Chisago Lakes Sprint Triathlon: Race Recap

My alarm went off at 4:15 am after a pretty sound sleep. A huge improvement over the night before when super loud storms came through, keeping me awake.

I made myself three scrambled eggs and a coffee and drank a glass of water. I packed up the night before so I just threw myself in the car and was ready to go.

My mother-in-law drove us to Paradise Park and we scored some pretty sweet parking. I put air in my bike tires and then we headed over to the start. I found my spot in the transition area and set up:

Then, I got in line for body marking, fastened my timing chip around my ankle and went to scope out the course.

I felt surprisingly calm before the race started. Walking around, taking in everything I ended up running into Erin and Nick! and then I ran into a different Nick, a close college friend, who was also doing the sprint.

Before I knew it, the announcement came that the first wave of the half iron was about to start. I got a spot on the hill near the beach to watch and somehow I still managed to stay pretty calm. I heard Erin and Nick’s wave announced (wave 6) and then my friends Nick and Marie’s wave (wave 10) and I knew I needed to head down towards the water because my wave (wave 13) would be called shortly. I put on my swim cap and hugged my cheering squad (in-laws, my dad who came all the way from Wisconsin, and my husband and puppy) good-bye.

Swim (16:24 — yikes)

Pretty much everything I had planned to do during the swim based on all of my research went out the window when I tried to start swimming and instead had a panic attack and started to sink.

But it all started out according to plan. I stayed to the very back of the pack and to the left. I was surprised at how many of us went out cautiously. But as soon as I could no longer touch the bottom and attempted to swim, I started to panic. I can hardly describe the feeling other than I couldn’t breathe and I could barely move my arms or legs. This happened a few times (with “you’re going to drown” and “you should give up right now” going through my head. Totally unlike me to think these things) before I stopped trying to “swim” and just took a break and started to tread water for a minute. The women near me were taking it easy, just doggy paddling and chatting with one another. So I started concentrating on their conversation and just told myself to keep moving. I alternated between doggy paddling and the side stroke for awhile. As I neared the booey where we were to turn, I started feeling much, much better. So I began to do the backstroke and made up some lost ground. This worked really well until the leaders of the wave that started AFTER me caught up and everything I successfully avoided in the mass start of my wave became a reality. I was kicked/swam over/etc. After swallowing some water, I decided to take a real break and grabbed a noodle from one of the volunteers.

After this short break, I just wanted to get it all over with. As I neared the shore, I was able to do something that resembled “swimming” more than what I was doing for the rest of the time. I came out of the water and headed for the muddy, slippery hill they have you run up to the transition area and I was off, feeling much less confident than I was when I started.

T1 (3:10)

Besides being in a total daze, I think this transition went OK. I had everything laid out and ready to go — didn’t really fumble with putting socks on/etc. The only hiccup was that while I took Erin’s advice and turned on my Garmin right away, I forgot to reset it from my last run and then was trying to do that while biking. It didn’t start recording until almost a mile in.

Bike (1:20:22 – averaged 17.9 mph!)

The first third of this ride I was still replaying my terrifying swim over and over in my head. The second third I was repeating “just get to the run, just get to the run” over and over in my head. The last third of the ride I was passing people left and right just trying to get it over with.

Looking back, the bike was the best part of the tri for me. I think I was actually having fun (even if I didn’t realize it) and it felt so awesome to just fly down the road. I’m not used to that, biking where I normally do where you have so many other cyclists and pedestrians and traffic to worry about.

And bonus — I saw Erin! She looked awesome as she flew by me on her Madone, wearing her super cute SOAS racing kit!

T2 (2:28)

Pretty uneventful. Swapped my helmet and sunglasses for a hat and changed my shoes. Flipped my race belt around, racked my bike and was off!

Run (30:34)

Legs felt like they weighed a million pounds. I felt like I was just shuffling along. So I was pretty surprised when I looked down at my Garmin and saw that I was keeping a sub-10:00 min/mi pace.

I’ve decided that triathletes are super friendly. Or at least those who were towards the back of the pack like I was are friendly. Pretty much everyone who I passed shouted things like, “you go girl!” and “nice job — keep it up!” and they weren’t being sarcastic!

