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Race Result

Racer: Jen Tallman
Race: Culpeper Triathlon
Date: Sunday, August 2, 2009
Location: Culpeper, VA
Race Type: Triathlon - Sprint
Age Group: Female 30 - 34
Time: 1:57:44
Overall Place: 134 / 224
Comment: Anaerobic in the rain - go figure!

Race Report:

This race fell on a weekend when none of my usual fans were available to come out and play sherpa/cheer for me, so I put out a message on Twitter and FB to see if anyone was willing to get up before dawn and help me carry things... Of course I neglected to mention that despite a forecast for dry weather, the universe always sends rain if it finds out that I am racing. One of my Tweeps, CW, volunteered to get on the road with me at 0445 and lug gear to transition for me in exchange for lunch and coffee! And the universe, true to it's pattern, sent plenty of wet stuff to soak the course, my beautiful Contessa, me and the rest of the participants and spectators.

I had a feeling it was going to be rainy when I was awakened 15 minutes before my 0400 alarm by lightning so intense it lit up my room through the blinds and curtains and thunder that rattled the windows. I got up, put on my Zoot tri top and shorts that I reserve for non-wetsuit legal races, which this was going to be, since the water was reportedly 83 degrees. I ate a bowl of cereal while getting directions to the race site, Mountain Run Lake Park. I grabbed a smoothie I'd mixed last night, loaded my bags into the Jeep, and headed to Alexandria to get CW.

We hit I66 West, and since I am so used to taking it all the way out to Front Royal, I managed to drive past the Gainesville exit and the Haymarket exit before I realized I had missed the easiest access to Rt. 29... OOPS! I got off at the next exit and managed to find 29 south just in time to get passed by a familiar Volvo with two familiar bikes on top! It was Scott Baldwin, Kevin and Karen! FeXY people!!

I followed them to the park and started getting unloaded. I got the Zipps on the bike and remembered I hadn't grabbed my pump... Dang. I was pretty sure that there would be one I could borrow...

CW helped me lug my gear down to the race area, and I got in line for packet pickup. I got my t-shirt, a light blue swim cap indicating that I would be in wave 2, and my race numbers, 596. At this point I realized that I had forgotten a race belt AND my neoprene ankle strap for my chip. Damn!

We found a place for the FeXY tent, and I got my transition area set up. Sprints are so simple, because even if you forget something small, you only have to suffer for a little while before you are all done! I grabbed a plastic ankle strap and some safety pins from the check-in table... Safety pins were sure going to slow down transition. : ( I asked at the FeXY tent, and Ken happened to have two race belts with him, so I borrowed his! That made me feel a whole lot better!

With everything in place I hung out talking to the FeXYs and CW and listening to the announcer count down the time to race start. At 0745, we had a briefing, and headed down to the lake. I stood obliviously next to Kevin Shaw during the whole briefing and didn't see him until just before the first wave went off. We chatted a bit and then I headed to the water for the wave 2 start.

I found a spot next to Karolina Orton, and wished her a good race. The water was full of plant life, which apparently had something against me, because it kept getting tangled in my fingers and hung up on my goggles during the swim... probably revenge for being a shameless plant eater. The gun went off, and I started swimming.

The water wasn't crowded, so I was able to find a nice clear spot and just swim. I wanted to go hard, since it was just 750m, but Ryan told me to swim as if it was an Ironman, so I could stay fresh for the bike. My stroke felt smooth, and I only dealt with one breast stroker. I actually found something to like about them... If they're fast enough, they create a HUGE slipstream behind them. I drafted off of her until the final turn, when I passed her and headed for the beach.

I took it easy on the run up the beach to transition, smiling for the camera, and removing goggles and cap. In transition, I put on my soggy bike shoes, drank some water, and turned on the Garmin. I ran Contessa up a long grassy hill to the mount line. I was a little sad that we didn't get to ride on the grass... It would have been a taste of cyclocross!!

I mounted at the line and headed off for 16 miles as hard as I could do them. I spent about 5 minutes getting my legs warmed up, spinning a super high cadence of about 110. I took a big drink of Perpetuem and started to hammer. When I checked my speed on the flats I was holding 19-22 mph, and I was quite pleased. My HR was solidly in the 180-190 range, and I felt like I was working. The hills were rolling and I was able to use momentum to keep my speed up in the 14-15mph range.

About half way through the bike, I started to feel the climbs more, and I noticed my speed dropping off a bit. I was still passing people and leapfrogging with others. I kept it up as hard as I could. I never let the HR fall below zone 4. I wasn't saving anything for the run. That 5k was gonna be fueled by determination only.

There were a few corners and descents that I felt the bike slip a little on the wet pavement, but I stayed relaxed and kept everything upright. The course was a little long... 16.81 miles instead of just 16, but I finished in an hour and 31 seconds.

Back in transition, I felt pretty slow. It was not easy getting my wet socks on my wet feet. I almost went without them. I dumped the water out of my running shoes, and headed out. CW got a pic of me as I started. 5k is so short, that it felt like no time at all before it was all over.

As I headed out on the run, I noticed that the plastic chip strap had managed to slice through the skin on the back of my ankle. It stung a bit, and then stung even more as the rain rinsed my salty sweat into the cut. I wanted to feel the burn out there, but not that burn!

They'd mentioned one hill at the briefing, and it came up pretty quick. We had to run down about a quarter mile and then back up. I saw Debi Bernardes on her way in to the finish, just before I turned to run down the hill. It wasn't nearly as big as they made it out to be. It was worth a mention, but easier than I expected.

I met a 63 year old racer out on that hill and he commented about the weather. I apologized telling him that I bring rain to most of my races. I think I may have to rethink training indoors on rainy days.... I might as well just learn to like riding in the rain considering my track record for wet races.

I walked about 5 steps of the run when I grabbed water to wash down the 2nd Hammer Gel I'd eaten, since the drink I'd taken while running at the previous water stop almost resulted in me drowning when a healthy dose of it went up my nose. I picked it right back up though.

I noticed from checking my Garmin, that I was getting faster as the run progressed! This was new and different and pretty damned cool! I'd gone from an 11:30 pace at the start to a 10:05 pace to a 9:45 pace, which I held for the last mile, sprinting at 6:30 at the finish. My HR was solidly in the 180-190 range, spiking at 205 (YES!) on the steepest part of the bigger of the two hills, as I maintained my 10:30 pace up the hill (YES AGAIN!). Finished the run in 32:07.

As I crossed the line, I heard the announcer call out my name and then call out 239, which I thought was the time on the race clock, that I had totally forgotten to look at. I assumed that I'd done the race in a little over 2:30, but when I looked at my bike and run data, I knew that I was probably closer to two hours! As, I write this, the official results haven't been posted.

Back at the FeXY tent, we celebrated Dave and Karolina Orton's birthdays. Watched Dave ride a pink unicorn, and then crowded under a picnic shelter to watch a bunch of RATS and FeXYs get their prizes for podium finishes. Someday I'll be fast like them!!

CW and I met my friend's Matt and Patty in Culpeper for some lunch at a Mexican restaurant where the waiter was a little shaky on what exactly constitutes a DAIRY product, but I did manage to get vegan lunch.

The drive home required a soy mocha from the Warrenton Starbucks, but I survived and managed to get unloaded at home before the next round of thunderstorms they're predicting. Now, I'm thinking about food and sleep... and Luray Sprint in two weeks!!! Another PR??