Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Race Report: Shawnee Mission Triathlon 2011 - Long Distance

I've gotten into a pretty good routine now that I'm at triathlon #4.  I have my transition bag packed the day before and just before bed time I get my bike on the rack and on the truck.  The only thing to do is take the water bottles out of the fridge and throw everything, including myself, in the truck.

The one difference was that this race used TriTats for the race number body markings.  So TKB helped me put these on the night before.  We decided to have a little fun and used some knuckle temp tats that sister-in-law Rebecca had given us for Christmas a few years back.

TriTat... leg hair sold separately.

I'm a bad ass.  Ok... maybe not.  Fun though, right?!
I got up around 4:00am to have my pre-race banana and bagel w/ PB.  We were out the door just before 5:00am.  Aside from a detour, we got to the race site around 5:45am.  I knew this day was going to be hot so I tried to drink a full water bottle from home to the parking lot.  It definitely contributed to my need to relieve prior to the race.

A happy breakfast makes for a happy Scotty!

This race was at Shawnee Mission Park, the same location as Kansas City Corporate Challenge Triathlon.  It appears to be put on by the exact same organization as everything was pretty much the same.  I parked at Theatre In The Park and rode the bike to the transition area.  TKB took the shuttle bus, while she was waiting on transportation, I got marked up for my age group and picked up the timing chip.  Not sure what the thought process was to only have two people handing out chips and then you get body marked by 1 of 10 volunteers.  Seems to be a little bottle neck there.

Look at that clean transition area.  Notice all the room with no other bikes....

My brother Mike was awesome to come out and cheer me on.  It was also convenient since I accidentally left my new visor with his wife, Amanda, the day prior.  He was able to bring it to me with plenty of time.  Once I saw him, I headed over to the transition area and said Hi to Mark who was racing the sprint.  Then it was time to head down to the boat launch for the required warm up swim over to the beach.

Swim - 1000 Meters
My wave was the third wave and started at 7:10am.  It's a water start where you wade 20 feet into the water until the horn blows.  I lined up pretty much in the second row but the area was wide enough for everyone to get a good position.

Once going I was immediately in open space.  I never really had to fight through anyone, which allowed me to get in a comfortable pace on the swim.  You swim about 200 meters before you get to any buoys as you swim past the boat dock first.   I was able to easily find TKB and Mike watching on the dock.  I even tried an extended stroke to wave at them.  That was really neat!  It definitely helped that Mike wore his construction worker orange shirt so I could see them!

Once to the buoys I was able to pretty much stay in line with them the entire way with only really having to swim around one guy.  I kept trying to stick with a good groove and not go overly crazy.  One of the guys that I follow on twitter, Steve In A Speedo, posted this quote recently:
First half of the race, don't be an idiot.  Second half of the race, don't be a wimp. -- Scott Douglas
That quote kept entering my mind the entire race and especially during the swim.  The last two races I did the swims were 500 and 400 meters, this was the first time entering 1000 meters since KC Tri back in May but I had a wetsuit on for that 1500 meters.  I tried to conserve.

One thing I noted during the swim was that I need new goggles.  Mine were fogging up pretty bad and it was hard seeing the exit as I was swimming towards the sun (Yes, I do have tinted goggles).

Time: 22:27 / 2:22
Rank: 15 Age Group / 98 Overall

I was actually a little frustrated with this time.  I conserved too much apparently.  Since I was able to stay inline with the buoys, I wasn't wasting time/effort zig-zagging around the course.

Transition 1
Me in red.  Note to self: Exit swim on the camera side.
I was definitely feeling a bit wobbly coming out of the water and took advantage of the water station they setup 100 feet out of the water.  I heard cheers from both sides this time, TKB and Mike on the left and Mark on the right as he waited for his wave to start about 30 minutes later.  I think I said something to the effect of "good luck Mark" but it probably sounded like "...g...l....M..".

This transition was quick, partially because I practiced putting on my race belt at home.  Because I like to do the GPS tracking, I put my cell phone in my race belt and this adds some heft to it.  The last three triathlons I would lose grip on it and fumble around.  This time it was quick and easy.  So sunglasses, helmet, shoes on and off we go!

Time: 1:50
Rank: 10 AG / 58 OA

Bike - 18 Miles
I hopped on the bike without any issues.  I think I'm going to put on the wish list for next year to get some shoes that do not have the buckle as I'd like to try leaving them on the bike. I guess I could still try truly jumping on the bike with my existing shoes.

