After I took some time to drink a lot of water and eat some fruit, I went out to find my family. They were chatting with Don about the race and kids and stuff. We waited around for the awards ceremony, mainly because they were giving away a free Felt triathlon bike again. Of course I didn’t win it, but it was fun hoping maybe I would have. In the mean time the kids got to enjoy the festivities at the finish area. They got balloon animals and my daughter got her face painted. When the organizers announced that there were some issues with the timing and results we decided to get going home. It was an exhausting morning but a lot of fun for everyone.
Every time I do a race I learn something new. This was my first Olympic distance race since the very first triathlon I did about 3 years ago and it’s a bit different than the Sprint distance races I’ve been doing. The biggest adjustment was definitely dealing with the cramping during the run. I’m not sure if this was because I didn’t have enough water on the bike, or not enough nutrition, or what exactly, but I actually had an issue with cramping during my first race 3 years ago. That was a different muscle but it’s still something I need to look into. One thing that could have helped would have been to do some longer bike/run brick workouts. With my limited time to work out during the weeks and weekends, I had a hard time just doing long distances of any single sport so trying to do an hour+ bike followed by a long run wasn’t really an option.
From an organization standpoint, the race organizers did an outstanding job of putting this together. Doing such a long course through the middle of a city like this isn’t easy and from an athlete’s perspective, it was fairly seamless. A few things I thought were done really well:
- Maps online – It was great to have an online map to refer to, and one that was more interactive than just a pdf!
- Amazing coverage! – It was a surprise to see how many volunteers, staff and police were lining the course as we went through. I remembered from last year that there were a lot, but it’s still very impressive to see the number of people out there helping out along the course.
- Bike to run transition – Last year it was cool to have people waiting to take my bike when I came into the transition area, but it got backed up and confusing at times. This was much nicer because I was able to get into my area, know where my stuff was better and not worry about other people being in the way.
- Stuff at the finish area for family – My kids are all under the age of 3 so they’re easily bored. Having balloon animals and face painting was great for them to be able to enjoy themselves while waiting for the race to finish and the results to come in.
A couple things that I would change for next year, though:
- Maps online – The maps on the website were through Mapmyride.com and required a user account to access. This wasn’t an issue for me because I have an account already, but my family wasn’t able to access the map when trying to figure out where to watch the race.
- Map updates – Maybe it was just because I was making a video of the route, but it would have been nice to have some kind of notification that the route had changed on the website. Even if it was just something minor like a note saying “updated 4/15/2012” or something it would be helpful. I actually didn’t realize it was different until I was scouting the course for the video and realized that I didn’t have to turn at the same place I thought I did.
- Swim info – Maybe I had my headphones in or was talking or something, but I never “officially” heard that the Olympic swim was 2 loops around the buoys. I noticed it on Facebook the night before, but never saw anything listed anywhere.
- Athlete’s guide not completely accurate – I understand this part, about 90% of the info was the same as last year so just copy and paste. The problem was that the guide listed us getting 3 bags: Morning clothes bag, Swim gear bag and Run gear bag. We actually only got 2 bags. I asked a volunteer and she said to use the red 5i50 bag we got for the morning clothes bag. Since that bag wasn’t able to be tied up as easily as the other ones, and it wasn’t marked with my name, I ended up giving the bag to my family to keep my mp3 player and other stuff safe.
- Splits listed inaccurately – In the athlete’s guide, it lists the splits as including the swim to bike transition split but the transition was included on the bike time.
- Another minor inaccuracy from the guide was the lack of helmet number. Not a big deal, just something else I noticed.
I know I mentioned a few things that were not perfect, but I do want to reiterate that this race was definitely the best executed race I’ve ever done. I know that doesn’t mean much since I’ve only done 7 races, but for a first-time racer, a good experience makes all the difference! It was such a fun time that I’m considering doing the Olympic race again next year instead of the Sprint like I originally was thinking. Well done to HFP Racing and M3S Sports!