Monday, September 9, 2019

Best in the West Triathlon Festival

Best In the West Triathlon

Best in the West Triathlon Festival was this weekend. What a great event! This was the event that I scoped out as my goal for the year. It’s local. It’s at a lake where I spent some of my younger years swimming, boating and hanging out with friends. I have a soft spot for Foster Reservoir.

The festival is all weekend long and chock full of events for every kind of athlete of all ages. At least one of my teammates was doing an event every day! And many did 2 or more. I was happy to do one. :)

Pure Endurance Team

I spent most of Saturday at the event as a spectator, cheering my fellow athletes (and skipping out on swim practice for the day). Ron stayed home, but since we live on the half-iron bike route, he saw plenty of racers anyway. 

Cathy, Dave and James (future triathlete!)

Rebecca heading out on the bike course

On Sunday I did the sprint triathlon. 500 meter swim, 12 mile bike ride, and a 3.1 mile run.

Ron and I arrived a little after 6 am. With the cloud cover it was still pretty dark out. We were able to park at the venue which was nice having the van and all my stuff close at hand. I got my body markings and transition set up before the crowd showed up and felt pretty settled in for the day excepting one thing.

The wetsuit. I have a great wetsuit. It’s a nice one. But I think it may be homicidal. I’m not sure, but it might be out to get me; Crush me like a python out in the middle of the lake far from shore. It plays innocent on land and even in warm up swims. It doesn’t show it’s true colors until some 250-300 meters out on the lake. OR it’s all in my head. I’m anxious and panicky and that makes me feel out of breath, which in turn causes more panic. A vicious circle. Since I’m pretty sure wetsuits can’t have homicidal tendencies I’m guessing I have met the enemy and it is me. I get myself squished into the neoprene beastie. It literally takes two or more people to get this process done. It is an event in and of itself. 

Kelli, Kari, Lisa

Kari, Logan and Lisa warming up before the swim.

I struggled with the swim. The first 300 meters were okay, but the last 200 I had my usual struggle with breathing. I tried all my usual tricks. Swim slow. Little or no kicking. Side stroke. Back stroke. I’m pretty discouraged that I can’t seem to get past this issue. I felt constricted around the chest area during the swim which is odd because it doesn’t feel that way out of the water, and it feels almost big once in the water. I don’t get it. One positive thing - I was able to draft a couple of times until I had to stop and catch my breath. Enough of the swim; Moving on to the ride…
Thank the heavens the swim is done!
I liked that the weather was cool and cloudy. I could have done without the rain, but overall it wasn’t too bad. I was comfortable in my kit with some arm warmers added. I prefer cool and cloudy over hot any day. And I know how to deal with rain even though I’d rather not have to do so. 

The ride went well. It’s my easiest part of the event for me. I’m able to make up a little time lost in the swim. To be honest I was a little bored with the ride. That seems to a theme with cycling this year. I’m bored with it. If I ride a new route, or go with friends it’s fine, but everything else is a slog. I’ve started listening to podcasts now, just to stave off the boredom. I’m kind of sad about that. Cycling has always been something I love, and boredom was never a problem, nor were solo rides. 

The run was my favorite. Loved, loved, loved the run. I was so excited to be on the run. Did I mention I loved the run?!!

My coach has been encouraging me to power walk between run intervals. Typically I use the walk to recover, so a nice, easy pace. I can’t say I was the most compliant at the whole power walking thing. There was some whining and half hearted efforts at first. I don’t like how it feels to power walk, but I finally decided to get fully on board with it. 

The run at Best in the West is mostly road with a little bit of trail. The upside for the road is it has some nice views of the lake, and a bridge crossing. I have a thing for bridges which I will rave on about at my next event come October. 

My first two races this year I ran 50 steps then walked 50 at a brisk, but comfortable pace. For this one I power walked up the hills and jogged the downhills and flats. Even though this run probably had more little hills to climb I pulled off my best time for the run. Now I have to admit, that the whole power walking thing actually works. 

After my race it was time to relax and enjoy the rest of the day. Ron and I had lunch with my teammate, Kelli while watching the awards ceremony. She won First place in her division. Good job, Kelli! Then I was surprised to hear my name called. I won third place in my division. That would be third out of 3 participants - lol. Hear that back of the packers? Sometimes you just need to show up … or outlive your competitors … maybe a little of both!

Kelli - First place in her age group

Kari - third in age group

After lunch we went and watched the relay event finish up. The relay was a mini-triathlon with each team member finishing a mini-tri before the next member could start, and so on through the whole team. This was one of the most fun events to watch because everything went so quickly, and some of the running to the swim was perilously fast. Athletes are barefoot and running down a ramp covered with loose carpeting and a scattering of little rocks. Let’s just say it could be precarious footing at times. There was no time to make up for anything. Just go go go. And there was definitely some keen competition going on between a few of the participants.  

Relay Group: Logan, Joe, Lisa, and Kathryn

All in all, I had a great time. I went into this whole triathlon thing with no goals other than to show up and finish. At Best in the West I finished my triathlon in just under two hours. A little faster than my previous races. When I saw that I finished it in under two hours I was like hmmm, that’s kind of cool. So now maybe I want to try and beat that time. And that’s how you know you’ve been hooked.

Gotta thank Ron for giving up his weekend to support me in my crazy endeavors and for showing up and cheering me on. Thanks Hon! Love ya much!! Thanks to Jon Booth for all your coaching and help with everything. You are a kind and patient coach. 

Ron and me. Obviously not from this weekend.
Gotta get better I getting pics with each other!
My coach Jon Booth

Thanks to Best in the West for putting on a great event! And thanks to my Pure Endurance teammates for all the support and camaraderie at the event, and during our training meet ups. What a great group to work out with! 

And special thanks to Cathy, Rebecca, and Ron for the photos that I brazenly stole from social media.

Okay, by the numbers…


redlegsrides said...


Great achievement in spite of the wetsuit issues. I've worn them for jet-skiing but have never tried to swim any kind of distance in one!

You must have trained very hard and your efforts paid off as you completed the triathlon! Very impressive.

I know, in my present sad shape, that I couldn't do it.

Bluekat said...

Hi Dom if I can get through the swim the rest is a piece of cake. I do some walking in the run. 😁