Today was my third triathlon of the year – and probably the last one before winter. It was the 25th Reeds Lake Triathlon and it couldn’t have been better weather. I got up extra early for this one so that I could guarantee a good rack spot because at 1200 participants, this is the biggest tri I have done. I got up to Reeds Lake at about 5:30 when the transition area opened and got a good spot right on the end of a rack. After getting my spot setup, I headed to D&W to buy a bagel and some Gatorade.
I was in the first swim heat that took off at 7:30. There were about 200 people in each heat which I thought would make it very congested, but it actually wasn’t too bad. I think the fact that it was a wide starting line combined with the fact that I am getting better at swimming with other people helped make the swim go smoothly. Despite going smoothly, it was one of my slower swims – I’m convinced it was longer than a half mile though. Another lesson learned is that I should give my wedding band to Jennie to hold during the race. I’m not sure if it would have actually fallen off, but it felt loose and I had to sort of hold it on with my thumb which doesn’t lend to an efficient stroke.
Reeds Lake wasn’t actually as bad to swim in as I thought it would be. The entry into the lake was a little tricky because you had to climb of wet and slippery rocks to get into the water. Once in the lake, it was rocky and you had to keep your eye out for large rocks in the water, but once out a few yards, it wasn’t too bad. The water temperature was 76 degrees and actually felt warmer than the cooler morning air. The one downside to the course was that you had to swim towards the sunrise which made it difficult to see the buoys in the distance. Also, the exit to the course was at the boat launch which was sort of steep and slippery.
I made it through the first transition in just over 2 minutes, although it felt like it took forever. I was so dizzy and disoriented after the swim, I had to run/walk to my bike. I tried a different setup with my helmet and sunglasses as well which didn’t work because I ended up dropping both of them on the opposite side of my bike.
The bike course a fairly hilly course, but nevertheless I felt I had a good time at 56:21 for the 18 miles. The course was actually a bit longer than advertised because they had to detour us around construction. Portions of the course around the lake were pretty rough going because of bad roads, but the longest portion on Fulton was very smooth. The Fulton portion, however was the hilly section. One hill in particular was about a half mile climb that seemed to go on forever. My speed dropped down to 10mph and I felt like I was going to start rolling backwards. After the big hill, I was able to settle back into gear and had a fairly strong finish. My boss was at the end of his street cheering which was a nice pick-me-up with about 3 miles left. The final stretch of the ride on Lakeside was one of the bumpiest areas which made it difficult to load on Gatorade and water which I typically do at the end of the bike.
After the dismount, it was a long run back to my rack to drop off my bike. I think it might be better to position myself more in the middle next time so that I don’t have the lopsidedness of running with my bike shoes on. This time, I was near the exit of the transition so that after the swim, I had a long run to the bike, but then a short run with my bike shoes on. However, then it is a long run with the bike shoes on when I got off the bike. I think I would rather than long run pre bike rather than post bike when my legs are like Jello.
I was dead on the run. Usually my strong suit, I was just exhausted after the hilly bike. Besides being tired, my feet were literally numb from the cold wind associated with the bike. It took about a mile for them to finally warm up, but until that point, it felt like needles on my feet with every step. I guess that is one of the downsides of skipping the socks in the first transition. During the run, I felt like I was getting passed left and right, but my final time and place (38:33 and 328 out of 989) was better than I thought it would be.
I was relieved to finish as well as I did, only 3 minutes slower than Tri Del Sol and this had a longer run portion. My swim was slower than TDS, but I think this 1/2 mile was a long 1/2 mile, but I guess that just gets me ready for an Olympic distance tri.