Race Recap: 2013 Upper Dublin Sprint Triathlon

Good morning! Boy am I excited to post today's post!  Yesterday I raced the second annual Upper Dublin Sprint Triathlon, which is a super fun race super close to home.  It has a special place in my heart, because it was the very first triathlon I ever did.  Last year, the weather was absolutely perfect: sunny, clear and great.  This year, the weather had other plans.  All week it was looking iffy - chance of showers, off and on rain.  Oh man.  The issue, of course, is the bike in the rain.  It can be dangerous.  And you all know the bike is my least favorite of the three.  The weather was, indeed, off and on showers.  It was not a full on deluge, but the rain was persistent.  I decided to make the best of it.  After all, the one thing you cannot control on race day is the weather.

Last year, I loved every moment of the race - truly, it was just fun the entire time.  This year, I could not wait to go back and hopefully beat last year's time.   Last year, I ran the race in 1:22:13.  This year, I really wanted to beat that time and come in around 1:15.   Well ... yeah!!  My final time for the race this year was 1:15:21.  Woo to the hoo!!  Here's a breakdown and recap.   But first, a picture of me with my babies at the finish.  Best motivators ever (you can't tell in this picture but I am literally soaked from head to toe)!

Swim:  350 meters -- 8:14
last year's time:  8:39
Difference: -25 seconds

This tri has a pool swim, which is a huge switch from the usual open water swims in most triathlons. It is in the Upper Dublin High School pool, and you swim 10 laps serpentine style.  So, an athlete enters the water every 10 seconds after the race gun goes off.  Each athlete time starts when she crosses the mat at the top of the pool.  You hop in (no diving) and swim up the first lane on the right.  The left side of each lane is for passing.  Then when you hit the wall, you move under the lane divider and head up that lane and so on until you swim up and down every single lane in the pool.

I think they moved the timing mat this year.  I think last year it was right as you got out of the pool. This year, you had to run out the door and down a ramp over the mat.  My Garmin had my swim time just under 8:00.  But the mat rules and that's the time it had.  I'll take it.  I only got passed twice in the pool.  It was frustrating because the woman in front of me was going a little slower than me but I found it difficult to pass her.  I finally dug deep and swam past her.   meep meep. 

T1:  1:41
last year's time:  2:09
Difference: - 68 seconds

Last year, my T1 time (transition from swim to bike) took awhile because as a newbie, I did not realize that I needed a race belt for my race number.  So I had to pin my race number directly to my tri suit after the swim.  Last year, I also put on my sneakers:  I had the pedal cages and did not have the clipless pedals and special bike shoes.  This year, I had to uncover my bike: I had it covered with a nifty bike cover I bought at an endurance expo. The cover kept it nice and dry from the rain.  Once the bike was uncovered, I dried off a bit, threw on my helmet, socks and bike shoes and hopped on the bike.  

Bike:  11.2 miles -- 37:50 (17.8 mph)
last year's time: 41:54 (pace: 16 mph)
Difference: -4:04 (1.8 mph increase in speed!)

The bike is two loops around Upper Dublin township.  The roads aren't closed to traffic. You head through a few neighborhoods, up a pretty big climb on Susquehanna Road and then down that same steep grade to the business park, which isn't terribly scenic but pretty empty on a Sunday morning.  Then up a deceivingly difficult hill to the start and then loop around again.  I like the two loops because you know exactly what the condition of the course is on the second loop.  

This year, I am much more comfortable in the saddle, so I was hoping I could make up some time.  Boy did I ever.  Despite the rain, I kicked it into gear on the bike.  I cannot believe I biked 17.8 mph.  I CANNOT BELIEVE IT.  Bold! All caps!  Exclamation point!  It felt great.  I could have kept on going.  I only got passed by two women.  I got to say "on your left!" more times than I could count.  And best of all, I had fun on that bike.  I think I'm having a Casablanca moment with my bike: this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.  

T2: 1:42
last year's time:  1:11
Difference: +31 seconds

T2 was tough.  I had to change from my bike shoes into my sneakers and my socks were absolutely drenched from the bike.  As in, I could feel water in my bike shoes.  I did my best to dry them off, but it took a few extra seconds.  I threw on my race belt and visor and ran off.  The rain made everything take a little longer.  Lesson learned: always bring an extra pair of socks.  

Run: 3.1 miles/5k -- 25:46 (8:22/mile pace)
last year's time: 28:23 (pace:  9:10/mile)
Difference: @3 minutes (I am horrible with math)

This is a great run course!  It starts at the high school and winds around a neighborhood to the Temple University-Ambler campus. Last year, it was very sunny, but this year that was not an issue at all. I wanted to get in the low 8s for my pace - that is where I comfortably run these days, and I wanted to push hard to take advantage of my strength.

I knew I could motor through 3 miles in wet socks.  My goal was to not get passed by any women on the run.  One passed me.  And she was 21 years old (you have your age as of year end written on your leg in body marking).  I passed a bunch of people!  I could feel that I was having a killer run, and I absolutely was.  8:22/mile pace is great. I am most pleased.

The race, just like last year, was flawlessly run with tons of race support.  The volunteers are fabulous.  The organizers addressed a few issues from last year to make this race better: they made the bike out/bike in be in separate places to avoid the logjam that happened last year.  My one suggestion would be for the organizers to put a deadline on the time that you can change your swim time.  Estimated swim time is how you get in the pool: fastest person is 1 and slowest person is whatever the last number is.  Racers have to give their estimated finish time for the 350 meters.  It's a pretty good system. But about 40 people were changing their times this week. The organizers went above and beyond and gave them race day numbers, but this was needless stress and work for them.  I would encourage the race organizers to set a drop dead date for athletes to change their times.  It's really not the end of the world if they're seeded with slower swimmers.  Off soapbox.

So to recap:  

Last year's time:  1:22:13.  Overall: 134th out of 262 people.  9th in my age group.
This year's time:  1:15:21.  Overall:  82nd out of 280 people.  4th in my age group.  

Needless to say, I celebrated with pizza and beer.  Woo hoo!  Next tri is another sprint on June 15 at the state park near my hometown.  Hopefully it will be a true triathlon this year and not a duathlon as it was last year.  The swim was canceled due to "high fecal content" in the lake. Ew gross.  

See you swoon,

1 comment:

  1. That is just amazing, what an accomplishment. Your babies look so totally proud of their mom and should be!!