A story of going from being a non-runner to planning for a marathon in three years...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Danskin Triathlon Relay Race Report

I think the above image perfectly sums up what it's like to participate in a triathlon relay. We are so very obviously a cyclist, a swimmer, and a runner.

A few weeks ago Kim offhandedly mentioned to me that a few women in her running club were trying to put together relay teams for the Danskin Women's Triathlon in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin on August 21st. I said it would be fun to do the bike portion of a triathlon relay so that I could get some practice riding my bike hard without worrying about saving myself for a post-bike run.

Next thing I know I'm on a team with Kim! And we were all ready to sign up when our swimmer announced she'd fallen off her bike and broken her wrist! Crap.

Thankfully, I know a pretty good swimmer. Enter Claudia, a member of the Oak Park Runners Club, who I happen to know swam competitively since the age of 4 or 5. She's signed up to do the Chicago Triathlon on August 28th so I figured maybe she'd want a practice swim in a race setting. She jumped at the chance and our team was born and christened "One Leg at a Time".

Kim has a great write-up over on her blog so I'll send you over there if you want all the details. Here are my thoughts in bulletpoint format:

  • Race volunteers were incredibly uninformed about all the logistics. This is supposed to be a race for beginners but I would have been so confused if I'd never done anything like this before. Or maybe I was more confused because I have done something like it before. The only person who seemed to know anything was a super-creepy woman who informed me that "body marking is optional!" Weird.

  • The bike course was beautiful but a little hilly. A lot of newbie cyclists and the fact that the relay team wave started almost last made it so I passed a ton of people. I gave up on calling out "On your left!" since I would have had to say it every 30 seconds.

  • I have no idea what various speeds feel like on the bike. My goal was to do 18 MPH. I managed 17.7. The last 4 miles or so were at 19 MPH. I need to figure out how to change my Garmin to display MPH when I'm cycling. That might help.

  • I was happy to see there were mile markers on the bike course but I didn't realize they were only every 2 miles. Imagine my surprise when I saw the Mile 8 marker but didn't recall seeing 5 (or 6) or 7! The ride went really fast!

  • The 20K course was actually more like 22K (14 miles as opposed to 12) even though I got distracted and started my Garmin late. That was fine with me but I guess some people were complaining about it. Hey, I was having fun and I didn't really want it to be over.

    After I was done with the bike portion and had handed off the timing chip to Kim, Claudia and I went and stood by the finish line and cheer. Once Kim crossed the finish line we all got our medals and then I braved the crowd to see what our official finish time was.

    We finished in a total of 1:29:03. 1/2 mile Swim - 12:29, Transition 1 - 1:37, 14 mile Bike - 47:51, Transition 2 - 1:01, 5K Run - 26:04.

    I saw a "3" next to our finish time but wasn't sure what that meant. After wandering around trying to find someone who knew something, Kim finally discovered this meant we'd finished 3rd out of 33 teams! Sadly, only the 1st place relay teams got awards but 3rd is totally awesome!

    It was a fun event that I'm glad I did with friends. I would definitely do another triathlon relay but maybe not this one. I suppose, though, now that I know it's very laid back I would be more prepared for the weird conflicting information and the lack of bike etiquette (lots of people riding two abreast, not staying to the right). Regardless, I'm thrilled that Kim mentioned it to me and that we were able to get a team together. I'd never done any kind of relay before this year and now I've done two. It really does combine the best of many worlds: friends, exercising, and racing.

    Danskin Triathlon Relay - Bike Portion by snmnstrz21 at Garmin Connect - Details