Sunday, June 26, 2011

Race Report: 2011 Tri The Dam Sprint Triathlon

750 meter open water swim - 17 mile bike - 3.1 mile run

Results (based on chip time):

Swim 12m58s OA 21/87 AG 2/7 GR 12/45
T1 0m55s
Bike 54m51s (speed 18.6 mph) OA 34/87 AG 2/7 GR 11/45
T2 0m46s
Run 28m36s (pace 9:14 min/mile) OA 61/87 AG 6/7 GR 27/45

TOTAL 1h 38m 08s OA 40/87 AG 6/7 GR 17/45

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

Due to the 1h15m drive down to Hartwell GA, it was another early morning for me. I left the house around 5am and was at the race site around 6:15am. Because they race didn't start until 7:30am, I turned on the bike course, to see what is going to be in store for us... I was hoping for fairly flat, but found pretty quick, that it's going to be a rolling course with the last mile a slight uphill. While in the car, I had a banana and a Larabar (cashew) as a pre race food and a lot of water.

Packet pick-up, body marking etc was a breeze and I had transition set up with plenty of time to spare, so I just went down to the water and stuck my toes in there and chatted with other participants (my favorite part! ;-)

For this race, I tried something new: I had my Garmin with me for the whole race. Since Garmin gives funny reading when worn on the wrist during the swim, I had it in a plastic baggy under my swim cap* and then snapped it on my quick release wrist band once I got out of the water. I had the Garmin set on the multisport function, so once the watch was started, I just hit lap every time I ran in and out of transition and had all my splits including transitions with heart rate readings and everything. It worked great and pretty much matched the official data.

*Not my idea, I saw that at the DC Rainmaker blog... Seriously, if you are a gadget geek, you have to read his blog. 


Mom look! I can swim a straight line! ;-)
The start was done in two waves. First the men and three minutes after that, it was the women's turn. I went out way too fast and got winded with the first three minutes and it took me until the first turn buoy to get myself together again. But after that, the swim actually felt pretty good. I was fairly sure, that I swam a good line for the most part and was happy when I saw that confirmed when looking at the Garmin mapping.

Every transition under 1 minute is a win in my book! ;-)


The bike course was rolling and a straight shot out and back... No turns other than the turnaround. Me likey! I pushed it right out of transition, since.. you know... the bike is kinda my thing lately! ;-) On the way out, the course felt a little crowded and I had to sit-up and soft pedal several times in order not to violate the no drafting rule. I had the Garmin set on 5-mile-laps to give me a feeling of where I am pace wise and was happy happy happy after seeing the first split and just kept on pushing. Every time, I saw a new split, I was cheering myself on: "Good job, good job...!" Is anybody else doing that?? ;-)

Fortunately, people seemed to get a little more strung out after the turnaround and especially in the last five miles, I felt like I was finally able just to ride my pace without having to watch what other people where doing all the time.

Up until then, the sky were overcast and I didn't feel a lot of wind. Really perfect conditions.

See above.


The run course was pancake flat. It was an out and back on the dam and was just perfect. As we all know, running is my weakest discipline, but after a recent track workout and some feedback from Coach Katie, I thought I am just going to put it on the line and try to push myself. I felt good, I had fueled good on the bike and wanted to give it a shot.

While for most people a 28:36 minute 5K is nothing to celebrate over, the run that day was the portion I am most proud of. This is the fasted 5K I ran in probably a year... And I did this after swimming and cycling. Also, for the first time, I felt like I really pushed it on the run and not just accepted, that I am "just not a runner"... It certainly didn't harm that the course was flat. Of course, it still kind of sucks, that I got off the bike in second position (in my age group), only to get run down by everyone but one.... At least, I know I left it all out there... Besides, all the other girls ran under 8 min/mile 5K's and that's sort of not happening for me anytime soon.

After the race, I just walked around a little and grabbed some food, before packing up my stuff and headed out pretty much right away.

Race Review:
This was the inaugural event and they had a good turnout. They offered a triathlon, a duathlon and a tri relay option. The location was great and the transition and start/finish area was set-up nice. The only downside in my opinion was, that there were no showers available.

The swim course was secured with a ton of people in jet-skies and even people with floatation devices in the water. The bike course had a good road surface and only very little traffic (the course was not closed) and tons of volunteers that secured the bigger intersections! THANKS, VOLUNTEERS! The bike felt crowded at the beginning, so if they have even more participants next year, it might be worth having more waves and space them apart more. The run course was on Hartwell Dam and therefore didn't have any traffic. The only bottle neck was getting in and out of transition with bikes still coming in and runners going out or vice versa, but once again, they had plenty of volunteers directing traffic. The run didn't have any shade and is very exposed, so it can get miserable quick on a hot and windy day, which wasn't a problem yesterday.

Timing was done by On The Mark Sport and results were published on race site fast and available on the website that afternoon.

Overall a great event at a great location and organized really well. I will definitely be back next year, if it fits in.


  1. That is excellent swimming. I am impressed by your gps record (and I had no idea Garmin could gps swimming).

    Looks like a lot of the same course we did on the bike ride awhile back. We rode over the dam too, which was very cool. I remember those roads being rolling but nothing too difficult.

    Nice job!

  2. i've heard that 'natural' runners have an easier time picking people off in the last leg, after losing places in the swim and bike. but as you know, i don't do tri's so who knows. any activity after swimming is successful in my book. i swam a few times for exercise in college and was always so exhausted after. i did brick saturday, and my run splits were better than they've been all week... not sure how that happened.

    anyway, way to leave it all out there! you will get your running legs, just keep chugging away.