However, as I was nearing the finish I was frustrated because I saw there was one more hill to run up, my Garmin said the run course was actually longer than 3.1 and there was this girl that clearly did not want to be passed because she wouldn’t get out of my way, but also she refused to run any faster.

But then all of a sudden, I heard my friends cheering and yelling my name and that was all it took — I gave everything I had left and sprinted to the finish line. I’m not even sure what happened to that girl — I must have passed her.

(waving to my “fans.” Note the terrible form.)

(A hill right before the finish. Nice.)

Finish time: 2:13:04

The bottom line? This was a great experience. One I should’ve trained more for. Or at least had done an open water swim practice for. I’m not sure if another one is in my future, but who knows πŸ˜‰ I’d sure like to finish closer to 2:00!


16 thoughts on “Chisago Lakes Sprint Triathlon: Race Recap

    1. hyedi Post author

      Thanks so much, Katie! I don’t know πŸ™‚ maybe Chisago again next year? Or maybe Buffalo! Nothing this year though πŸ™‚

  1. Amy

    Woo Hoo! You did it! Awesome job! It takes a lot to conquer fears like that! Comforting to know that they have noodles and doggy paddlers for the swim! I went snorkeling last summer and had an actual panic attack even with a life vest and breathing apparatus, so I really admire your ability to swim without those in open water!

  2. Marie

    YAY, Hyedi!!! I’m so proud of you and I’m glad I got to cheer you into the finish!!! You must’ve been by me watching the half irons go out since I was by Nick, but I was in such a daze I had no idea who was around me.

    It sounds like we had the same kind of experience for the swim. This was my fourth Chisago Tri and it was my worst swim by far. I freaked out as well and didn’t start actually swimming until the home stretch. Woof. Note: swim more than twice before a tri. I guess it happens to the best of us! πŸ™‚

    Way to kill it on the bike! Let me know if you ever want to go for a ride!

    1. hyedi Post author

      Thank you so much!

      Yes — I was right by Nick and Elysia! I must’ve been in a daze too because I totally missed you.

      I actually heard a few people who said they’ve done this race before and had a rough swim this time around. Not that I don’t think that a lack of training was my biggest problem, but it sounds like perhaps there were some factors that made it challenging for other people too! Sorry to hear about your rough swim — but I totally creeped your results and you did amazing! Congratulations!

      I’d love to go for a ride sometime! I have this nice bike now that I should really get out and ride more πŸ™‚

  3. sweetsweat

    Congrats, TRIATHLETE! You did so awesome! I can completely relate to the open water swim scariness; during my first one this year, I panicked because of the weeds and had to flip over to my back for awhile. After crying my way back to shore, I did one more short lap and called it quits for the day. Just keep at it! It gets easier with each swim πŸ™‚

    Also, it was SO fun to see you pre-race AND on the bike course! (And, thanks for the shout-out, too πŸ™‚ )

    1. hyedi Post author

      Yay — thanks so much! I know — I was trying to prepare myself for all of the scenarios for the swim. I had read your blog entry about it and read others’ but NOTHING had prepared me for that experience. Just awful. I don’t think I’ve given up though πŸ™‚ just will be sure to practice more.

      Congrats again to you — can’t wait for your recap!

  4. Lena

    This is awesome that you did a tri. So impressive! Glad you made it through after the rough start. Love that your dad made it up as well :).

    1. hyedi Post author

      Thanks, Lena! It was awesome having my dad there πŸ™‚ he was definitely out of his element but super supportive and I think he may have even had fun!

      Good luck with your big move, by the way! Are you traveling until Labor Day?

  5. Pingback: race report | chisago 70.3 « sweet sweat

  6. cassielmt

    Loved your race re-cap! That was a killer bike pace, Hyedi…I WISH I could go over 17mph. I’m very much a back-of-the-pack gal and also feel like the people there with me are always friendly and supportive. Good luck with your training and can’t wait to hear about your next tri. πŸ™‚

  7. Pingback: 2012 Racing Recap « Finding a Balance

  8. Pingback: race report | chisago 70.3 - sweet sweat life

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