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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2007

    Race Report: Bear Lake Classic

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    I did it!!! My first open water sprint triathlon!!!

    As you can see, I, too, am a member of the "First Triathlon at 46" club.

    Saturday morning came early at our "Deluxe" Kabin at the Garden City, Utah, KOA. (It was "Deluxe" because it had its own bathroom!) Although we tried to get to sleep by 10:00 pm on Friday, the stifling heat of the un-air-conditioned Kabin, as well as all the chatter and smoke from our neighbors who enjoyed one another's Kompany around their Kampfires until well after midnight, Kept us tossing and turning until the wee hours. (Note to self: vinyl-encased mattresses on futon bedframes should be criminalized.) Sometime around 1 a.m., I thought I heard either a mini-bike outside, or a small lawnmower-engine glider. In fact, it was our refrigerator. (Our "deluxe" refrigerator, no doubt.) I considered pulling the plug on the noisy beast, but the dogs' food was in there. I turned down the temperature and, after a few minutes, Mr. IceBox decided to play nice. At 4:38 (my alarm was set for 5:15), one of my poodles smelled a skunk, and really, really, really needed to go outside to find him. That got the other dogs up, and they wanted to go out to potty. Sigh. After carefully taking the poodles out to take care of business, we got back in bed for the remaining few minutes we had before the alarm went off. The refrigerator again became possessed by ghosts of lawnmowers past. After about 10 minutes, it shut up. "Ahhh," I thought, "A few more minutes of sleep..." As I sighed and snuggled closer to a poodle, I heard the not-so-mellifluous tones of my electronic watch.

    Let the day begin!

    Within short order, the poodles and DH were fed and I had my breakfast ready to eat in the car on the way to the race site. Although my race would not begin until 9:15, everyone was instructed to be at the race site by no later than 6:45. I was one of the few people to take that edict seriously! That meant that I got less sleep than other racers, but we had a great parking spot.

    I wandered about, picked up my timing chip, set up my gear in the transition area, talked to other racers, walked and pet poodles to soothe my nerves, shared with my dogs the hard-boiled egg I could not bear to eat, watched the men doing the Olympic race start their swim (some guys missed the start!), and consulted with DH on all matters triathlon. ("The map only shows one buoy, but there are two on the course. Do I swim around both of them?" He was QUITE patient!) Around 8:30, it was time to don my wetsuit.

    I headed down to the beach, feeling a bit anxious and excited, but mostly anxious. DH recommended warming up in the water, so I went out and swam around a bit. That helped me calm my nerves a lot. I don't know what I was doing when he took this photo, but it looks like I'm giving the water a stern talking to. LOL!

    Here are the women sprinters waiting for the start horn. I was repeating my mantra: "I am an oasis of calm." And, I was thinking, "You all go ahead, there, and get started. I'll be there in a bit!"

    And, we're off! Bear Lake is shallow for several yards, so there was a bit of a trudge/run through the water until it reached swimming depth. I glanced down at my heart rate monitor and was stunned to see how high my heart rate was. Clearly, my body did not get the whole "oasis of calm" message.

    It turns out the swim was SO MUCH FUN! I felt great out there. Because I started at the back, I did see several folks immediately flipping over on their backs, trying to back stroke, stopping and treading water, etc. I just kept going, and got into my groove. Before the swim, DH said, "It will be over before you know it" and, after I turned at the first buoy, I thought, "He was right!" I had very little physical contact from other swimmers and I was swimming in amazingly straight lines. Every time I sighted, I was centered on the place I needed to go. I hardly sighted at all on the return leg because, every time I looked, I was centered on the finishing arch!

    I wish I had started more near the front because I could have caught a draft. I'll remember that for next time. There was actually a woman doing the swim with a snorkel! Can you believe that?

    Even after starting way at the back, I ended up finishing 36th out of 71 women (all ages). Given that I couldn't swim a stroke just nine weeks ago, I am chuffed!

    Here I am running, nay, skipping, out of the water. What you can't tell from this photo is that I had a HUGE grin on my face!

    As I passed under the arch, I did a little dance and said to DH, "That was SO MUCH FUN!"

    I ran up the beach to the transition area, got as much of the sand off my feet as I could, struggled to put on my sun-protective bolero over my wet arms, and got ready to rock the bike course. The bike leg was phenomenal. I passed loads of people, even men. It surprised me to pass men because their race started 15 minutes before mine! The bike portion was only 12.4 miles, and I was back at the transition area in 41 minutes, averaging 18.3 mph. I had the 23rd best bike time of all 71 women and only one woman passed me the entire time. It takes away the sting of being passed when you can see that the person is 20 years younger than you (and she's on a tri bike).

    I grinned the entire time on the bike. Conditions were perfect! It was an out and back, which I liked.

    Back to transition to start the necessary evil -- the run.

    After the bike, I put on my goofy compression calf sleeves. DH swears by them and he bought me a pair, so I thought I would try them. I think it looks like I'm running in knee socks, but WOW! Those things feel great! Even though it is a HUGE fashion faux pas, I'm sticking with the schoolgirl look from now on.

    As I've mentioned before, I am a REALLY slow runner. So, some of those folks I passed on the bike had the pleasure of passing me back on the run. I did end up passing a few people, but most of them were walking. I was 39th on the run and my Garmin said my average was 9:29 per mile, so there is a lot of room for improvement, and I think I will work on that this winter. When I felt myself start to slow down during the race, I visualized my running buddy poodle on the end of his leash running ahead of me and pulling me along. It worked, too!

