Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Last Blast Lincoln Y Tri Race Report

Sunday September 15th was my one and only Triathlon for the season.  An Olympic distance, Last Blast was out at the Branched Oak Reservoir and had about 76 participants in that distance and another 35 in the Super Sprint.  An added 15 people rounded out the day competing as 3 man teams.

I had trained with my husband, using a free, 12 week plan from Garmin, and added my own strength training plan. David and I both felt that our fitness increased and we were challenged but not impossibly overwhelmed by the Intermediate plan.  Unfortunately, I was very sick the two days prior and the day of the race.  I was more sad to miss the experience with my husband than to miss the raceitself. :(  

David was nice enough to write up a race report for the blog.  Here it is, my husband David guest posting today and giving us his take on the Last Blast Lincoln Y Tri!

Last Blast Olympic Triathlon

Well, perhaps I should call this First Blast as this was actually my very first organized triathlon event/race.  It did not seem odd to me to just skip right to the Olympic distance for my first event, I’m not entirely sure if that was the best decision.

With any outdoor event, people tend, or you think they would, watch the weather forecasts to try and plan or have some expectations about the weather.  Well, I’m kind of a weather fan so I watch it on a regular basis pretty closely and for an event like this I start checking it out 15 days in advance.  The weather was looking grim.  Very cold and rainy.  As it turned out, we had thunderstorms starting in the early morning and temperatures around 60 degrees.   There was quite a fear of a delayed start, but around 6:30 the rain stopped and didn’t represent itself throughout the day thankfully and we started on-time at 8:00 am.

1500 Meter Swim

Because of the cooler weather, the water temperature was 76 which made it wetsuit legal, wish I’d had one.  Perhaps a little less than half of the participants did for the Olympic distance (there was also a separate Super Sprint distance event).  It was a mass-start for the our event, though wasn’t too bad as there were only about 80 participants total.  We waded out to about knee deep to the water to prepare for the start.  

The horn sounded and everyone trudged to deeper water.  Initially, as I’ve read in other reports, people being close together have a tendency to swim in to each other and flail some arms and legs at each other.  There wasn’t too much of this, but everyone was all like “excuse me”, or “oh, pardon me”.  That was very considerate.  

After about ten minutes is when I began to have some difficulties.  I won’t pull anything here, I totally had a panic attack during the swim.  This was really my first open water swim.  I’ve swam in lakes before, in the designated swim area.  These areas are deemed “safe” and being tall, I could always touch the bottom.  As I swam out away from the shore the marker buoys seemed so far away that they were even hard to see.  I’ve swam well over this distance countless times in the pool, but here out in the middle of the lake I started to freak out, badly.  I came seriously close to waving in a kayak and calling the day to a quick end.  I stopped and back stroked, and breast stroked, and let my heart settle.  I decided to keep going.

Finally I made it around the first turn and regrouped.  I began to swim and was doing ok.  I made it to the next buoy and though the swim course was a giant triangle, this was instead just a sight buoy and I had to continue on again for another couple hundred yards before I could turn back toward home.  I made it to the next fairly well and turned finally back toward to shore.  About halfway back to shore I was feeling very bad about my bad swim performance that was really a mental issue.  I just wanted to be done with the swim.  I struggled in to shore, I had made it without calling the race, but with a horrible time.  

Still, this race will instantly be a PR for me as it is my first!  Here are some good things that came out of the swim:  I did not drown, I encountered zero lake inhabitants, the other racers were nicer than I expected.  I will be MUCH more prepared mentally next time (yes, I’ll do it again).

26 Mile Bike

After a pretty good transition, I made it out on the bike.  I don’t have a fancy bike but I’ve had it for a while and it has served me very well for what I paid for it.  It’s not exactly a road bike, but a straight-bar bike with road tires.  Having just crawling out of the lake, I was cold.  It was about 59 degrees and the wind was picking up.  I passed on grabbing my jacket and a little uncomfortably cold.  

The bike course was two times around the Branched Oak Lake reservoir.  My wife and I had been saying for a couple of weeks that we should go out and at least drive the course if not ride it, but we didn’t make it.  This was a bummer.   I found the bike course surprisingly hilly.  The best part was that having two loops, you get to repeat the same hills again!  The hills weren’t too high, but they were fairly regular.  

I like riding my bike and passed a couple of people, which made me feel much better after the previous segment.  The second time around the wind really started to pick up which adds to the fun when climbing hills.  As everyone knows, when riding a bike, the wind is always in your face!  I warmed up on the bike, and dried off too and was feeling better.  

I had planned my fluids and nutrition on hot weather that didn’t come, so I had lots of fortified water.  Still I knew that I was expending a lot of effort so tried to take in as much as I could.  I didn’t have any equipment failures, flats or other malfunctions on the bike.  Riding around the lake was beautiful, even on an overcast day.  Because this was a weekend in a State Park, it wasn’t a closed course so we had to try and avoid being hit by RVs, gigantic trucks pulling trailers and boats.  Fun stuff.  

10K Run

So, enter sub-event three of the day, the run.  I had fully recovered after my disappointing swim and felt much better on the bike.  Still, the bike course was pretty hilly.  I was starting to feel the fatigue of the day, and perhaps some age.  I had a very successful transition, in fact I was very pleased with both of them.  I strapped on my cap, running shoes, swallowed a drink of water, grabbed a gel and took off.  I had about a 100 yard run on grass to get to the street.  The grass was still wet and slippery from the rain a couple of hours earlier.  Starting on the run was a little bit of a struggle getting my legs moving, but I was pleased that I didn’t suffer much.  The run course soon branched off of the main paved road to a side gravel out-and-back.  Well, it was supposed to be graveled, but the rock was sparse and the earlier downpours had left it very muddy and quite disappointing.   There were also a couple of sizable hills in the first half too.  During the entire run there were others returning on the same route (on the other side) and they were all very encouraging to “Keep Going,” “You’re doing great!” and “Almost there.”  In all three legs, the other participants were the best part of the event.  

After the completing half of the run on the hilly dirt road, the rest returned to the paved route.  There were two water-only stops on the run course, once halfway through the mud slog and the other at the last turn around spot about mile 4.  

I was most pleased that I didn’t stop and walk once during the run, despite the tiredness, hills, mud and the whole day.  I trudged on, my run time wasn’t fabulous, but it wasn’t a disaster either.

When returning to the transition area at the end of the run there were a disappointing number of bikes remaining still.  Oh well.  Like I knew at the beginning, this was a PR Baby!   I was very thankful that I had not suffered any injury nor significant pain throughout the day.  I didn’t even drown!  Shortly after completing and stopping the Garmin Tracking app on my phone I got some very wonderful messages from my wonderful wife.   I missed her throughout the day as she was supposed to have competed as well, but had been in significant pain recently and could not participate or even able to spectate.  

I think next year we will both be in better shape to take on the Last Blast Lincoln Triathlon at Branched Oak Reservoir.


  1. VERY wonderful account of your triathalon. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on each leg. Great job!