Sunday, July 12, 2009

Hagg Lake Olympic Triathlon Race Report and Pics

I have talked about this race so much with Zach and many friends the last couple of days that I'm having a hard time believing I haven't told you all about it yet, but I guess I haven't. So here is the official RACE REPORT.

Short version: Yay!

Long version:

This was such a fun weekend overall. Great friends, good weather, beautiful scenery, beautiful people and a large dose of ass-kicking.

Friday night after our run we went and hung out with Sarah and friends over at RonToms. She's such a sweet person who seems to draw really genuinely nice people to her. I didn't drink but I was wishing I could have spent the evening with her and really getting to know the group. Another time! Instead we came home and made a big pasta dinner and got all our race gear ready and turned in early. The alarms were set for a ridiculous 4:30 am.

Saturday morning came too early but I hopped up on command and got my shit together. I had an instant oatmeal and an english muffin and got dressed. I put on some sunscreen and body glide and we headed out the door about 5:30. I'm glad we got such an early start- it's about an hour to Hagg from downtown and I wanted to have plenty of time to set up in transition and get situated.

It was a beautiful morning, some high clouds but mostly clear. The weird thing was that it would quickly cloud up and the sun didn't come back out until later! We drove west and made our way to Hagg Lake. It's gorgeous out there. We were super early as planned and got a good spot and got familiar with the bike-in/out and run-in/out etc. I used the real restroom and even washed my hands, what a luxury! I got back and there was someone parked RIGHT next to me, all up in my stuff. Well, it was Emily. Haha!! Yay! We chatted and she seemed relaxed and that helped me. I was possibly a little too excited. :) I saw her rooting through her bag of Clif, Luna, etc treats and I realized I hadn't eaten for a couple of hours.. so I begged half a Luna bar off her. Minor oversight on my part, major thx to Emily as per usual.

About 7:45 I could tell Zach was getting anxious - his wave started right at 8:01 or something while we didn't start for another 10 minutes- so we headed down to the water. He got in to warm up and I waited on the beach. It was gray and foggy and cold, maybe 56 degrees. I knew the water was at least 72 so I wasn't worried. I watched Zach start the swim- I could easily spot him by his swimming style and his tattoo. Emily and I were on the beach together chatting and giggling and joking about getting shanked in the diner for inadvertent gang affiliation. What? Finally we waded into the mucky water and then swam out a bit. It was on!

Swim: 1500 meters

We were way inside with the group and Emily got out right ahead of me. I was able to keep sight of her for about 50 yards. Girl can swim. It wasn't very crowded at all where I was and I only had minor contact for the whole first loop. I kept pace with a few people around me and felt great. There was a little confusion for me when I was to begin the second loop- some men from the wave before me were heading to the finish on shore and it threw me off for a sec. Otherwise, no issues. On the second loop I passed the wave of men from the Sprint and it was kind of a shit show. One BIG guy kicked me hard in the hand. I was a little worried for a second - it hurt. but was able to swim on and ended it up not bothering me for the race at all. I felt like I was pushing pretty hard but I was good, I could maintain it. One problem I did have is that I felt my sighting was off. I kept having to correct, which is unlike me. I made a point to sight more often than usual. I finally was done with the second loop and headed toward the finish arch on the beach.

Swim time: 33:13
(2:01/100 yards pace)


I was fine with my swim time. That is right around what I expected. Whatevs! Westsuit off, bike gear on, let's ride.

Bike: 40 km (24.9 mi. )

It's 2 loops around the lake, plus a little out and back on Scoggins Valley Rd. Zach and I rode the course a couple weeks ago. It's hilly. I did 4 loops in the pouring rain and did about 13.3 mph that day. I was going for 15+ . I've run out here a couple times too so I know the course pretty good. I was going to pace myself the first lap and then push harder the second loop.

Instead, I obviously hammered from the start. I was going strong on the climbs and bombing down the hills. I felt great! It was hard, but I knew my limits and kept it right there. I saw Emily on the first out and back and she wasn't that far ahead, which was cool because she is a GREAT climber and cyclist! I didn't see her again though until the next loop, where I saw her in almost the exact same spot. It's so fun to see her out on the course! She looked great.

There were a lot more people on the course the first loop for me because many of the men were on their second loop. I got passed by a lot of disc wheels. Wvooom wvvooom wvooom (you know what I mean?) The second loop was lonley! There were a few people which I passed and I got passed, but it was pretty quiet. I pushed hard up the hills a second time. My legs and rear end were on fire. Toward the end my lower back started aching really bad, so I stood up a bit and tried to stretch. This was partially caused by female problems though, I must say. Sorry. I do think us women get an extra point for that shit though, right?

