Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pumpkin Man
Las Vegas, Nevada
United States

Triathlon - Sprint
Total Time = 2h 33m 26s
Overall Rank = 267/340
Age Group = Athena 40+
Age Group Rank = 1/2

Short Version:

My 3rd and last Triathlon this season - It was a VERY challenging Bike Course, and I never completed it in training without having to stop several times to rest... During the race, my swim went ok, I rode the FULL bike course without stopping, and I had shin pain and an overall bad run... BUT, I managed to come in FIRST PLACE in the Athena 40+ Category!

location:Las Vegas, NV
overall place:267 out of 340
division place:1 out of 2
gender place:112 out of 149


Pre-race routine:

Friday afternoon, I left work a bit early. Came home and washed my bike and my helmet, then Jerry and I rode the motorcycle down to Boulder City for packet pick-up & expo.

We ate lunch at a cute diner down town and walked over to the park for packet pick-up. I decided that I wanted to change my Division from AG to Athena as I didn't lose the weight that I should have lost therefore more than qualifying for the Athena Category. The lady said, "Sure" and wrote me on the list of "changes".

I put my shoes and my hand-held water bottle in the bag and tied it to the bike rack in transition and wrapped my number belt on top of the bag so it would be easy to spot. My rack was the first one, so it was easy to find too...

I spent some time at the expo and talked to a couple of coaches and bought some NUUN... couldn't find the Sports Beans, so I stopped at the Multi-Sport store on the way home and picked some up... they had a different brand, but I went with it.

Went home and packed my transition bag and got my bike in the car...all I needed to do in the morning was get dressed and go... I tried to relax and tried to get some sleep... set my alarm at 4:30 ugh...

Woke up with the alarm, got dressed, ate an instant oatmeal... and off I went.

I got to the race pretty early - thought I'd get a good parking spot, but they were parking people in rows, and I was WAY at the end of the 2nd row.

It was still VERY dark when I got there... I unloaded my bike and pumped the tires and walked it all the way over to transition... and set-up T1... they would be sending my wetsuit down to the finish when it was done, so I only left what I needed and walked my transition bag all the way back to my car. Then I went and picked up my chip which was WAY on the other side of Transition...

I saw a few friends who were arriving later than me as most of them were doing the Olympic which started Half hour AFTER the Sprint Start... Also I saw a friend from work - neither of us knew the other did tri's... too cool!

Event warmup:

I tried something new on race day - shhhhh don't tell... About 20 minutes before race start, I took a Gu and finished the bottle of water I had...I've taken Gu before my long runs, but never before a swim or tri... I think it helped! I couldn't find a trash can, but a friend said she would throw it away for me... AWESOME, Thanks Kelly!!

I did a short warm-up swim to the green buoy, rounded it and swam about 25 yards north... then swam back to shore... I tried to swim enough that my shoulders got passed the "burn" stage.

Talked to the official about the course, then lined up and it was time to go...
00:21:38 | 750 meters | 02m 53s / 100meters
Age Group: 2/2 (17 seconds)
Overall: 254/340
Performance: Good
Suit: wetsuit
Course: Triangle shape course swam counter clockwise
Start type: Wade Plus:
Water temp: 72F / 22C Current: Low


It was a wade start, and since the Half Ironmans swim started 1/2 hour before ours, some SUPER SPEEDY swimmers were already coming in before we started... For some reason, they had ALL Sprint women starting at the same time...and we started BEFORE the Men... that was a FIRST for me as my 2 other races, I started in the LAST wave...

I stayed toward the back... there was some confusion and MANY people started swimming during the 10 second count-down... but I waited til the front people were off, then I heard the horn...and off I went

My swim started pretty good as there were lots of people to draft off of...We were told to swim to the left of the Green Buoy, then we were told to swim to the right of the Green Buoy... I just followed the rest of the group...

Siting went ok, we had to swim to the Large Orange Buoy (past the green one), But thankfully, they put a smaller buoy out there for siting.. I sited on it and thought it was the end, then figured out that I had to go further... I swam to the next buoy and rounded it well (except for a small crash with someone else - Swimming is a contact sport??)... then my swim to the next buoy went OK, but no one to draft off of... rounded that one and started the swim back to shore

About halfway to shore, I got passed by one of the speedy men who started 7 minutes after us... I figured I was swimming a good line... but I still sited and corrected when needed... FINALLY got to the shore (it seemed like it took FOREVER) and they had set up a matt so we didn't have to walk on rocks, we had to walk on the rocks anyway as the matt didn't go far enough down into the water, then I tripped over the matt, but didn't fall...

I had trouble unzipping my wetsuit, so I walked slowly up to transition while trying to get the top half of my wetsuit off - as my rack was the first one in transition... my time includes my slow walk to transition.

