Mother’s Day Triathlon

Since Boise 70.3 is so early in the season I really felt it was important to get a true triathlon in before race day. I have a brand new wetsuit and knew that it would be extremely beneficial to get an open water swim in and a T1 transition to see how it feels. This was my first triathlon since last September. The plan was for Roger, Jessi, Tiffany, Trish and I to head over to the west side for a race on Saturday and be back in Spokane Saturday night. Total trip time: 29 hours.
Our trip started out by meeting at the Thompson’s at about 4 on Friday to make the long drive over to Lacey, WA to our hotel. After getting all loaded up and myself receiving enough crap to fill a wheelbarrow for having 3 bags and yes it was only thre, I don’t care what the other blogs say. On my usual road trips I am stuck behind the wheel but this time I was able to sit back and relax while Mr. Smiggles took the helm. The drive over went pretty quick especially when we put in Wedding Crashers, a pretty funny movie and a must see.

After arriving at our Comfort Inn and after unloading all the gear, it was finally time to hit the sack. As my roll away was pushed into the room, I had a feeling this was going to be a long night. I have never really been able to get a good night sleep in a hotel bed and tonight was going to be no different. After the lights went out about 11:30, I was up til about 1:00 am and then again at about 4 am. It is off and on til I decided to get out of bed at about 6:15.

This is me before I realized how comfortable this bed really was:)

Since the race wasn’t until 11:00, I was really going to be able to enjoy breakfast and fortunately this hotel provides and awesome complimentary breakfast buffet. I had an awesome waffle smothered in peanut butter and syrup. If you have never had peanut butter on a waffle or pancake you are missing out.

Before we left we all set a few goals for today’s race. My first goal was finish my first open water swim of the season, I know it is pretty simple but baby steps. Second was to average over 20 mph on the bike and third was to finish the race under 1 hour.

The race site was about 30 minutes away so after loading up, we were off. This is one of your typical small sprint races with the make shift transition area with creaky bike racks. After setting up my transition area, taking the bike out for a quick spin and warming up my legs it was time to get on the wetsuit and head over for a quick warm-up swim. The new wetsuit was a bit tight and I was hoping the warm-up swim would help me adjust to the new fit. Apparently I forgot this pic on the earlier editions of this blog. A little pre trip fun involved some fun emails with one discussing helmets and how some people put them on backwards, right C#$tany. So I brought up that I would where one of those hats that holds a few beers, well this is the Triathtletes version of the Beerhat. I already have the patents pending so don't even think about trying to copy :) This is me trying to suck it in so Jessi can get this wet suit zipped up. I am not sure what Tiffany is doing at this time but it is hilarious.
With this being my first swim of the year and it still early in May I knew the water was going to be a tad on the chilly side. When my feet hit the water I think chilly was an understatement. As soon as my face it the water I think my brain began to freeze, literally. The quick warmup turned more into a cool down but since the race was only 250 yards I knew I wouldn’t be in the water for too long.

As the count down began and the seconds ticked away until I plunged into the muddy pond they called a lake, all I could think about was just stay calm. Jessi gave me some great advice reminding me that going anaerobic in such a short distance on your first race wasn’t really going to help and may only save you a couple of seconds. Once the race started and we were off swimming it all came rushing back even the awesome kicks in the face. Ohh how I love triathlons.

The first half of the swim I was all over the place. Zig-zaging back and forth. If you were watching me from shore I am pretty sure it looked like a sailboat tacking back and forth. I couldn’t see anything in the water or out in front of me. I wasn’t sure if it was my goggles fogging up or I was losing my vision as my brain function started to fade with the more time my face was submerged in this ice cold water.
Finally we reached the boat and I was hoping to get myself swimming in a straight line. After a quick run into the rope separating the out and back and cutting off Jessi, I finally figured out how to swim straight. I am pretty sure I turned the 250 yard swim into about 300 but that is why you do these races. Goal one accomplished.
Coming into T1 it was great to run in next to Jessi. She is always voicing words of encouragement and cheering you on. My first swim to bike transition of the year was not pretty. Since my feet felt like they were gone, getting into my bike shoes was definitely a challenge. Overall the helmet, shoes and sunglasses went pretty smooth. The next step of mounting the bike was absolutely horrendous. I took me for freakin ever to get clipped in and actually heading down the road. I was passed by two people including Jessi coming out of T1.
This picture shows just a bit of my frustration. The funniest part of the entire thing is that Jen was actually able to take three more pictures of me in the same exact spot still trying to get clipped in. YEAH!!
I told myself going into the bike portion of this race that I wanted to push myself. After watching the two riders start to open the gap on me I knew I had some work to do. The first few miles felt pretty good and then everything began to fall apart. I knew my heart rate was going to be high throughout the race but the entire time on the bike I never felt comfortable. I felt like I was struggling to catch my breath and get into a comfortable zone. The time I spent in aero was a complete struggle so quite a bit of the race I was up on my hands. The bike course was extremely flat and I knew that I was loosing a ton of time with each pedal out of aero. Still with all the trouble I think I averaged just over 21 mph (had some questionable timing by me). Goal two accomplished.

