Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Race Report - Topeka Tinman 2013

33rd Annual Topeka Tinman (Yes, this is older than Ironman... as they like to point out)

I signed up for this race back in February 2013 with Dane and Joe VI.  I took advantage of a "sign up for a race, get $10 gift card" or something like that.  Good deal and good race.  I enjoyed doing it in 2011 with the short course.  I'm stepping up to the long distance this year but it's more like a medium distance swim (1000 meters) and bike (19 miles) but a super long run (7.5 miles).  Fortunately, none of this scared me.

I never did put my race goals out there but I did have one.  

Swim: 18 minutes
Bike: 55 minutes (~21 mph)
Run: 57 minutes (~7:30 minute miles)
Transitions: 4 minutes
Total: 2:14 Minutes

Those numbers were more or less pulled out of the air.  I would be totally fine with sub-2:20.  It all depending on how I paced myself since it was my first triathlon in almost 1 year exactly.

Unfortunately, Dane will be missing from this report as he had to pull out of the race due to injuring his quad a few days before the race. wah wah!

I did my normal week long carb-loading of 3 small meals of pasta and chicken mixed in with my normal meals.  I probably could have put down more water though.  Joe VI stayed with us on Friday night since Lauren and the kids were going to stay at home for the race (or so Joe VI thought!)

Our bikes making friendly.
We hit the road about 5:15am to get to Lawrence by 6:00am so we could stop for some pre-race energy of brewed fuel (coffee).

We finally arrived around 6:45 with about 30 minutes to get unpacked and transition setup.  The half mile trek from parking to transition slowed things down too.  

I finally got my chance to try out my new race wheels.  I bought some Karbon Speed 88/88 race wheels a few weeks prior when they were $350 off plus I used the coupon code "MVT" to get an additional 10% (you can use that code too.... thanks Ryan!).  I got them on Friday, so I really only got a small bike ride in to try them out.  Not really having the opportunity to air them up the before a real bike ride, I had a problem.  While I topped them off the night before, I couldn't get them to take any air at the race site.  I figured they may have lost a little bit of air pressure but still in acceptable reasons.  I guess I'll spend Saturday afternoon figuring out what I did wrong.  First race issue experienced, no more!

We arrived with barely enough time to get the transition setup, chipped, and marked.  No time for a warm-up swim or run.

The race was wetsuit legal so I brought mine along.  It was already getting hot and humid out so I waited as long as I could before suiting up.
Joe informed me goggles around the neck means swimmer OK.  Goggles on forehead, swimmer distress.  OK, that may be more for SCUBA and snorkeling but better practice etiquette.

While Joe VI signed up for the long course (granted Ultramax ran out of registration forms, so they gave him the Columbia Triathlon form causing much confusion), they registered him for the short course.  He decided to stick with it.  His swim started at 7:30 while mine was 7:51-ish.  

While waiting, I met up with Travis from twitter.  I also saw Tucker, who is the husband of a high school friend.  They were in the last wave of the day.

Start - Swim
I was in the first wave of the long course which was nice because it kept me from thinking through my start too much.  Before too long they gave the countdown and off we went.  I knew before we started I was having a problem with my goggles.  They were all fogged up from the humidity.  I dove into the water from the beach start but it was too foggy to see anything.  After a few strokes I stopped to rinse them in water.  Much better except they still had water inside, so I floated on my back for a few moments to let them drain more.  Now I had perfect vision!  Well, as perfect as prescription goggles can get.

It was crowded in the water but not crazy.  After about 250 meters it was fairly open.  I tried to find someone to draft off of but I don't have enough experience to do that.  I felt pretty strong in the water and the wetsuit definitely helped me with speed.

After about 10 minutes it seemed like they were simply adding buoys out there to keep us going.  Where was the turn! My wetsuit was starting to feel a bit compressed around the chest.  It wasn't suffocating but it wasn't comfortable.  Eventually we turned back towards beach, which was nice because I was getting tired of sucking in the exhaust fumes from the safety boats.

Before too long I had that happy feeling of my fingers scraping against sand and pulled myself out of the water and off to say hello to my bike.

I love how this photo makes me look like I'm first out of water.

And there is 2nd - 4th place behind me... or probably 32 - 34.
Time: 17:57 / 1:48 per 100 meters

Transition 1
It was a long run up the beach to the transition area.  I had my wetsuit halfway off and it didn't seem to take too long get it all the way off.  I definitely miss those wetsuit strippers from Beach2Battelship.

Kung fu'ing my T1
Time: 2:45

Not bad considering the wetsuit and the long run.  Definitely glad I used my wetsuit.


