Lake Padden Triathlon

I’ve been being lazy again – haven’t updated the blog for a bit. Going to get back into the swing of things with a race report from my latest triathlon.

I went into the race having a solid plan. For the swim, my goal was to have a nice steady pace that I plan on using for the Chelan Man 1/2 Ironman in July. Up to this point, I’ve only done sprint distance races and have a tendency to go all out on the swim. On the bike the goal was to keep my power less than 180 watts on the hills, and go hard on the descents and flats. The run – push hard with whatever I have left. The data collected from this race will be used to figure out how my training is going and make adjustments before the 1/2 Ironman in July.

I stayed at my place in Anacortes so I would have a bit shorter drive on race day. This meant I had to pack up all of my stuff the night before and bring it with me, which lead to a small problem…I grabbed my cycling jersey instead of my tri suit and didn’t realize it until I was getting dressed on the morning of the race. Not a good start to the day. To make things even better – I have no cycling gear in Anacortes! So, I ended up wearing some compression shorts and a baggy nylon swimsuit for the race. I also forgot my running belt. Fortunately Kim had her bright pink one with her and wasn’t racing, so I borrowed it to complete my awesome mismatched racing outfit.

On the drive up to Lake Padden, I exited the freeway early so I could drive part of the bike course. This is the first time I’ve done this particular race, and I like to drive the bike to get an idea of how the course looks. The only thing that stood out was the lack of a shoulder on a good chunk of the road, but it seemed like a low traffic area, so it wouldn’t be a big deal.

Arrived at the race about 7:15a and checked in. There was no line at the checkin desk, so, doing this the morning of the race was not a big deal. I picked an end spot in the transition area (easier for me to find) and set up my gear. After I walked my bag back to my truck, it was time to get into my wetsuit. There was plenty of time and space to get warmed up for the swim. I spent some time filling my wetsuit w/water and then doing some short swim drills. The water was fairly warm – mid 60s.

The swim was a self seeded wave start. Given the amount of people, it looked like there would be five or so waves. My thought was to try and start in wave 3 – I’m an average to slow swimmer and figured it would be a good spot for me. It turned out that wave 1 was all the fast swimmers, and the following waves were just a traffic jam to see who could go next. Ended up starting in the 4th wave. There were about 50 people per wave and they seemed to spread out rather than crowd together. So the pack was only 2-3 people deep, which made for minimal contact during the swim. I started off a bit too fast (like normal), but did eventually find a good rhythm. This swim had a couple of firsts for me – I swam straight and when I exited the water I felt like I could have kept swimming.

Transition #1 was a bit of a nightmare. As I went to strip off my wetsuit, both arms hung up at my wrists! This is a bad thing because all of my fingers were trapped, making things even more difficult. I finally worked things out, got my bike jersey on, and started out on the bike leg.

Almost immediately out of transition, there is a hill to climb. I start up the hill at my planned 180 watts. Man did I feel like I was going slow. After thinking this exact thought, someone passes me on a mountain bike. I so wanted to go hard, but kept myself on plan (I did pass the mountain bike back on the descent). The course was very fun – lots of rolling hills with a couple of shortish climbs except near the end, there was a very steep climb. In fact, I could not keep under my 180 watt plan, so I just pushed through. On the flats and rollers, I was hammering it pretty hard .

Transition #2 went much smoother than T1. Got back to my spot and put my running shoes on with no issues. I did stop for a quick restroom break – the bathroom was outside of transition, so it actually counted against my run time.

The run was a two lap trail run around Lake Padden. I started off at a good pace, but slowed down as time went on – it felt like the loop was uphill the entire time. I ended up averaging 8:47 min/mile, which is ~25 seconds/mile slower than my last half marathon.

Overall, I had mixed feelings about my results. I was happy with the times for each of the stages except T1 (which was just a fluky thing), I was a little sad with how I did relative to the other people in the race – 25/29 in my age group. At least I wasn’t last!

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