Salem Spring Triathlon 2013 Race Report

Here’s my race report for the 2013 Salem Spring Triathlon

The drive down to Salem was just lovely.  It was nice seeing other vehicles ahead of me with bikes on them going to the same place.  I parked and grabbed my bag and bike.  It was great to see Rory Duckworth and his wife.  They were volunteering which I really think is great being that they both could be vying for the podium.  I got my race packet and was pleased to get a racetri vinyl sticker – now proudly placed on my vehicle.

I set up in the prestigious triple play area, that was a really nice perk.  Luckily I didn’t forget anything, that’s always a big concern, I think of my cousin who lost his goggles after jumping in the water at the Tempe Ironman.

One of best things about these events is you start to get to know people.  As I was setting up I saw an old coworker of mine, Rick Bassett, we use to carpool together and so we had a great time catching up, this was his first sprint in a while and first open water swim. and then Rob Jacobson came over and setup next to me.  Rob and I met one morning at the American Fork Rec center and I had recently used his photo for a RaceTri promotion and so I introduced myself.  Rob is an awesome swimmer; He swims the Deer Creek open water swim – which is 10 miles – holy crap, that’s how awesome he is.  This year Rob and I happened to run together at the Provo City Half Marathon, just a few weeks earlier, so it was fun hanging out and and catching up – he really was one of the most popular guys at the event – everyone seems to know the guy.  dave-black-salem-spring-triathlon-2013-race-tri

We went over to listen to the Race Director Aaron Shamy’s speech.  He always puts together a great one – this time ending with the throwing down of a watermelon, which exploded upon impact.  I felt bad for Joel – he had to sweep it all up.  

After getting the wetsuit on I headed over to the swim start and got in the water.  Thankfully the water wasn’t cold at all.  I always like to swim around a bit and so I did and swam all the way out to the first buoy and turned around and thought – oh great now I‘ve got to swim back.   I always enjoy the moment just before the swim start – the air is electric with little clouds of emotion surrounding each person – gusto, anticipation, fear, and a few “what am I doing here” looks of panic.  It is was fun seeing the rabbit and the group of elite’s pound off.  I always wonder what is going through their heads and they hit the go button.  My age group was on tap and I laid flat in the water and waited for the go. 3,2,1 – go time.

Off I went, I always feel like I’m flailing at the start, but it doesn’t matter at this point, it’s go time.  We swam toward the first buoy and the sun was right in front of us so there wasn’t any need to sight – just head toward the glowing orb.  The water was really pretty clear – you could actually see a few feet in front of you.  As we rounded the first buoy I got clobbered but that always happens at the buoys.  Just after that my head started freaking out – this happens almost every time.  Usually its because I’m hyperventilating, so I slowed down my strokes and focused on breathing out slowly.  This helped and I kept pushing on.  I had one guy in front of me flip over on his back and he stared swimming sideways right across the herd of swimmers and I swam right over him.  Heading under the bridge and around the next buoy, I was pleased with how well I was keeping it together in my head.  The last stretch of the swim always feels long, after the last buoy I want to see the exit right away – I’m not the only one I saw a lot of heads popping up and looking for the exit.  But it was still far away, so I put my head down and got into a rhythm enjoying the hypnotic swish and gurgle.  When I got to the exit, I struggled to find my zipper pull – its never where I left it.  I run up the ramp and see Rory is stripping suits and so I run up to him and he goes to work (thanks Rory).  In a flash I’m out and running pathetically down the runway to T1.david-black-salem-spring-sprint-2013-racetri

I put on the helmet, shoes, and my glasses and I’m out of transition. Getting going on the bike is always tricky – I remember this great video where almost all the athletes go down.  I hopped on and was off. Getting going always feels slow for me.   I hit the hill and cranked up it slowly.  I noticed a lot of people having bike problems – shifting errors, chains falling off, etc.  The rest of the bike went fine.  There was this one guy who rocked it – on his old 10 speed he was an animal, blasting past a bunch of folks on tribikes.  I really enjoyed the second loop of the bike, got my legs back and tried to mash it.  I need to spend more time on the bike, some years that’s my strong point, but I’ve been training for marathons, so my bike has suffered.

I got to T2, got off the helmet and my shoes, put on the running shoes and I think I’m not going to worry about socks next race.  I was off – not even tying my shoes. I wanted a faster transition time. So after getting out of transition I tied my shoes and realized I’d forgotten my watch on the bike.  That was a real bummer, since I really need that to keep my pace, oh well.  The transition to running is always rough, but what really helps me get through it is the other folks who are struggling too, a shared misery.  I finally get my legs into gear and plod along at my pace.  I really wanted to push it on the run, but from the end results I wasn’t going much faster than usual – thus the need for the watch.  The last part of the run was downhill and I tried to put some speed on.  I feel so asthmatic sometimes on these sprints.  I got to the bridge went up and over and did my best to avoid the three bars of pain at the end of the bridge.  Then pushed it to the finish line.  I always love crossing that final blue pad. I felt great knowing I pushed it on the run – my lungs were sore for a couple of days.david black salem sprint 2013 racetri

I loved the big medals – big medals are the best!!!  Not only do they signify you did something but they act as a self-defense tool in a pinch.  Getting hit with one of these would make someone think twice about things.

Overall the course was great – country roads aside.  I enjoyed the swim, the bike was marked well and easy to follow and the run had a nice downhill finish. 

Support – the support at RaceTri events is always awesome, happy people who love to help.

These races are just awesome, seeing friends, making new ones.  It’s always a pleasure to be surrounded by athletes.  Very much like being at basecamp at Mount Everest or Denali – shared passions and intense desire to overcome the challenge.  I really enjoying seeing the teenagers and clydales.  Both of which often kick my trash and inspire me to keep pushing myself.   In the end I packed up my stuff, watched the super athletes take the podium, said goodbye to friends until the next weekend or racetri event.