Friday, May 3, 2013

2013 St. Anthony's Triathlon Race Report

This is my first race of 2013 and it is my 85th triathlon\duathlon that I have finished. I have only had two dnfs, one, intentional, at St. Anthony's in 2009, and one from a flat in 2010.
This is my 6th time at St. Anthony's. 2008, 2010, 2012 were full Olypmic distance, 2009 there was no swim for the AG due to weather and I had a stress fracture, so I did the bike and dropped out. In 2011, the swim course was shortened and moved to a different location. 2010 I was recovering from the stress fracture, so I took it easy on the run. Typically it is hot, especially the flat, mostly shadeless, run course. This year was no different. This year was similar to 2011, in as much as the swim course was shortened for everyone but the pros.  More below.
I arrived in Orlando and drove to Ocala to my mom and stepdad's on Thursday afternoon. Just hungout there Thursday night. My rental "car" was a slightly used Toyota 4Runner.  The 4Runner is a decent vehicle, bigger than I thought it would be.

Friday morning I got up and assembled the bike, which was nicely packed and shipped by Gear West, some pictures above. No problem assembling the bike. Went for a ~22 minute bike ride in the late morning and it was already getting hot. I biked a little easy and a little hard, wanted to make sure the bike was ok, and make sure I was ok.  I felt ok.  I then went for a short run, about 8 minutes. It was hot. Spent the rest of the day relaxing.
Saturday we got up and drove to St. Petersburg and checked in at the race. As usual, packet pickup and bike deposit was super easy. They do a really good job of getting people through. Probably one of the best races to take care of packet pickup, especially for such a big race.  The twist this year is that each athlete was given two clear plastic bags to put all thier gear in.  Due to the Boston bombings, the organizers decided that no backpacks in transition was the best thing to do.  So, I put about half my stuff in a bag and left it under my bike the day before, and the next day I brought the rest of the stuff in the other plastic bag.  All in all, it was not that much of an issue to not use a backpack.

When I got to the hotel, I was dripping with sweat, just from walking around to do packet pickup and bike drop off.  Just relaxed before dinner and laid out my stuff for the next day. Had dinner at the usual place, a sports bar near the hotel.  Usually, I have a good spiral meatloaf (beef, pork, cheese, red peppers, and spinach) that they have.  Not on the menu anymore! So I had a sirloin with green and yellow squash, and mashed potatoes. Yum. Also had a Yuengling. Yum.  My cousin, who lives in Tampa, and I have not seen for a few years, joined us for dinner.  Her joining us for dinner was a nice addition to the routine.
Fell asleep by about 9:30, woke up about 4 times during the night, but fell back asleep quickly.  I think the second time I woke up I was covered in sweat and my sheets were soaked.  No idea why.  My hotel room was not hot at all.  Kind of strange.  Woke up with my alarm at about 3:30, showered, had coffee, apple fritter, oj, water, a little Clif Bar, and banana for breakfast. While setting up in transition I drank some Gatorade and water. In hindsight, I probably should have had a little more to eat. I think I drank enough. Besides a cup of coffee, 8 oz of oj, I drank about 3/4 of 32 oz Gatorade and a liter of water+. 