Finally making it back to the transition area, I was hoping the run portion of the race would be much better. Lately my running has come a long way and I was ready to get out and see how the legs would do coming off the bike. After struggling to get my nearly frozen feet into my shoes I was off. I could definitely tell the pace was much faster than my races in the past. I was about 300 yards behind a group of three runners including Jessi. All I wanted to do was keep pushing my pace and the ultimate goal was to run the three mile out and back in under 20 minutes.

The first half of the race I just tried to close the distance between myself and those three ahead of me. I reached the turn around at 9:54 with a 6:36 pace. The second half of the run was also pretty good. The two guys in front of Jessi were a bit too quick for me to catch but with just over a quarter mile to go I was able to pass Jessi and finished in 5th overall. The second split was a 9:29 with a 6:19 pace and an average of 6:28 pace. Last year I would have been around 7:28 so I am pretty excited to see the improvement. My final time was 1:00:12. Goal three NOT accomplished.

I really don’t know why this happens to me over and over but I always finish just outside my goal. I know the smallest things of actually being able to clip into my bike on the first time or being in aero for just a few more minutes would have solved this issue but I guess that is why you race the race.

I want to give a shout out to Jessi. I am jealous on how strong she is throughout these races. She is always up front and is always pushing herself to the limits. Both of us don’t like to admit it but I feel we have an extremely friendly and light-hearted rivalry going on. She is smoking fast on the bike and I have the edge in the run. If the swim were any longer she would dominate me but it is always fun to push it until the end and always finishing so close.
After the finished Roger, Jessi and I headed out for a cool down and find Tiffany and Trish to cheer them on to the finish. After reaching Tiffany and running with her for a bit we crossed paths with a bloody Trish. I personally like the story of how she saved the poor little kid from a vicious dog attack but if you have checked out the Tri-Fuison gallery I guess you know the real story. Trish was SO tough pushing out the pain and finishing the race. This was the first time she had run three miles straight. It was awesome to see her with a smile the entire time. That people is hard-core.
After the race we did a little first-aid on Trish’s leg and then loaded up the Excursion for the trip back to Spokane. After the mandatory stop at Starbucks the trip was complete and we were on the road home. Thank you Mr. Smiggles for driving and I think overall it was a great trip for everyone.


Phaedra Cote said...

TEAM SUPERSTAHHH! Sounds like your first race of the season went great! I get that whole thing about 'finishing just outside your goals'. but that's sometimes the point of setting goals. If they were easily attainable, we wouldn't push ourselves to reach them. I think ya got darn close and were able to learn a few things too.

I enjoyed reading and can't wait for you to experience a half ironman!!


Trish said...

Heck ya it was a great trip for everyone! I am SO happy that we all went together to experience that adventure. I know you are frustrated that you didn't meet your time goal, but you still had a smoking race and you should be very proud of yourself! I LOVE the picture of you getting into the wet suit...classic Keith :) Thanks again for fixing my leg with Smiggles! You two are GREAT and according to Rog, you probably "saved my life!" I will forever remember our first trip to Elma! Can't wait to race with you again!

jessithompson said...

Keith (thank goodness I'm not using Rog's idea about a nickname for you),

You are one bad ass mo fo. I love how you push yourself and strive to do and be the best you can - always. You inspire me to push myself (especially when you're running me down - jk! ;) The trip was a blast! Can't wait for the next adventure!!! Thanks for the support and for always being game for anything. You da man!

p.s. I can't believe you didn't include a pic of your new helmet! WHAAAAT?! See the Tri Fusion gallery for the low down.

Tiffany said...

SFG (unlike Jessi, I WILL use Rog's nickname for you!),

Nice work out there! I don't care what you say about not accomplishing your goal, you still absolutely smoked that race and you should be very proud!

I'm so glad you came to this race. What a fun 29 hours! I can't believe you didn't put your helmet on here either! What are you thinking?

Congrats again on an amazing race!

p.s. My bike is already missing P-dub. She shed a couple of tears for him last night. I reminded her of rule #76 and she bucked up. :)

Steve said...

There the picture is up!

Trish said...

Hey...you should click on my blog link...

Michael W. Bergquist said...

That was absolutely hilarious. I laughed about as long as I read. Perhaps you should try Speed Play Pedals.

Tiffany said...

Yeah, Kieth, you should. I mean, Speed Play pedals are SO much easier! Did you see how fast I clipped in at the race?!!! ;)

Tim Swanson said...

Dude, I'm glad I missed this race, cause you would have absolutely destroyed me. At least you didn't crash at the T1 mount line.... :)

You are right on track for having an awesome showing at Boise.

Hmmm, so you had trouble on the bike and still averaged 21?? "Somehow", that seems pretty good to me! :)

Nice work, top 5. Tim