Friday, October 12, 2012

HyVee Triathlon

I wrote this several weeks ago and posted to the DC Tri Snapple Blog but forgot to post here....

I’m originally from Iowa so I have wanted to do the Hy-Vee Triathlon since they announced it back in 2010. Last year was the first year it became the 5150 series championship race for both pros and amateurs. Age group athletes have to qualify at a previous 5150 series race in order to race in the championship race. I had qualified in 2011 at the DC Triathlon but did not do a qualifying race this year since DC Triathlon got canceled. So, I raced in the age group race.

Some of you not from the Midwest might ask, “What the heck is Hy-Vee?” Well, it is the best employee-owned chain of supermarkets throughout the Midwest! And, apparently ranked 48th in 2011 on Forbes magazine’s annual list of the largest privately owned companies in the US. Plus, it is the largest employer in the state of Iowa. Now that you have a little background of what Hy-Vee is, you’ll understand why their race has the best sponsors and swag! This race only cost $99 and you definitely get your money’s worth. (For those of you that don’t race, I say ‘only’ b/c there are some Olympic distance races out there that cost close to $200 and then of course your longer races will run you $200 all the way up to $650 for the IM distance!) Race swag included a backpack, visor or hat, jersey and tons of great samples from the race sponsors.

My main priority for going to Iowa over Labor Day weekend was to visit my family and a few close friends. I knew this race was going on the same weekend so it worked out to ship my bike back to race and get in a long ride with my dad the day after. (Which only cost me around $65 one way this time….yes!!) A couple of days before the race my dad let me know that he had been asked to be in a relay and would be doing the bike portion. He was very excited to finally see what he could do on the bike in a race. He’s put in tons of miles on the bike, but has only done running races. (Too many to count but for marathons I believe he is up to 20 now with another one coming up in October!)

I flew into Des Moines the Friday before the race and picked up my race packet that day. Since bike racking was on Sat. and my parents live an hour away, I had emailed ahead of time to get permission to rack my bike the morning of the race. Race morning I walked up to the transition entrance and showed my email so my dad and I could get in to rack our bikes. I was already a little stressed because traffic was pretty bad coming in on the one road that led to the lake. Even though there was well over an hour before our race started, we had to be out of transition the same time as the championship races since they would be coming in from the swim. The woman hesitated, made me dig in my bag for my email, sighed and then said something about people giving permission for things they shouldn’t…..then finally let us in. At least she was the only grumpy volunteer I encountered all day!

The transition was huge and divided up into three sections: 5150 championship, age group and relays. We had to be out at 6:30 and my wave didn’t start until 7:45 since the championship race started first. So, I just relaxed and watched the swim for an hour hoping to pick up some tips or get some kind of magic swim mojo sent to my body before my swim. (I don’t think it worked!)

The swim was at Grey's Lake and a time trial start. Four of us were sent off every few seconds. I felt like I was doing pretty well on the way out and there weren’t too many people around most the time. Then the chop started to slow me down on the way back in. It definitely wasn’t a spectacular swim! At least the water was cool enough to use my Xterra wetsuit again!

The bike was flat at first and then gentle rolling hills. My legs were definitely feeling the 90 mile hilly ride I had done the weekend before in Reston. I was not tapering much for this race and just wanted to have fun and not worry about my time or trying to get any PR’s. I will try to be more competitive at my last big race this weekend in Poconos.

As I was riding, I tried to find my dad on the course but did not see him. The swimmer on his relay was a few minutes faster than me and they had started in the wave before me as well. My dad and I ended up having about the same bike split time, right around 21 mph ave. He’s a machine!

Halfway through I did see a crash that should not have taken place. As I was getting ready to pass a few people, all of a sudden I see this guy riding right into the guy in front of him. I was so baffled at what happened and how it happened! Guess he wasn’t paying attention at all and I would have been ticked off if I were they guy he ran into! They were ok at least. Just goes to show, you have to pay attention at all times and always be aware of your surroundings.

Once off the bike and onto the run, I could tell my quads weren’t going to cooperate. They were screaming for most of the bike and that unfortunately, that did not subside on the run. The first mile felt good but then I had to slow to a little above 7 min. pace rather than a little under. Shucks! No 6:50 pace this time. It wasn’t even a hilly run course! The leg speed just did not show up for most of the run. There is just one short steep hill and guess where it was……right at the end 100 meters before you turn to go to the finish line! Ah well…at least my dad was right there at that hill cheering me on telling me to go try to catch the runner in his relay.

As I got my finisher slip of paper, I found out that I got first in my age group! This made me very happy considering I didn’t have the speediest race. I got a cool medal in a box and then a few weeks later found out that I got a free entry into next year’s 2013 5150 series championship race. Woo hoo! That means I’m going back to visit my family next September and racing against some crazy competition. This will definitely inspire me to get my arse in the pool this winter and finally try to get my swim times down. My dad is also inspired to learn how to swim well enough to do an open water swim and wants to do the triathlon next year instead of a relay. Good times to be had! :) I’m very blessed to be able to share the love of this sport with my dad!

I spent the rest of my time at home hanging out with my mom and dad. The next day my dad and I went for a long bike ride on the open Iowa roads. Love that! Then, my mom and I visited the cool lego sculptures at the Reiman Gardens in Ames. It's always so nice to spend great qualify time with my family!!

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