What would you do differently?:

I just need to work more on my technique, and strength - speed will come

Time: 04:09


My T1 is kinda long since my rack was the first rack in from swim - which means I had the LONGEST run (with bike shoes) out to the bike start... didn't take me long to get my wetsuit off and put in the bag, took off my Ironman watch, put on my Garmin, sunglasses, helmet, socks & shoes, grabbed my bike and walked my bike out to the mounting line.

What would you do differently?:

I guess I could have run up the hill with my bike, but didn't want to waste the energy when I knew the bike course was tough...

01:23:25 | 14 miles | 10.07 mile/hr
Age Group: 1/2 (16+ minutes)
Overall: 191/340
Performance: Good
Wind: Little
Course: A course change was announced the day before the race... but it added about a mile and a half to the ride. I clocked it at 14 miles, but I saw 2 other Race Reports, one had 13.8 miles and the other 15 miles... it'll be interesting if the RD puts the official mileage up - all I know is it WASN'T the 12.5 miles as advertised.

It started up hill out of transition, then made a right turn onto Lakeshore Drive for a few miles... some pretty decent hills to climb there, but got to come back down those after the turn-around... then out past the toll-booth... then we crossed the street to enter the River Mountain Trail... They had to stop traffic for us to pass... once on the Trail, it was some rollers - mostly uphill - up to the wash, up hill in the wash to the tunnel to cross the main street - then up hill to the parking lot - where we rode around it as a flat rest area til we got to "The Hill" (cause none of those other hills counted LOL), then a short flat & down hill to transition.


Every Saturday for the last 9 weeks, there was a group swim out at Lake Meade, I went to most of them... after the swim, we would do a bike ride... Of those rides, two of them were practicing the bike route for Pumpkinman.

The first time I tried the ride, I had to stop and rest twice before we got to the wash, then I stopped at the Parking Lot - I was DONE - and waited for my friend to go the rest of the way up the hill...

The 2nd time - it was VERY WINDY, I made it all the way to the wash without stopping, but then had to stop at the wash, had to stop at the parking lot, and stopped at least once on the final hill... I forgot my Garmin, but thought I timed it on my Ironman watch - I thought I timed it at 1:20 to go from Boulder Beach to Governers Park... and that didn't include the first part of the ride ugh...

I had done the 5-6 miles BEFORE heading up to Boulder City, but never put it together with the climb up to Boulder City, and I had never ridden all the way up to Boulder City without stopping... so that became my goal for this ride... Just get it done without stopping! And I did!

The Race:
I walked my bike to the mounting line, and there was Jerry - waiting to get on the motorcycle to escort a race official on the bike course - it was cool seeing him! I realized that I forgot to check my gears, but luckily, I was in the small ring and easy gear - whew... so, I climbed the first hill out of transition and got onto the main road - I was riding along, when Jerry passed me on the Motorcycle - he honked twice and waved - too cool - but that would be the last I saw of him til after the race...

I passed a couple of women, but got passed by some women at this point too, mostly got passed by REAL SPEEDY Men on SUPER cool bikes! One lady and I kept passing each other as she was faster on the ascents and I was faster on the descents - of course she finally passed me for good as we had no more down hills... And soon enough I was at the turn-around...There was a lady going SUPER slow at the turn-around... I think she expected me to pass her on the u-turn? I passed her just after we turned around...all was good til we were passing the street that goes down to Boulder Beach... all of the cars were backed up, and there were traffic cops ahead... then I saw it, a person laying on the ground and emergency people all around... I thought I saw a body bag, and it freaked me out... but as I passed, it seemed the athlete was alive and conscious...I'm assuming from the timing of it that he was a Half Ironman Athlete. I hope he's okay!

**I just got word that the Athlete was a FEMALE, and she's OK

We got past the toll booth and had to cross the street to meet the trail... I had come DOWN the hill this way, but never went up this way, since they had changed the route - we never practiced this... it was a bit confusing on which way to go, one of the speedy men asked which way - then I saw the sign...

I rode part way up with a 38 year old woman (I love having ages written on people's calves) that was fun... I passed a 15 year old girl on a Mountain bike with platform pedals and tennis shoes - I told her she would do AMAZING on a road bike...

The 38 year old finally passed me and went ahead, then I passed her just past the tunnel going up to the parking lot - she had to stop and rest - I kept going :)

In the parking lot, I kept it in an easy gear and just took it easy before the BIG Hill coming up... I took a drink from my water bottle in the cage since I had run out of water in my aerobottle... Rode through the parking lot with a young man who told me this was his FIRST Triathlon - he wanted to stay in shape after he got out of the Marines...I told him this was my 3rd, but I'm still new at this - of course when we started up the Hill, he passed me... WTG ex-Marine!

FINALLY made it up "THE HILL" and took it easy on the final way to transition...