I started to see runners as I got closer, and I saw Zach. Whatup! I misjudged the last hill and was surprised to see the finish. Sweet. I checked my watch and was vaguely aware of my time. I hadn't seen my time or average or anything during the ride, and didn't bother to do the math. I did think that I could break 3:00 though which was kind of a surprise to me.

Bike time: 1:30:58
(16.4 MPH)


My spot was all the way by the bike exit, which I love. I ran to my spot and racked my bike, almost taking the whole rack out in my fury. Into the running shoes and grabbed my race belt and visor. I noticed my thumb was bleeding kind of bad. Whaa? Never did figure that one out. I am surprisingly together though and totally in the moment.

Run: 10 km (6.2 mi.)

Don't forget I'm a runner. And I'm feeling good. I run out of transition and up the ramp and start out on the hilly out-and-back. I did feel heavy, and my legs/ass hurt. But I just ran a comfortable pace and tried to get my breathing under control. I passed a few people but really it was pretty spread out. I was really wheezing on the hills and there were a lot of those. I tried to open it up on the downhills, but that was kind of a joke. I noted the first mile at 8:30 and just kind of settled in.

I saw Zach after a couple of miles and we high fived. He looked great! As I got close to the turn around, I saw Emily ahead a ways. She waved at me. At the turnaround she said "catch up! Come run with me!" Honey, I'm working on it. I finally got up to her and she gave me a brief pep talk. We're both exhausted so words were few. On the next climb I kind of got ahead and she urged me on, so I ran on alone. During the mile or so we ran together, we passed the 4 mile mark. I did some really rough math and said I could finish in 17 minutes. I ended up finishing in just under that. My first 4 miles were like 7:48 and the last 2.2 were 7:39 average.

I saw Zach as I came back down the road to the finish area. I saw Anne too! They announced my name and everything. Whoo hoo!!!

Run time: 47:57
(7:43 average)

total official time: 2:56:27

I found Zach and then Emily came though and we all celebrated. What an amazing day for everyone. Zach had an amazing race too, really impressive. I was so proud of everyone. We saw Anne and other friends Ian and Joel. A few minutes later the clouds finally started burning off- it had been socked in all morning. We all sat in the grass and had some strawberry shortcake and talked about the race. Super fun. :)

Zach and I wanted to get going so that we could make it back to town for brunch at Mother's so we grabbed our stuff and ducked out. Sounds rude, but if you've been there you would understand. They stop serving breakfast at 2:30 and we have our priorities. :) We called our moms on the way back into town and then we talked about the day. We were both on cloud 9! I did really much better than I expected. It started to sink in how great that was!

As we ate waffles and fritatta and drank screwdrivers we told great tales of our feats. Hehe. It was awesome. I have a lot of reflections, but first let me tell you how fun the rest of the day was.

We took a loooooooooooong nap in the afternoon, and in the early evening took the bus across the river to the Mississippi Street Fair. Our friends have an apt right above the street and they had a bbq. Deana and Dana came too and we met a bunch of cool new people. The festival feeling was amazing and it was sunny and warm. Did I mention there was a keg of Bridgeport Blue Heron? I had one for Ewen and one for most of the rest of you too... ha! We walked home, with a couple pub/pit stops of course, and crashed into bed.

Today we did our errands and some shopping and then met up with our friends from Seattle down at Henry's. Our friend Tyler did the 200 mile Seattle to Portland ride with his dad and had just got into town. I got to play with their precious baby daughter and we all had some great food and drinks. We're staying with them when we go up for Lake Stevens, so I can't wait to see them again.

So clearly, a fun weekend. The race, the friends, the everything.

Reflecting on the race, I feel very encouraged and excited by my performance. I knew I could finish the race but I was faster than I expected on the bike and especially on the run.

I had been questioning my ability on the bike lately. I kind of have some issues there. This was encouraging because it showed that while I may train at a slower pace I can go faster when I need to. Sometimes I feel so slow but I think I'm fine. To see that I am capable of holding a faster pace makes me realize that my training pace is probably right on. I'd love to hear any feedback on this, btw. The only reason I even "complain" about this is that there is a CUTOFF at the Ironman, and I want to make it. I can't be slow.

Regarding the run, Wow. That time is only :50 seconds or something slower than my stand-alone 10k PR. Which was flat. And not after swimming and biking. I can't believe I'm getting faster with this tri training? Awesome. I didn't even feel like I was running fast, but I did feel really tired! It was a great performance for me and I am super proud. Pretty cool.