    Here I am making my way to the finish line. I have a really great sun-protective running hat with side and back drapes. I didn't realize it would make me look like I had wings on my head. What I really need are wings on my FEET!

    I finished 34th out of 71 women and was 6th in my age group, just 30 seconds behind 5th place. The woman who won the race was in my age group. My finishing time was 1:39:55. I didn't have a time goal, but when I started out on the run, I realized that a time under 1:40 was within reach, although I didn't think about that while I was running. After the race, we took the poodles for a great walk around the lake and my most water-loving guy had a ball fetching stuff in the water.

    DH was an excellent sherpa, camera man, coach, strategist, cheerleader, etc. We capped off the day with a lovely lunch and then drove home to our air-conditioned home, with our quiet refrigerator, and our pillowtop mattress. Ahhh!!!

    I really need to tighten up my transition times. After the swim, I put on gloves and the Terry bolero (which was decidedly un-aero and too big in the arms, but I needed that size to cover the exposed areas on my back.) I think we were near 7000 feet in elevation and the sun can be pretty brutal! Next time, I would put the calf covers on under my wetsuit and wear them on the bike, too. That would save me some time. I didn't wear gloves on the bike for my pool sprint, and my hands were numb and tingling when I started the run, so I think I really do need to wear gloves. My hands felt fine yesterday. Maybe I can find some gloves that don't have velcro or are easier to put on.

    Thanks for reading this marathon report!

    Last edited by Alex; 08-30-2009 at 11:07 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    If those are your beginner times, well then I am REALLY slow!
    YEAH! sounds like fun, and I love the poodle pulling on the leash image to keep you moving on the run, I think I will borrow poodle leash image!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    where the wind comes sweeping down the plain
    Amazing report!!!!! Congrats on your first tri!!!!!
    Sounds like you not only had fun, but kicked some serious tail out there. Your pictures are amazing! Super duper congratulations to you!!! I like the hat that makes you look like you have wings on your head.

    I agree, your times are impressive! I'd kill for a 9:29 pace on the run. When I was really thin and in very good shape, my best time was in the 9:30's. I'm envious!
    Last edited by Tri Girl; 08-30-2009 at 10:09 AM.
    Check out my running blog: www.turtlepacing.blogspot.com

    Cervelo P2C (tri bike)
    Bianchi Eros (commuter/touring road bike)

    1983 Motobecane mixte (commuter/errand bike)
    Cannondale F5 mountain bike

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Northern Nevada
    Congrats to you! Your overall time is what most everyone strives for. And that was your first tri. I predict some age-group medals in your future.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    MD suburb of Washington, DC
    Wow, you are speedy! Sounds like a great time.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Wow, those are some impressive times--if 9:29 is your idea of slow, then I'm scared to know what you think fast is! Great job!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Mississauga -a "burb" outside Toronto
    ok...so I'm dating myself..but you look like the "Flying Nun."

    I love your rendition of "the night before..." it is soooo typical..go to bed early and everything in the world conspires to keep you awake.

    I think you had a fantastic race! I do not wear gloves on sprints...time waster, I figure for my hour + on the bike, my hands do fine on gel tape.

    Last edited by spindizzy; 08-30-2009 at 06:17 PM.

    "You can't get what you want till you know what you want." Joe Jackson

    2006 Cannondale Feminine/Ultegra/Jett

    2012 Trek Speed Concept 9.5/Ultegra/saddle TBD

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Seattle, WA
    Awesome work, Alex. Better than all your times is the fact that you had MAJOR FUN!!! YAY! (Though, yes, your times were excellent!)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Ventura County CA
    I thought you look like the flying nun too, but since we're both 46 I'm dating both of us! Great job- sounds so fun! Your report makes me so excited for my first tri September 27. What's with first tris at 46? HIM at 50?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Hey Alex-Great report! It sounds like you had fun! Congratulations! I love the flying nun hat! It looks cool.
    You're invited to visit my blog: http://tris3kidsandlife.blogspot.com/

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    northern california
    Great race and great report! I'm with the rest, I'd LOVE to run 9:30 and bike 18 mph!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    St. Pete, FL
    Congrats! Love all these tri reports and first tri reports at that.
    I am 5 days and counting. I am sure I won't be passing anyone. But just surviving and completing. Today when I get off work it is transition practice. Just going from home pool to bike to run for just some "practice".

    Great on your time...6th in age group for your first...awesome!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Columbia River Gorge
    Great work. Very nice race. From a coaching stand point... definitely the transitions could be better but you should be really proud of your times. Those are definitely not typical beginner times on the bike or run.
    Living life like there's no tomorrow.


    2007 Look Dura Ace
    2010 Custom Tonic cross with discs, SRAM
    2012 Moots YBB 2 x 10 Shimano XTR
    2014 Soma B-Side SS

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Southeast Idaho

    Yeah! Alex I am so impressed with your times! I had been looking at this Triathlon and am planning on putting it on my next years calendar. I am so glad you did it and what a great report! Great job you rock star!
    Anita "Shiraz"

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Pacific Northwest
    Alex, that is such a wonderful race report! And man, you did well! Congrats.
    "My predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved;I have been given much and I have given something in return...Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and an adventure." O. Sacks



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