2009 Chisago Lakes Triathlon

>> Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My last post was all about 4 CVA Tri Club students who finished their first sprint tri at the Chisago Lakes Triathlon on Sunday. This post is my report.

Pharmie and I got up and headed to the race site. I was HOPING my 4 students would be there!! After a quick set-up and bumping into a few friends, I saw all 4 students - whew! Pharmie was doing the Half IM, and I was doing the sprint. Some of the aisles in the Half IM part of transition were a LITTLE tight. Here’s a shot of Pharmie’s row from later in the day:

We headed down to the water, and Pharmie and I grabbed a quick photo:

(I had to Photoshop out my junk. It was very visibly
3 o'clock, if you know what I mean...)

I gave her a quick smooch, and she was off to start in an early Half IM wave. I hung back and talked to my students. I kept reminding them to not let their adrenaline take over in the swim: “Keep calm and easy! Swim to the outside for clean water if it helps keep you more relaxed!” I knew I was going to spend most of my race thinking about them and hoping they were doing OK!

Wave 12: On your marks... GO!!

400 Meter Swim:

I had to follow my own advice: I stayed to the outside, and I kept it easy. It was only a 400 meter swim (that was WAY long), but last year I went out WAY too hard and was spent at the turn-around. Staying to the outside worked GREAT, as I only brushed up against 2 people over the course of the entire swim. It wasn’t necessarily a FAST swim, but it was a GOOD swim.

I was rounding the turn around buoy after 5:02, and I hit the beach in 10:51. By the time I had ran up the beach, up the grassy hill, and crossed the transition mat, my “400 meter swim” officially went in the books as 11:36. Yeah. That was fairly longer than 400 meters.


As I was running up the beach, my 4 tri club students were standing next to the path cheering for me (they were all in later waves). I smiled and yelled “the swim’s a little long - just stay calm - you can do it!” as I ran past throwing them high-fives.

Helmet on. Sunglasses on. Shoes on. Got bike? Let’s go.

21 Mile Bike:

My biggest personal goal for the day was to push hard on the bike. We got out of town, and the bike field spread out. (I started in wave 12, which was only the 2nd sprint wave [waves 1-10 were all for the Half IM.]) I passed a woman about half way in who said “Oh good! I AM on the right course!” She hadn’t seen anyone in a while either.

I spent a lot of my race thinking about things that I never told my students! Every time I came to a normal, minor triathlon obstacle, I thought about how I never warned my students. I’ve forgotten most of them already, but it was things like “Watch for the arrows when the Half IM and Sprint courses split, and make sure to take the correct one!” And “take a few miles to let your stomach settle after the swim, then pump the fluids a little harder near the middle of the bike. But not too much near the end of the bike because you don’t want to be running with a sloshy stomach!” Etc, etc.

Overall, a pretty uneventful, quiet, lonely ride. I followed my game plan pretty well. I checked my overall average every 5 miles, and here’s what it was:

- 20.6 at mile 5
- 20.8 at mile 10
- 21.1 at mile 15
- 21.3 at mile 21.2 (end of bike)

The bike course was a little longer than 21 miles (according to my computer). During a perfect day, I was hoping to break or get really close to 1 hour on the bike. Well, my time of 59:59.1 still left me 0.9 seconds to spare! ;)


Normal T2 stuff: bike racked, running shoes on, pondered Obama’s stimulus package and how it tilts more towards new spending as opposed to tax cuts, etc, etc.

5K Run:

My second biggest goal for the day was to see how close to 19 minutes I could get in the 5K. I know, I know... that’s pretty nuts. But it was what I was shooting for. I had pushed hard on the bike, so I knew 19:00 was not gonna happen. But I was still going to give her hell!

Mile 1: 6:21. “Yeah, 19:00 is out.”

Turn-around: 10:06. I don’t know why, but I KNEW I was still going to finish sub-20 for the run. I knew I had some “left in the tank,” and I could negative split the run.

Mile 2: 6:33. I was slowing down, but again, I KNEW I’d be able to pick it up. Maybe I was running too easy. I started upping the pace just before mile 2.

Last 1.1 miles: 6:48. That got me in with a 5K time of 19:52. Not where I wanted it, but I made up a lot of time with a solid bike performance, so I still felt great about my race.

