Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Belated Diamondman Triathlon Sprint Tri Race Report

At the start of the race racking my bike. Oddly enough there were all sorts of wetsuits in the transition area and I kept asking the young lady next to my bike what the deal was. I kept thinking that there was some crazy abandon your wetsuit and run away thing going on because of a lake monster...alas we had to go through the transition area (and had 5 minutes in it) after the mandatory pre-race meeting

Here I am swimming along the course. As you can see there is a kayak not too far from me and you can see a shadow of my arms (unlike the Columbia Tri). But you will also notice I am a bit pink with perhaps even a hint of purple because it was so cold in the water!
My friend the kayaker who took many pictures of me as I was swimming along. Sadly the pictures are not very impressive as I did the breast stroke the entire way because I did not want to put my face in the super cold water...BRRR

Here I am taking care of my feet. You will notice my right foot is sneakered up and the other foot has a water shoe on it. And of course I am drying off before I put on my sneaker because I for one have standards! In fact you will notice only a small handful of cottonelle wet wipes to my right as the lake was pretty clear and I perceived it to be clean.

Here I am at the bike portion. If you look really closely over might right shoulder, you will see that there is a redish blob in the background...that is the motorcyle cop who traveled with me for about 14 miles of the race, complete with lights flashing! It was a bit distressing at points, but on the other hand at least I knew if I took a spill I would be getting help immediately. Unfortunately at my snail like pace I would probably be more embarrassed then hurt!

I signed up for the Diamondman Triathlon many months ago intending to do the half iron distance. Sadly (or I could be honest and say Happily!) I ended up with a conference in which I was a short course instructor related to Technical Writing (yes, I know how can a statistician teach a class as unrelated to one's field as this? Well, that is a story for another day).

I was able to gracefully bow out of the half-iron and drop to the sprint distance. Although the sprint distance was 0.6 mile swim, 17.5 mile bike and 2 miles of running, which in my opinion was kind of WAY further then a sprint. Particularly since the two parts I disliked the most were closer to the olympic/internation distance. But apparently anything seems to go in tri's!

The Diamondman Tri was held in Delaware, about 1.5 hours and 100 miles north of my home. And less than 70 miles north of Centennel Lake site of the IronGirl Triathlon. I assumed the water would be similar to my August Tri. But I could not have been more wrong. In fact the tri was "wetsuit legal". What this means in laymens terms is that the tri was in bitterly cold water. The entire swim I expected to see icebergs, polar bears and penguins floating by. But alas I had no wetsuit so I had to simply "suck it up and deal" as one of my old coaches put it.

Arriving at the tri I observed my friend Ethel C, who was there to support her friend, Kerry who was doing her first half Iron Distance tri. Kerry finished in a really impressive time of 5+ hours! Because there was a staggered start, the sprint distance competitors had a long time to wait after the transition was closed. But in fact it was a bit shorter then I expected timewise as the start was about 600+ meters from the transition area. Luckily I had decent water shoes which might have a little arch support.

Upon getting to the lake I realized I needed to pee a little. Unfortunately I did not realize that I should have waited and tried to pee in the lake to warm the water just a little. On line I met a nice gentleman Hamilton (or Ham to his friends which we became while waiting). He had run Old Dominion, Massanutten and some other 100 milers! We chatted about ultra's and life in general which kept me occupied while the minutes ticked away.

After my potty break I continued to the Lake. Finally my wave (the final wave) was allowed to enter the water. Continuing the theme of a long distance to something, we had about a 300 meter swim/walk in the water to get to the open water start. I did not realize how far it was and pretty soon as I am ambling over to the start, the air horn goes off. Alas, I was okay with not starting at the front to minimize the chance I got trampled, kicked or smacked around. A few minutes later I get to the start and start my long 45 minute journey around Lums Pond (it's really more of a lake!). There were plenty of kayakers, folks on motorized boats and young lifeguards in boats and on surfboards all around the course. I chatted with most of them and other then being cold accepted the swim grudgingly.

The one nice thing about Lums pond was that the water was considerably clearer than the Centinal Lake at the IronGirl. I could see my hands as I did the breast stroke even when they were a foot or two away from my face. This was nice because I did not worry each stroke that my hands would abruptly fell off my arms. As I swam around the buoys I took a few pictures which amused the volunteers no end. One volunteer even commented that she had never seen anything like what I was doing but was impressed by the fun I was having. Ultimately she became my private race photographer taking pictures of me throughout the rest of the swim.

Finally the swim was over, I got a picture with my friend and started my long walk/jog/run to the transition. At the transition I improved my time by 10 minutes from IronGirl (go me!!) needing only a small feet cleaning. This was actually influenced by the fact that the lake water was very clean and the last 50 yards of the race was on a cement boat ramp that prevented mud and dirt buildup.

Cleaning my feet was a breeze and I just used a few wet wipes to get them tidied up and a towel to dry them off. As I was in the transition area, my 2 friends who I was neck and neck with during the swim headed off into the bike portion. I successfully had taken over last place in the race.

