Monday, November 7, 2011

Race Report: Shipwreck Triathlon: with pictures and a podium!

Saturday was the last race of a very challenging, but successful triathlon season. With back-to-back DNFs in my big goal races, I learned that I hadn't bitten off more than I can chew, I just didn't do quite enough chewing. Even with "failures" in my "A" races, I had the itch to get back in the saddle. One of my primary goals each year is to improve my USAT ranking, and you need 3 completed Tri's per season to earn a ranking. When I got through Rev 3 Anderson, I just had to go get that last race in, and when friend of the blog Derek mentioned the awesomely named Shipwreck Triathlon on the NC coast, I knew I'd found my race.

My original plan was to bring Rach and Stanley the pup out for our first family trip and spend the rest of the weekend checking out beaches and lighthouses. Unfortunately, Rach had to cover men's basketball practice, so I took a half day Friday to make the drive out more enjoyable and turned it into a one night vacation. On the trip out there, I hit the USS North Carolina, the battleship of Beach to Battleship fame. It was pouring when I got there, so I didn't take the tour, but I did buy an actual piece of the ships decking used during WWII; taken off when it was retrofitted in the 90s.

Big ship, but what does the sign at the bottom say?
You'd think they'd just use the battleship to fix this problem
Then I headed over to check in, and let me just say it's a good thing I knew ahead of time that the GIANT BRIDGE over the intercoastal waterway wasn't part of the bike course, because I might just have peed all over my rental car seat if it was. I scoped out the course, which was every bit as flat as they advertised. The weather on the other hand was pretty dreadful, and not at all looking great for race morning.  

The gorgeous view of the bad weather from my room
Race morning, I woke up to this:

This is what all race mornings should look like
Over at the race, I met Bob and Alan (and Alan's wife whose name I have totally forgotten; because I'm a terrible person) from Beginner Triathlete who were hanging out when I went to see the swim start. It was nice to see friendly faces, and learn more about the area from a local. I had some pretty strong goals, but I also realized standing there on the sand before the race that I hadn't swam in seas this choppy in quite a while. 

Pre-race camaraderie, and the big dude needs a haircut
The Swim: After Cedar Point and Anderson I talked about needing to focus more on the swim in order to be stronger getting on the bike. I sort of did the opposite of that in preparation for this race. I've hardly swam since Anderson, and I think I went in overconfident. 1k swim? I've done almost 4k this year at least twice, but not in 2 foot seas. The water was 68 degrees, but it felt much colder and I had trouble catching my breath from the minute I hit the water. My sighting wasn't great and in general this is one of the toughest swims I've ever done. It wasn't long it was just really hard. I wasn't last out of the water, but I was way slower than normal, and that's before a decently long walk from the water to T1.

This might be the coolest picture of me ever
Swim Time: 35:43

T1: I lost a minute because I forgot to take off my watch before removing my wetsuit, and the hard swim definitely slowed me down. Not my worst T1 of the season even, but definitely need to work on the swim so as to come out of the water strong.

T1 Time: 5:54

The Bike: Almost totally flat. I mean the elevation change was less than 15 feet for the whole race. Being on the bike felt really good for the first 4 1/2 miles... and then you turn around and ride right into the wind. The tailwind wasn't very strong because it wasn't blowing from directly behind, but the headwind felt like it was coming right at you. Of course it was worst during the last 4 1/2 miles, but honestly I felt pretty good for the better part of the ride. I had hoped to average 15 MPH, and I came very close to doing so. A little less wind and I'd have gone a lot faster. I was the slowest bike time among men, but by just over a minute, so I felt like I hung in there pretty well.

Almost back to T2
Bike Time: 1:13:58

T2: This is the best T2 transition I've had in a real long time, maybe ever. I was off the bike and on my way out smoothly and easily, and even with a few second delay to reset my Garmin to run mode. This was a significant improvement, and maybe the area I'm most proud of in this race.

T2 Time: 1:40

The Run: The run was almost entirely a walk again, as the wind took quite a bit out of me. I ran a couple of minutes total, but managed to walk just under 4 MPH, and finish at just about the pace I expected to. I knew I needed to keep working on my run long before this race, but I also learned that my math needs some work too. Somehow I thought 8k was 4 miles, so I guess I need to make sure to convert km to miles before I plan a race.
Bob got some great photos including me crossing the finish
Run Time: 1:10:03

Total Time: 3:07:17

The best part is that with a small field and a flat course I was in competition for a podium the entire day, and as it turned out I came in 3rd place Clydesdale. I know it's not a big deal, but it sure felt like winning a major award. A great way to finish the season for sure. I'm so pumped for next season already.

Me at home recovering with my sweet reward in hand


  1. Awesome job! Way to end a season on a positive note.

  2. Congrats!! Great way to end the season. :)
    LOVE that pic of you coming out of the water
    Frame it for sure.

  3. Congratulations on your podium spot! Feels great, right???

  4. So awesome about getting a podium spot! As you know from my blog, I just got my first. Feels good, right? Keep it up and enjoy the moment!

  5. Everyone, thanks so much for the kind words. It feels phenomenal. its been 2 years since I had one, and Im very excited about it! I am getting the picture framed.