Monday, June 23, 2008

Utah Summer Games Triathlon

Tom and I participated in the Utah Summer Games triathlon on July 14. We had a great time. I was a very nervous going into it. This was a my first olympic distance tri (1500 m swim, 25 mile bike and 6.2 mile run). I was fairly confident with my running and biking because I had been doing quite a bit of run training and I am pretty comfortable on a bike.

It was the swim that scared me.

I did this tri two years ago, except the shorter distance. And the swim was terrible. I spent 2 days a week training for the swim in a pool, but as soon as I got in the open water, I panicked. It was terrible. I couldn't put my face in the water. I didn't know how to breast stroke, so I had to backstroke and side stroke and basically doggy paddle the whole way. Click here for an article I wrote on that experience.

Anyway back to 2008. this time I was determined to not let the swim freak me out. My swim training this year focused on open water swimming. I went out to the lake once a week with friends and we swam the course, or parts of it, or what we thought was it. The first time we did it, the water was 58 degrees and I could only side stroke maybe 100 meters. The water warmed every time I went and I improved. A couple of weeks before the race, we swam what we thought was pretty close to the 1500 m (according to GIS, it was maybe 1400 m). It took me 40 minutes, slow by most people's standards, but right where I wanted to be and I free-styled 90 percent of it. I figured if I could finish the swim in under 45 minutes, I would be happy.

I was pretty sick to my stomach with wild nerves all morning, but Tom and I got there plenty early, set up our transitions areas, chatted with friends, donned our wetsuits and headed over to the start. (You'll have to wait until Tom posts his race report to hear the details of his race).

Swim - 50:34
I was slow. Actually, I was the slowest. I was the last woman out of the water. (There were two men slower than me, though). The fastest female swimmer finished in 31 minutes. Most women were under 40 minutes. I like to think the course was long, but whatever, I was still SLOW! But I was still happy. I free-styled the whole way. I did not panic. I was not tired. I put my face in the water. So what if I was passed by the flailing, panicking girls. I overcame my fear of open water!

T1 - 1:37
Here's my strength. I can transition with the best of them. I ran up the dock, pulling off the wetsuit asI ran. Got to my bike, ate half a GU. Threw on my helmet and glasses. Hopped on bike (with my shoes already clipped in) and started pedaling, while slipping my feet into my shoes. I need to boast a little here. I had the fastest T1 time. Sorry, but I have make my self feel good after that swim.

Bike - 1:17:56
I felt pretty good on the bike. There was a quick downhill to start, followed by a deceptively steep flat. You think you are on a flat, but you are gradually climbing. Then there is a killer climb. 1 mile long and really steep. The best part about being the last out of the water is that you can only move up. I was passing lots of folks on the ride. My goal was to not let anyone pass me. And I didn't. I just hammered away at the ride and hoped I could catch some people. I ended up averaging 19.2 miles per hour (according to their calculation. My computer said 18.5, but I'll take 19.2). I was very happy with that. the best part of the ride was flying down the hill at 42 miles per hour. If you have never experienced that, you need to. Pure adrenaline.

The timing thing got messed up, so T2 time was added in to the run. I hope it was under 1 minute. I got off my bike, with the shoes still clipped in. Threw on some socks. Slipped on my shoes with springy laces that require no tying. And grabbed a GU.

Run - 51:58 (with T1)
I was very happy with the run. I was just hoping to finish it in under 55 minutes. I didn't let anyone pass me. The hardest part was passing the turn around for the sprint and having to keep going and seeing all the sprint tri folks that are done or almost done. It was very hot, but my legs felt surprisingly good. They were a bit rubbery, but not as bad as past tris. I got water or gatorade at every stop and just motored as fast as my legs would let me. There was a girl that looked like she might be in my age group a minute or so ahead of me. I tried to catch her, but she had a strong last mile. Luckily, she was from out of state and they separate Utahans and out of staters since it is the Utah Summer Games. The finish, unfortunately, is on an incline. I was pretty dang tired, but I did my best down the home stretch.

Total Time - 3:02:06
Good enough for a 2nd place age group finish and 8th overall (thanks to separation of states). Ignore the fact that there were only 27 female finishers. My goal was to finish between 3:00 and 3:10. So all in all, a great race. If only I could learn to swim.

BTW, this is my friend and training partner, Ty. She rocked the course and got 2nd place overall. She swam it in 33 minutes, biked it in 1:21 and ran it in just over 43 minutes.


Tatum said...

You are an inspiration, great job, Elizabeth! Thanks for sharing your experience, I have been wondering about you and how the triathlon went. I admire you so much for your dedication and overcoming your swimming fear. I guess all of your training paid off! I must admit, I looked at one of the pictures and thought, "When did Elizabeth get a tatoo on her arm?" Upon closer inspection and a reality check, I realized it was your number for the competition :)

Whitehorn Family said...

Great job, on a job well done.
I've come to realize that you liked cross country and track in high school for the for the sport and competition and not like me for the socialization. Good times and great memories, and love seeing you how I remember you the most.

anna jo said...

good job on the 2nd place finish! you rocked the bike and the run!

Renee said...

Congrats Liz. If it wern't for your and Toms encouragment I would'nt have done the half marathon this year. I am so glad I did. Thanks for being you.

Jen said...

I hereby dub you: Wonder Woman. That french toast is going to cost me a keyboard if I don't stop drooling over the photos.

I started walking this week, and I'll start jogging next week for the 5k. Woohoo! Alex sang the Rocky song for me on a particularly steep hill.

Seabaugh Squad said...

Elizabeth!! That is so great. You are an inspiration. How do you do it with 3 kids?

That is something I really want to do is a triathalon. I guess I need to own a bike first. :)

La Familia Mata said...

You are amazing! Good work. It was so good to see you on Saturday. Someday we must get more of us girls together!

Linda said...

Congratulations Elizabeth! Hope you don't mind, but I found your blog address on Liz whitehorn's blog and thought I would comment. Believe it or not I have started running (and at my age). I've done two races, going to do another half marathon in Park City (August) and plan on doing the triathlon in Casa Grande in Nov! Nick is training me. Oh, by the way, this is Linda Goodman, remember me?

Linda said...

Hi Elizabeth, it's me again. Great to hear from you, too. Email me at and we'll catch up on families, old times, etc., etc.

SpecialK said...

Completely amazing, Elizabeth! And don't you try to down-play it either. There aren't many mothers I know that can say they've competed in a triathlon let alone take 8th place overall and 2nd in your age group. You are an inspiration to all of us, not to mention the great recipes you share!

Kristen said...

You are so awesome!!!! Just in case you haven't heard that yet. I'm still working on running 6 miles. Don't worry about the swim though. I get teased all the time about not being able to swim in a straight line. I think you've done very well compared to that. And judging from all your recipes, we need to exchange a few. Such a good cook you've become. I hope you and your family are doing well.