Posted by: bradhammond | July 7, 2012

5 Mile Lake Race Report

On June 30 I did the 5 Mile Lake Sprint Triathlon.  It consists of a 1/4 mile swim, a 14 mile bike ride, and a 3.1 mile run.  I also did this race in 2010, so I figured that I would get some idea of how much I was improving or slowing down over the past 2 years.  Based on my times in training, I expected that I would probably swim a little bit slower and run significantly slower, but I thought I had a chance of being faster in the bike ride.  The night before the race my calves were feeling quite sore, so I put on the new compression sleeves that I bought this spring.  After I slept in them I was feeling less sore, but I decided to wear them in the race.  I’ve never worn things like that in a race before, but I have seen other people do it, and this seemed like a good day to give it a try.


I saw my friend Penelope, who was racing in the 60-64 age group, and I hung out talking with her for quite a while.  I was the first one into the water for a warm up swim – water was mid 60’s and quite comfortable.  It was raining lightly, so I turned my running shoes upside down in the transition area – I didn’t want them to fill up with water as I was doing the swim and bike.  During the prerace talk, the race director warned people about a downhill left turn where someone had wiped out last year, and recommended being cautious there.


I was in the second swim wave, so we started 3 minutes after the young men in green swim caps.  I tried to start fast, but I’m not really sure if I did.  I kept colliding with the man on my right – it was hard to tell if either of us was going  in a slightly wrong direction or whether we had just started a bit too close and were getting closer as we converged on the first buoy.  At the first buoy everyone funneled together, and I got my goggles knocked out of place.  I paused very briefly after the turn to dump out water and re-position the goggles.  I never really got into a drafting position right behind another swimmer; I was usually following a cluster who were several body lengths in front of me.  By the second buoy I caught up with a green capped swimmer from the first wave, and in the stretch between the second buoy and the beach I passed several other swimmers from the first wave.  Time 6:23 – 12 seconds slower than in 2010, but pretty close!


As usual, I had my swim cap and goggles off and the wet suit down to my waist by the time I got to my spot in the transition area.  I flopped on my back to kick and wrestle the wet suit off my legs – I had the compression sleeves on under it, and it seemed to take just a little more effort to get it off over my ankles.  I had the bike shoes attached to my bike, so as soon as I finished with the wet suit I snapped on my bike helmet, lifted my bike off the rack and started running out to the bike start.  Time 53 seconds, 4 seconds faster than last time!


It was a flat start for the bike course.  I slid my left foot into the shoe and pedaled with my right foot on top of the shoe until I got my speed up.  This time it seemed pretty easy to wriggle my right foot into the shoe while I coasted, then I fastened the Velcro straps  and tried to catch up with more people.  I had passed a couple guys and I caught up to 2 more just as we came to the downhill left turn that we had been warned about.  I decided I would wait until after the turn to pass them, so while I was waiting some other guy sped past all 3 of us.  Naturally I had to try and chase him down after I got through the turn.

I caught and passed him, but within a mile he had passed me back and I was just hoping to stay sort of close to him.  Then he ran over a piece of glass or something and I could hear his tire pop and all the air coming out.  I felt sorry for him, but I couldn’t help, so he pulled over and stopped while I kept on going.  It was a 2 lap bike course, and the rest of lap 1 was very uneventful.  On the second lap I saw a couple of guys with flats – not sure if one was the one I had witnessed.

Somehow the second lap seemed like it had a lot more uphill, and I used my small chain ring a lot more than I had in the first lap.  I was about half way through the second lap, and thinking to myself that no one had passed me since about halfway through the first lap, when 3 or 4 guys all passed me at about the same time.  One of them looked like he had the number 64 on his leg (actually he was 61, but I didn’t figure that out until later), so I felt a bit discouraged to get passed by someone a lot older than me.  They managed to pull away from me quite a bit before we got back to the park.  There were a couple riders less than 100 yards in front of me as we approached the dismount line.  I already had my feet out of my shoes, and I passed both of them on the run between the dismount line and transition entrance.  Time 39:56 (21 mph), 20 seconds slower than last time.


I quickly racked my bike and took off my helmet.  I sat down to pull on my running shoes, and was soon running out to start the run course.  I made up quite a bit of time here.  Time 44 seconds, 13 seconds faster than last time!


As soon as we got out of the park and turned onto the road I could see that the person in front of me was the 61 year old.  I passed him within the first quarter mile, and set my sights on the next runner who was only about 40 yards ahead.  As we approached the 1 mile mark I had made up most of the distance.  I noticed that he had tattoos running down both arms, and 37 on his leg, so he was one of those younger guys who started 3 minutes before me.  It seemed like he was faster than me on the downhills, but I was faster on the uphills.  Soon after the 1 mile mark I passed him on an uphill stretch and I tried to get further ahead before we started going back down again.

We came to a table with cups of water, and a woman and little girl were there asking if anyone wanted some water.  I didn’t, but I smiled and waved.  The guy I had just passed stopped for water, and I managed to increase the gap to 20 or 30 yards while he got a drink.  The next runner in front of me seemed a very long way off, but I told myself to try and close the gap a bit.  It didn’t work – soon the 37 year old had caught me, and he seemed to be going a lot faster as he passed me going uphill.  Before we got to the 2 mile mark I could hear foot steps and breathing behind me again, and a young guys in his 20’s went past me.  I had just barely finished thinking that at least it wasn’t the old guy, when we hit the 2 mile mark and the old guy passed me, too.  As we took the road back towards the park I could see all three of those guys stretched out over the 100 yards in front of me, but I couldn’t seem to keep up, let alone pass them back.  As we did a small loop inside the park, another guy in his 30’s passed me and beat me to the line by .4 seconds. Time: 23:31 (7:35 pace) 43 seconds slower than last time.

Post Race:

The young guy who nipped me at the wire and the old guy who was a few seconds in front of us both all exchanged “Nice race!” comments, and then I hurried to take off my shoes.  I had blistered on my arch again, and couldn’t wait to get barefoot.  As I sat down, I felt a lot of pain near my kidneys, which I concluded was from pushing really hard.  With my history of passing a kidney stone  a few months before each of my previous Ironman races, I got a bit nervous, but it eventually went away.  I saw Penelope after the race – she had ridden half a lap or so on a flat tire, which slowed her down quite a bit, but she still got second in her age group.  I ended up third in my age group.  I was 58 seconds slower than 2 years ago, and I got beat by someone 5 years older, but I am satisfied that I trained hard and made a really hard effort in the race.


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