Monday, May 21, 2012

Iron Girl Atlanta Race Report

YAY!  I got to race again!!  Sorry had to get that out right away :-)

This past weekend Nina & I went back to Atlanta for the Iron Girl Sprint triathlon.  It is a 1/3 mile open water swim, 19 mile bike & 3 mile run at Lake Lanier Island Resort.  It is a great race venue.

Saturday was packet pick-up & bike check in.  We headed over around 11AM.  I took a bunch of Clif Bars to hand out to the ladies waiting to check in.

While working the line I found Swim Bike Mom.  I have been following her blog since I started blogging.  I was excited to meet her in real life. She is one cool chick!
SBM, Me & Nina
Once we got through the USAT check-in line it took no time to get our packets & shirts.   We then headed off to check in our bikes & get our timing chips.   Once that was done we watched the tire changing demo because you can never see that done enough times & then cruised through the expo.  I picked up an awesome t-shirt.
Back of the shirt.  So true!
Before leaving Nina made a cheer sign for us.

We finally left Lake Lanier & headed back to the hotel to chill out for a while before meeting my friend Kara & her husband Larry for dinner.  Kara did the Iron Girl with me in 2010 but I have been unsuccessful in getting her to do it again.  

We were back to the hotel & lights out by 10PM.  We decided to set the alarm for 4:30AM this year.    

Usually at some point during race day I have a 'why the hell do I do this' moment(s).  For this race, my moment was at 4:30AM.  To date, I have never gotten a good nights sleep before a race & this was no different.  It was a bit frustrating too since I wasn't nervous & I wasn't trying to set any race records.  I think it is just the fact of having to get up so early that worries me.  

We were dressed & ready to go just after 5AM.  We got to the parking lot around 5:25AM & make the 15 minute trek to transition.  (In case you are wondering why all the detailed times - I referred back to last years race report several times this weekend.  It came in so handy to know what we did last year & how we should plan this year.)   I found out the night before that fellow Tough Chik Karen was race number 982, I was 987 & SBM was 995 so we all shared the same bike rack.  We had transition fully set up by about 6:10.  

Nina aged up this year so she got to go in the 7:15AM wave.  I was still in the 7:25AM wave.   So we  still had about an hour to wait.  We headed to the beach to chill out on the beach chairs.  We made a final pit stop then headed down to the swim start.  Air temp ~60 degrees, Water temp ~74 degrees.  

This is the 3rd year I have done this race & every year the swim is different.  They call it a 1/3 mile swim but I think they use that very loosely.  This year the swim start & exit were right next to each other.  It was a rectangle swim.  They also moved the timing mats from right next exit to quite a ways away from the water.  

I usually place myself way in the back of the wave but this year I decided to get up close to the front.  I was off to the side & was about 2 people back.  I thought the people in the front would start off swimming & not lollygag.  Boy was I wrong.   When they started our wave it seemed to take forever for everyone to start swimming.  This was the worst swim I have ever done.  It was like a washing machine.  I got kicked, hit, swam on..I kicked, swam on, got hooked on someone shoulder & inadvertently pushed someone down.  It was terrible.  I kept trying to get to the left but it was crazy.  Every kayak had tons of people hanging on them.   I started to see some clear water when I got to the first turn but had really burned a lot of energy getting there.  Once I made the first turn I was able to get into a bit of a rhythm & when I made the last turn I really found my groove.  I was finally able to swim for real.   I passed quite a few yellow caps & even a couple red caps.  These were the earlier waves.  This never happens so I was thinking I was swimming pretty strong.   I didn't bother wearing a watch this year so I had no idea what my time was when I got out of the water.  It was a good thing too because I would later be very frustrated with my time.

