The Mid Summer Olympic Triathlon

by | Aug 5, 2008 | Health | 28 comments

This will be one of those long posts. But an olympic distance triathlon isn’t exactly short.

The Mid Summer Olympic Triathlon 


I did it! I completed an olympic distance triathlon!

And here’s proof I finished:

I didn’t need one of these:


Here are the stats and splits:

  • Swim (.92 mile) – 28:01… 75th out of 183 overall (114 of that 183 were – MEN! Big, hairy MEN!)
  • Transition 1 (swim to bike) – 4:11… I ate 2 bites of banana in one bite, sipped on my water spiked with Amino Vital, dried off a bit, put on my socks and shoes, almost fell over into my bike, and put on my helmet – not all in that order.
  • Bike (24 miles) – 1:22:55 – My time was better than the worst I thought I’d do, but after getting a new road bike, my MPH stayed pretty much the same as when I compete on my mountain bike – around 17.5 mph?. I dunno. I was told I’d gain 3-4 mph. Untrue. I finished 160th on the bike out of that 183. That frustrates me. I drank half of the water in my water bottle and threw back a packet of Gu at 30 minutes into the bike. I kept my heart rate between 163 and 170 – which is a good 10 beats higher on average than when I train.
  • Transition 2 (bike to run) – 2:42… I racked my bike, took off my helmet, pounded back another Gu pack, ate 1 more bite of banana and washed the Gu down with water. After ending the bike in 160th place, I entered the run in 138th. Yay for a speedy transition!
  • Run (6.2 miles) – 57:30 – which translates to an average of 9 minutes 15 second miles. I was pretty happy about this time because after swimming and biking for 2 hours… I totally could have died instead.

The Night Before (prep):

I fuels with BBQ chicken, corn on the cob, jalapeno corn bread loaded with butter and BBQ beans… Maybe my meal was why I did so poorly on the bike.

Things included in the transition bag…

My race number attached to the race strap…

I made sure I had my swim cap, timing chip, and numbers for my bike and helmet…

I gathered my fuel…


I packed my 2 watches – they are a HUGE motivation for me. The blue watch helps me track my splits and the pink one keeps me updated on my heart rate…

Race Morning

Pre-race fuel: I ate my favorite yogurt, Fage, topped with yummy granola (with dried blueberries and flax). I also had a banana with peanut butter. Then… a tall nonfat latte from the Celestial Sireeen, Starbucks. I must have a cup of StarVixen coffee before a race if at all possible – for the *ahem* cleansing benefits… because nobody wants to have to go here or into shrubbery:

Transition Preparation

First order of business – Body Marking!!! Left leg – race number. Right leg – age.

Rack the bike. Lay down the towel… put socks in shoes.

Now, I only had 1 pair of shoes – running shoes. My bike shoes didn’t come in in time. So… I put one sock in each shoe and then laid my towel on top. The idea is that – after the swim- I use the towel to dry-off, then I lay the towel down to sit on and put on my socks… then shoes… Socks first. You’d be amazed how stupid a person gets after a hard swim… At my first tri I made it nearly all the way to the bike-mounting area before I realized I had left my helmet at my transition area. My advice – even if it seems stupid to prep a certain way, do it. Your mind just isn’t all together when you push your body like that. Ok, maybe that’s just me…

The final “product”… I have the “fuel”, the liquids, sunglasses, a hat, yadda, yadda, yadda… let me show you what the guy next to me did:

He must have a secret, or he is a minimalist.

A final transition picture:

Hey – look at the sky! That’s how it was the ENTIRE race! It was awesome!

The Swim:

I looked around at my peers – the men and women in  the yellow swimcaps that represented the 30-39 year-old age group. I was one of only a handful NOT in a wetsuit. The water was 67 degrees – coldish, but warmer than it was outside.

Initially I felt dumb for not wearing a wetsuit. Maybe they knew something I didn’t. Then I remembered what my friend said, “You are hardcore!”

I switched my self-talk from, “I hope I didn’t make a mistake…” to “Those people need a wetsuit?! Wimps.” 

My last words to my friend Katie before the swim start were, “Why do we keep doing this???!”

I started out in the middle part of the pack.