Transition was tight, but not as tight as usual.  I think people not being allowed to bring in backpacks made for some extra room. With my bike already there it was pretty easy to setup, and I was early, so I did not have to fight for space.  Like last year they let us put our bags along the massive fence line, this was helpful.  This year they allowed us to do the same thing with the plastic bags.  I had some time to burn, as I usually do, since I show up so early. I saw David Thompson, the pro from St. Paul, and said "hi" to him, and also said "hi" and chatted with Jerry, the announcer who announces races everywhere. 
I said one last "by" to my mom and stepdad and walked to the swim start. It is a point-to-point, so basically it is a one mile walk for about 2500 people. 
It was a windy day, and the water was choppy.  I had a sneaky feeling they were going to shorten the swim, and they did.  After the pros took off they announced they were shortening the swim, by half.  It resulted in about a 15 minute delay, which was much better than 2011.  In 2011 they had to put together a new swim course that morning, this year they already had the new course, and they had setup up an early swim exit, so all they had to do was move a bouy to indicate the turn into shore.  It was a little disappointing to have the shortened swim, but understandable. 
My wave was supposed to start at 7:45, but ended up starting about 8.  It is an open water start in water that is just too deep to stand in, so you have to tread, or float in this case since we are wearing wetsuits.  The water was choppy, going from left to right, shore is on the right side.  Even though there as chop, the swim was not too bad.  There were no real issues during the swim.  It felt ok.  The only issue that once you turn and head for shore, it is not long before the water is too shallow to swim in, so it is long walk\run in shallow water to get up to the beach.  Then it is a really long run\walk\jog from the swim exit to the entrance of transition.  When the shorten the swim course, you are ridiculously far from transition.  So, you have a bit of a jog to contemplate things.
I was in and out of transition pretty fast, once I got there. 
The first part of the bike, probably less than a quarter mile, is on a cobblestone section of street, it is kind of treacherous.  Twice on the stretch my water bottle, on holder between my aerobars and held with a rubber band, started to bounce out.  The second time it fell out.  I know it is penalty if you drop equipment and do not pick it up, but sometimes it seems safer to me if you drop something to leave it.  Suddenly, trying to stop and turnaround to go get something, especially in traffic, seems much more dangerous.  So, I left the bottle, which means I was without fluids for the bike, except for the water stop midway through.  I mentioned the wind early, resulting in the shortening of the swim, at times the bike was challenging due to the wind.  There were sections on the bike where the wind was tough.  My bike this year was pretty average, compared to previous years.  Not my fastest, not my slowest.  I did not get to take much fluid in during the bike and I was worried about how that would affect my run.  It did not affect it too much, since I had my best run ever and my best run since 2008.  I was thirsty off the bike, and the first water stop was great.  I came off the bike not too fast, but I was not jogging.  As always, it was hot.  Very little shade and lots of sun.  I felt pretty good on the run, not fantastic, but good.  I was pleasantly surprised with my time.
At the finish I got the ice towel and ice water, two of the best feelings all day.  Got a little food, packed up my stuff and left.  We stopped for lunch at Sonny's, a bbq chain in FL.  We stopped there for lunch the day before.  I really like the bbq there.  Good stuff.  On Sunday, they have all you can eat chicken, I had all I could eat on the way home.
I am happy with the first race of the season.  I would say that everything went really well.  It was a good trip to FL.  I don't think I could ask for much more to start off the season. 
Below are bunch of pictures taken during the race by mom and stepdad, and a couple I took after the race.  Additionally, a photographer and triathlete from MN, Nick, was working for Competitive Image, and was taking pictures at the race.  Specifically, he was tasked with taking pictures of former pro football player, turned triathlete, Hines Ward.  Nick did catch me on the course, near the finish, and one of those pictures is below also.

Swim (820 yards, shortened for weather) - 14:05 (1:43/100 yards, wetsuit)
T1 - 6:27 (shorter swim course, loooonnnggg run to T1)
Bike (24.8 miles) - 1:11:35 (20.8 MPH)
T2 - 2:29
Run (6.2 miles) - 52:43 (8:31/mile)
Total - 2:27:18
Overall -  752/2404
AG - 91/201
Overall Pace - 4:41/mile

2012 Results
Swim (1640 yards, new course) - 29:03 (1:47/100 yards, wetsuit)
T1 - 2:18
Bike (24.8 miles) - 1:12:54 (20.4MPH)
T2 - 2:42 (sprayed some sunblock on myself, put on socks, and forgot my race belt and had to turn around and get it)
Run (6.2 miles) - 55:04 (8:53/mile)
Total - 2:41:51
Overall - 977/2689
AG - 124/236
Overall Pace - 5:04/mile

2011 Results
Swim (820 yards, shortened for weather) - 17:56 (2:11/100 yards, no wetsuit)
T1 - 5:49 (shorter swim course, loooonnnggg run to T1)
Bike (24.8 miles) - 1:10:44 (21.1 MPH)
T2 - 2:45
Run (6.2 miles) - 55:04 (8:53/mile)
Total - 2:32:18
Overall - 980/3125
AG - 110/239
Overall Pace - 4:49/mile

2010 Results
Swim (1640 yards) - 29:36 (1:49/100 yards, this was wetsuit)
T1 - 3:12
Bike (24.8 miles) - 1:15:10 (19.8 MPH)
T2 - 2:27
Run (6.2 miles) - 58:33 (9:22/mile, coming off stress fracture)
Total - 2:48:56
Overall - 1264/3192
AG - 156/287
Overall Pace - 5:18/mile

2009 Results
No swim due to weather, then dropped out after bike due to stress fracture
Bike (24.8 miles) - 1:10:43 (21.1MPH)

2008 Results
Swim (1640 yards) - 30:58 (1:53/100 yards, wetsuit)
T1 - 3:38
Bike (24.8 miles) - 1:11:48 (20.8MPH)
T2 - 3:42
Run (6.2 miles) - 52:54 (8:31/mile)
Total - 2:42:57
Overall - 1258/3350
AG - 121/231
Overall Pace - 5:11/mile


Brian said...

Nice job, Chris. Like I said, looks like a great run year for you. Despite the crummy weather, I might add!

Christopher Hawes said...

Thanks Brian. It looks like it might be. I have two open 5ks in less than a week, see how those go. Looks like you are having a pretty good year so far too.