T1 was uneventful.  I did have a little difficulty clipping in at the mount line but once on the bike I was good to go.  I did have my bike computer on but really only wanted it so I could watch my cadence.  My goal was to average 90 & keep my legs from burning out too quickly on the hills.  Since I had only been on my bike 4 or 5 times this season & my longest ride was 18 miles I had no idea what to expect time wise.   My plan was to rip it as fast as possible on the downhills because I knew my hill climbing was not going to be strong this year.  Over all the bike was smooth sailing.  I only had a couple cars to contend with which was much less than previous years.  

I headed back into T2 again not having any idea what time it was.  I dismounted, took off my bike shoes & ran in to rack my bike.  I got my run shoes, hat & bib on & then headed out for the run.  My plan was to listen to my body & see what I could do.  Thanks to my injury I had not run 3 miles since August.  I used the Couch to 5K program to slowly build up my running but my longest run was only 2.6 miles.  I felt surprisingly good on the run.   I never got too hot or had any cramping issues.  I felt the slightest twinge of piriformis pain a couple of times but was able to keep it mostly at bay for the entire run.  As I approached the finish line the clock said 2h29 minutes.  I did some quick math in my head & realized I finished in about 2h05minutes which is only 5 minutest longer than last year.  I was super excited.  

I waited at the finish for Nina.  Since she started before me this year we finished within a few minutes of each other which was awesome.   We met Charity, another fellow Tough Chik at the finish line.  
Thanks Charity for getting this shot!

We chatted for a while with Charity before heading back to transition to pack up our gear.  
Iron Girls!
After a quick stop at the hotel to change & we met SBM & friends for lunch.   Best way to end a race - new friends & beer!

SBM & Friends
2012 Iron Girl Atlanta by the Numbers:

My time is exactly 5 minutes longer than last year which I am super happy about since my bike & run training was a lot less this year.  Steve told me what my times were shortly after I finished & I was pretty frustrated with my swim time.  It was only 25 seconds faster than last year.  I had such high hopes for a faster swim this year because I put so much effort & focus on swimming this past winter.  

Once I was back at the hotel I fired up my laptop & started doing some comparisons to last year.  That was when I started to think the swim was long this year.  Here is why:

2011 Swim Time: 18m45s
2012 Swim Time: 18m20s
2011 Swim OA Rank: 810/1005
2012 Swim OA Rank: 494/1038
2011 Winning Swim Time: 7m57s
2012 Winning Swim Time: 10m34s

Either the entire pack was slower this year or the swim was long.  I am going with the latter because it makes me feel better  :-) 

I did set a new PR on max bike speed.  42.6 mph.  There are some screaming fast hills here & I took advantage of them to help get my average speed up.  


Saturday night dinner - Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken, yukon potatoes, haricot verts & a beer.  Oh & some bread pudding.  So maybe not the best pre-race dinner.

Sunday morning - Mix 1, ice coffee, banana & water.  Gel 20 minutes before the race & water

During the Race - 30 oz water on bike & gel at mile 14.  A little water at the 2 water stops during run.

After Race - I ate pretty much everything in sight.  Muffin & fruit at race, nachos, chicken wrap, fries & Fat Tire for lunch (Taco Mac).  Ice Americano mid afternoon.  Hibachi grill (Shogon) for dinner.  Bruster's ice cream for dessert.

On a sad note - one woman had a pretty bad bike crash today.  Rumor is that her front wheel fell off. Keeping her in my thoughts for a speedy recovery.  

Race safely y'all.


  1. SO fun meeting you, Andrea! See you next year!! :)

  2. Congratulations on getting back to racing! It sounds like you didn't just get back, you rocked! Way to go!

  3. what a kick ass return to racing!! i love the 'why the hell do i do this moment' comment, it's so true, i do the same thing!!

  4. I wish I had a chance to sit and talk with you at lunch on Sunday after the race. All of you girls way impressed me... that course isn't an easy one! You did awesome... especially given that you haven't been on the bike much or running. Congrats!

    And that 40+mph... speed demon! I feather too much to get going that fast!!!

  5. Great job on the race and I love the t-shirt.

    I bet you are right about it being a long swim!

  6. Congratulations on a great race!



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