Saturday, April 21, 2018

Race Report: Flora-Bama Mullet Man Sprint Tri

Transition Area in close proximity to Main Bar
I ended my last blog post pondering what would be next for me in the wonderful world of tri.  I didn't have to wait too long because I found out that the 22nd annual Flora-Bama Mullet Man Sprint Triathlon was being held this weekend.  I've lived about 5 miles from the infamous Flora-Bama for the past 2 years and have never gone inside.  I'm proud to say this triathlon changed that!

This race was supposed to be a 1/4 mile swim, 17 mi bike, and 4 mi run.  I woke up and was pleased to see my phone said that the winds were only 9 mph.  As soon as I opened the door though I realized my phone lied to me.  There was a gale force wind coming directly out of the east, and by gale force I mean probably 15-20 mph.  The results of this wind were threefold 1) the swim was cancelled and replaced with a 1/2 mile soft sand beach run, 2) the bike had a massive headwind on the way out following by a ripping tailwind on the way back, and 3) the run was 2 miles of tailwind + 2 miles of excruciating head wind.

Before I get into this race I have to mention the amazing pre-race smoothie I made!  So, if you are eating 2 hours before a race you should aim for 2 grams of carbs per kg body weight.  This smoothie provided 433 calories, 106 grams carbohydrates, and the performance enhancing benefits of organic nitrates from beet juice!  AND it tasted great!  TRY IT.

1 medium banana
1 cup frozen wild blueberries
2 pitted medjool dates
2 ice cubes
1 can Juice Performer beet juice (use code 'martine8' to get 10% off Juice Performer at the Amazon store.

I was somewhat out of it before this race and I am not sure why.  I left my house and realized I had forgotten my Garmin, so of course had to turn my car back around to grab that.  Then when I arrived at transition I realized I had forgotten to bring any water!  LOL.  It's not like it's the first time I've ever done one of these!  One cool thing about transition was that because this race was relatively small (~150 people), you got to rack your bike anywhere you wanted!  I scored a spot right next to the bike in/out.

The Swim Soft Sand Beach Run - 1/2 mile - 3:23 (6:46/mi)
I rather enjoyed the fact that this race had an unconventional start!  Don't think I've ever done a triathlon which began with a soft sand run before!  Plus, it alleviated me from having to make the decision of wearing a speedsuit or a sleeveless wetsuit.  When the ladies wave went off (3rd and final wave of the day) I executed my plan of sticking close to the front of the pack and my heart rate was probably about 200 bpm 5 seconds into the race.  Running on soft sand is NOT EASY!!!!  It remained there for the duration of the run and I almost felt like barfing as I ran into T1 in 2nd place.

T1 - 0:58
Didn't dilly dally.

The Bike - 17 miles - 45:53 (22.2 mph)
I passed the first female as she was clipping into her bike to take the lead.  My plan for the bike was to red line it and go as hard as I could.  The bike was the funnest (word?) part of the day!  There were two waves of men already on course so there were plenty of people to pass.  On the way out, as expected, was a relentless headwind.  I stayed aero and envisioned myself punching the smallest possible hole in the wind. I was averaging 17-18 mph.  When we finally turned the corner, the tailwind was a relief.  Riding at 27-28 mph is always pure joy (unless you're descending with poor handling skills, in which case it's sheer terror).

T2 - 0:36
Lickety split!  I saw the second woman pulling into T2 as I was heading out and realized I would have to run hard to keep the lead.

The Run - 4 miles - 27:42 (6:56/mi)
It took me about 1 mile to settle into a comfortable rhythm on the run.  I was trying to bank some speed on the first 2 miles b/c I knew the last 2 would be a slow plow to the finish line.  Hitting the turnaround felt like a 2 min/mi drop in pace combined with a 3 notch increase in perceived level of effort.  I busied my mind with identifying various landmarks along the route and singing different songs in my head for each landmark.

Total Time - 1:18:29 - 1st overall female
Woo hoo!!!!  I crossed the line as the first overall female and 7th place overall finisher.  Not a bad way at all to start the weekend!  I also got to meet fellow Team Zoot teammate Lenny and his wife Melissa.  Congrats to Lenny for finishing 2nd overall and 1st master's man!  I also met their friend Natalie, an uber biker from Lafayette who won 1st master's woman.  We hung out at Flora-Bama for a little while and I'm not sure why I've avoided that place.  It was really cool - live musicians singing classic country tunes, indoor and outdoor seating, gulf-front, and plenty of beer, booze, and Bushwackers flowing from multiple bars.  It might have been my first time  there, but definitely won't be my last :)

I love this mug and think it's hilarious!

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