On Sunday, September 8, the 8th annual Nation’s Triathlon was held in Washington, DC. What an awesome experience to race in our Nation’s capitol. The race benefited the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, represented by Team in Training. Starting in Potomac Park, the international distance course (1.5k swim, 40k bike, 10k run) took athletes by many of DC’s historic landmarks.
The REI Sports & Fitness Expo held at the Washington Hilton was awesome. A lot of great sponsors and vendors showed which means lots of samples and a little bit of shopping (REI, Revolution 3 Triathlon, Power Bar, Gatorade, and Team Z to name a few). My favorite triathlon expo purchase of all time was made here, my framed triathlon art by Alejandro Maldonado. How cool is this?
After the expo we navigated through downtown DC to drop off Miss Pink at Potomac Park. I really, REALLY have a strong dislike for roundabouts, and DC is full of them. Just saying.
Racing in the Nation’s capitol provides a lot of fabulous views, even walking from parking to the transition area at 5:30am.
Parking wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but as always the early triathlete gets the parking spot. We were super early to transition, and I was able to get setup rather quickly.
So, I’m setting up my area, and I notice that no one else has out their wetsuits. The water temp announced at the expo was 74 degrees, how did the water get warmer overnight? Oh well. Luckily, I also had my Zoot Speed Suit with me. By this time it’s 6:30am and I am done with setup, the first wave doesn’t start until 7:00am, and I am wave #27. With 8 athletes entering the water every 15-20 seconds, I have quite a bit of time, however I didn’t realize how much time. Seriously though, I didn’t realize how much time. When we were in the chute, the first finisher was coming in. It was just after 9:00am when we started.
I’ve never done a swim in the Potomac River before, but I have heard people say that it would be a dirty swim. It wasn’t that bad. The swim course was the BEST marked course I have ever seen, buoy markers every 100 meters.
So, if I’m being totally honest with myself, my swim training was quite lacking. I was not following my swim program as I should have been which is shown by my time. I wasn’t struggling by any means and I did okay, but I was not impressed with myself. The water was smooth with a few ripples. Finished in 30:37. The transition area is a short hike from the swim. It is across a paved road and there are a few rocks to be aware of as well, so step carefully.
I truly loved how well the course and the transition area were marked. It made it very easy to find my bike and head out onto the bike course. My T1 time was 2:36.
This was a fast course. There was a few “no passing” zones on the course, which did cause some slow down. But it’s all for safety and everyone needs to remember that, especially the guy that bumped me as he flew by in the “no passing” zone. I was hitting 28-30mph in some areas, which was nice. It’s a 2-loop course that takes you over the 14th street bridge and through a few tunnels. There are a few uncomfortably tight turns on the course where it’s best to slow down to a crawl to be safe. I felt really good about my bike course time, I wouldn’t change a thing. Finished in 1:13:16 giving me a 20.3mph average pace, I’ll take it.
I came in quickly off the bike I was not looking forward to the run. Time 1:50.
By this time it had gotten really hot, temperatures were in the 90s. It was humid and there was not a cloud in the sky. I have been running poorly in the heat, and this was not going to be a good run. I started the run with a slight cramp in my side, which I was able to work out fairly quickly. There wasn’t a lot of shade on the course, and it’s a good thing that I didn’t have the urge to go because there weren’t any porta-johns either. The course had a few slight inclines, but for the most part was fairly flat. It wasn’t muscle cramping or lack of energy, I just couldn’t cool off enough. Finished in 55:35 at 8:58 per mile. Very unhappy with my run time.
My overall experience with the Nation’s Tri was awesome. The race was well organized, from packet pickup through the finish line. Unfortunately, after the finish line not all racers received their finisher medal right away. Some how they ran out of medals and had to mail out many of them.