Sunday, July 18, 2010

Seattle Seafair Sprint Triathlon - Race Report

by Lindsay J

I moved to Seattle for a summer internship and wanted to get in touch with the local racing scene here.  I've signed up for Ironman 70.3 Lake Stevens, about 45 min north of Seattle, but I wanted a tune up (and fun!) race to do in the interim.  The Seafair Sprint is that race.  With almost 1,000 local racers, both elites and beginners, it's the race for Seattlites.   And it's only 7 miles from where I'm staying- being able to bike to the race is a huge bonus! 

The race is short- 1/2 mile swim, 12 mile bike, and 3.1 mile run.  But that doesn't make it easy- you just have to go harder!  There is an elite wave, but I wasn't sure how competitive I would be and signed up for age group to be safe.  I wasn't going for any particular time or place so it didn't really matter.  Looking over prior years' results, my goal was a 1:14, which is generally good enough for top 3 in my age group.

I woke up at 5am, got down to the race site at 6, and sipped some Accelerade and ate bits of a Clif Luna bar to get the juices flowing.  The race started at 6:55 am, but my wave didn't go out until 7:20.  Transition was closed and I was standing on the beach waiting when I realized I forgot to grab my go-to race nutrition, Gu Roctane energy gel.  I thought one of these babies would be enough to kick start the race and last for the 1:15 duration.  I wasn't planning on any nutrition other than sips of water in transition since the event was short and it wasn't hot out, and I wanted to minimize weight on the bike (no bottles).  However, starting with nothing was not my plan and I just reminded myself to take the Roctane on the bike with me to take then.

My swim was so-so.  I was hoping for close to 13 minutes but I got out of the water at 14:19.  Although better than previous races, I still struggle to find good positioning at the front and I never seem to find decent feet to draft.  I clearly need to do more open water swim training (or just swimming at all- last time was the Harriman Olympic in May!).  More work to be done here.

Tripped and fell coming up into T1, awesome, I hope Brightroom Photo caught that.  Transition was not speedy, but no major issues.  2 min ish.  I remember to take my Roctane, but not a water bottle to wash it down with. 

The bike course was pretty flat, with lots of open sections.  It was a bit windy, but I don't feel it slowed me down at all.  We had the now familiar route of up Lake Washington Blvd and then over the I-90 bridge (and back), although this time I got to use the express lane and not the bike lane!  Luckily I didn't have problems with congestion and all of the slower people were diligently staying right; perfect!  I only got passed twice and caught one of the guys back.  I took my Roctane right at the start, but really wish I had a swig of water as I could feel it sitting in my throat and stomach.  Time was 34:30ish, catching up what I "lost" in the swim. 

My run was both great and terrible.  I felt pretty good starting out and was in the mid to uppers 6s on the first mile, which for me is a very solid pace.  After seeing no one from my age group all race, I finally caught a girl about a half mile in.  I could tell I had the stronger pace as I caught her, but she saw my age on my leg and tried to stick with me.  I was worried about being neck and neck throughout the race, but luckily I broke her pretty quickly and that wasn't an issue.  I was still running solid, seeing no one else in my age group.  I figured the top places must be well ahead of me (or I was first, which I didn't think was possible since I saw a lot of people beat me out of the swim).  Just past the 1 mile mark I started getting stomach cramps- I took water in transition and now the Roctane was starting to digest, just when my HR was sky high and my stomach just wasn't having it.  Drat- this is what I was afraid of, and why I wasn't planning on mid-race nutrition.  But I only had about 15 min left so my intent was just to push through.  The run was flat and pretty and I was passing people, so otherwise I was doing great! 

And then I turned a corner.  Oh wait, we're not just doing a flat circumference of the park, no we're going to got STRAIGHT uphill!  Noo!  My stomach, legs, and mind were not ready for this.  My HR was already uncomfortably high on the flats (I was pushing it, assuming I had 1.5 miles of flat left) and I was forced to slow to barely a run going up.  It was pretty bad.  I crossed the 2 mile mark almost at the top, so at least I knew that the last one mile would be downhill and flat.  But that 1/2 mile or so up was pretty brutal.  At the turnaround I saw a girl quickly gaining on me, and sure enough she flew by me on the downhill with a 28 on her leg.  Damn.   But she was really moving and even at a good pace for me I couldn't keep up.

The last mile was fine, felt good, looked ahead and saw that girl pulling away but otherwise no one (female) and just cruised in,   5K time 21:39.  But then I see that one of the people who finished just ahead of me was girl with a short haircut, with a 29 on her leg!  Nooo!!  I totally could have caught her, and would have had this been a 3.2 mile run.  So I knew I was at least 3rd in AG, possibly lower.

It turns out I was 3rd.  The girl with the short hair beat me by 5 sec (and had a 2 min slower run- she's a fish who I should have caught) and the 1st place winner was the fast runner who ended up about 20 seconds ahead.  It turns out she just did IM Coeur D'Alene 2 weeks ago (and qualified for Kona there) so I don't feel so bad giving up the win to her.  But to be so close!  Final time, 1:13:45, right on schedule!

I finished racing at 8:35am, but the awards ceremony didn't go off til after 11:30!  A full hour after they said they would, and even that would have been a long time.  Plus it was really cold, we were freezing waiting around, and the only ones left were the ones who won awards.  I liked the race, but this was a major downer. 

So in general I am happy with my bike and run, but learned I really need to switch focus to hills!!  On both the run and bike (wasn't tested on this course, but will  be at Lake Stevens).  And I am going to hunt for OWS opportunities, or at least find a pool.  I'm not so secretly hoping for a top 5 age group finish at Lake Stevens and can't afford to give up 5 min on the swim (or have to walk the run)!

1 comment:

  1. Nice report. Definitely train hills for Lake Stevens. I have heard from friends who have done it that it is one of the hilliest and most difficult bike courses around.