Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Race Report: Festival of Flowers International

Portion of Team Malone Coaching racing at FoF.

1,500 meter lake swim - 24 mile bike - 6.2 mile run

Results (based on chip time):

Swim 31m 23s (1:55 min/ 100 yards) GR 16/62 AG 4/9
T1 1m 02s
Bike 1h 12m 53s (speed  19.76 mph) GR 29/62 AG 4/9
T2 1m 16s
Run 56m 58s (pace 9:11 min/mile) GR 35/62 AG 4/9

TOTAL 2h 43m 30s GR 25/62 AG 4/9
GR= gender rank AG= age group


We left Greenville around 1pm on Saturday to make the trip down to Greenwood. We picked up our package first at the Lake Greenwood State Park (also the event site) and then got the 3 mile 2.6 mile traper run out of the way. I heard a lot about how miserably hot the run course can get at this race and running our taper miles on some of the run course already gave me the idea. It was quite miserable.

After we completed our run, we headed to our hotel, checked in, grabbed showers, almost got sucked into watching Lord of the Rings, but eventually were able to switch off the TV to find some pre race pizza. Thanks to urbanspoon and yelp, we ended up at The Mill House and had some really yummie food.

The rest of the night was very very lazy and relaxed, lights out by 9.30pm.

Wake-up call at 5am. Had breakfast (3 slices of toast, almond butter and a banana), got dressed, packed up the car and on the road again back to the state park.

Arrived with plenty of time to get transition ready and chit chat with our team mates. Heading over to the swim start for the pre race instructions. They played the national anthem and a minute later the open division was off.

The purple capes (all women age groupers, athenas and relay) were sent off 8 minutes later... Did I mentioned that it drizzled??


I position myself in the second row to the right of the field, especially because we were supposed to have the buoys always on our left side. I had plenty of space until 10 seconds before the start when it felt like a bunch of people rushed into this area. Needless to say, the first 500 meters were quite the washing machine, but at least I didn't get kicked and the pack that I was in, seemed to know what the were doing and where we have to go.

Other than a big gulp of lake water right at the beginning, this was a decent swim. I felt like I had a good rhythm. After the first turn bouy at 500 meters, I pretty much was on my own, not a lot of drafting going on. Half way through the swim I noticed that it was pouring down... Looked like hot temps on the run wouldn't be an issue this year.

While there was not a lot of chop on the lake, there were some really strong currents going on and it sometimes felt like you were lifted off and then dropped a couple of yards away. Especially after the second turn buoy at 1,000 meters I was constantly correcting course.

For the last couple of hundred meters, I was neck to neck with another purple cap. When we got out of water, I saw it was another girl from the G'ville/ Spartanburg area that I see training every now and then and thought I was in good company getting out of the water with her. Some of the spectators commented that we had a fast swim. When I looked down on my watch I saw 31 minutes something. While that's not bad, I was hoping for under 30 minutes.


I have seen better and I have seen worse, so I am not complaining about the transition time. It was alright.


The bike mount line is on a little hill and the way out of the state park is a little rolling. As soon as I was on the flatter section, I popped a gel and then started hydrating.

This race has really nice bike course with a bunch of rolling hills, but nothing too steep. I only had to switch to the small chain ring a couple of times and was able to stay areo for most of the bike. The rain went from a drizzle to a downpour and back at least 10 times. In all the races I have been doing over the last four years, this was my very first race in rain from the start to the finish... But at least it wasn't hot. And since the bike course doesn't have major hills, I never felt uncomfortable or unsafe.

I had (as usual) set my Garmin up to lap every five miles and was happy with the splits that I saw. The beginning of the bike course felt a little lonely until the slower male swimmers or older guys (started after us) started catching up with me. The bike course never felt crowded and I was pleased to see referees on the course to crack down on drafting.

Once I was at 30 minutes in the bike, I popped my second and last gel of the race. I felt good, no major pains and aches. Around mile 13, I got passed by a girl in my age group, but that was the only time I got passed by somebody my age on the bike or the run.

Overall, I am very happy with my bike split. At this point, I am so close to finally crack the 20 mph average during a triathlon.... It's so close I can taste it!!!


Unfortunately, I didn't listen to my roomie and didn't put my run shoes into a plastic bag. So when I got into transition, I had the pleasure to put on socks and shoes that were soaked... Completely soak... YUCK. Other than that, nothing major happened in transition.


I had high hopes for this run... I wanted to break 55 minutes for a 10K and based on what I have been doing on the track lately, I thought this should have been obtainable. So seeing a run split of over 56 minutes was dissapointing.

Nevertheless, I felt like I worked hard the whole time. Once again, I ran by feel and didn't have my Garmin with me and based on feel, I certainly thought I was going faster.

The run is an out and back from transition, out to the highway, then you turn off into the State Park at another entrance before turning around. Overall the course has a couple of good rollers and for at least half of it no shade whatsoever (which wasn't a problem on Sunday). The finish is on top of a very steep very short hill and sucks.

During the run, I took water at each aid station (they had 3, one at the turnaround and two that you passed each on the way out and back, they also handed out gels at the first/last one) and walked for a couple of steps when drinking the water before taking off again.

I started feeling tired around mile five, but then I got passed by a guy in Vibrams and he said something about going with him, so I just tried to stay with him. On one of the last turns, most of my team members that were already done cheered in the runners. I was very happy about the encouragement and it helped me to suck it up on the last couple of hundred yards. I ended up sprinting the hill to the finish, because I thought that somebody in AG was right behind me, which there was nobody and that little sprint just resulted in me almost tossing my cookies.

Post Race:

Once my stomach settled down, I joined the team at their cheering position and we checked in on each other's races. Everyone seemed to have had a great day and while racing in the rain is not really ideal, the cooler temps resulted in a ton of people PR'ing on the course.

After grabbing some cokes and chips and the rain stopping (go figure), we headed over to transition to get our stuff and back to the finish just in time for the awards.

While I hoped that I placed in my age group, after a quick glance at the overall results it looked like I came in 4th (again). Because of that, I was extra surprised, when I got called up as 3rd.

Turns out, that one of the girls ahead wasn't racing age group which took her out of the age group ranking and I moved up a spot. Nevertheless, the official results on the event website show me in 4th. Either way, I think I had a good race!

After shooting a quick team picture, we then headed back to Greenville... Not without stopping at a Mexican place to stuff our face. The rest of the Sunday was spent relaxing with the hubs, washing clothes and drying shoes and bags etc.


  1. Congrats for getting a spot in the top 3!! That is an excellent achievement.

  2. Congratulations! Awesome race!

  3. woo hoo! congrats on the AG award :) i am sure the slushy shoes added at least 1 minutes to your run time too. glad the race went well! let me know if you ever want to go for a run on a saturday or sunday. i know you are in your tri-season but i figure you might need to run some too :) OR if you want a recovery bike ride i can manage about 14mph avg.