Monday, April 2, 2012

Nautica South Beach International Triathlon - Race Report

It has been so long since I've written a race report that I've forgotten how they work. I had to go back and look at one from earlier on the blog. Ha!
After the race - feeling pretty happy.

Nautica the Race location, and packet pickup
The race has two distances a classic which is longer than a super sprint and an international distance which is the same as the other international I've done (1500k swim, 40k bike and 10k run). The race is held in South Beach which is a terrific beautiful location.
The expo and packet pickup are on the beach which is nice. Hot but nice.

Packet pickup was only available Saturday from 1-5 and then before the race. I really wished that there had been a Friday pickup option just because my life was a little crazy this weekend and personally it would have been easier for me. Our training group chose to run and swim Saturday morning a little later than usual on South Beach - go for brunch - and then pick up the packets. It was a good plan and we picked up our packets right before 1:00 on the beach without hassle.

Well, mostly without hassle. I had accidentally taken ALL the car keys for the family truck which left my husband and kids stranded at home with no way to get to the Saturday morning birthday party. Oops. Luckily, my step-daughter wasn't too cranky to get up and come over and drive her. Thank you Alex :-)

I did hear from some folks that trying to get the packet later in the day was a little frustrating but it didn't happen to me. One of the girls in our group chose to get her packet race morning. I was too nervous to do that. I like to have all my stuff the night before.

Race Day
Up early. Out the door early. My step-daughter thought my morning to do list was hysterical. Eat Breakfast, Drink Coffee, Get Bottles from freezer, Load Bike. My husband on the other hand took it in stride pointing out that nothing should be left to chance when you're getting up at 4:30.
breakfast ... oatmeal with craisins, coffee to go and water

 I left the house at 5:05. I was alone but I actually saw two people I knew on the way there. That was fun. There was a traffic back up getting into the garage on 7th and Washington. It wasn't too bad just people getting their tickets. Also the guy in front of me almost went in with his roof racked bikes but I tooted at him and other people walking by pointed out the disaster that would have been becausehe wouldn't have cleared the ceiling. So, I was glad I had left early.

Then when I got to look at my bike one of the bar ends had come off during the drive. CRAP! Then I hustled to transition to find the bike store to get a replacement.
Bike racked in the garage at the race. About 5 seconds after I took this photo I noticed the missing bar end cap and stopped lollygagging around.

That left precious little time to set up transition. So I was feeling rushed but not too bad. I didn't find my group before the race because I had to walk to 14th street (from 7th) for the International Swim Start. Foregoing the Hammerhead team photos I listened to the announcement for all international distance atheletes to get to the start and went my own way. I ate my 1/2 luna bar and 1/2 a banana on the way to the swim start. It seemed like a long walk.

The Swim 40:30
During my practice swim Saturday the surf was rough and I went to sleep praying...wishing for calm waters the next day. I got my wish. I got to the start and the water was calm as a lake. It was fantastic.  Also just as a note I think they started right on time.

There was a pre-race meeting which was incidentally actually more than just keep the buoys on the right.  It detailed a change in the bike course so it was actually helpful. Then the anthem and then we zoomed right through the waves start, start, start.
I was in the purple wave which was by the way the very last wave of the international distance. All girlies over 35 there were about 60 of us. So I had plenty of time to size up the wet suited competitors.
 On the other hand somehow they had measured the water temperature as 75 degrees and so it was a wet suit legal race. I am not exaggerating when I say that I was the only person in my start wave without a wetsuit. The only. So, I knew how warm the water was from the day before. But I also knew that this race has always been wetsuit legal and I was pretty sure they would make that call. I actually thought about bringing my suit but I decided against it because I thought that the time I would make up I would lose getting out of the suit in transition. Also, I was pretty sure I would be hot inside my suit by the end of the swim.

I have mixed feelings about the swim results. I'll be honest that when I saw the results I was surprised and not in a good way because I felt great during the swim. I was passing people consistently, I swam a straight line and I had no anxiety. So given that the other swim this distance that I did was clocked at 30:51 I was surprised at first but I have learned to not be too hard on myself on race day.

First let me add I learned that the time includes the run up to transition from the beach in the sand. So that's maybe 2 minutes.  I'm estimating that based on another swimmer who had the presence of mind to wear her watch AND look at it as she got out of the water. Smart girl.

The rest of the difference in time I guess is probably a mix of the effect of the surf which while it wasn't significant was surely there, I don't think the swim distance was off by much but the swim courses from race to race are always a little different, not wearing a wetsuit and in the end I just didn't swim as fast. 

Evaluating the swim results today I was 20th out of the water in my age group. And remember - the only one without a wetsuit. In hindsight I feel pretty good about that. I was warm getting out of the water and other swimmers have confirmed that in the wetsuits they were hot towards the end. Even still, if I do this race again I'll take my wetsuit because if everybody else is wearing them it's just too big of a time difference to give up.

One more thing I'm going to stop waiting around at the start for people to go first. It was a mess getting to the first buoy so I just need to woman -up and get out into the front earlier to find clearer water. I say this after many races and yet I rarely do it so apparently I have issues.

Last comment. I actually saw a mom I know from preschool as I got out of the water. I see her about twice a year now so I am so impressed that she recognized me in my tri suit, swim cap and goggles. I barely recognize my relatives in that outfit. It was great to hear somebody yell my name.

T1 - 3:07 only 1:30 faster than Trinona where I had a wet suit on. Hmmm food for thought. This transition was HUGE so I think that may be a factor.

Transition spot. I took this photo during set up. I did not pause during transition to take the photo. I did carry my camera on the bike but didn't take any pictures.
The Bike 1:21:20
This is 28 minutes faster than my bike time in Trinona. 28 minutes! I'm very happy with that. My goal was to not slack on the bike. So I concentrated on staying focused.

