Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Lifetime Fitness Triathlon Race Report: I DID IT! Part 2 The SWIM!!!

Yes I have been neglecting gracing everyone with my supreme race report :-)  Since I am being long winded I broke it up, here is the swim portion, and I will add the Bike/Run shortly!
So where did I leave off? Oh yes, transition was closing and Paul and I made our way down to the water to watch the Elites head out.  This was the 10th anniversary of the Lifetime Fitness Triathlon, so they brought back the Equalizer (sounds like the Terminator, right?).  Basically instead of having a male Elite and female Elite winner there would be one overall winner.  To do this, they gave the women Elites a handicap based on the times of the men, which was 9 min and 41 seconds I believe.  So the Elite women hit the water at 7am, and wow, they can swim!  About 9 mins later the men lined up, Matty Reed is one tall mofo! 
Which one is Matty Reed? Oh yeah  the giant in the middle!
Matty's is kind of like a killer whale dive, not dolphin!

I bet about 6'4 or 6'5 and 180lbs, no ounce of fat on him, he looked lean and mean!  They were off and I watched more of the "normal" people take to the water.  I have a lot of respect for those people that did the international distance... almost 1 mile thank you (at least not yet for me!)
The elite women starting coming in around 19 That's some fast swimming!
Alicia Kaye, who took 2nd place exiting the water!
The elite women were keeping their head start and continued on thru transition to the bike.  I missed them in transition but we got a good place to watch the elite men exit.  There were tons of people lined up screaming and ringing bells.  Pretty cool!  We then watched the elite men race out of the water and through transition, wow they are quick! And those bikes...geez worth 2X or 3X my own car!  After all the elites were on the bike course, we hit up the porta-pottys one last time before we got our wetsuits on.  25 mins later we got to use them!  The line was ridiculous, but so many people were trying to get out of their wetsuits/bibs/etc so I guess takes you longer. Paul and I found a nice grassy spot and got some body glide on and once greased up I put on the wetsuit (I did shave my legs to help the wetsuit get on and off easy, and that was a big help!).  I left my tri top on so I could rip of the wetsuit in transition and just throw my shoes on and grab my bike.  Plus I didn't want to have to try to put a dry shirt on when I'm wet.  Once suited up we went back to the swim start, ran into Teresa again who was nervous but I told her she could do it, hell I was going to!  I wished Paul luck since his wave was starting at 8:20 and whooped and hollered when he ran into the water and took off.

I had 30 min before my start so I watched some more people enter then wandered down to see if I could get in the water and see how it felt.  There were tons of people waiting for their wave in the water so i waded out just to get a feel for the water (and No, I didn't pee, but there were some suspiciously warm and cool spots in the water).  At this point at lot of things were going through my mind:  1.  Don't drown  2.  Keep swimming, take it easy don't go too fast 3.  You are doing a triathlon  4. Wait...I AM DOING A TRIATHLON!  5. I CAN DO THIS!!!!

As I was mentally preparing/psyching myself up, guess who I saw?  Blogger extraordinaire Steve Stenzel! I knew he was racing LTF and as luck would have it he was in my wave! (he's with the geezers now that he is 30) I love reading his blog and his race reports.  Of course he wasn't hard to miss with those tutti-frutti shorts, so I went up to him and introduced myself.  He was nice and we chatted about the race and I confessed it was my first tri.  he gave me some pointers on how to avoid the waves when breathing and told me I would do fine.  Great meeting him, having someone to talk to calmed me down.  We had to get in line and before I knew what was happening I was by the official who yelled "GO!"

Swim:  0.4 miles, Lake Nokomis

The part I was dreading, mainly because I hadn't really learned how to swim.  I started taking a beginner's Master's swim at the Lifetime by my house in Eagan in late March.  I knew enough not to drown, and couldn't even do freestyle for 10 feet.  After the lessons I could swim but breathing/kicking/endurance are the two things I still struggle with. Luckily I got to wear my wetsuit, which literally was a lifesaver.  I was prepared to do it without the suit but was glad I didn't have to.
I ran into the water (high knees!) and did a dolphin dive not once but 3 times to get out farther in the water.  I kept in control and started swimming not too fast but enough to pull ahead of two guys next to me that were too close for comfort.  I moved closer to the buoy line to get some space.  I felt weeds brushing my hands but I didn't freak out and kept going and then they disappeared.  Whew. I hate the weeds! I continued on and at the big buoy for the turn, disaster struck.  I got caught up with a tangle of bodies at the turn, and promptly got swam over and got a big lungful of water.  I panicked then and was sputtering and coughing and kicked past the buoy on my side and turned toward the next buoy coughing.  I flipped onto my back to try to relax but the heart was racing so I sidestroked some more to calm down.  My legs and arms were tired, and I was maybe halfway there, and I must have looked like crap, the nice lifeguard asked if I wanted to rest on the buoy so I did.  I ain't ashamed to admit it, but I was disappointed I had to rest, but I didn't realize the swim would take so much out of me (plus I think I was getting pretty warm with the wetsuit, the water was 82 degrees).  So I continued on after resting, freestyling and managing to rest when I was getting tired. After I turned at the second buoy for the final home stretch I thought "hey! I am almost there!" I was alternating back, side, freestyle at this point.  I passed one woman sobbing uncontrollably on the lifeguard's buoy. She was having a break down in the water and the lifeguard was trying to encourage her to keep going.  I took the lifeguards advice and kept going.  As I got closer I was wondering how soon I would be able to touch bottom, and then I bumped into a guy who was standing in front of me!  Then my feet touched the earth....OH YEAH!!!!!!! I was almost there!  You can see that in this pic:

What? Land....LAND!!!!!
So I won't lie I started doing the jump forward and glide thing on my tip toes until I got to about waist deep water and waded forward.  I was just happy to be done, plus I think I was a little loopy from being in the water/overheated, you be the judge:

Geez...I have no words for that look on my face...
 Then of course when I noticed I was being photo'd I did the obligatory thumbs up! pose:

I think the guy behind me was like.."who is this tool?"
 Right as my feet hit the sand out of the water, my right calf cramped up, but I kept going past the crowd and ran into transition.

Distance: 0.4 miles
Time: 31:32
Place: Not Last at least!

I hobbled into T1 with my cramped leg and had the top of the wetsuit and my googles and cap off.  I got to my area, peeled the wetsuit down to my knees and pulled my right leg out and free.  I then stepped on the left leg and pulled my left leg out, easy peasy (I watched a youtube video on how to do this like 20 times!).  I rinsed my feet with water to get the sand off, dried with my towel, and pulled on my socks and shoes, got my race belt on with my number, helmet on and I grabbed my bike and ran to the bike exit.
Time: 5:11 (not bad since I was all the way at the other side of transition by the bike exit).

Bike.....IS UP NEXT!

Whew...I sure can ramble can't I?


  1. I met several very nice lifeguards at the 2009 LTF sprint. I managed to do the Oly the next year and speak from experience when I say that it gets better. Great job and I look forward to the rest of the report.

  2. I sooo love your stories! I will openly admit that I love your tales of triumph! They're better than people who get through tri's like machines. You're awesome! Such a great job!

  3. I sooo love your stories! I will openly admit that I love your tales of triumph! They're better than people who get through tri's like machines. You're awesome! Such a great job!

  4. You bet that it sounds quite similar. thanks for the amazing report. It is quite good narrated.