Race Recap: Beat the Heat Triathlon

2013-11-10 001 2013-11-10 001I wanted to post a race recap of the 2013 Beat the Heat Triathlon for those who have an interest in such things.  The event itself was really amazing – especially for a 1st annual event!  The race organizers and volunteers really made sure it was a first-class event from start to finish.  There were some curveballs thrown by Mother Nature for sure, but the human element was top notch!!

Let me backtrack for a moment because we did have some interesting stuff in the last couple of weeks of training.  We found out the race would be wetsuit legal – and in November, the ocean is starting to get a bit chilly, so we were fortunate to be able to borrow a couple of wetsuits from a triathlete friend for Deb to wear.  She went out with a training group the week before the race for an ocean swim and LOVED the wetsuit.  It also helped protect her from the swarms of jellyfish that were in the water with her.  She said she palmed a jellyfish with each stroke and that her training buddies were kicking them up in their wake ahead of her!  CRAZY!!

Cathy crashed her bike the week before the race.  Someone turned a corner right in front of her and she went down hard.  But man, what a trooper – nothing was going to keep her from this race!

BTH2013 2013-11-09 001My ankle is finally better it seems!  I was able to resume cautious training runs 2 weeks ago and it felt good with each run.  My pace is solidly around 9:00-9:30/mile.  My goal for the half marathon in February is to finish in under 2 hours, which is an average 9:06 min/mile, so I  have some work to do.

Okay, RACE RECAP… Race morning was gorgeous – around 65 degrees with a north to south wind of about 12 mph.  We arrived at the Daytona Beach Bandshell at 5:30am – it was nice being just the swimmer and the runner – so much less gear to lug around!  Cathy met up with us at 5:45 and we got our body markings and our timing chip and figured out the transition area and where we were supposed to pass the chip and such.

BTH2013 2013-11-09 008The sunrise was glorious – you just know it’s going to be a good day with a sunrise like this!  Deb ate her breakfast of peanut butter and banana on homemade whole wheat bread and a bottle of Performance and we met up with my coach who was all smiles and excitement at such an early hour – love her!  Deb tugged on her wetsuit and we took everything down to the corral for safe keeping.  After a beautiful rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” and a fourship flyover (so cool), it was onto the beach for the swim.BTH2013 2013-11-09 016

The ocean didn’t look too crazy from the boardwalk, but from the beach it was a different story – it was really rough!  The sprint wave men lined up and the horn blew and into the water they went.  I didn’t take any time to see this was going to be a TOUGH swim.  The guys were getting nowhere fast.  Many of them gave it a good effort and then gave up.  The rescue jetski was pulling people out of the pounding surf.  The horn blew and in went the ladies.  Same scenario only it happened quicker.  After maybe 5 minutes, the race director and rescue officials called the swim.  Anyone who had made it to the first buoy could continue, but everyone else (most people) were brought back to the beach.  One of our friends – a strong swimmer – was 30 feet from the buoy and was ordered to grab the sled on the jetski, rather than continue.  Sadly, the folks who did not make the turn DNF’d.  But the awesome thing about triathletes is that even though you get a DNF, you keep going – I think everyone got on their bikes and pressed on.BTH2013 2013-11-09 021

For the Olympic Distance racers, the swim was replaced with a run.  The race director said it was a 2 mile run, but there’s no way – maybe 1 mile.  Since Deb doesn’t run due to a medical condition, I was up.  Unprepared, unfueled – I thought I had another 2 hours to eat – I put on my race belt and lined up at the start.  There weren’t that many female racers and most were half my age.  But that’s one of the things I love – doing things most people my age would consider insane or unthinkable.

I ran the mile and crossed the pad, entered transition and Deb ripped off the timing chip, put it on Cathy and away she went for the 25 mile bike.  While she was gone we hung out and talked and listened to people in the corral talking about the swim.  The sprint wave came in and headed off on the run.  Then the olympic men started coming back.  Then some of the collegiate women,  We figure 90 minutes for Cathy on the bike, but she finished quicker than that I think. All of a sudden there she was.  I ran through the corral and met her, got the timing chip and headed out.  WOW!  What a difference in just running versus swimming and biking first.

It was hot!  I ran down the boardwalk, and hit the sand, under the pier and then south.  I just ran the first 11-ish minutes, but I could hear Pam’s voice in my head – run your race, stick to your intervals, there’s a lot of work to do, mind your ankle…. So, I calmed down and started running my intervals and it felt much better,  2 minutes running, 30 seconds walking, over and over again.

BTH2013 2013-11-09 026-2As I type, the official results are not posted, so I don’t know exactly what the times were.  The unofficial time for our team was 2:39:43, which sounds not so bad for a 1st time olympic distance triathlon until you account for the fact that the 1 mile swim (which likely would have taken Deb 35-50 minutes to complete) was replaced with a 1 mile run, which took me 9 minutes.  But it matters not, it was FUN!!

Our team placed 1st in the Female Relay Division (for all I know we were the ONLY female relay team), so that was a cool bonus.

I will definitely race this triathlon again next year – solo next time!