The broader reflection is of course related to the Ironman in November. All during the race I thought about it, and how much longer it is, and how much harder it will be. I've got a lot of work to do. I need to sincerely respect the distance, but at the same time I have to find/maintain the confidence to believe that I can do it. I think most people respect the distance, and that is why they don't do it. LOL. I need to somehow agree that it is crazy, and then go and do it.

I have a bazillion pictures that hopefully somehow capture the weekend. Thanks for reading everyone, and for all the support. I couldn't do this without you.

race morning:

my bike and my man:

did the helmet in the handlebars thing for the first time, liked it:

tri buddies:
z self-portrait

love this:

we're on the left:

off we go:

heading out on the bike (great pics from Anne!)

heading out on the run:

I'd kept my bike gloves on and stuffed them in my pocket while I ran:

zach finishing:
ain't he fine?

here I come. Fist pump:

big smile:

go Emily!

after/cloud 9 x 3:

packing up our stuff. Notice the sun is just now out!

Once again, finding new places to chafe. The pick of hte day: neck chafing. swim cap? My suit doesn't go that high up I don't think. Thinking of shaving my head for the IM.

Mississippi Ave later that day:

street fair:

he didn't know I took this, he seriously was doing this model pose. rawr!

view from the apt. Can I mention that someone from Modest Mouse supposedly used to live in this apt? Name dropper!

Well that is it folks. I have to get ready for work tomorrow and get some sleep. The show goes on. Actually tomorrow is a scheduled rest day, which thank God, but then it's back at it. Good night!


kelsalynn said...

AWESOME JOB! I'm so proud of you!

I teared up when I read your time & you crossing the finish line & how you felt afterwards. You are such an inspiration!

Couple of things-
bleeding? totally weird.
neck chafing? even weirder.
You going out AFTER a triathlon? Completely insane.
The pic of Zach doing his "modeling" pose is totally hot.

The pic of you w/ your gloves on still- girl, KILLER BOD! For Realsies! =]

I'm just so proud of you & excited for you.

Emily said...

Cloud 27?

Great report. Let's talk about it all again next time. And the next time!

the gazelle said...

thanks for having drinks for me last night! I so appreciate it. :)

You are so amazing. I am continually impressed with you. Also, you look fantastic! (Brad couldn't remember your name Friday night & called you the blond with the ripped body.)

Can't wait to see you again. I need tri advice!

Jo Lynn said...

Looks like a ton of fun. Especially with your honey. ;)

You DO have the cutest smile I have ever seen.
**Don't tell my daughter I said that!**

Ewen said...

Thanks for sampling a beer or three for me ;) I can't remember the Blue Heron, just the IPA - sounds nice though!

Yeah, those disc wheels sound terrible. Re your biking, I think you'll be fine. Just spend as much time on the bike as you can. Are you going to get tri-bars (are they still allowed?) - if so, do heaps of practise with them so the streamlined body position (fast) is comfortable.

Put vasoline or bodyglide on your head - don't shave your hair off!

Kick-ass 10k split. Glad I'm not racing you in a 10k!

Anonymous said...

Jen you are doing such an amazing job with the tri training!!! All your hard work paid off. Way to rock the race, especially the run.

Keep working it! Fabulous pictures too, the apt is awesome.

Jen Rife said...

Congrats on an awesome race! Love all the pictures too! Sounds like you guys had a great time.

John said...

Congrats! Looks like a fun race.

Kim said...


i think you did amazing!!!! and the best part is that you look like you had the most unbelievable time!!!

congrats to you and zach!

(you will be MORE than fine with your biking at IM! trust me!)

Clare said...

Hey, I saw you pass me on the bike! Great race report, and congrats on breaking 3 hours on a HARD course!

Anonymous said...

Great job! Way to kick it up a notch when it really counts. That must make you feel so confident moving forward! Awesome.

KK said...

Wow, awesome race report! I was nervous and excited for you and flet like I was with you the whole time, so great! You had an awesome race and I'm glad you got to celebrate it the whole weeekend.

I like what you said about the IM: you will agree that it is crazy and then go do it. So true, and you will! As for the bike, I think you are right on with your training paces vs. race paces. But if you are worried about the cutoff time for IM then maybe do the math to see what avg mph you need to maintain to be ablwe to make the cutoff and then make sure your training rides are maintaining that pace. Also, it helps to go by HR. Your HR on the bike can be about 10 BMP less than what your zones are for the run so my advice would be to really pay attention to your HR on the bike and make sure your training there is comparable to your running HRs. If it's lower on the bike, then ramp it up. If not, keep doin' what you're doin'.

Whatever you are doing is working though-you had an incredible race, congrats! Also, so funny to see your pictures. I think we did that same exact course in September. One of my favorite all time courses, despite those hills! So beautiful.

Alisa said...