I found a comfortable pace. I zig-zagged toward the first big white floatie a bit… but I managed to stay close to the path. After the first turn I settled back into a nice pace and found myself sandwiched between two male competitors. One passed me, only to have me pass him soon after… and he never regained his lead. That’s right. The other… I have named him – “The Blubbering Swimmer”.  Before my first turn I heard a sound. I couldn’t figure it out. But as I gained on this man after the turn, I discovered it was him. There is no way for me to adequately communicate the sound in written word, so I have made a video of the sound I listened to for a good 20 minutes…

The Bike

I headed into the bike with no problems. The problems came when people started passing me. Pass. Pass. Pass… Grrr… I worked to keep my heart rate between 163 and 170.

I could have pushed harder, but I wanted to be careful not to fatigue my legs too much, for I still had a 6.2 mile run.

At 1 hour and 7 minutes into the bike, a lady passed me. I saw the age written on her leg – 35. I thot, “No she di’ent!” And then, she kept getting further away. Then I said to me, “Well, it took her an hour and 7 minutes to catch me after I left her in my waves in the swim. Yeah. I showed her.”

At 1 hour 22 minutes and 55 seconds, I finished the 24 mile bike – also forever known as the “Let’s Pass Jenny Fest”.

The Run

After a lengthy time on the bike, one’s legs tend to feel like… anvils. Heavy, yo. Something about lactic acid… Whatever.

I was quite pleased though. The “anvil” stage seemed to passed quickly and summa those people who passed me on the bike, got passed by me on foot. Now, I don’t mean to communicate that I did this with great physical ease… nor was I quiet about it.

I started out the run near 2 men – one older, one probably my age. We chatted a moment and without effort I slowly eased ahead. I almost felt bad. Then I just felt strong.

I saw a lady up ahead who had passed me in the bike. I felt it was too early to push for a pass, but my legs kept a steady pace and before I knew it I was hacking and breathing loudly – causing her to look back at me. I said, ‘it’s OK, I’m not dying.” She said, “Oh make all the noise you want, because I AM!” We laughed and I scooted on by.

After a short distance I saw my fellow 35 year-old… the one who passed me on the bike. I was all, “OK, I am gonna kinda need to catch up with her. I wonder if her run is as strong as her bike…” Just before the Mile 1 marker, I passed her. Boo-ya!

Through the next 5 miles I counted to 8 over and over and over. This is what I do when I get “to the end”. Yes, I sang Kanye’s “Stronger” in my head, but counting 10 sets of 8 helped me keep a rhythm and a faster pace than my head music. I play a game – I wonder if I can get to “that tree” in 10 counts of 8… “that sign”… “the water station”…

Mercy. I forgot about the .2 part of the 6.2 miles. 6 miles was no problem. Ish. The extra .2?  That’s wrong. What is up with the .2 miles of hell? It’s like almost 2 WHOLE MORE MINUTES HAVING TO RUN. Unless you are a fast runner.

I am not.

It was with .1 miles to go that two women stood to cheer their husbands on. “Woohoo, baby! You’re so hot! You’re so strong!” Then they turned to me and whisper-shouted, “You go girl – beat our husbands – you HAVE to beat them!”

At 6.2 miles – I finished, before those husbands 😉

The run took took 57 minutes and 30 seconds. After I crossed the finish line… I nearly fell over as I put my leg on one of those boxes up there… A helper-person removes the timing chip from the racers’ ankles. I had to stand for a few moments to gather my balance. Once the chip was off, I received my medal and a bottle of water and I cried. Then my husband was there to hug me and I had to pull away because I had one heck of a time catching my breath. That whole “it feels like my throat is closing up” thing. Such an inconvenience.

Remember that lady I passed – the 35 year-old just before the mile 1 marker? She came up to me moments after we finished and said, “I just couldn’t get cha. I tried, but I just couldn’t do it!”

I laughed, touched her shoulder (I still couldn’t get my balance!) and said, “I knew you were back there. You passed me in the bike… I knew you were there. Thanks for the awesome competition.” Guess what people? She finished her run 30 seconds behind me, but her overall time… 4 TENTHS OF A SECOND BEHIND ME!!! 4. Tenths!

My overall place – 127… out of 183. Not the best, not the worst, and given the fact that I trained less for this event than the sprint triathlons I have done in the past…I am content.

I finished and I finished hard.

I pushed the whole way and came out uninjured. I was pretty sore yesterday, but feel only hints of muscle soreness today.

And since I haven’t posted enough pictures, here is one more… oh the memories…


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