Yep, you read it right.. I DID NOT STOP TO REST!!! I MADE IT!!! I'm pretty happy with my time too, being it took 1:15 to go 7 miles in the wind... this was 14 miles with no wind, but it only took 1:23... I know it's still slow, but I'm happy with it!

What would you do differently?:

Train more on hills

Time: 02:02


My rack was the first rack coming off the bike... not much time to think... get there, rack the bike, get my shoes & water bottle out of the bag, change shoes, take off the Helmet - check to make sure my Helmet is off - hit start/stop on Garmin... and run all the way through transition to the run - out...

What would you do differently?:

Hit LAP button on Garmin... didn't realize this til I was well into my run... other than that, it went smoothly.

00:42:13 | 03.1099 miles | 13m 34s min/mile
Age Group: 2/2 (4 minutes)
Overall: 308/340
Performance: Below average
Course: Out & Back on residential roads through Boulder City... very slight inclines - can't even call them hills after that bike ride!


Why oh Why can I not run after I bike??? Why oh Why do my shins hurt during triathlon races and not any other times I run???

For some reason, I ran through transition, and hit start/stop on Garmin again... I looked at my watch, and noticed it was still on BIKE - WTF? Then I realized I should have hit the LAP button - DUH... so I hit the Lap button and went on with my walk/run...

38 yo (from the bike ride) ran past me, and said "you made it up THAT hill, you can certainly run!" I told her my shins were killing me... she understood and ran on...

It took a good 2 miles til I could run, of course by then I was DONE...I saw a photographer when I was walking, I asked her to NOT take a picture then, but she could get me on the way back... she said she was only pointing one way, but if I called out her name, she'd take my pic the other way... when I was coming back, sure enough I could run by then, I called out her name, and she snapped my picture - all of the photographers on the course were AWESOME... not sure what company they are from, but I look forward to seeing the pictures...

On my way back from the turn-around, I saw my friend Kris from work, I was REAL surprised that I was ahead of her as she's in REAL good shape!

I managed to find the strength to run in the last tenth mile

I'm not sure of the exact splits since the "start/stop vs laps" debacle, but the splits I do have look like this:
mile 1: 14:56
mile 2: 13:51
mile 3: 11:50

I need to "fix" this before next season!

What would you do differently?:

Learn how to run off the bike...

Post race

Warm down:

Crossed the finish line, and again forgot to stop the Garmin... lol... ate some orange wedges and half bagel, drank a bottle of water and walked around a bit...

I was on my way up to the port-a-potties (I had to go since before the bike) I was looking for a place to set my water bottles down, and I came across a couple of men standing around enjoying some beer - we started talking and they offered me a beer - SCORE... I didn't care that it was 10am, I enjoyed every sip of that beer! Then I went to visit the port-o-potty... I waited THAT long, I could wait to drink a beer!

Then I went down to the finish line just in time to see Kris come in... Gave her the High 5's and went walking around a bit more... came across the food booth and got a burger for my "beer buddies" - delivered the burger - they were happy with that... then came across the Massage booth - SCORE! Had a 5 minute Massage - is that all? guess I'll take what I can get for free...

They had just started the awards ceremony right near the massage, so I went over and sat while they read each category and people got up to receive their certificate for their custom plaque... the VERY LAST category was for Athena 40+ and they called MY NUMBER... for FIRST place!! I got excited and jumped up on the podium... (I always wanted to do that)... Then, they called another number for 2nd place! Nobody else jumped I stood there alone on the #1 for a few seconds, then got down... So I didn't get a default medal! someone actually came in AFTER me :)

I walked around some more, found Jerry, then saw Kara (swim coach) we talked about the swim, etc... then I saw Jenn run through transition with her bike... I would have LOVED to stick around to see my Oly friends finish, but I had to go to work :(

I collected all my stuff (they had brought T1 stuff up to the finish) and we got it packed into the trunk of the motorcycle, and I rode my bike down the hill to get my car... I hit "Start/Stop" on my Garmin on "The Hill" again just to see how fast I was going... I was cheering on the HIM athletes who were still trudging up the hill... I can't imagine riding up that hill after 53 miles!

So, even at my Penguin paces, I won in my division... I'll take it :)

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Still stumped about what goes wrong between bike & run... I think I'm going to look for a coach who can help me with this problem. Also, I think I'd do better at the longer distances as I seem to be able to run after a couple of miles... the thought of longer distances scares me though... the Sprint already takes a lot out of me...

Event comments:

They were charging a buck for a beer - while a GREAT deal, I didn't have any money with me as I left it all in my car at the bottom of the hill... They could have given a free beer or two to the athletes.

Overall, I had a GREAT time and wish I could have stayed there longer.

Sorry so long, but I want to remember it ALL...

Thanks for reading :)

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