Rudy snapped a few photos of me hitting the finish line:

Freshly shorn legs carrying me home!

I’m only dry in a few spots...

Official results:

• Swim 400 Meters*: 11:36.5
73rd fastest male
16th in AG

• T1: 1:30.3 (63rd male, 15th in AG)

• Bike 21 Miles: 59:59.1
83rd fastest male
15th in AG

• T2: 0:31.1 (19th male, 3rd in AG)

• Run 5K: 19:52.2 (6:24 pace)
12th fastest male
4th in AG

• Total: 1:33:29.6
47th out of 822 overall
40th out of 375 men
9th out of 59 in AG

* When the top swimmer out of 822 does the 400 meter swim in 8:18 (2:04 / 100), I think we can safely say it was a long swim!


• Fastest bike average (according to my computer) that I’ve ever posted during a race: 21.3 mph! (Previously, it was last year at this race where I posted 21.0 mph, but that was on a bike course that was 4 miles shorter!)
• T2!?! That fast?! That’s not me! I’m a dawdler in transition! Oh well, I’ll take it!!
• Fastest 5K in a triathlon that I’ve ever posted! (I’ve done better in a few duathlons.)

Well, my day was FAR from over. I had 4 tri club students on my tail, and Pharmie was going to be out there for a while on the Half IM course. I got through the finisher’s chute, took my camera from Rudy, and ran back to the other side of transition to the point where the bike course and run course are side-by-side so I could watch for Evan, Sarah, Trent, and Hannah to come in.

I cheered for Evan when he came in off the bike. And then again when he was headed out on the run. Only when he was running, my voice cracked as I shouted “Go Evan!” It surprised me. I was close to getting a little emotional at the sight of the CVA Tri Club getting close to finishing their first race! It totally caught me off guard! My eyes weren’t getting teary at all, but there was a little lump in the back of my throat.

So I saw Evan come in on the bike, and take off on the run. Sarah and Trent headed into T2 about the same time. At that point, my head was on a swivel: Evan could be coming back from the west at any time, Sarah and Trent could be coming from the east at any moment, and Hannah was still on the bike coming in from the north! I was spinning around and around with my camera making sure I didn’t miss anyone!! It was like some sort of bad triathlon waltz! (If you didn’t see all the photos and their race reports in the previous post, make sure to scroll down to check it out! Their short race reports are pretty great!!)

All 4 of them finished, and it was time to track them down. I congratulated all of them!! (And there might have been sweaty hugs.) I was STARVING and THIRSTY because I bypassed the food tent post-race to make sure I didn’t miss any of my students. So I ran through the food line and got some PB&J sandwiches, some wheat rolls, a banana, 2 chocolate milks, and some Swedish pancakes!!

I grabbed a shot of the CVA tri club members hanging out while we were all eating. Trent had to take off with his family pretty quick, so he was already gone. Here’s Sarah, Evan, and Hannah who all just finished the race, along with Rudy who snapped all the great photos of them in the water that you saw in my last post:

Sitting there, I saw a few of my friends go running by to start the run portion of their Half IM. Here’s a shot of Jeremy heading out, feeling great:

After being on PR pace and feeling great, Jeremy ended up having a rough run. Pharmie spotted him in an ambulance getting IV fluid and trembling. It was heat stroke. Jeremy e-mailed me to let me know he didn’t die, and he said the race director gave him a ton of hugs as well as a free entry into next year’s race. Anything’s better than finishing in an ambulance, so let’s go for that next year - what do you think Jeremy? ;)

Anyway, Pharmie came running out of T2 a bit later. She was on PR pace!!

I saw my students off, and I went to get changed. (That tri suit gets funky and uncomfortable after too many hours.) Here’s a shot of me nude in a porta-potty:

Technically, I’m not nude - socks.

My spot in transition was looking lonely. There were only about 5 bikes left from the 800 that did the sprint distance. Here’s Goldilocks alone on a rack, with all the Half IM racks in the distance:

I cheered home all kinds of runners. I got to see a lot of friends, too. You’d think hanging around for 2+ hours would be boring, but once you get a few local races under your belt, you find out there’s always someone there to talk to that you’ve met before!