The route was 4 loops on a 4.5 mile closed road around the lake.  This course is very hilly for the first 1/3 of the loop, then throw in heat and humidity.  I was planning to ease into the hilly sections and hammer them on the third and fourth loops.  Like at Tinman, I did have one guy that I leap-frogged for most of the course.  I might have with other riders but this guy had a red and white checkered tri suit on so it was easy to spot.  I finally caught and left him during the last two miles.  By the third loop the course had gotten pretty crowded as most of the waves had started the bike.

I definitely felt like I was doing more of the passing than being passed.  Those passing me had fancy Tri bikes and race wheels.  (hmm... also on the wish list for next year?)

Action Shot!

I broke the cardinal rule of events... again.  Nothing new on race day.  I put a gel packet on my bike and held it down with tape.  It was setup so I could just rip it off the tape and part of it would stay under the tape revealing an opening to consume the gel.  It worked perfectly except that when I would get out of the saddle my legs would rub against the packet, hence scraping up my leg.  Nothing major but a slight annoyance.

Something happened to my Garmin Edge 800 AND Garmin Forerunner 310xt while on the bike.  When starting the third loop my Edge stopped showing speed and distance traveled.  On the fourth lap it picked back up (almost at the exact same spot where it stopped).  I also noticed the Forerunner was having similar troubles.  I thought that maybe the Edge lost satellite lock but it showed a good reception.

Here's the really interesting thing, both devices stopped recording distance traveled and speed at the same spot.  They both regained that function at nearly the same time too.  Want to read something even MORE interesting?  If I look at the plotted route on Garmin Connect, it shows me traveling four full laps.  What I'm wondering is if distance and speed is being picked up from my speed/candence sensor on the bike instead of GPS.  Need to research that.

Time: 57:47 / 18.7
Rank: 16 AG / 97 OA

Right now I can only compare this time to KC Corporate Challenge, in which I did two loops on the same course and averaged 17.8 mph.  Looks like I'm building strength to be consistently faster with four total loops.  Nice!

Transition 2
I did my flying dismount again with success!  Hustled the bike over to my transition area.

Notice the look on my face?  It's not me squinting to find my transition area...

Normal photo of me racking my bike.  Still don't see anything?  Let's look at another photo of me reaching for my shoes.

Notice something now?  There's a bike laying on my transition area!  WTF!  The racks were pre-marked by bib so I have no clue what was going on here.  I can't remember the bib number but I'm pretty sure it wasn't 202.  It flustered me a bit.  Instead of turning my bike around and mounting seat on the rack I pushed it through and mounted it going out the other way, which caused me to lift the rack over my aero-bars.  It was just a cluster. I probably only lost a few seconds doing this and it quickly left my mind as I left for the run but seriously?

Very graceful drinking pose.

Time: 1:08
Rank: 12 AG / 73 OA

Run - 4.5 Miles
I had the Scotty shuffle going out for the run.  Once I finally hit the road I was able to stretch out.  I was bracing for that Dam(n) Hill that I had previously ridden on four times prior.  I just tried to get my groove going and then take the hill at a comfortable pace.  I was passed by one guy in my age group before the hill and he was booking it.  In fact, he was pretty much the only person to pass me for quite a while on the run (that I remember).  I just kept picking off other triathletes out there.  I was really happy with my pace once I was over the hill.  I kept trying to cool myself down at the aid stations with water as half of the run was in the sun and in an area with very little wind.  My second split was 7:37 pace but that was aided by a couple big downhills.  I just wish I could have kept that going but I still felt strong on the run.

The one motivating factor was trying to push hard so you could get to the shaded areas of the trail faster. It did make a difference!  There is also a couple other annoying hills in the last half mile of the race and I even, *gulp*, walked for a bit up one of them.  I figured I was doing OK seeing that while walking I passed two guys in my age group.  Stupid justification but still....  I was able to push it strong for the last hill that holds the finish line at its top.

I heard multiple cheers there as well.  Just before the finish line I saw Ashley, who paced me during the KC Marathon and is starting to get into triathlons herself.  Mike and TKB were waiting for me after the finish line to take this great photo!

I extremely appreciate the guy directing me towards the finish line.  I was totally lost up to that point.

