Monday, June 3, 2013

Keuka Lake Intermediate Triathlon Race Recap

So if you hadn't heard or seen yet, the race wasn't canceled! The weather held off, for the most part, and we were able to compete in our first Intermediate (Olympic) distance triathlon.

On Saturday, Mike and I dropped Bernie off at boarding (he got to play with his dog-friend Kiva) and then finished packing.  We couldn't check into our hotel or go to packet pickup until later in the afternoon so we took our time getting to Geneva/Keuka Park.

After picking up our packets we went down to the water and stuck our feet in, it wasn't too cold and was about 67 degrees. 

The calm before the storm?

We ate at the same restaurant as last year when we did the sprint at Keuka Lake and then went to bed.  Our alarm was set for 4:45am and we got up relatively easily (although I had an easier time waking up at the Cleveland Marathon).

We drove to the start of the race and got our bikes ready once we arrived.  There were a bunch of triathletes already there and we made our way to the transition area.  After setting up our stuff, getting body marked and walking down to the water (the temperature that morning was 66.5 degrees), we just sat around waiting for the start.

Around 7am we saw our friends Amber and Greg, who woke up at 5am to make the drive to come support us all day, and we gave them our transition bags.  Mike's wave was starting at 7:30am, he was in the first wave of the day, so we made our way down to the water.

 Keuka Lake

Right before I walked down the long gravelly hill to the lake, this woman said good luck to me.  At first I just thought she was some random woman but then I did a double take and realized it was The Unexpected Runner! We finally met!  She and her husband were both competing, she did the duathlon and her husband did the Intermediate tri as well.  I hope we get to see each other at Musselman, she's doing the mini and her husband is doing the 70.3 like us.  We'll be cheering at the mini so I'll shake my cow bell for her!

After talking for a bit, I walked down to where all the Intermediate triathletes were waiting.  Mike's wave had made its way into the water, he was the only one sans wetsuit in his wave, and then at 7:30am they were off!  I cheered loudly as they took off and watched him for as long as I could, but eventually they all just looked the same with their white caps on.

Wave after wave got ready, and then my wave (the fourth of the day) made its way into the chute.

Swim Leg (1.5K or .93 miles): Jamie - 28:52 , Mike - 26:34

We had our briefing right before we were supposed to get in the water, and the race director said that if there was lightening at any time during the swim we would hear two loud horns.  He also said if there was lightening during the bike or run that it was canceled, luckily we didn't have to worry about that!

We made our way into the water, some people commented on my no wetsuit (there was one other person in my wave without a wetsuit) and we waited as the minutes were counted down.  

Then at 7:45am, I was off and swimming!  I had lined up at the front of the pack, since I am a strong swimmer, and fell into a groove.  The water was cold at the start, but by the second buoy I had warmed up. I did extremely well at sighting and stayed as close to the buoys as possible.

Right around the corner I saw some men with yellow caps.  Before our wave went off the race director told us that if we caught the men ahead of us not to kick or punch them, ha!  I actually passed a white cap (Mike's wave) and some silver caps (second wave) as well. 

Mike making his way to transition


After a little while I knew that Mike was out of the water and on the bike, and I just picked off the buoys one by one.  The only time I had any issues and had to "stop" was around the second to last and last buoy.  I didn't pick a good spot to try to go between two men and I got stuck.  This held me up for a second but then I found open water and pushed it to the finish.

As soon as I got out of the water I only saw two women ahead of me, I ran up the 29-ish stairs, and made my way into the swim-in entrance. I saw Amber and Greg on the sidelines cheering me on and I smiled at them.

First 25-29 female, didn't last long though!

 Can I turn into the finish chute now?

I was first female in my age group for the swim and 7th female overall! I only wish that this translated to the rest of the triathlon, but I am still improving and will get there.  Plus, we aren't in it to win it, we're in it for life!

Transition 1: Jamie - 1:46, Mike - 2:02 

 Mike making his way out to the bike course

After running into transition, I focused on getting my watch on and then putting on my cycling shoes.  We both went without socks during the bike leg.  Greg made a joke about how many photos he could take while I was in transition, and I said a lot. 

Let's do this bike!

 I was nice and let him go ahead of me

My watch hadn't found satellites yet so I just ran out of there and hoped it would find them before I mounted my bike.

Bike Leg (40K or 24.85 miles): Jamie - 1:43:19 , Mike - 1:25:14

When I got to the mount line, it took me a few seconds to get going.  I had to put my pedal in the right position, but then I took off.  My watch still hadn't found satellites, but then it did soon after.  I got going and tried to just spin easy for the first few miles, I actually probably took it out too fast but that's alright.

I took my energy gel right around 1 mile and then kept going on the course.  The first part of the course is the same for sprint and Intermediate triathletes, so we had done some of the course last year.  