Before I knew it, Pharmie was headed to the finish line with a major Half IM PR!!

I didn’t know it as I was taking these photos, but she was pushing herself so hard at the end of the run that she was about to puke. In this photo as she ran by, you can see her pursed lips, trying to hold “everything” down:

She crossed the finish line far to the right because she was ready to lean over the fence and hurl...

...but she said there was all kinds of expensive-looking timing equipment over the fence, so she held it until she got to the back of the finisher’s chute. And then she let go. Right into a Rubbermaid container. She said she INSTANTLY felt better. Here she is with her finisher’s medal and her Rubbermaid of puke:

That’s my girl!

Congrats on your Half IM PR, Pharmie!! And congrats to the CVA Triathlon Club members (Evan, Sarah, Trent, and Hannah) who finished their first sprint triathlon too!! What a great day!!

Monday, the day after the race, I received this note from Hannah and Sarah:

I’ll be back with some official race photos when they come in. I’m excited to see the whole gang out there at work!! If you haven’t see the photos and read the reports of the 4 CVA Tri Club members, make sure to check out the great post below!


Lindsay 6:24 AM, July 29, 2009  

always love hearing your race recaps! nice job on the tri and sub-20 finish. i can't even get sub-21 when i just-do a 5k, let alone swim and bike first.

you are going to make for an emo parent - choking up over your triathlon babies leaving the nest! :)

i hope pharmies rubbermaid wasn't one of the ones they were collecting chips in or something... lol. congrats to her on her pr!

Stefanie 6:39 AM, July 29, 2009  

I once heard a wise man say that they Made Bike shorts in Black for a reason ;-)

Congrats on a great race and congrats to Pharmie on a major PR. Puke or not, that is amazing!

Kim 7:40 AM, July 29, 2009  

congratulations steve - to you, your students, and to PHARMIE! what a rockstar!!!!!!!

Pharmie 7:40 AM, July 29, 2009  

Just to clarify, the rubbermaid was filled with empty cups. They were using it as a garbage can :)

trimybest 8:06 AM, July 29, 2009  

it was indeed mostly a great time! it was really cool to see so many people i have met recently. i promise to really try to not overheat next year! maybe i will keep some ice packs in t2 to run with! :O)

oh yeah and good job on infecting your students with the tri bug. it sounds like they are all wanting more!

B.o.B. 8:13 AM, July 29, 2009  

Congrats to you and Pharmie! As always you have the best photos. Except for that whole nude in the porta potty thing. LOL!

Gabriel Losa 8:41 AM, July 29, 2009  

As usual.. great race report!
Congratulations to you and to Pharmie for her PR... she´s a machine! A puking one, but a machine!

Good for you guys!

Carolina John 8:55 AM, July 29, 2009  

wow, steve you put up a great race! i know the focus has been on your students, but you and pharmie still finished with flair. good job!

Brian 10:19 AM, July 29, 2009  

Hard to believe that with your times you don't win. Must be some really insanely fast people out there.

If she puked you know she ran hard. Nice pr

X-Country2 10:41 AM, July 29, 2009  

What a great race report! Junk, naked porta-potty, and a puke bucket all at once. :o)

Regina 11:54 AM, July 29, 2009  

I'm with x-country2...funny stuff; it had all the elements of an awesome post!


Julia 12:12 PM, July 29, 2009  

Congrats on getting such fast times! What struck me most is how SPEEDY you look running!
Congrats to all the finishers :)

JenC 4:46 PM, July 29, 2009  

I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks you aren't naked as long as you have at least one item of clothing on. : )

I'm amazed by the number of people who do triathlons in Minnesota. You put us Clevelanders to shame!

Great job and you rock for bringing newbies into the sport in style!

The Boring Runner 4:49 PM, July 29, 2009  

"3 o'clock junk". I seriously laughed out loud.

AND, if your goal was to get me to stare at your junk to try to find any photoshop mistakes, mission accomplished.

Irish Cream 5:34 PM, August 01, 2009  

Damn, 21 mph on the bike? You are crazy fast, Steve! AWESOME report (per usual)! Congrats to you and Pharmie, and once again to the CVA Tri Club!

Megan L. Killian 12:23 PM, August 13, 2009  

Cool! I was there, too, did the long course. Nice job!

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