs on races like these. I worked to catch people in front of me and hoped not to get passed by those behind me.
I started to feel really warm at mile four as my face got really hot and felt like it would melt. I kept my pace in check and needed to remind myself that I was a good runner and that I only had two miles to go.
My friend from high school, Cheryl, came out to watch and she snapped a great pic on the run. As did my friend Stephanie. It’s awesome to have so many out cheering at this race.
|Photo courtesy of Cheryl.
|Coming into the finish! (Photo credit to Stephanie.)
I got to the finish line and was really happy with my run! I thought I had run faster because I think I started my watch late but I was happy with the official time.
Run Time: 50:48 (8:12 avg/12th in AG)
Overall Time: 2:46:27
Overall Place: 639/1692
|Me and the Meghan’s.
|Me and Meghan.
Both Meghan’s, Coach Steve, the S.O. and Genna did great! Meghan got 5th in her age group and had THE fastest swim in her age group! Genna completed her first triathlon and Coach Steve kicked ass only a week after running an impressive Boston Marathon. The S.O. who just gets faster all the time, had a phenomenal day racing a 2:17 with a bike split averaging 22.7 MPH and placing 11th in his AG!
As far as my race goes, I did my best and I get stronger every year. There’s always room for improvement, but I PR’d my bike yet again and I definitely got faster on those transitions, even if I did make a tiny sandwich. Haha.
As a final note, I got lots of compliments on my Smash kit. I had some chafing from it at Hits 70.3 but I think that’s due to the monsoon I ran in because I had no issues at St. Anthony’s. It was super comfortable and I love, love, love all the colors!
Thanks for reading! Did you race this weekend? How’d it go?