Out on the main road I was out of the saddle during one of the "climbs" and this guy passed me saying, "there's a bigger climb later".  I was extremely jealous of the people with more efficient bikes than us who didn't have to get out of the saddle for a baby climb.  We need new bikes!

I got to the first turn around and I think it had started to rain a little bit at this point.  I hadn't seen Mike yet, so I wasn't sure if I was going to or not.  After making it up the first bigger climb, which I did faster than last year, I turned down the Intermediate only route.  And then I saw it.

The big 2 mile long hill that Mike had warned me about.  If Mike hadn't looked at the course maps I wouldn't have even known about it because I don't really look at things prior to the race.  

 The bottom one is the Intermediate, the top is the sprint

I SLOWED down, which I knew would happen, and just focused on getting to the second turn around point.  My slowest mile was over 8 minutes, but it was a HUGE climb.  It was approximately 400 feet of elevation gain over 2 miles, it was tough! Not to mention this is when the wind was in my face for a little bit and it was raining.

Around 12ish miles for me, maybe before or after that, I saw him!  Mike and I waved at each other and I kept pushing to the turn around.  When I got there I started to pick up the pace on the way back.

The second half of the bike course is amazing, I was able to push 18-23 mph for the last 8 miles.  If only I could do that all the time!

As I made my way to the last part of the bike course, this guy passed me and said, "it was nice going down that hill".  I agreed.  After we made the final turn to the college I focused on letting my legs rest a little bit to get ready for the run.  The last turn is a "no pedal" zone for safety reasons and I saw Amber and Greg cheering on the sidelines.

 Happy I survived

I dismounted my bike easily and ran into the transition area.  I held a faster pace than I did last year on the sprint course and rode at about 14.5 mph.  Not fast but pretty decent for me.

Transition 2: Jamie - 2:06 , Mike - 1:48

 Mike getting ready to run, trying to pawn it off on Amber and Greg

After running in, I changed my watch to "run" mode and then got my running shoes on. Amber told me that Mike was around 1:57 so I knew he would sub-3.  

Before I was done doing that I had to blow a snot rocket, hey sorry I'm a disgusting triathlete, and Amber and Greg laughed.  They thought I had sneezed, but later on I told them that it was intentional.  

Caught in the act

Having a good laugh about it

I grabbed my SPIbelt with my number on it and my energy gel and ran out of there.  I kept feeling like I was forgetting something (Mike said he felt the same way too) and I guess that just means we are getting more efficient at transitions, although my second one could have been a little faster.

"See ya in a little while"

Run Leg (10K or 6.2 miles): Jamie - 55:52, Mike - 51:52

The run course was the same as last year, except you go further out on the road to get to the turn around.  It is relatively flat so you can move on it.  My legs felt decent but I knew that 6 miles was the furthest I have run off of the bike ever (the most before that was 4 miles).  

I took my energy gel at the first water stop, at about .5 miles, and then I looked at my watch and slowed down.  I was running sub-8 minute miles at that point and I knew I couldn't sustain that!  I saw The Unexpected Runner finishing up her duathlon run leg and she cheered me on!

I saw Mike at mile 1 (for me) and he blew me a kiss and we high-fived.  He told me to stay strong and I ran on my merry way.  I was jealous, again like last year, that he was almost done and I still had a ways to go.

Happy he's almost done!

Almost an Olympic distance triathlete!

There was a woman in front of me almost the entire first half of the run leg, and I knew that I wanted to try to pass her.  She wasn't in my age group but that's alright.  Right before the turn around I got ahead of her, on a slight downhill.  At the turn around there were three young boys and they all wanted high-fives, I high-fived them and said, "thanks little dudes" and made my way back.

As I was running I looked at the lake and wished I could jump back in.  I was getting hot and started to dump water over my head to stay cool.  I passed a few guys who were walking and I heard one of them say to the other guy, "alright, let's tail her".  They didn't last long before I heard them slow to a walk again.

Around this time I was calculating how long it would take me to get to the finish, I was running around 9 minute miles, and I started to feel sad that I only had 20 minutes or so left of the race.

As I got to the last turn heading back to the college a guy on the side lines cheered me on and said to push it to the finish.  As I got closer to the end, a lady said that I looked great and asked if I wanted to go out for another 6 miles.  I laughed and said no, not until July.

I saw Mike first cheering me on and then I saw Amber and Greg.  I guess I looked "grumpy" because Amber told me to not look grumpy and I smiled, said the finish line was really far away (it wasn't) and ran up the finish chute.

 I can see the finish line

There I go!

I ran up the grass and the announcer said my name as I crossed the finish line of my first Intermediate distance triathlon!

Finishing times: Jamie - 3:11:55, Mike - 2:47:30

After finishing, I found Mike, Amber and Greg.  Amber and Greg took off shortly after, but they are so amazing for coming to support us.  We truly can't ask for better friends in our life! It means so much to us when people come support us selflessly, and I'm glad they will be there for us again at Musselman!

