Tri the Parks 2011 John Tanner 2 Race Report

Alrighty... I have a few thoughts swirling around in my head for some serious posts, some "almost off season thoughtful" posts, but I'm just not in the mood for writing them right now.  I want to write about something FUN!

When people heard that I was planning to race John Tanner Sprint just two weeks after Ironman they frankly thought I was nuts.  This coming from people who would think about running a marathon after Ironman...

I am the first to admit that to be successful at sprint triathlon you have to have a considerably different fitness than you need for IM, but it sounded like fun and I wanted to see my friends.  To be honest, I needed to race again after Louisville, and I needed a race that was just about enjoying the sport.

Alex was out of town (at the Rev3Tri Cedar Point race!!!!) so I asked a friend to come over to watch the boys while I raced (Thanks Kelly!!!).  She arrived at my house at 5 am, so she got up pretty early to do this.

The drive to the race was uneventful, I was excited to race and a little nervous.  It did occur to me that if I raced a solid race I would most likely be done in about the same time as it took me to swim 2.4 miles in the Ohio river two weeks before.

It was fun hanging with my friends, All3Sports folks, Endurance Concepts folks, Team Trakkers folk, etc. before I knew it, it was time to head down to the race start.  I turned my watch on only to find that it was out of battery.  I had it charged full the day before, but I must have left it on in my bag overnight.

So I went for it and just raced Colleen style - naked. :D

From the get go, I felt great! There was some jostling at the start but I soon found my rhythm and a pair of feet.  I followed those feet around the course because they seemed to be doing a pretty good job at sighting for the both of us. As I neared the last turn around I realized that I'd been following my friend Yvonne's feet the entire time.  I also figured out pretty quickly that we were 1 and 2 out of the water.  This was a bit of a HUH?!?! moment for me as swimming is not normally my strong suit.


This is where the hilarity starts... as in Jill removing her wetsuit, which thanks to my TriSlide came right off, but I have really bad balance and it took me awhile to get the suit off my feet.  As I'm removing my suit, Yvonne (with a fast T1, I need to take lessons from her) runs past me with her bike out of transition.  I was a bit slower (about :45 second slower), but quickly (for me) got my shoes, helmets etc on and headed out of transition.

Now before the race I was super smart and put my bike in the small chain ring.  I did not think to look at my rear cog... yep, hardest gear, bike start is up a hill.... I could not for the life of me get clipped in! I probably got off my bike (so that I didn't fall) 4 times before I was finally able to clip in and be on my way. Such a rookie mistake!! Clearly, I am a woman who is used to long distance races, where seconds don't really matter.  I think conservatively this took about 30 second - possibly 45.  If I have one word of advice for people - CHECK YOUR GEARING BEFORE YOU RACK YOUR BIKE :D

Now on to the bike itself... LOVED IT!!  It was just a gorgeous morning, sun was shining, blue sky, cool air.  It was just lovely out there!  The course itself is pretty downhill in the beginning, then moves to constant rolling hills (with some raised effort level), the very end is downhill back into the park.  Since I didn't have my watch I had no idea how fast or slow I was going, so I just kind of went for it.  I was also trying desperately to catch up to Yvonne, and while I knew I most likely wouldn't see her again I used her as a carrot.

The miles were ticking by quickly and before I knew it I was back at the park!

This went MUCH better than T1 but was still considerable slower than other folks.  Oh well, I'm a long course racer, we are just lucky I didn't put socks on :D


The first part of the run felt great.  I had a bit of cramping in my calves when I started, but I always get this on this course (or maybe all sprints).  I took a quick shot of GU Rocktane and was able to keep the cramping at bay.  This was also my first influx of calories and I'm glad I decided to take it.  I was having a good time on the run but the hills were really slowing me down. I had been at probably low end Z4 for most of the race (a place I'm just not used to lets be honest!) and getting my body to respond to those hills was a task.  There is an out and back section and I was able to confirm that I was still in second.  Yvonne was much too far in front of me at this point to contemplate catching up with her (and she's a much faster runner than me anyhow), but I was pretty ecstatic about being in 2nd!  So I just willed myself to keep running as fast as I was (a pretty slow 7 min mile pace for a sprint but folks, that's about as fast as I go these days so believe me I was feeling it!!).  Thankful for the out and back because I knew how far I had to go to the finish!!

As I headed into the finish section I was running next to a guy that just wouldn't let me pass him (there was plenty of room and I was fine with it) I wanted to get past him, but I just didn't have another gear.  I pushed it as hard as I could to the line.

After we finished he thanked me for pushing him :D of course he had to reach down to shake my hand as I had collapsed at the finish; more from relief at being finished than anything else!
And for the good news - NO MED TENT !! yeah, I know it's a sprint... :D  but it's the first race this season without a med tent visit (BTW something I'd NEVER done before this year, so I guess I was just catching up)

I had no idea of my splits or time, but I didn't really care, I was really proud of my race and just simply happy that I was able to RUN to my expectations!

As we looked at the results it appeared that I was in fact 2nd Female overall, so I decided to stick around for the awards ceremony.

As it turned out, someone from the wave behind us sneaked in and beat me by :39 seconds.  :D Oh yeah, I was totally regretting those lost seconds trying to get on my bike, but that's sprint racing!!

So I'm completely happy with 3rd and so glad that I raced. I think it helped me see that I really have improved this year and that I have a lot more potential in me.

Final Results:
600m Swim: 0:10:53.1
T1: 1:14.9
13.8 mi Bike: 39:38
T2: 1:01
3.1 mi Run: 21:58
Total: 1:14:46

The cool thing about these numbers:
I swam 1:30 faster than I did in a 600 m sprint race last year
I have REALLY slow transitions :D
My Bike is the fastest MPH I have ever biked on this course (they changed the distance of the course to be a bit longer so I can't compare times)
the Run was actually a bit slower than I have run at this race in years past - I'm using the "I just completed an Ironman" card for this one :D

It was a great day and I think the Tri the Parks series is one of the most well run race series around.  We are so lucky to have them for our local Tri series!!

Now if someone can tell my where the rest of my right arm is in this picture, that would be great!

Probably my favorite picture of the day, yep, that's our Clyde Watts!:


  1. Love it! So glad you were able to have a great time AND rock it!

  2. shouting out for clyde. next time you need to take the triqueen down for me bec I am such a slacker and you are ferocious!

  3. Seems like Clyde was really happy. Nice picture. :D


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