Saturday, August 25, 2012

Bear Lake Brawl 2012

This was a great day any way you look at it. It was my first Olympic distance triathlon, it was in a gorgeous location, I was with my friends from TriBuddies, and HELLO!  It was a race day!  Doesn't really get any better in my book!

Beautiful day for a tri!
Ken and I had planned on camping at the state park that this took place at, but then had the invitation to stay in the cabin with some of the Buddies.  I was so glad we did that!  The cabin was amazing, Ken and I had the guest house (yeah, that kind of place!) to ourselves, and I actually slept really well!  I NEVER sleep the night before a big race, so that was a nice surprise!  We got up at 4:45 to make sure we were there in plenty of time to set up our transition areas, here the briefing, and not have that rushed feeling on an already crazy morning.  We ended up setting up transition in the dark, but it was all good.  Great to have a good racking spot though!  This was on of the first tris I have done where they didn't limit who was in the transition area, so Ken was able to help me set up and he proved to be a great race assistant!  After I had everything set up, we waited on the beach for my wave to start (wave #9).  The sprint distance athletes went first, then the Oly distance folks.  The waiting went by fast, and it was fun to watch people, mingle on the beach and think more about my race.  I had a few goals for myself pre-race:
1)Race comfortably hard in all three sports, but save enough for the run.
2)   Hydrate well on the bike.  I didn't do this at Daybreak back in June and paid dearly on the run
3) Average 16-18 mph on the bike at all times
4) Give my run my all, even though it might hurt ;)

Waiting for my wave to start
The sprinters are off!
Brandy and I at the start
Tracey, Kathy, and Kirsten
The Olympic virgins!  This was all of our first Oly distance
Finally, they called our wave at about 8:45.  The water was much warmer than I thought (it was only 45 degrees outside, so we thought we would freeze in the water) but it turned out to be perfect.  I had brand new goggles (I know, I know, nothing new on race day...I wanted to make sure they wouldn't fog up!) and when I was warming up for my swim I noticed how clear this water was!  Bear Lake is a favorite spot for many because of the gorgeous water, but this was unbelievably clear!  Loved it!

I wasn't sure where to seed myself for the swim.  This was the first OWS race I had done where there was a mass start, whereas Daybreak had been a time trial start.  After talking with Brandy and James from my tri group, they said that knowing my swim ability, they would be right out front if they were me, as swim is my strongest.  I was intimidated by this, but decided to take their advice.  I went right out front and it proved to be good advice!  I never got passed and had clear water the whole time.  It was a great swim.  No, it was an AMAZING swim.  The Oly distance people had to do two laps around the buoys for a distance of 1500 m. I did well at sighting and staying straight.  I LOVED how even at the buoys far off shore you could see all the way to the bottom.  The water was gorgeous, a perfect temperature, and I loved every second of it.

SWIM TIME:  32:38  This includes the T1 time as well since their timing mat broke, but I know when I came out of the water my watch said 31 something...only one minute past my 30 minute goal!
Our wave starting

Running to T1, one of the first in my age group out of the water :)
Not sure on my time here as the race result website admits that their transition area mats were not working properly and they can only report split times and total times, and the transition times were added to bike and run.  But, it seemed slow to me as I had a heck of a time getting off the dang wet suit as shown in the pics below.

I really wanted a strong bike.  I really wanted all three to be strong, but I knew I had a good swim, and now I wanted a good bike, because I know I struggle with the run.  I had talked with my Dad earlier in the week (my go to Cycling guru) and he said that it would be cool if I could average 16-18 mph on the bike.  I knew the bike course as it was the east side of the lake, and I had run that for my first half marathon just over two years ago.  I knew that it was relatively flat with a few rollers, and as long as the wind wasn't bad, I should be able to hit that goal.  I felt great heading out of the bike, here I am clipping in leaving T1.

I headed out on the bike, and immediately got up to my desired speed.  The roads were flat, and it was really nice, not too hot, not too cool, and I was ready for a great ride.  I tried to stay in my race "zone" but also took the time to enjoy the scenery around me.  It occurred to me at several time during the ride how lucky I am to be able to do this.  I am thankful for good health and a body that would allow me to race they way I love to do, and to do so in such amazing places with amazing people.  I was having one of those "all is right with the world" moments.  I made sure to be hydrating well and watch my bike computer to make sure it didn't get below 17 mph.  It only did one of two times on some of the climbs on the hills, but the lowest I saw it get was 13! 

