As it shows on my little ticker time line, I have my first Olympic distance triathlon coming up on August 20th. I'm scared out of my mind!!!
Well, I was on Twitter and came in contact with a guy that used to live in Utah and now lives in Texas. He had posted that he just registered for the Echo Olympic Distance Triathlon. We got talking and I told him that I was getting ready for my first Olympic tri up at Jordanelle and he mentioned that he'd done that triathlon before. I sent him my email and he sent me notes about the course of the triathlon.
All I have to say is HOLY CRAP!!! If I wasn't scared before, I sure as hell am scared now. Below is the email he sent me. I will bold my thoughts of what I was thinking through the email. Now take in to consideration I've ALWAYS been terrified of open water and this will be my first open water swim that I haven't had any practice with.
Just took a look at the course map and it is the same as I ran a couple of years ago. This is a great race, but has a couple of twists that I wasn't prepared for, so here goes...
Swim...triutah likes to use the words "wave start" in all of their descriptions, but usually there aren't enough participants in the Oly distance to necessitate a wave start...mass start is the rigth description. Unless the water is low enough, which I'm sure it's not based on this year's weather, you will be treading water when the horn blows. HOLY SHIT!!! I know how to tread water, but my heart race goes up & I'm usually panicing while treading water. Not a big deal, but some people get in too early and tread for 15 minutes. 15 minutes out, get in, warm-up by swimming 5 to 10 minutes & leave yourself 5 minutes or less to tread. If you start all the way in the back you don't have to tread, but you add time to your race because you have to swim 50 to 100 yards to get to the starting buoys. I don't care. I'll add the freakin' time to my race.
The water will be cool, but not cold. Still plan on a wetsuit. OWS is intimidating, but the wetsuit keeps you buoyant, there are plenty of kyacks, and you know you can go the distance. Thank God for the kayaks. Long, strong, gliding strokes with big breaths-in AND BIG BREATHS OUT! Too many people start to breath really shallow and short when they get anxious in the OW. This causes your HR to spike, form to go to hell, and can actually cause other issues. Roll, breath, and feel like you're blowing your brains out your nose the first 5 minutes or so. LMAO!!! Pretty soon you'll settle into your pool breathing and the rest is history.
Bike...it's all uphill the first 12 miles. HOLY SHIT!!! Uphill 12 miles? Hills are my nemesis! I'm freakin' screwed! You're climbing out of the park, you flatten out and drop a bit, but then from mile 2 through 12 it is literally one, long, steady climb. I would so much rather have a short steep hill than a long gradual hill. God help me! Hope you're hitting your hills! I haven't been, but I sure will now! Not sure where you live, but I was living in Layton and had great long inclines heading North that were very simulations. Steep hill climbs are good, but for this one, find a road that just keeps going up. You'll love most of your descent, but remember it isn't steep so you're still going to have to pedal to really get some good speed. About mile 18 or so you're going to hit a short, steep hill that sucks! You already climbed 12, you've been pedaling another 6 on the descent & now you've got to bust it up a hill. The reward is a 40 to 50 mph descent on you're way back into the park. 40-50 mph?!?! I get scared going 25!!! After the descent it is kind of a rolling flat.
Depending on your cycling skills and how you choose to attack you'll tired legs or no legs. Choose wisely 'cuz the run has some fun surprises.
Run...Same climb out of the park as your bike. Not steep, but steady through the first 1.25 miles, then you turn right and climb some more up the highway. About 1.5 in you jump off the highway and it becomes a trail run for the next 1 to 1.5 miles. Not a big fan of trail running. I didn't realize it was trails and hand't done any trails runs. I enjoyed the softer impact, but my footing was all over the place causing my quads to really burn on the second loop. There are a lot of turns and short climbs on this part. You're doing an Oly so you get to do it twice. Yay me!
Just before mile 2 you come off the natural trails and hit boarded trails, sidewalks, etc. that have a lot of little turns. Makes it hard to get into a good pace and just cruise. Be sure to yell out if you're passing someone because there isn't a lot of room.
It says it on the website, but I just didn't pay attention that the Oly run is actually 5.7 miles not 6.2. Thank God! I can handle running .5 miles less. If you're assuming 6.2 then you're pacing will be off causing you to either run slower or faster than you had planned...hopefully faster since you have .5 mi less to go.
The short sprint to the finish is on grass, but as always there isn't a lot of room after the finish line. Be prepared to possibly charlie-horse if you've killed it because they stop you pretty quick to grab your timing chip. Pretty sure I won't kill it.
Weather...it will get pretty hot by the time you're off your bike. Hydrate good the night before and take in some electrolytes on the bike and run. I shall have a water bottle full of water & one full of gatorade. Plus my energy beans. Very little shade on the run course and none from about 15 miles in on the bike.
Aid stations...plan to carry a small water bottle to supplement the two stations on the run course. First at mile 1 and then one more on the trail portion that is really only feasible to hit on the way out to the trails not on your way back. This might have been adjusted now, but if I was to do it again I'd have my handheld with me, not for nutrition, but for cold water here and there.
Venue...pretty cool venue, but if you have friends or family coming it kind of sucks. There is not parking in the park. You have to get dropped off outside of the park and then ride in (buckle your helmet!). Well that bites! You could also park up at the church and have fun with the big hill as well. Friends and family park at a church a couple of miles out. There is a shuttle provided for them. Sucky part is after the race. They take the shuttle and you either walk or ride your bike out of the park to meet them at the front gate. Gee, isn't that just dandy! I've already swam 1 mile, biked 25 and run 5.7, now I get to ride to my car. Yippee!!! Just one more 1.25 miles for the day.
Sorry for the lengthiness. No worries. Thank God you provided me with this info. Hope that gives you some good thought and insight. I really liked the race and think TriUtah does a great job with all of their races. Sure we'll be chatting over twitter or otherwise between now and then, but still...GOOD LUCK!!!
Oh dear God, I feel screwed! So, I'm now taking my bike out and doing hills. Now that I know I can climb one of the steepest hills in my area, I think I'll be ok with the bike & run, it's still just the scariest thing I've ever done! Lord help me!