Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Race Report: 2010 Assault On Cherokee International Triathlon

1,300 meters open water swim - 42K bike - 10K run

Results (based on chip time):

Swim 27m29s (pace 1:50m/100y) OA 32/82 AG 3/3 GR 9/27
T1 6m33s
Bike 1h46m09s (speed 15.8 mph) OA 63/82 AG 3/3 GR 17/27
T2 1m27s
Run 1h00m50s (pace 9:49 min/mile) OA 66/82 AG 2/3 GR 18/27

TOTAL 3h 22m 30s OA 62/82 AG 2/3 GR 16/27

OA= overall, AG= age group, GR= gender rank


Alarm was set to 4am, but I was up even before that and in general woke up a lot during the night. I guess, I was scared to oversleep (or what hubby calls: pre-race disorder). What I didn't know was, that Terry set a back-up alarm. So I got up even a little before 4 and sat down with Karma and petted her a little. Nothing that calms me down more than to cuddle with the doggy when she is sleepy (read: not hyperactive for once). Dressed, pit stop, Special K with almond mild, grabbed my water bottles and headed out of the door a little before 4.30am. I already packed my gear the night before and everything was already in the car. At 5am I was at Stacy's house and after loading my stuff into her car we headed out. Got to King's Mountain State Park at 6.20am. That was 1h10mins before the race start and I really needed every minute of it, but fortunately didn't have to rush. Between picking up the race package, getting body marked, a pit stop, setting up transition, pre race meeting and another pit stop... There wasn't a dull moment! ;-) All the while, the race announcer was cracking jokes, giving direction, telling us how much time we had left until pre race meeting etc... That guy was AWESOME... Very funny... Kept on talking right through the finish and was really motivating the whole race.


Photo credit: Jen @ Runner's Trials
I am to the right in the red top and yellow swim cap.

As nervous as I was all morning long driving up there, getting ready, seeing the first waves two waves (males age 0-39 and relays, males over 40) taking off, my super power kicked in as soon as I was in the water. My super power you ask? That my nervousness just goes away from one moment to the next at the start of a triathlon... I know, it's freaky and it doesn't apply to running races! ;-) And off we were. I got stuck right away behind a girl and every time I tried to pass her, she was right in front of me again. After that was finally settled, I was able to set into a nice rhythm. I had trouble seeing the first turn buoy (it was orange and smaller than the other buoys) so I just followed the crowd. Maybe 50 meters before the turn buoy there was tons of seaweed and standing so high in the water that you could see it floating on the surface. It grossed me out and I didn't wanted to stick my face into this mess, having to swim through is bad enough. I breaststroked until after the turn when the seaweed was gone and then fell back into my rhythm. After the turn, I swam parallel to another girl and none of us was able to gain ground on each other, so at one point I tried to draft off her, but that was unsuccessful. Either she or I was weaving, but whenever I thought I was latched to her feet, she was gone again. That was too much trouble so I just kept going on my own. At the second turn buoy, we got really close to each other and I got a smack to the back of my head. Oh well, I thought it's going to happen at the start, but it actually happened when we were almost finished. No worries though, it wasn't bad. Good swim and moving on!


Out of the water and up the gravel hill to the transition area that was 1/3 of a mile away from the swim exit. That's why T1 time is so high. And yes, it involved running and since running is my weakest suit, I sure didn't make up any time here. I swam with my Vibram FiveFinger Shoes (VFF) and so I didn't have to worry about putting on shoes when getting out of the water. I was thinking back and forth about using the VFF and I really don't regret the decision at all. The rest of transition was really uneventful, except the "bottle incident", but I will make a complete post out of that! ;-)


I didn't communicate my goals for this triathlon on the blog, because I didn't want to put myself under a lot of pressure. But one of my goals was to get an high 15. something mph average and with 15.8, I reached that goal. Compared to everyone else competing, I placed fairly low on the bike. In sprint distances, I have been further up in the past. I can't really explain what happened here when I compare myself to others. But when I looked at my effort level throughout the ride, I think there wasn't much room for me to go any faster. Yes, the course was hilly, but they are the same hills for everybody. In the last 5 miles, I got passed by a girl on a hill and she was just flying by me and I know that we were in T1 at the same time. There was NO WAY for me to stay close to her. Fortunately, she wasn't in my age group, but that was still a little disheartening. And even after pre riding this course twice before, the last hill still surprised me.. I completely forgot about that one and I just thought "crap... not another one".

On the bike, I had 1.5 bottles of water and maybe 1.5 packs of Powerbar Gel Blasts. I think I did a good job in the nutrition department and felt good getting off the bike. While I was on the bike, I tried to constantly cheer myself up and give me pep talk like "good job girl" and "I am a mountain goat" to keep the spirits high.


Nothing noteworthy happened here... Of course it could always be faster, but this wasn't a bad transition time. I grabbed my handheld water bottle and took off.


Over the last couple of weeks, I had the crappiest runs after long bike rides. I questioned my endurance level, but also knew that the temperatures that we had lately didn't help. I was so thankful that the temps on race day were so much lower and it was overcast. It really made a huge difference as I felt good when I started running. Immediately, I made a deal with myself, that I won't walk until the first steeper hill in mile 4. I was allowed to slow down, but no walking! Well... And the first time I walked was up the last piece of the second hill in mile 4, so I accomplished that mission. The second time (and last time) I walked, was the last steep hill at the end of mile 5. YAY! I kept on gaining on two women. One had a 39 on her calf and the other one a 34... So she was in my age group. I passed them at the last little bit of the last hill, right at the mile 5 marker and never looked back... Okay, I looked back once and wasn't sure if it was her running maybe 100 yards behind me, so I sped up even more! Turns out that this put me from third to second in my age group... On the run... I never made up any ground on the run until this race!

This was close to the finish line and you can see the announcer to the left.

My "internal" goal was to stay under an 11 minute/mile for the run and according to the official results it was a 9:49, but that course was definitely short.


Stacy crossed the finish line shortly behind me (started in the last wave and chased me down on the run, finishing faster than me - GREAT JOB!!) and so we grabbed some water and walked around a little. We hung out talking to people and got something to eat and before we knew it, they already started the awards ceremony. Both of us placed second in our age groups.

To finish the race off, we got a group picture with all the Malone Coaching athletes starting at the race. Okay, technically I am currently not a Malone Coaching athlete, but they are still my training buddies!!

So long! ;-)


  1. Way to go Kathrin!! Makes me wish I was a swimmer.

  2. Great recap! You did so awesome in the race!! You're soooo fast!
    Can you teach me how to make nerves go away at the start? ;) I'm always a ball of nerves for every race I do!

  3. @Jen: My husband calls it pre-race disorder because I have race jitters so bad. I have no idea, why I am fine once I am close to start in a tri! ;-)