This meant for the bike portion I had an escort. A Delaware State Police Officer. Complete with flashing lights. The entire time I could see his lights reflecting in my glasses and would worry I was about to get pulled over. This particularly became a concern when I was in the section the race director suggested we needed to go slow (that was marked with "Slow" on the pavement). I took the RD's advice and did slow down but in retrospect I think this advice was not meant for me.

Because of my stalker (ie the police officer), I felt compelled to pedal the entire time. Because Delaware is rather flat, the few inclines really did not provide much momentum and for some reason the entire pedalling experience was a struggle. In hindsight as I was moving my bike from the car to my house I may have figured out the cause for this, my back brake pads were slight askew--doh!). But alas, I tried to pedal hard and keep up a decent pace so as not to get DNF'ed or anger the cop (who came complete with gun, taser, handcuffs and other stuff).

Also having my personal security detail/entourage, I also realized there was no way I could discretely stop, find a nice la tree and take a whiz. This really depressed me as my 3rd or 4th diet mountain dew was catching up to me and my bladder:-) I have heard a rumor Ironman competitors will pee on their bike. I cannot imagine doing this so alas I kept pedaling and tried to think dry thoughts.

The bike section was sort of shaped like an L with two out and back sections. There was a small loop in the first out and back(~10 miles) then you passed by the start/finish and continued on about 4 miles, then turned back and returned to the finish. It was discouraging as I passed the start/finish line to see so many folks finished but I kept pedaling along. In the first out and back section I saw about 30 riders and as I went to the second out and back I saw considerable fewer (maybe 20 riders). Not knowing the course did not help me any so until I turned back towards the start/finish line I had no idea where the rider in front of me was. They were probably about 1-2 miles ahead of me, so pretty much my last place finish was assured in my mind from about mile 14 on. At that point I also got rid of my tail, the police officer so he could find and stalk the last half ironman bicyclist.

I then kind of phoned it in for the last 4 miles because I was tired of pedaling, too far from the next biker and I really hate biking! During this section I was passed by several elite half ironmaners. They were very nice and respectful in passing and I did my best to not let my stinky biking adversely impact their performance. Finally I was done and it was time for my 2 mile run!

About 200 meters into the run, there were many porta potties...score! I had a bunch of choices and picked one that was in the middle. It was a satisfactory experience but definitely did not help my 2 mile run time. In fact I think I might have run 50 milers with faster average mile splits. Oh well, at least my bladder was happy. The run was an out and back in a cute state park campground that reminded me of my mom. This was sort of happy but also a bit sad. I know she would have liked to see and do so much more with her life and this state park would have been one she would have particularly enjoyed. Finally I made it to the turn around, grabbed a gatorade and headed back to the start line. Finally 3 hours and 6 minutes after I started my epic journey was ending.

This tri continued my streak (or maybe started) my streak of dead last finishes as more recently I finished dead last in the Tails 4 Trails 40 miler and of course I was last female at VT100. I really need to do something about this. I think the easiest strategy would be to find people who are even worse then me and have them sign up; because getting better just sounds like hard work!

I definitely would consider doing this race again. The Pirhana folks put on excellent events and the race although challenging was alot of run.

After the race I hung out with my friend Ethel for a bit chatting about ultra's and marathons and then I had to scamper off at 12:30 so I could get to the conference for the short course I was instructing.

I arrived at my short course freshly showered with 5 minutes to spare!


Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

One volunteer even commented that she had never seen anything like what I was doing but was impressed by the fun I was having.

No sh*t. Sister, I think you smile during what must be painful events even more than boyBunZ, and she seems never to be doing anything else.

Plus, this post clocks in at 2600+ words - I almost expected it to say "Continued on Next InterWebs".

2600 words puts you smack-dab in the Carolina Cletus Realm Of Excess, except you manage to be coherent and also are apparently familiar with How To Use Uppercase Letters.

Aldo, Cletus will spew 2600 word jest talkin 'bout thet thar possum he et last nite whereas you, at least, are describing a race you were in.


Advantage: You. (That Technical Writing expertise has really paid off.)

Ball's in your courts, toyBuM and Carolina Cletus.

joyRuB: Start a-smilin'!

Cletus: Start randomly smacking your keyboard (<-- NOT meant as euphemism for ... um ... "self-love".)

Runner Tammy said...


You crack me up...I really need to keep track of my word count. Aparently I suck people into marathons of a different kind: Marathon reading sessions.

Glad to know my technical writing expertise is now agreed in more circles then medical/statistical professionals. Go Me!!

joyRuN said...

GP - how on earth did you get the word count for this? I must be missing something somewhere. Handy dandy google reader word count tool?

Tammy - AWESOME report & pics!!! Loved the pics :) I've noticed a huge downswing in pics on my blog that's corresponding to my enjoyment of this whole running thing. Hmmmm... I think you're on to something :D

Runner Tammy said...


Running should be fun. Burning muffin/ice cream/donut calories and of course just being exercise is ancillary.

I hope we can meet up at the Richmond Marathon. But is probably best at the pre-race packet pickup because I bet you finish before I am even approaching the 2nd party zone at mile 15:-) I LOVED the party zones at Richmond...it was good times for all.

JoyFul Running!