Time: 38:11 / 8:29
Rank: 11 AG / 73 OA


Time: 2:01:21
Rank: 13 of 28 Age Group / 76 of 188 Overall

I was hoping to break 2 hours on this race and I think what hurt me was the swim.  I was really surprised to see the 100 meter pace in the 2:20's.  All previous races have been sub-2 minutes and during those I was fighting the crowds.  Maybe I conserved a little too much.

I'm happy with my transitions now and content with my bike for now.  I have plenty of work to do on the run.  I just want to get FASTER.  I want to see times sub-8 minutes for these distances.   Right now my training is focusing on building my base for the half-ironman but weeks 13 - 16 will have speedwork included.  I will plan to fully utilize those workouts.  For my swim, I'm already trying to push myself in the pool and I definitely see myself doing some masters swim classes over the winter.

As I mentioned previously, I have mixed feelings about the results.  I was within 2 minutes of my goal time, so I shouldn't be down on myself.  I think I've enjoyed those single digit finishes with the sprint distance a bit too much and -- with all things being equal -- I probably would have finished in the top 5 of the sprint distance athletes had my pacing been the same for the sprint (which they would have been faster).

I keep telling myself though, I want to be a long distance athlete.  I enjoy all the planning and care that goes into it and I know it takes time to put the body through all that work.  The one thing I see is I've improved over Kansas City Triathlon over a month ago and that's what is important.

The Breakdown

  • The Good
    • The triathlon actually took place.  The last few years it had been cancelled due to rain.  This time the only issue was the heat and humidity.
    • Post race grub.  For some reason I like it when events feed you a meal.  Not that I was hungry for it, but I at part of a burger.  Unfortunately, I left the supersized cookie at the food pavilion.  Doh! The food/drinks at the finish line were good with Chocolate Milk, Gatorade, Pop, and Yogurt.
    • Massage - They had free massages if someone wanted one.
    • Organized.  You could tell they had done this before.  No chance of getting lost on the course.
    • Tech T-shirt - The color was a blah grey but it fit really well.  I really like it.  

  • The Bad
    • It's hard to rip on a race for weather but it was HOT and Humid out there.  When packing up my transition area I felt feint and we sat down in the shade for about 10 - 15 minutes.  My heart rate couldn't stay below 90 bpm and this was close to 30 minutes after finishing.  Once shuttle service started, TKB left to cool down the truck and I walked around a bit to get some wind moving.  I ended up walking down to the hamburgers and grabbed a plate.
    • Post-race Meal - Yes, I said this was good but the burger was pretty hard and overcooked.  
    • I'm still a little irked about the bike laying on my transition area.  Nothing the race organizers could do.  Next time I'll get his license plate number!
  • The Standard
    • Packet Pickup. Besides being 45 minutes from my house, it was quick.
    • Goodie bag.  Hammer Gel, Pop Corn, and Tech T-Shirt.  Nothing special.
    • Communication.  Web site seemed a little out of date as I kept going to the wrong website for race results.  E-mail was OK but I had a hard time finding a timeline of when the park would open and when transition area would be available.  Since it was a pre-assigned transition spot, it wasn't a big deal.
    • Aid Stations: I lost count on the run, so I guess that's a good thing.
    • Post-Race.  I touched on that above.  Mixed bag.
    • Parking.  Good but we got a surface lot spot since we got there early enough.
    • Porties.  I honestly didn't notice but I believe there was a line.  I learned from Corporate Challenge to go to the marina and there was no line.
    • Volunteers.  Nice and friendly.  I actually shared a lane at the YMCA on Monday with one of the volunteers and had a chance to chat with him and thank him personally.  He was working on doing his first triathlon this year and had hopped to get placed in the transition area.  Maybe next time!  I hope to see him at the Y again to chat with him about his training.

Other Things To Note
I use the GPS tracking so TKB knows when I'll be coming around but that doesn't help when someone minutes in front of me looks just like me.  Apparently I found my tri-doppelgänger and he was always a step infront of me:

I wouldn't mind having his bike.  Dean Feuerborn, I'm watching out for you now.  TKB said that there are two many guys wearing red tri-tops, so I guess that's permission to buy another one!

The Proof

It's time to start putting some muscle on that chest... the "ribs" look is getting old.

Tip-tappity on my cell phone performing my self-imposed social media responsibilities.


  1. I can't believe you ate that nasty banana... nice race! Great times!!!!

  2. And I totally saw your twin, too.

  3. Nice job. You may not have been thrilled with the swim time, but you're still faster than me! I might have to consider this one next year.