Monday, June 14, 2010

King Pine Sprint Tri: 1:26:37

First triathlon...first blog...I guess today's a good day to try new things.  Here goes nothing...

So, I competed in my first sprint triathlon this past Sunday, and all in all I'd say I finished as expected...average!  The good news:  I felt really strong throughout the race and I learned a ton.  The bad news:  I felt *too* strong at the end of the race and I learned too much (i.e.  I made mistakes).  Here are all the gory details of the weekend's festivities...

So, we decided to make the weekend into a family affair:  packed the kids and pooch up and went to visit my folks at Ossipee Lake for the weekend.  This gave us a nice home base close to the race (15 minutes), and guaranteed that we'd be busy all weekend allowing me to keep my mind *off* of the upcoming race.

Saturday we went into North Conway for the day to let the kids play and get some energy out.  We had a picnic in the park, watched a hot air balloon exhibit, watched the nearby Conway Scenic Railroad trains come and go, and spent a long time in the playground monkeying around. 

On the way back from Conway we stopped in at King Pine so I could pickup my race packet and attend a first-timers meeting.  Race packet had all the standard goodies:  race numbers, coupons for random things, a voucher for a *free* King Pine lift ticket (sweet...the girl is learning to ski this year btw), and a too-big tech t-shirt.  Oh well, what do you want for nothing...oh wait...this was far from nothing...but I digress.  Newbie clinic was good.  I knew most of what they covered, but it was good to at least see how many first-timers there were at this race.  Nice to no longer feel like the only new guy!

Race Day Recap

Full results can be found at

Swim: 1/3mi, 11:37, 35:11 pace
Pros:  First swim out of the way and a PR.  I didn't finish last :-)
Cons:  My breathing was horrible and this was my slowest competivitve swim ever.  Way too excited and came out of the gate like I was swimming a 50 yd race. 
Recap:  All I can say is that I may be the shortest 30 something male to compete in this race!  The swim starts in waves based on age group, and I was in the 30-39 group.  Let's just say that it's not intimidating at all when all the guys around you are 6'2 with shoulders the size of your head...think Thorpedo!  Yeah, right!  My wave started 10 minutes after the first wave, so we could watch the other groups ahead and get a feel for how traffic was stacking up.  The horn went off for our wave and I immediately went into sprint mode...which is not a good thing.  I think I was in 1st place for the first 25 yards...then drifted further back...and further...and further.  I was just too excited and couldn't control my breathing.  I normally breath every 3-4 strokes...I was going every 2 instead.  It wasn't open water issues tho, or the fact that visibility was like 2 feet in the murky water, it was just dealing with race day jitters I think.  Need to stay focused more on the next race.  Anyhow, by about 3/4 into the swim I got my rythm going, could put together 3 strokes per breath and cruised strongly into the beach.  I popped up and started running like hell, all while trying to get my wet suit off, trying to breath, running uphill, waving to family with was a complete blur getting into transition 1 (T1).

T1 (2:28)
Pros:  First ever T1 out of the way and a PR.  I didn't try to get on my bike with my wetsuit still on :-)
Cons:  Choked on gel/water mixed in my mouth.  Warning:  don't GU when you can't even breath!
Recap:  T1 wen't pretty smoothly overall.  Wetsuit came right off, helmet and shades on, shoes on, didn't knock the bike rack down getting my ride...all in all pretty good.  Hopped on the bike and headed off.

Bike (12.5 mi, 39:11, 19.1 mph)
Garmin log
Pros:  Faster than I've ever gone in training.  Overall a pretty good ride.
Cons:  Need more work on riding in aero position.  Need more hill work...had to stand a few times even in lowest gear.
Recap:  Out of the gate the bike felt really good.  My HR was under control, my legs felt good and I had lots of energy.  A few rolling hills passed and I was crusing in the low 20's mph.  Then we hit the first, and biggest, hill on the course.  I was quickly in the lowest gear and pushing to stay at 10 mph.  That quickly turned into 8 mph standing up.  Got passed by 2 guys going up this hill, but as soon as we got to the top I got my S together and started crusing.  The next 6-9 miles were a fun roller coaster of big rolling hills...lots of momentum to get up the next one.  I only got passed by 1 guy on this section and I had passed a half dozen.  We looped around and came back to the backside of the big hill, and this time I did much better...less steep incline.  I was seated the whole time and passed 4 or 5 folks.  The rest of the ride was a fast rolling downhill back into T2. Legs felt awesome right now.

T2 (1:59)
Pros:  First ever T2 out of the way and a PR
Cons:  I stunk...way too slow
Recap:  I couldn't get my stuff together for T2 and it cost me about a minute.  T2 should be closer to 1-1:20 instead of 2 min.  I was just all pumped up and couldn't deal with fine motor skills.  Tying shoes, stunk.  Putting on watch strap, stunk.  Moving garmin from bike to wrist, extra stunk (hit all kinds of buttons I shouln't have).  Finally got switched up and headed out for the run.

Run (3.8 mi, 31.23, 8:16 pace)
Garmin log:
Pros:  Felt good the entire run
Cons:  I should have run harder.  Had too  much gas in the tank when I finished
Recap:  This was a fun and challenging run around a lake.  The first mile is on pavement, then you dive into some challenging trails for the next 2 miles, then you finish the course back on pavement.  I had a problem with my garmin that I had to fix on the fly in the first .2 miles.  After that I started cramping up in my right calf so I eased up a bit.  I got into rythem by .5 miles and kept the first mile around 8:15 pace.  Deliberatly slow...wanted to save my energy.  We headed into the trails from there and immediately got whacked with 2 steep hill climbs that I wasn't expecting.  That killed my pace for the next mile because I was still in energy conservation mode and didn't want to go all out getting up the hills...didn't know what else the course was gonna throw at me.  Soon we descended the big hills into some flat fields and trails around the lake.  Nice small rolling hills with views of the lake.  I finally started turning it on here as we were approaching the 3 mile mark.  We broke out of the woods and onto pavement, then I turned it up some more...probably 7:30 pace or so.  I met up with another Riptide guy and we shot the S for a while, then I passed him and put it into high gear towards the finish line.  Running towards the finish line was awesome...big and kids present...there was a chute you had to run through with crowds on both sides cheering...and the announcer personally calling you out.  I've never run 5 minute miles before, but I think I did it through the finish!  Overall a great run, and considering the tough trails I'm happy with the time.  If that were pavement I'm sure I could have been at 7:30 tho.

Seriously...huge burger, free Tuckerman beer, and a big hug from my little girl (who subsequently stole my finisher's medal).  Can it get any better than that?

Overall this was a great race for my first triathlon.  It was short enough that I got a glimpse of all aspects of the race and start to figure out the unique challenges they present.  I learned that I need to swim harder and smarter.  I re-learned that I'm shorter, chubbier and slower than most guys in my age bracket.  I learned that I need to check my energy during transition, and I learned that I can give it way more on the run.  I'm psyched I did this race, and like most others that do one of these, I'll definitely be back for another.


  1. Awesome job and great recap...but I think you need to add a few more pictures in the wetsuit!

  2. We really enjoyed the recap. It was like being there with you again. Loved being with you and your family for this event!

  3. This is awesome Pete. SEeing you pushing yourself to compete in such a difficult sport made me at least head down and work out on the eliptical machine. Do you think I can get thigh musles like that by just doing the eliptical.

    Looking great - congratulations!