Here we go!  I FINALLY am getting my bike out in a triathlon race situation!  I've come a long way from aerobars on a road bike to a time trial bike with 88mm deep race wheels, aero bottle, aero bento box, aero helmet, and wearing my tri-suit.

Let's go!

To leave the transition for the bike you cross over some grass to the road.  I safely get on the bike and push it easily up the hill out of the beach area before getting in position to push it.

The bike course is a semi-closed course but it's very low traffic as it is.  I really wanted to push it hard in the first quarter but held back.  There was quite a bit of congestion actually and a bit of a pelaton of about 15 cyclist formed.  I was expecting it to stretch out but after a quarter of a mile they kept together.  There was a headwind so I don't doubt people kept together for that reason; however, I'm not having that.  Illegal?  Yes.  Saving energy?  Yes.  Going fast enough?  No.  Once there was a clearing in the road I took off around them.  

Eventually we hit some rolling hills and I quickly learned I need to work on hills.  I felt I was slowing down too much on the hills.  I played leap frog with a guy before he finally took off.  I was probably past by about 4 or 5 guys around miles 10 - 15 but I was able to stay with the last couple guys for the last four miles.  Hitting 28 - 30 mph during a long stretch with a tailwind was nice.

Eventually you wind back into the park with some sharp corners, so didn't take them very hard.

During the last mile I was debating on doing a flying dismount.  I had probably done it 5 times with this bike before with only 1 of those times keeping both shoes attached to the bike.  All other attempts had my left shoe flying off when I jumped off (and in a couple cases, the water bottles attached to my saddle).  I decided to give it shot and make sure I was really slow by the time I jumped off.  Success!

Time: 54:35 / 20.9 mph

Transition 2
Nothing too horrible but could be a bit faster.  Rack bike, helmet off, socks on, shoes on, visor on. GO!

Time 1:06

I had no clue what this was going to be like.  It was literally a trail circling the entire lake, which is why it's an odd 7.5 miles.

Travis gave me a tip to prepare for hills around mile 5.5.  I would say I didn't.  My first two miles were 7:36 and 7:38.  I had a couple people to pass, so that kept me motivated.  Once I hit mile 2 there was no one.  I was all alone.  Mile 3 was 7:48.  About this time I heard footsteps of someone.  I was just hoping he wasn't in my age group.  Luckily he wasn't. He also didn't accept my request for a piggy back ride.  Lame.

I tried to keep him in my sights for a couple miles but as soon as he was out of my sights, I caught another guy.  By now I was starting to get into those hills.  My pace was suffering quite a bit. I tried to take advantage of the down hills.  It wasn't so much the hills but the humidity.  I couldn't keep cool.  The aid stations about every 1.5 miles did provide some relief.  I took either 1 water and 1 gatorade or 2 waters. The waters were to cool me down and they did provide some relief.

Eventually I caught up to the short course turn around, which meant 1.55 miles to go!  By now I got passed by another guy (still not in my age group).

I was on the final stretch to the finish.  About a quarter mile to go!  Or so I thought.... when I did this course two years ago, you entered the finish chute from the south but now they made you run around the transition area and enter from the north.  I had started my kick too early!  OH no!  

Smiling just before I realized I had another 300 meters to run to hit the finish line.

I could hear footsteps behind me again!  I could also hear the announcer say that the first overall female finisher was coming and to give her some cheers.   Naturally, I tried to act as if it were for me.

Let's just get this over!
Time: 1:02:51 / 8:04 pace

Time: 2:19:11

Quite happy with my time considering I missed my first goal by a few minutes.  I didn't hit the 7:30 pace on the run like I had hoped, so most of my time was lost there.

The humidity was horrible.  It took me a good 5 - 10 minutes to cool down.  I took in as many fluids as possible and had a slice of pizza while waiting for results. When you consider I saw only 5 guys out on the run course (being passed by 2 and passing 3 myself), I was very interested in my place.

Age Group: 6 out of 21
Overall: 31 out of 215

I'll take 6th place any day with a crappy run like that.

Just like in 2011, this was a great race.  I always enjoy races that Ultramax is a part of.

The new ride and new wheels
Getting everything strapped on
Getting marked
TKB's reason for attending triathlons.  Dogs!
Joe VI coming in to the finish!
Joe VII watching Joe VI

Lauren and the kids surprised Joe by showing up to cheer him on!

Henry The 8th (aka, Maddie) and Joe VI


  1. Thanks for the KS wheel shout out! Hopefully you figured out the air-up situation. Nice race and see you at #SMPShowdown.

  2. Nice race Scott. That humidity was brutal. And the race chute?! I thought I was going to pass out going around transition again...