This past Saturday, November 25, Chris and I raced our first “Turkey Tri” put on by Multirace, in Coconut Creek, FL, just a little west of Fort Lauderdale. We have raced one or two Multirace events before, and I love how they put on triathlons – everything is well-organized, they provide great course support, and they give finisher medals, which Chris thinks is pretty cool. We headed over to the east coast Friday morning, checked out the beach at Fort Lauderdale, had lunch, and then headed to Alex’s Bicycle shop in Davie, FL for packet pickup.
Packet pickup was quick and easy, and this was obviously a fairly small race – only 4 swim waves going off. I was in the 2nd wave, starting at 7:05am the next day, and Chris started 5 minutes later. We had pizza for dinner, which is almost always what we eat the night before a race. Laid out our race gear in the hotel room, and contemplated what to wear for the swim. Just a tri kit? A swimskin? A wetsuit? I had brought all of the above. But knowing it was just a sprint distance (500 meter swim), I was leaning towards the “less is better” approach. It takes valuable time to get layers off in T1, and I really didn’t want to fuss with a swimskin or wetsuit, but I was worried about being cold the morning of the race. I decided to leave that decision until morning!
Race morning was the usual – grab a snack and drink a coffee in the hotel room while I get dressed and ready to go. Our bikes were already packed in the car. Packed my tri bag with all the essentials, and we headed out to the race venue, Tradewinds Park in Coconut Creek, FL, less than 10 minutes from our hotel. The park was nice, and had plenty of race-morning parking. We got body marked and picked up our timing chips, then racked our bikes and set up our transition area. Chris and I both decided to forgo the swimskin and wetsuit, even though water temp was officially “wetsuit legal”. There were a handful of athletes wearing wetsuits, but not many, and the water really wasn’t that cold. I was happy with my decision to race just in the tri suit and save a few minutes in T1.
Walking to the swim start, we both saw something that made us laugh out loud. Now, this is Florida, and the swim is in a lake. When you live in Florida, you know the rule… if there is a body of fresh water, you have to assume there are living creatures in it! As we walked, we noticed several signs along the waterfront – covered with big black trash bags so you couldn’t read the signs!! I’m sure underneath the black bags were warning signs of alligators, do not swim, etc. So nice of them to cover those up! We had some nervous laughs over that, but headed to the swim start anyway.
The swim: 13:00. Garmin stats: 551 yards – 13:07 – 2:24 pace
Oh, the swim. It was a 1/2 mile point-to-point swim in the lake at Tradewinds Park. Water temp was perfect, brisk but not cold. But it wastypical murky brown lake water. And I could. Not. Breathe. Calmly. No matter what I did, my heart rate was sky high and I couldn’t get my breathing under control. So with that, my form fell apart, and I just got through it. Luckily this was a pretty beginner-friendly race, so I was still passingpeople left and right, I just hadn’t raced a sprint distance in a loooong time and I’m pretty sure my body forgot how to move fast! (Not that it was ever an expert on that in the beginning!). Out of the water, and super quick jog to transition which was very close to the swim exit. T1 time: 3:15. Seriously – what AM I DOING in transition?
The bike: 32:47. Garmin stats: 9.17 miles – 31:21 – 17.5 mph pace
The bike course was two loops through the park, which had its pros and cons. The pros? It was closed off to traffic, and well marked. The cons? The course was significantly shorter than the 10 miles it was supposed to be, which is a bummer because I love to bike. Also, the course had plenty of turns as it winded through the park, nothing technical, but still requiring you to be on your brakes and not your aero bars, so it wasn’t afast time for me. It was nice to see Chris as we passed going opposite directions. He started 5 minutes behind me and I knew he was attempting to chase me down out there so I tried to spot him whenever I could! T2 time: 2:12. Again, no idea what I am doing in there. Making my grocery list? Fixing my lipstick? We may never know.
The run: 31:19. Garmin stats: 3.11 miles – 31:26 – 10:07 pace
The run was a two-loop course that meandered through the park, all on paved trails. I remember being really thankful for a fall race with overcast, cool weather to run in. It was a far cry from all of the infernos I had run in earlier this season, and I was really happy for these race day conditions. The run was nice, had one or two aid stations that I skipped over, but they looked well-supplied. There were a few points in the course where the path got narrow, but the race organizers were even thoughtful enough to put down rubber matson an area that had some standing water – that was nice! There is nothing worse than wet shoes on the run, so I appreciate the efforts to keep our path clear and get us past the puddles. I got passed by plenty of people, and I passed my fair share of people as well. I felt good, like I could have run forever, but at the same time I could not find a faster gear in my legs! It’s a 5k run for crying out loud, but any attempts to pick up the pace at the end totally came up short. I know I under-fueled by a bit – I had two licks of BASE salt, 3-4 Honey Stinger chews, and a few sips of water total for the race, so maybe I would have had a different result if I upped that a bit, but it is what it is.
Finish time: 1:22:33. 7/11 in the female 35-39 age group.
Crossed the line, grabbed my medal and a bottle of water. Immediately turn around to see where Chris is behind me and start watching the clock. All season, I have had the goal to beat his time in a triathlon, and that has not happened yet. I usually beat him on the swim, which ended up being the case again today, and then he blows past me on the bike and run. I didn’t see him at first, and watched the clock tick by. 1 minute, and then 2. And I saw him running up the path towards the finish line. Darn it! His finish time was 1:20:47. Still beat me by 1 minute, 46 seconds. But that margin is getting smaller every race!
Overall this was a relaxed, fun race that I would totally do again. It was nice to get away for the weekend, and I’m glad we had one more race before the holidays. It’s also always humbling to be reminded of your weak spots that you need to work on! This is such a fun sport, but I’m constantly aware that you get out of it what you put into it, and sometimes those reminders of race day can get you through the day to day grind of training. Looking forward to lots of hard work this winter and I can’t wait to get back to race season in a few months!