I hit my goal of hydrating well, finishing off my bottle of Ironman Perform.  I thought it was more efficient way of taking in calories and hydration than using water and Gu.  I'm still not graceful enough to do a Gu on the bike without almost crashing!  Though I did also take a Honeystinger Waffle.

Coming around the final turn of the bike portion, and feeling good!
 TOTAL BIKE TIME:  1:32: 40 for 25 miles, but this also includes the T2 transition time :(

T2:  I felt T2 went well, though I was confused for a few minutes about where my rack was.  Once there, I was pretty fast in switching to my running gear and heading out.  Wish I knew the exact time!

Heading out of T2 on the run
I started this run thinking, "Oh boy, here you go, you suck at this, so try to suck less than last time."  I then realized those were the self defeating thoughts that would do me no good.  I made a point to think about how far I have come in that just over two years ago, this was the location of my first event EVER, the Bear Lake Half marathon.  I reflected on how I was now doing tris, had done a few marathons, and have had an amazing journey the past two years since then.  It immediately lifted my mood and I knew that I was going to give this my all.  The Oly folks had to do two loops on the 5k course.  The first mile was rough, but not as hard as I would have thought as I was anticipating the lead leg feeling from just getting off the bike.  I quickly found my pace and made sure that it was do-able, but hard as well.  I wanted to push myself.  I really felt good.  I thought about how I was not dehydrated as I had been at Daybreak and was glad I had taken in the fluids I needed on the bike, and it was paying off for me now.

The run course was good, it was mainly through out the state park and only about a half mile of this 5k loop was on the high way outside the park.  I made a point to call out to other runners and yell, "Good job" or "Almost there" and was in a great mood.  Even though it was a hard 10k run, I felt good and enjoyed it. Though I didn't know my pace, I did sense it was better than Daybreak, and I was happy with that.

TOTAL RUN TIME: 1:06:58, though again, this may or may not include some of T2 time.  Wish I knew for certain.  Anyhow, that averages out to a 10:47m/m pace.  Not great, but not too bad either.  I have to remember that this is following a one mile swim and 25 mile bike!

Making the final turn into the finish, and feeling strong!

Yay!  Finish line sprint!
Post race was awesome.  This is really the first event that I have done that I have had friends along with me, racing for me and cheering for me.  It was great!  I can't say enough how much I love my tri group.  They were along side me on the course, and we supported each other and cheered on each other every step of the way.  They are great people and it adds so much to a race to have people a long with you!  Here are some pics from the finish where we are all comparing notes from the race, and cheering others on as they finished.  It was so much fun!

 Kirsten in our group took first in her age group, she was shocked by this, and it was her first Oly distance as well.  She was so cute up there!
All the Buddies at the finish, happy with how we did, and glad it was over.  Three people in our group had podium positions today!

I ended up having a total race time of 3:13:58.  This was within the margins I set for myself, even though I really wanted to do closer to three hours.  I knew that was a very ambitious goal, and since this was my first attempt at this distance, I knew I had to have realistic expectations of myself.  It was a guaranteed PR either way though!  I also hit everyone of the goals I set for myself!  It was a good day!

-Olympic distance is fun
-I still need to do more bricks
-I really need to work on bike and run.  Speed for both.  I think this means just more time in the saddle, but for the run, I am going to work on speed instead of volume for next season.  I have always focused on distance and not speed, and that is what plagues me in these tris!

This was a great event.  I loved the location.  The organization wasn't amazing, but it wasn't as bad as I had heard either.  I was peeved at no race medal, as I am all about the race bling.  I have now done three triathlons with no finishers medals for any of them!  The shirts were cute, but too big.  Overall, I would totally do this event again, and will probably come back next year.

Man vs Mud is next Saturday, then the Ogden Valley Sprint Tri on September 15.   Still training for the St. George 26.2 as well.

Happy training all!


  1. Awesome job! Honestly! I tell myself during workouts, ” be awesome like Katie!” Not even kidding!

    1. Alissa, you are awesome! I love this tri thing, even if I am not that great. This was a humbling race for me!