Sunday, March 8, 2015

Race Report: Azalea Sprint Tri 2015

What a great race for my first foray back into triathlon!  Signing up for this race I knew it was going to be cold cause it always is, but I had a glimmer of false hope that maybe this year it would be warmer.  The big chatter leading into this race was what to wear on the bike and whether or not to put shoes at the swim exit for the long run to T1.  It was fun talking to everyone at TrySports on Friday and listening to their strategies.  The last time I did this race I didn't wear anything on the bike aside from my tri suit and I was freezing.  This year my plan was embrocation cream + winter coat + gloves + hat.  I also placed a pair of shoes at the swim exit, just in case.

The Swim (300 yd pool swim) - 4:40
I seeded myself with a 1:28/100 yds for the swim and that actually turned out to be pretty accurate.  I hit the wall in 4:17 (1:26/100 yds) as per my Garmin and for swimming twice a week, I'm pretty happy with that time.  The swim was very uneventful; I didn't pass anyone and no one passed me.  I was successful with flip-turning under the lane ropes and I didn't take it out too hard on the first 25 :)  One noteworthy comment about the swim is that SetUp has changed the start to a chip start.  This works SO much more smoothly that the previous start style where swimmers were started via a clock every 15 seconds.  I noticed much less congestion in the pool!  When the swimmer in front of you reached the first wall, you ran across the timing mat, jumped in the water (no diving allowed) and started your swim.  I jumped in really close to the wall so that I could get a push off, and it worked pretty well.  Here's a video of my swim start & my first few laps:

T1 - 1:59
After running down the stairwell of the natatorium, the door to the blast chiller opens and you run out into the arctic air and across the timing mat for T1.  I decided not to waste time putting on shoes and made the trek to T1.  My feet felt like blocks of ice by the time I got to my bike.  But I still had good dexterity in my hands and was moving quickly until I tried to put on my gloves.  Rookie mistake here - I know that the fastest gloves to put over wet hands are the cheap dollar store gloves, NOT nice Pearl Izumi winter cycling gloves!  When I started having difficulty putting on the PI gloves, I scrapped the idea and headed out on the bike gloveless.  Despite this mishap, my transition was still pretty lickety split!

The Bike (9 miles) - 26:10 [20.6 mph]
The bike was probably my favorite part of this race - it was fun racing on my new Felt IA for the first time!!!  And, with my sweet PI winter coat my core was actually warm!  My hands started to freeze off about half way into it and by the end I couldn't move my fingers.  I don't know why I thought skipping out on the gloves in 30 degree weather was a good idea... I didn't see too many cyclists out there - I got passed by 2 dudes and I passed 1 dude, so I figured I was doing ok, but not great.

Riding off to glory!
T2 - 1:20
T2 was painfully slow.  My fingers weren't working which gave me a hella time trying to take off my cycling shoes & helmet and put on my running shoes!  I didn't even bother trying to take off my jacket.  My hands were so cold I grabbed my gloves and put them on during the run (yes, probably a waste of time).

The Run (5k) - 20:54 [6:44/mi]
Unfortunately the run didn't go that well for me.  I felt like I was hyperventilating a little and couldn't catch my breath - maybe this was d/t the cold, IDK.  I looked down at my watch at the first mile and it read 6:45, and I was like you've got to be kidding me!  Only 5 sec per mile faster than my marathon pace?!  This ain't right!  haha  But I kept it moving and although I didn't get faster I was able to hold that pace for the entirety of the race.  This course had a lot of twists, turns, pine needles, & an extension cord in it which made for a more technical run course that I was expecting.  But it was fun, and as with the bike, all turns were clearly marked and had volunteers pointing out the route.

Total Time - 55:01
I was about 4 minutes slower than the last time I did this race, but hey, it was still good enough for 2nd place female, so I'll take it!  :)  I really enjoyed racing this race and I think SetUp really stepped it up and put on a great production.  For me, it's a solid start to a good season.

Next up is Arlington Place International on April 11th in Arapahoe NC.  Never done that one before and I just noticed that the bike is a 53k.  I guess it's all about the bike... right?


  1. Congrats on a great race Tara. The weather on Saturday was great for a long run, but I can't even imagine what is was like riding a bike while freezing from just being in the pool.

  2. I noticed the 53k bike at Arlington Place as well. I drove over to check out the course and it looks like a nice venue for sure. Hopefully it's a bit warmer than Azalea was.