Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Columbia Triathlon Race Report

This entire year has been flying by. My mind seems to still think that it's March so it goes without saying I wasn't as prepared for this race as I wanted to be. I knew going into this race that it wasn't going to be a PR and for the first time maybe ever I was okay with that.

The week before the race was not ideal for me as it was also finals week. I spent nearly all of Monday through Thursday holed up studying for my economics final and the rest of the week was spent writing papers. I also came down with a cold on Wednesday that left me exhausted. To top it all off I received an email Friday evening saying the swim had been cancelled due to high bacteria levels in the lake. Since swimming is my strength I wasn't too happy to hear this news. I threw myself a ten minute pity party and then bucked up and got over it.

Race morning started with a 4:30 wakeup call despite the race only being 15 minutes from my apartment. Between the swim being cancelled and the pre-race bike racking setting up my transition area was so much less hectic. I basically only had to lay out my helmet and put my bottles on my bike. It was a pretty cold race morning with  temps in the upper 40's so I waited as long as possible to get body marked.

The race officially started at 7:15 with the final wave going off at 8:30. I, of course, was in the last wave so I got to wait around from 6:30-8:30 before it was time to go. The nice thing about starting last was getting to see the other waves start and the temps had warmed up some by the time I got on the course.

With the swim being cancelled the new race format was a 100m dash from where the swim would have finished up to transition before starting on the bike. I debated back and forth between doing the run to transition with sneakers or without and ultimately went without them. Who knows which method was better/faster.

Before I knew it I was on my bike and getting to work passing the other women in my wave. I've only biked a handful of times this year so I really didn't know what to expect. Luckily I rode the course in the beginning of April so I knew what to expect. The Columbia Triathlon course is notorious for being challenging so I definitely recommend riding it if you can. It is not an easy course but is not really that bad. There are some climbs but also some really fun and fast descents.

The bike course features some big climbs at the end so I tried to not overdo it during the beginning so I had enough to finish strong. After settling in on the bike I planned on starting to take in some nutrition only to find out all of my shot bloks had fallen out of my pocket during the run to transition. I had a minor freakout but figured since I had a bottle of gatorade with me it wouldn't be a big idea. Except I accidentally switched my bottles and left my gatorade in transition. Cue major freakout.

I made sure to drink a lot of water and as soon as I finished biking I grabbed my gatorade and got to work on it. My legs didn't feel too bad coming off the bike until I hit the first hill. The run course definitely lived up to it's really hard reputation. I've done hard run courses before so I planned on taking the uphills easy and pushing the rest. Except my quads started cramping whenever I tried to run uphill. I don't know how this makes sense since normally they cramp when running downhill. Either way I ended up walking nearly every uphill and running the rest.

I dedicated the last mile to my dad since this was my first race without him there to cheer me on and pop out of the woods just to see me. I thought about him the entire race but especially that last mile when all I wanted to do was be done. I pushed through cramping quads and ran that entire last mile gritting my teeth. As soon as I crossed the finish line and stopped running my legs seized up almost sending me to the med tent.

So my first race of the season was one full of mishaps and adventures but I got it done and I'm genuinely happy with it. Life has been really hard for me lately but I'm trying not to let that stop me from living a happy and full life. Now I'm ready to get to work and tackle my next big challenge!


  1. Ughhhh having the swim cancelled is the worst, considering that's my strength! You seemed to have killed it for the first race of the season! Way to go, girl!

  2. Way to go with it and rock it despite a couple challenges (the swim, losing your nutrition)! Fantastic first race of the season! Congrats!