Saturday, April 11, 2015

Race Report: Arlington Place International Triathlon

Tri season is underway and Saturday I had my second race of the year:  Setup Events Arlington Place International!  I've never done this event before and figured it would be good for me to get an olympic distance under my belt before White Lake Half.  Plus, with an extra long bike (53k), I knew it'd be good practice.  It's only about 2 hours north of Wilmington so I drove up the morning of the race (a plan I was seriously re-thinking when my alarm went off at 4 am).  I stopped to get gas on the way to the race and it was so remarkably QUIET outside at that hour!  I felt like I was in The Walking Dead and half expected to see a zombie start hobbling towards me.  The rest of the drive was uneventful as was the usual pre-race packet pickup & transition set up.

The Swim (1500 m) - 32:52
The water was a pleasant 68 degrees and wetsuit legal.  Though very beautiful:

It was nowhere near as calm as this photo.  It was extremely choppy and the first 500m was directly into a current.  It was the kind of chop where you can't see the buoys unless you are at the top of the wave.  Not a non-swimmer's swim.  When I was about 25 meters away from the first turn buoy, I kept sighting repeatedly only to see that the buoy was never getting any closer!  This must have gone on for at least 5 minutes!  To get out of the endless pool situation, I amped up my kick and sprinted just long enough to make the turn, after which there was some relief.  Of course there were no other swimmers to draft off of because they were all ahead of me (that's what you get when you swim 1-2x/week).  By the end of the swim my arms were dead and I couldn't believe it when I looked down at my watch and saw that I had been in the water for over 30 minutes!!!  After the race I talked to my former coach Dave Williams of Triangle Multisport Coaching and I felt a little better knowing he was 5 min off his usual 1500 m swim time.

T1 - 1:48

The Bike (53 km) - 1:39:30 (19.9 mph)
I was excited to be on the bike and out of the water.  I suppose it was a little windy, but it honestly felt just like typical riding in Wilmington, so the wind really wasn't a big factor for me.  I felt really comfortable with the bike handling, despite wet roads & the wind.  I think I've come a long way in that department and that excites me :)  I had a few saddle issues (what else is new) which got pretty painful.  I'm on my 4th saddle and am planning on writing a blog soon about that whole process, sigh.  Regardless, I was hoping to be able to hold around 20 mph and I accomplished that so it was a good ride.  I enjoyed the course too.  It was a double loop with low traffic and smooth roads!  The ride was little lonely cause I never caught anyone and the top age group men didn't start passing me til about 20-25 miles into it, and I'll admit I was kinda happy to see them.

T2 - 53:02

The Run (10 km) - 42:31 (6:50/mi)
I was curious to see how my legs would feel on the run and they felt pretty tired.  My first mile was slow, around 7:10, but I just tried to not worry about it and settle into a rhythm.  This happened about 2 miles into it and I fell into a 6:45 pace.  I felt like I could have run a few more miles as well, so that's a good sign.  It seems like no matter what distance I run these days my pace is always 6:45-6:50.  Need to get back to the track I think!  The run course was nice, it was entirely on the premises of the Arlington Place development and there were ZERO cars!  There was a fun little off road section as well.  I passed one woman on the course, but turns out she was DQ'ed for cutting the bike course.  The woman in the lead was WAY ahead of me - like she was at mile 4 when I was at mile 1 - and looked super strong.  So no other carrots to try to chase down.  There was a little wind to content with and a few real gradual terrain changes.  Overall a nice course.

Total Time - 2:58:03 (2nd female)
This was a great race and I think more people should give it a shot.  The venue is perfect and you have the option of camping on-site as well.  It reminds me of Stumpy Creek, which was a race that I always really enjoyed, but without the crazy hilly run!  It's the perfect early-season olympic distance race.

I also have to say I'm really enjoying racing again.  I'm having a lot of fun and it feels like I'm just starting the sport again for the first time.  Lots to look forward to :)