Yay! You did so fantastically (so not a word). I think the slow bike training is probably similar theory to LSD in running. Most running plans have you training at a much slower pace than race pace (this I'm sure you know well). I think as long as you know you're capable of a faster RP (which you totally are) then you're doing everything you need to be doing.

You and Zach are such a hottie little couple- I love it!

Weird on the cap chafing...I've worn them all my life and never chafed! WEIRD!!!! I usually put on a little conditioner before putting on my swim cap maybe that helps prevent it, who knows? Bodyglide it up next time.

Love love love all your pictures too. I always look forward to seeing your action shots. You, Emily and Zach all look so strong!

Marathon Maritza said...


You did amazingly awesome on this race and your hard work is yielding some ass-kicking race results!

I know we spent a lot of time talking about your biking when I was up there and I hope that this great bike leg gives you that boost of confidence...You rocked it!

Keep up the great training and I know you will be crossing that IM finish line successfully!

P.S. Drinking festival post-race? That is EXACTLY why I love you most! Work hard to play hard, baby!

Anonymous said...

HUGE CONGRATS to you!!!!!! You had a great race and it seems all your IM training is paying off big time! Keep up the amazing work!

kristen said...

Right now I'm doing a fist pump for you myslef. So awesome girl!!! I am so not surprised by the outcome of this race. You are working your ass off and it is showing big time. I am so proud for you.

Whats up with chaffing. Your wetsuit might not go up that high when your standing upright, but maybe while swimming? I don't know. I seriously doubt it's the swim cap. You've swam way longer than that at one time. It has to be the wetsuit. You'll have to lube that baby up next time.

The bleeding. Random. Are you sure you didn't start scrapping out there on the bike course when some chick was trying to draft off you? ;)

Seriously, great job agin. Oh yeah, and your hubby - HOT!!

Dragonfly on the Water said...

Thanks for the exciting report & pictures. I lived the day with you. Great times on the three events. You will succeed on your November goal.

ShirleyPerly said...

WOOHOO -- What a great race, Jen!!! Great job on that run, especially.

I've been thinking that tri training is making me a stronger runner too even though I'm not running very much at all compared to before. And on the bike, I think part of of the reason we ride faster is because in training you'll slow down to stop at various traffic signals and stop signs, etc., which bring down your avg, but also simply the adrenaline gets going ;-)

In an ironman, however, training at the pace you plan to race is much more important as your nutrition will be closely linked to it. And we all know that nutrition is the 4th sport.

Congrats on your race and thanks for all the wonderful pictures!

aron said...

congrats congrats congrats jen!!!! you did AMAZING!!! i love these confidence boosting races and SO glad you had one :) you are doing so great in your training and its really paying off here.

Beth said...

Congrats Jen! Looks like a great way to spend a day. A great race and then a fun brunch!

Petraruns said...

What an AMAZING report. You are really beginning to give me a triathlon bug - it just seems like such fun! Although I am terrified of all the kit, all the training and all the logistics of getting your bike in the rack, helmet in the bike etc.. God girl! You did so well. I can also understand your feelings about the Ironman - the combo of respect and confidence is going to be your challenge. YOu are going to do great though and I am loving following you (and Emily and Zach) through it all. Have a beer on me!

Tracy said...

My husband and I did Hagg Lake on Saturday too! I remember seeing you on the run - you were coming back...I was still going out!
Great job! What a great day! We're also doing Lake Stevens in August, but haven't gotten crazy enough to commit to IM - at least not yet!!
See you out there!

Sarah said...

Where to even start!? Thanks for coming Friday - I really love that you guys put in an appearance. I can't tell you how much it means to me!

Your race was amazing! I'm super impressed - and laughed when I read this: "catch up! Come run with me!" Because I can hear her saying it - and wish you had yelled back "female issues!"

Your dress on the Mississippi Fair is gorgeous! And Mothers - mmmm! I wish I had energy after I do races - all I want to do is sleep! You guys impress me!

Neck chafing! DAMN

Good job!!

Kelly said...

I for one think you should shave your head. Ha! Just kidding.

Way to go on the race. Sounds amazing!!!

And finally, do you enjoy photography cause your pictures are really good.


Nitmos said...

Simply: Congratulations!

Lotusphx said...

Congrats! You did a wonderful job - so proud!! And I'm so glad you enjoyed yourself and got to share the race with Emily and Zach! Great Team work :)

Susan said...

I'm so behind...but AWESOME RACE! And looks like you had a fun weekend as well. All your hard work definitely shows come race'll be ready for November with all the training!

Judi said...

hey jen, NO WAY you are going to miss the IM cut off. just get the bike miles in and the base training in. you will get there. you GOT this. :)