Oly Oly Oly! Blue Lake Olympic Tri Race Report

Blue Lake Olympic Triathlon, Blue Lake Park, Fairview, Oregon, June 10, 2012 – 3:03:27

I did my first Olympic distance Triathlon this weekend, and it rocked! I was thinking this morning that it might be my preferred distance now, as I really liked the endurance challenge it gave over the sprint distance. Hmmmm, I might really be certifiably tri-crazy now!

The Swim – 0:35:57 – 1.5 km (0.93 mi)

Water temp was 64 degrees, so I opted to go sleeveless. This was a great decision. I was plenty warm enough and felt the increased range of motion and comfort made up for any loss of buoyancy. This was my longest open water swim ever, and I hadn’t had a chance to do any practice open water swims prior to the event, so I wanted to minimize any mental hindrances.

Ambient weather was perfect, about 53 degrees air temp, 62% humidity and dropping, 3.5 mph wind speed, mostly sunny. There was quite a bit of sun glare on the lake, but as I’ve swam here many times (sprint course only), I was used to the sun glare and familiar with sighting with it.

I felt strong and consistent during my swim, never felt fatigued or stressed. Just kept a constant pace, had great mental talk the whole way about swimming my own race. I did experience a few moments of calf cramping before the second turn, but I was able to deal with it without stopping my swim by merely swimming several strokes with my feet flexed instead of pointed, which immediately stopped the cramp. The first cramp was in my right calf and I think it was due to some mental attention on my timing chip strap which I had noticed was around my ankle and exposed, not under my wetsuit (I noticed this prior to the swim and decided to leave it there, it was perfectly secure and fine). That focus led me to think about my ankle and worry momentarily about my chip for some unknown reason and probably changed my kick somehow. As soon as I recovered the cramp in the right, I felt a pang in the left, again, probably due to change in kick. It only took a few seconds and then I made myself stop focusing on my chip strap and calves and had no more issues. Funny how the brain works!

At the final yellow buoy near the exit I began to kick more vigorously to engage my legs to prevent any wobblies or dizzies. I swam until I was grabbing sand, stood and ran up the ramp and all the way into the transition area. I felt great!
Notice how fuzzy and erratic my Garmin map is? I decided to wear my Garmin on my wrist rather than under my swim cap this time. The pathway isn’t as clear, but really, I just want the time data and this gave me a much more accurate time than starting it early and shoving it into my swim cap.

T1 – 0:04:03

My transition area setup

This is kind of a slower T1 time for me, about 13 seconds slower than Midsummer Sprint last year. I struggled a little putting my shoes on for some reason.

I did try something new…I taped a running light to the bike rack that flashed red. This way I had a flashing light coming into transition toward the front of my bike rather than only the one on the back of my bike. I missed my bike coming into transition at Beaver Freezer and decided to try this…it helped!

The Bike – 1:21:20 – 40 km (24.85 mi)

Yes, I tried something new on race day…a few things actually…I know you’re not supposed to do that, but this was a training event in preparation for my Vineman 70.3, so I was trying things in anticipation of that event (there, my justification!). 



New aerobars on OJ

I had aerobars installed on my bike this week, an early Christmas present from friend Pam. They seemed to work out great. I actually was pretty comfortable in aero position, got some low back stress about mile 22, but simply got out of aero and into the hoods for a few minutes to stretch and felt better. Aerobars also gave me the ability to hydrate much more efficiently, as I added an aerobar water bottle, so all I had to do to drink was to move the straw forward to my mouth rather than reaching down for a frame bottle. Waaaayyyy better! That alone increased my hydration during the bike portion.

I didn’t like having to move arms out of aero to shift. Am asking my bike mechanic to find bar end shifters for me.


I removed my hand pump from my bike frame and carried a CO2 inflation system in a frame bottle. This allowed room for a feed box on my top bar at the front tube. I dumped several packs of Cliff Blocks into it prior to the race and simply grabbed a block every 15 minutes or so when I remembered. I grabbed one when I first got into T1 so I was eating while changing. This worked great.

Cadence Sensor

I finally installed the Garmin Cadence Sensor on my bike the night before the race. I should have done it sooner, I know, but I just simply kept running out of time to figure out the worst instructions ever for installation! I ended up going on YouTube, if you can believe it, and got it installed. From spin class, I determined I needed to be 80-100 RPM, or at least be consistent. I ended up with an average 84 RPM and 17.3 mph.

I will be doing some more research on optimal efficient cadence. The bike portion is getting to be my weakest leg as honestly, I’ve not had any bike training. Being my second year and needing so much help with the swim and the run, I’ve just relied on the fact that I could cycle, but it’s time to get some technique training. My last sprint at Blue Lake had an 18.2 mph average, so I’ve slipped.

 T2 – 0:02:23

I actually could see the top of the light I taped to the bike rack so honed in quickly to where to return to in T2. Along with my red light, I taped a packet of Cliff Shot energy gel that I’d partially torn the top off of. I grabbed the packet and took gel as I ran out of transition, after a gulp of water. Again, this was a little longer transition time from last year, 15 seconds. I’m thinking that my transition times might be a little slower due to longer swim and bike distances. They aren’t too out of line when I compare them with others in my AG/Division, in fact, my T1 was fastest of all and T2 3rd.

The Run – 0:59:43 – 10 km (6.2 mi)

Felt super strong in my run, particularly in the first half. I was hoping to do a negative split, but I must have turned off the auto-scroll on my Garmin so didn’t have pace displaying during the run. I ended up with a positive split. However, I did run a GREAT pace, 9:31 min/mi average moving pace and 9:41 overall pace! I am super thrilled with this. I was first in my AG/Division with this run!

I had encountered some shin splint sensation in my left leg about mile 3 but ran through it, telling myself it would work itself out, and it did. I then got a side ache on the right afterward and ran through it, able to tell myself that the left shin pain went away by running through it. Side ache didn’t really go away, but I just ignored it.

I ran through all water stations, grabbing water, drinking and rinsing out my mouth while running, for all but the last water station, which I walked through. This was new for me.

1st Place Masters Athena!

The result? 1st place Athena 40 and Over! Totally rocked! I felt great, ran MY race and it paid off! I absolutely enjoyed this race. I’m feeling strong, well trained, and ready to rock Vineman 70.3 in 34 days!

Oh, and by the way…not only was I racing for me, but as a part of the Portland Triathlon Club for the TriNorthwest Club Team Challenge. Take a look at this! There are some people missing from our count, and we’ve just got word that the Portland Tri Club WON the Team Challenge! Way to go PTC!

PTC Women’s Masters rocked the house!

Cindy Werhane, Sue Moote, Sherrie Austin, Christine Ernhardt, and Me

My next event will be the Vancouver Half-Marathon, June 17, 2012. I’m looking forward to the longer run in prep for my first Half Ironman. Woo Hoo!

Until next time, wishing everyone safe training and great events!

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