Osprey was my very 1st triathlon ever one year ago... so I finally had a chance to compare how I'd improve as a triathlete throughout my 1st year.
Unfortunately, the entire year was marred by injury. I've been battling tendonitis and other issues, most likely related to my poor running form, since the beginning of the year and have spent way too many hours & dollars on physical therapy the past 7 months. The end result is that I've barely put in any run mileage all year. Initially my goal was to beat my husband Kevin's time from last year 1:30:16. However, I modified that closer to race day when I realized that almost no run training would mean I’d be lucky to beat my own time from last year (1:41:14). The day before we left for the race, my best friend asked me if I had aspirations of coming home with another award. I laughed and said no... not for this race... the field was supposed to be the largest yet & I’d just be happy to beat my time from last year.
Weather was beautiful – an Indian Summer day – sunny with temps in the 50s/60s early in the morning that warmed to low 80s in the afternoon. Perfect!
This is the 3rd year my husband Kevin & BIL Joe have done this race. Every year we stay at Sunset Island and enjoy an OC weekend. This means we have about a 45-min drive to the race start in Public Landing on race morning – which is fine since the race doesn’t start until 9am! We arrived at the race at about 8am and, unlike previous years, had a little bit of difficulty finding a rack spot together (there are no assigned rack spots – it’s a free-for-all). We could definitely tell that there were more racers than in the past!
At about 8:40am there is an athlete’s meeting and then everyone walks down to the swim start (flip flops recommended – you can stash them by the swim start and pick them up post-race).
SWIM 15:04 (167/377 OA):
I’d had some positive OWS experiences recently and my swim here last year was OK – I had trouble sighting & trouble maintaining freestyle – both of which I felt I’d worked out – so I was pretty confident... until the horn went off and the chaos began. My wave was possibly the largest I’ve been in... and then waves were really choppy (unlike last year when the water was rather calm)... and I think those factors led to another mini anxiety attack right away. I tried to swim, but couldn’t really. I stopped and stood up (this swim course is so shallow that you can pretty much walk the entire course if you want to...), I tried to do breaststroke (but that almost meant more water in the face with the choppy waves blowing in)... basically I ended up waiting to start until most everyone else was ahead and then I stopped and started and stopped and started until I finally got going. I never really was able to get into a great rhythm. I was internally cursing the waves and wishing for the nice calm, clear waters of Rocky Gap & Maine. And then it seemed that when I did get going, I’d run into another athlete... either a woman from my wave or a man from the wave before that was walking the swim. I was sooooo happy when I finally made it to the pier. I thought for sure I’d done even worse than last year (turns out I was about a minute faster!)
Anyway, I do strongly believe that somehow this swim is shorter than the 1/2 mile that the race claims it to be because I know there’s no way I swam the pace the results say I did. Kevin’s theory is that the run on the pier to T1 is included in the swim distance. I saw one person’s 910XT results on the swim that included the pier and it still said only 769yds (so still about 100m short).
T1 2:14 (145/377 OA):
I took my time here to wipe my face (ACK- it turned my white towel black!) and wipe my feet and then wipe my face again, just to be sure I didn’t look like a bearded woman. So I guess my vanity cost me a few seconds here... as well as my socks.
BIKE 47:26 (82/377 OA):
This made up for my crappy swim! Had so much fun and stayed more focused than last year. The only change I made to any of my equipment from last year was the addition of aero bars & a bike fit. This made this segment so comfy and fun. I passed a lot of people and, as far as I could tell, only got passed by men. My biggest regret was in the very beginning, I came out of transition with another woman. I quickly could tell she was a pretty good cyclist. I wanted to stay by her and was for a little bit, but then I lost my focus as I worked on refueling with some water (trying to get that yucky salty taste out of my mouth) and Gu chomps. When I looked up, she was just that bit too far ahead that I was never able to catch her. Oh well.
For the most part every time I looked at my computer it either said 18something mph or 20something mph (I think that depended on whether I was on a slight uphill or downhill). One section was really fun and then numbers climbed up into the mid-20s. My goal was to get my avg speed over 19mph and then when I got it there, I decided I wanted to get it to 2mph faster than last year... which I thought I’d done (according to my computer) until I saw the results. I believe the pace in the results is calculated based on a 15 mile bike course when it’s actually 15.4 (so shorter swim, longer bike... and longer run). Anyway, I finished the bike very happy.