 She might hurt me for putting this on here, but I think she looks beautiful!

Mike and I took showers, another perk of this triathlon, and then went to the post-race feast.  It was yummy!  I saw a guy with a Bar Harbor Triathlon shirt on and I had to talk to him, since I am from that area.  The shirt is a joke and it says, "Lobstah, Chowdah, Beeya" on it.  We need those shirts!

Overall, I am really happy with how this race went. We were both faster on the swim and bike legs compared to last year (overall pace) and our run times were great too. Mike was only 1 second per mile slower than last year and he was off his current 10K PR by about 30 seconds!! And I was only 15 seconds per mile slower than last year and my 10K leg for this triathlon was only 50 seconds slower than my current PR, I'll take it!

We know where we need to improve and we are going to look into getting new bikes.  We are both strong athletes but we can only do so much with our limited equipment, we'll see!

As far as doing this race again, yes we will!  We may not next year, we're thinking of doing a 100 mile triathlon instead, but we will someday.  We love it!


  1. Awesome recap! Glad the weather cooperated! Congrats!!! :)

    1. Thanks Jenny!!! We need to get together soon! I miss you :)

  2. I was so happy when I saw pictures from the race...aka it wasn't canceled! Congrats on reaching Olympic distance status! :) Love the snot rocket haha I'm not ashamed to say I've had a few in my day! haha

    1. Haha, no shame! I get so congested on the bike sometimes and I had been sniffling for a while, I had to clear it up before I started running :)

  3. Yay!! Congrats on a great race!!

  4. COngrats! You are both rockstars! I can't imagine swimming that fast. Hell I'd sink like a stone after about 10 seconds. That's a super fast 10k final leg too! Go you!

    1. Thanks Marcia!! We're lucky to be good swimmers, just wish that leg was a little longer overall!

  5. What a great race you had! And I've got to say that you looked happy & strong out on the run! Way to go! See you in July!

    1. YAY!! Can't wait to see you again in July!

  6. Awesome!!!! That was a great report. My first sprint is in a few weeks, Oly next month, HIM August. I'm terrified!

    1. You're going to do great Kathy! It's fun!

  7. Great race! I'm still trying to get the guts up to do the Oly distance. I know I could finish, but fear it would take me about 4-5 hours as I am slow. I'm very impressed with your paces. Cool on kicking butt on the swim.

    1. Thank you! I say go for it! I think most Olys don't have a time cutoff so why not? You can do it!

  8. Congrats girl!!! I can't believe you ran a 55 min 10k after all of that! You are a rock star!!!

    1. Thanks Ari!! I went out a little fast so hopefully for our HIM I will pace better :)

  9. Awesome job! I *still* can't believe you went without a wetsuit. ;)

    1. Haha, it wasn't too bad once you started swimming. If it had been below 60 we would have rented wetsuits though. I'm excited for your Olympic distance tri!

  10. Holy crud. Amazing tri. I cannot believe that you were 1st swimming, so cool. And your 10K time is the same as my PR, after all of that. Wow woman! You continue to inspire and amaze me!

    1. Thanks Abby!! I can't wait until you do your first tri!

  11. You are SO amazing! Congrats on an awesome time! I am so impressed wtih your ability and stamina!

    1. Aww, thanks Meghan! I just do the best I can :)

  12. Awesome recap and super inspiring! Doing my first sprint this Sunday and I can't wait to do my first Olympic too! Thank you so much for your blog. :D

    1. Thanks Shauna! Good luck with your sprint tri, you're going to have so much fun!

  13. I'm glad the race was not cancelled, though to me the weather still looks a bit awful. LOL, at least it wasn't pouring rain though. When I was going to do my only triathalon (which was cancelled due to weather) a while back, I hadn't even though of transitions and how much time they add. I do a run swim run in July and I know I banked serious time by thinking of that.

    Also that temperature without a wet suit. Wow.

    1. Transitions do add a lot of time, in sprints and Olympic distances you do want them to be as fast as possible but with half Ironman and Ironman distances you might take more time since you'll be out there for a longer time.

      I know, we do get funny looks by not wearing wetsuits, but it wasn't too bad once we got going!

  14. Awesome job Jamie!! I loved reading this. I can't wait for my first triathlon. How fast do you think you need to be to line up at the front? I don't want to be pushing my luck and think I should be at the front and then get trampled.

    1. Thanks Meghan!

      I think as long as you think you are strong enough you should line up closer to the front. People will go around you if they need to and usually only those who are unsure of their swim go to the back, which is better since it decreases panic attacks since they aren't fighting for a spot.

  15. Amazing work out there from both of you! I feel like this is just the start of more brilliance this year!

  16. I am definitely going to look for those shirts!!

  17. Great write up Jamie. I hope your training is going well.