It was a crowded course but not too bad. I did have one bonehead pass me on the right ... saying kindly, "on your right."
I replied, "passing is on the left" kindly leaving out the bonehead :-) and was relieved that there was nobody super speedy going past on the left because that would have been crowded. Then I noticed that he was sporting an aero helmet.
So when I passed him back in the next minute I added, "nice aero helmet" again the "bonehead" was simply implied. Not so nice of me but, whatever. I'm not a fast cyclist and since he never passed me again in my opinion the aero helmet was overkill for him and also the passing rules are for safety so, also in my opinion, he should know them. Also what is the deal with people passing and then slowing down ... I hope I don't do that.

I had a GU in transition and another 45 minutes into the bike. I also drank Gatorade out of the aero bottle and I felt good so I think nutrition was pretty solid.

A friend saw me get off the bike and said I looked tired. I felt okay so I guess that means I was working hard which is a good thing.
I didn't take this photo. I grabbed it from a friend on Facebook but here I am getting off the bike. What in the world is happening with my helmet? Perhaps I should not be so judgmental of others helmet apparel?

T2 -  2:57 a little slower than Trinona I think only because the transition space was bigger. Also, I had frozen a bottle of water the night before with the express purpose of dowsing myself with cold water in transition. I did this and it was wonderful. There was still ice in the bottle. Totally worth the extra 15 seconds.

The run 57:23
I'm very happy with my run time. But here's the deal. My fastest 10k is now this one which is the last leg of a tri. The previous 10k pr was the first 10k split of the NY marathon. So then here's the question - what could I run if I ran a stand alone 10k?
It's out of focus but this is the start of the run right on the beach. Really pretty but not a lot of shade.

This is a nice run course out and back on the boardwalk. I had 2 goals. First to go out quick not slow and then get faster. This was good advice from my brother. Next I wanted to keep it around 9:30 or faster. I mostly did that: (9:16, 9:34, 9:26, 9:36, 9:13, 8:52, 1:56 is the .2).
required self portrait on the run. Notice that I picked a red hat to go with my new red kicks. But pink shades. Styling all the way (snort).

I think that for the next race I need to be a little more ambitious with the speed goal. I think it is good to go out faster and then try to hold on to the speed. I was tired at the finish but I had plenty of kick toward the end. About 100 yds of the finish is in the sand and that was slow. Also I was eating cliff blocks along the way and I did walk two times to do this. In fact the pockets in the one peice smurf Team Hammerheads tri suit are totally hard to reach into so I had to walk to get my shotblocks out of the pocket. I'm guessing that was the 9:34 and the 9:36 splits so that has to go.

Total Time 3:05:19 personal record. 27 out of 40 in my age group. 531 out of 787 in the international distance which is a worthless statistic because only 200 women raced the international distance.

The winner in my age group finished in 2:25:09 she's fast. Sarah Haskins won the women's race is 2:00:13 super fast!

Wrap up
It's a spectacular venue and it's a big race. So that brought a few minor issues but overall I think it was a great race and quite honestly really well organized. I'm pretty sure I've never said that about a triathlon. My only comment to the organizers would be that the water stop where the international runners rejoin the classic course needed more staff which is not a huge deal I just reached over and got my own water.
Self portrait cleaning up transition.

The medal and actually the shirt - (not pictured) are very nice.

Lastly - today I'm ordering a new bike rack. I keep losing these bar ends. One gone after the metric century, one gone on the way to this race and then the other gone on the way home. It happens because the aero bars weigh down the front and the bar ends hit the rack and woosh - goner. What a pain. Also I think the replacement bar ends are obviously crap because this did not happen with the original bar ends. But, whatever. My rack is as old as the car itself so it's served it's time.

After the race we met at a friends house for a bar-b-que and we all chatted and my kids exhausted themselves in the pool with other kids. A good day - all around.

Last Race Story
If you've read this far thank you. Those of you who know my family know that while my husband is uber supportive of my triathlon habit he's not the biggest fan of coming to the races. He gets hot, the kids get cranky and so on. So I don't force him to do it for the sake of a happy marriage. Also without the help of my sister-in-law he never makes it in time. And with this race I did not see how it was even possible to do it and for him to make it to the Tennis finals in time. So I didn't even ask.

In fact, the night before the race while putting my son to sleep he said, "mommy we have a surprise for you tomorrow (giggle giggle)"
and I said "are you coming to the race?"
and he said "no" but I didn't believe him because he's five and he's a bad liar.
So I told him, "Jack if Daddy is trying to surprise me please tell him it's going to be too busy and crowded and he'll be unhappy."
And then he said, "no mommy, we're not coming to the race."
But as it turns out he's a better liar than I thought and my husband and kids did get up and head out to see me. But unfortunately I didn't see them. The traffic was such a zoo that they didn't get to the finish area until about 20 minutes after I finished and then they couldn't find me in the crowd. Bummer. But they get cool points for trying and I felt loved anyway when I found out.

For your amusement here is a video I shot while running. Because I'm a bonehead it's sideways. But you can clearly see what the run looked like and for extra fun I'm actually passing people.


  1. That's awesome that Marc and the kids came! Too bad you didn't see them :)

    Wetsuit - just always bring it. I heard recently it's worth 10 seconds per hundred. On a 1500 swim leg if you loose 30 seconds taking it off you're still up 2 minutes. I've also heard that not only is it faster but you may actually work less hard to get that extra speed.

    This is a great read. I'm excited to see how fast you get with confidence. Though I'll still whip up on you :)

  2. Amy you rocked it!! Your run times are super impressive!!!!!

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