T2 1:26 (210/377 OA):
I think I was so happy about the bike that my brain didn’t work quite right and as I entered T2, I pressed the wrong button on my Garmin. Not knowing how to work my Garmin as well as I should, I then slowed down and spent too much time (AGAIN!) in T2 messing with the watch. I finally gave up on it as I was leaving T2 and hoped that I’d pressed the right buttons (looks like I did!)
RUN 28:43 (138/377 OA):
Due to my injuries I’ve only run about 2 miles PER WEEK for the last several months. Most of the running has actually been run/walk intervals. In the weeks leading up to the race, I’d experimented with just running, but I’ve found that my run fitness/endurance is so poor that I can get a faster overall pace if I take walk breaks and let my heart rate recover a little bit. Overall, it’s still a slower pace than I was running pre-injuries... but it’s still not too bad. I badly wanted to run the entire 5K without stopping, but Kevin advised me to keep an eye on my pace and when it starts to drop quite a bit, to stop and walk a bit. So that’s what I did. I started off running around an 8min/mile pace and when the pace dropped to around 8:30, I’d stop and walk for a bit and then take off running again at an 8min/mile pace.... except then even that wasn’t working... and I was going even slower & my left quad was cramping. A little after the turn-around I spied a woman in front of me in my AG. I decided then that my goal was to beat her. As I ran up beside her I said “I apologize, but I’m going to annoy the crap out of you”... she said “that’s ok”. So for the rest of the race, I ran until I was ahead of her and in a shady area and then I walked through the shaded area and then started to run again. I continued this until 2/10 of a mile until the finish and then I gave it everything I had until I crossed the finish line. I beat her by 6 seconds. Then I nearly vomited on the chip removal guy (lucky for him, I kept it in).
There is music playing at the finish/transition area – but no race announcer and no finishers medal. In fact, the only swag from this race is a long sleeved technical t-shirt that is given at packet pick-up (the race exists as the main fundraiser for the Costal Bays Foundation). There are tubs filled with icy cold drinks at the finish (soda, water, Gatorade) and picnic tables with food for the athletes (wrap sandwiches, granola bars, fruit, cookies & candy). Once my heart rate returned to normal, I enjoyed hanging out with the family & other athletes as we waited for everyone’s results. I really wasn’t particularly interested in mine since I was pretty sure I blew it pretty bad on the swim. When I finally made it over to see the results I couldn’t believe my eyes – not only had I beat my previous time by over 6 minutes... but my name was in bold indicating that I’d won 3rd place in my Age Group! It was then I realized how perfectly (and luckily!) my run strategy had worked for me. In fact, the same run/walk strategy had been used by a competitor of mine at Cascade Lake earlier this year. While I maintained my pace on the run she ran then stopped and walked until I ran past her and then she took off running again, etc and in the end, she crossed the finish line 5 seconds before me and took 2nd place while I got 3rd. The biggest risk, of course, with this strategy is if there’s a strong runner in your AG behind you that you don’t see coming that blazes right by the both of you. Luckily that didn’t happen!
I will continue to recommend this race. It’s definitely a low-key unsanctioned race – a fun way to end the tri season. If you like a lot of rules & formalities, this is not your race (there’s no athlete’s guide & really hardly any information given at all). The race seems to attract all levels of triathletes. It’s a great 1st race since the swim is so shallow it can be walked & the bike & run are flat (although the wind can really get you on all 3).
Our club really did well again this year. Many MMTC members on the podium and lots of high finishes and PRs were made.
I especially want to recognize 2 members of our club that completely amaze & impress me (and are super nice, humble guys). Tim Jardeleza finished 3rd overall and Steve Meininger finished 5th overall with blazing fast times and then drove home that afternoon and got up before the sun the next day and raced Half Full where Tim finished 11th overall and won his AG in the 70 and Steve finished 6th overall in the 40. I returned home the next day with sore leg muscles wishing I’d brought my foam roller and glad I wasn’t racing!