Righteous Richland Sprint Tri Race Recap

AKA - the Triathlon that Became a Duathlon

Saturday, June 29 - while sleeping the night before the race, I wake up to some thunder and lightning around 3am, and I am thinking - "Hm, that could be problems for the swim".

The Righteous Richland Sprint Triathlon is a half mile swim in the Columbia River (with current), 12 mile mountain bike, and 3 mile run.  Going into this race, I had two goals:

  1. Have a strong swim
  2. Have a strong run, PR on my 5k pace for the run (faster than 6:55 min/mile)
Well, goal number 2 had a bit of a setback this week.  Last Saturday (six days after the marathon) I was going on an 8 mile run and experienced some top of foot pain.  Well, it turns out I probably developed a minor inflammation in my foot, and was actually fairly painful to walk and especially run on.  Most likely some fatigue effects of the marathon.  After a week of babying it before this race, I would say it was around 60%.  Also, it seems like I picked up a cold on Thursday, so I was feeling maybe 85% overall aside from the foot.  So, let's modify the second goal to "Have good run form, not injure myself, and not worry about specific pace".

Setting up transition

Getting prepped for the swim

A few friends are undertaking their first triathlon, and we're all pretty pumped!  We get in the water, there is about one minute until the start of the race and then of course...
Ah, shit.  The race director has everyone get out of the water.  After about 5 minutes it turns out the storm isn't projected to blow over so the triathlon is now a duathlon.  So much for goal number 1.  I was mentally preparing for this swim - it was going to be a super achievable 8 minute (or less) swim to get my confidence back up.  Oh well, it's an outdoor sport, adapt to the weather and move on.

The Bike

The plan is to start on mountain bikes in transition, running two bikes at a time every 10 seconds.  We were asked to self-seed ourselves - the faster mountain bikers going first and the slower mountain bikers going last.  After the last mountain bike duathlon, I considered myself a "weak" mountain biker I started probably about 3/5 of the way through.  It turns out this was a mistake, I should have started sooner, much sooner.

I start next to an 18 year old kid, and after a few games of leap frog with him, he passes me for good - I let him go.  It turns out mountain biking is actually kind of fun!  This couse is a little funny in that it's a four mile ride along paved roads, four miles in off-road singletrack, four miles back along the same paved roads.  I pass around 10-15 people on the first four miles, and then we get into the singletrack - where it's not very wide and passing isn't very feasible.  We get to a wide section and I pass two people, then a few minutes later I fall into a line of about five bikers going relatively slow.  Hm, this is a bit slower than I had planned, but let's just go for a ride - it ended up being a relatively relaxed couple of miles and was actually pretty fun.  Once we break out of the single track I pass a few more people and I wonder how much time I lost being slowed down, I was only going about 60% effort.  A relatively uneventful paved four miles back, I take an energy gel, down my water bottle, and I finish right behind that same 18 year old I started with!  

Time: 45:36, 15.8mph
63rd fastest bike

Coming in hot into transition

The Run

Taking a sip coming out of transition

After a relatively smooth T2 (or is it T1?), it is definitely humid out.  I am feeling the foot pain, but I don't need to limp, and it's not terrible, so I press on.  Check my pace - 7:45 - hm, this could be a slow-ish run.  After about a half mile, check my pace - 6:55 - hm, that's better.  It usually takes me about a half mile or so off the bike to get back into run mode so this could be promising.  Pass by the first aid station, grab some water, a quick sip and then dump on my head - whoo that's cold, but it feels great.

Get to the halfway point, check my pace - 6:50 - hm, maybe I can get sub 7:00 min miles for this run?  On the way back I see my friends Nicole, Jenn, and Matt running and give them some high-fives.  Wow it's hot and humid out!  With about one mile to go, the foot pain starts getting worse and becomes distracting.  Normally I'd be picking up the pace at this point but it just hurts too much to go faster.  I maintain pace, focus on form, and just ride it out to the finish.

Coming in hot to the finish line

Time: 21:12, 7:04 min/mi
17th fastest run overall, fastest run in my age group!

Wow, I am really happy with that run result.  ESPECIALLY on a hurt foot (and a cold)?  Oh what could have been if I was healthy!?

Final time: 1:07:43
41st out of 144 finishers
5th out of 13 in my age group 

Considering my reduced physical capacity and the poor self-seeding, this went about as well as I could have hoped.  Too bad about the swim.  It sprinkled a bit while biking but I finished before any real storms came through (which they did in force about 20 minutes after finish).

Post-race with friends

Next up is the Half-Ironman in Lake Stevens on July 21.  Special thanks to Cory and Jenn for some pics!

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