Monday, August 07, 2006

Lighthouse Sprint Triathlon - Great weather and fun!

Ten days ago the rains flooded the small lakeshore town of Fairport Harbor, OH. The deluge caused the beach underwater and many families were flooded and flushed from their homes. Just last week the area was declared a federal disaster area.

Fast forward to this past Sunday. Fairport Harbor was the scene of the 14th annual Lighthouse Sprint Triathlon (500m/12M/5K.) It was my first triathlon of 2006 and third lifetime tri. While I had some reservations about doing the race so soon after last week's 50k, I am so pleased I did...I had a blast!

The race started in about 75F temps and the cool and calm water felt great! I had a little trepidation about the tri since I had zero, count 'em zero, open-water swims in all of 2006. Not to mention my concern with the bacteria levels in Lake Erie due to the recent floods. The name of the race makes me chuckle. This "sprint" distance race would take between 70-85 minutes.

Before the race I met Mel (from the Vertical Runner) and her husband Todd who were both racing. Mel’s dad Marc raced the duathlon. I also saw ultra-studette Tanya C. and her husband Walt, both also racing. Mel and Tanya both did the 50k last week too, so no excuses for me there. The race was split in 5-minute waves. The 34yo and under males started first, then the older males, followed by the ladies. I had a 5-minute head start on Mel. I joked with her that I might have a chance. I had a target.

I started in the back of the pack for the 500m swim--what a mistake. I felt like such the noob by running into so many swimmers as I tried to pass. Like always, I just try to survive the swim without elevating my heart rate too high. I make it to shore and run to the transition. No probs in T1.

The bike course started up a short steep hill out of the beach parking lot and out to the east on freshly paved road. To my surprise, the race organizers placed carpeted planks for smooth going over the 5 railroad crossings. It didn't take long for Mel to catch me (in 1st place) only 3.4M into the bike course. She blew by me but it helped me pick up my cadence. At the 6M turn-around, I still had her in sight. By 7M, the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th females float by me and out of sight. The fast competition pulled me along. I remember logging my fastest miles between miles 8-11. It must have been downhill, downwind, or both! As I approach the bike transition, Mel was already up the hill and out on the run. I fumble through T2 and start to jog. I guess Mel had about a 3-minute lead as I headed out on the run.

I get to the steep hill and in my ultramarathon pea-brain I think to myself, this is a "walker." Heh. But this is no ultra, this is 5k to go!! So up the hill without walking I get going and try to steady my rhythm. The one equipment snafu for the day was my heart-rate monitor. It never registered with my watch for the entire race. I was forced to go by feel, but that was okay. Because of the wave start, and that naturally running would be my best event, it didn't take long to start passing other runners in scores. I remember passing back the three other ladies and wondered if I had a shot at Mel. With about one mile to go, I started to feel the burn in the legs. It’s a burn foreign to me in marathoning and the legs started to slow. The last bit was a descent to the beach and a flat last 1/4 mile along the beach parking lot. I blasted down the hill and turned for home...Mel was in the distance! I gave it my best push and but came up about 15 seconds behind Mel.

Final time 1hr, 14min, 07sec.

Sound impressive, eh? Consider though that I finished 5 MINUTES, 15 seconds behind her!! Mel finished 1:08:xx and the Men's winner 59:xx.

What a great race. Good value for $25, nice course, with easy parking and beach access. I was thoroughly impressed and now I've got a little tri-bug buzzing in my head.

As an aside, with no brick or transition practices this year I thought I did okay with the transitions. I remembered last year's coaching from Mel: to do a walk-thru of each swim-in, bike-out, bike-in, and run-out. I did that in my warm-up. I also remember a warm-up tip from my triathlete neighbor Angie. I did 10 minutes warm-up of each discipline in reverse order: Run, Bike, then Swim. Thanks ladies, it worked for me.

After the race, I head back out for a 5K cool-down run (in reverse direction to cheer home the runners.) Mel, Todd, and Marc and I waited for Mel’s 1st Place trophy and then it was back in the lake to swim on what was finally a decent weather day. The heat and humidity of this summer gave way for one afternoon for us to enjoy a bit of the outdoors.

I'll be back to tri again.

500m Swim + T1: (13:25)
12M Bike + T2: (37:51)
5K Run: (22:51)

Total: 1:14:07


Blogger qcmier said...

Nice job. Are you doing GCT this year too?

1:40 AM  

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