Race Report: St. Anthony’s Olympic Triathlon

Well…I have officially completed my first full olympic distance triathlon! Yes, I did Nation’s on 9/11 but there was no swim and this swim at St. A’s certainly made up for it.

St. Anthonys is held at Vinoy Park in downtown St. Petersburg, FL. It is a very nice area conducive to vacations and relaxing. I drove down Saturday morning, picked up my packet, checked my bike in, dipped my foot in the water and caught up with my adopted team for the weekend, Team in Training Central FL. It was great to see so many familiar faces and to catch up with everyone.

Several of us enjoyed a nice, Italian meal at Antonio’s and proceeded back to our hotel to double and triple check our transition bags, nutrition and any other pre-race rituals. I got a good night’s sleep and was out of the hotel by 5:30 a.m. Mini-Me, Preston and I headed downtown and got free street parking and let me tell you, when there are 3500 people competing plus all of their friends and families, this is a big win!

I got my transition set up and made my way to the TNT folks to watch the pros do the swim and bike out/in. Mind you that that Mini-Me’s and mine age group did not go off until 8:44 am! We saw the pros swim an incredible 15 minute .9 mile swim and zip off on the bike only to return in about an hour…incredible! We definitely saw some really nice and expensive bikes, some interesting tri kits, and of course, the humorous attempts of people obviously trying something new on race day which of course Coach Beth made sure I didn’t do!

I chose not to go with my wet suit for the swim as last time I used it, I could barely move my arms and that was only a sprint tri. As we entered the water, I believe the first pro was finishing the race!

We entered the water, treaded water for about 2 minutes and took off on the gun. My swim was going well and I was able to see where I was going which was nice for a change. When I made the final last turn to swim home, my right calf on the lateral side cramped severely. I hung onto a paddle board with a lifeguard to stretch it out (no penalty if you don’t move forward using their help). I was pissed that this was happening as it was definitely a concern going into the race. Eventually it subsided enough to swim the rest of the 500 yards with just using my arms. During this time, I also lost my swim cap and therefore my hair was covering my goggles the entire time. The last 500 yards took forever and I hobbled up the stairs leading out of the bay into T1.

I learned several things during this race for FL 70.3 and one of those things is to not race with my 110% compression calf sleeves as they do not like to go on after you are wet. I struggled to get them on despite toweling my legs off. I ran out of T1 and clipped in. My legs felt lethargic but after a couple of miles, they started to come alive. I caught up with Mini-Me and trailed her for most of the 25 miles until about mile 21 or so where I passed her into T2.

We met back up heading out of T2 and onto the run. I felt strong on the run but knew I wouldn’t be able to do 8 minute miles like Mini-Me was hoping to do. We had a 9 minute pace going and it was heating up. Mini-Me was having trouble breathing through her nose and so around 1.5 miles, she decided to walk and I pushed on. I unfortunately did not see her again until I was around mile 5 and heading home. I had a strong run and even put up a negative split ( I later learned my mom was yelling at me through the computer as she tracked me, maybe that had something to do with it!).

Just before mile 6, Coach Beth found saw me and kicked my butt into high gear for the last .3 miles. I sprinted the last bit down the chute which unfortunately was not filled very much with spectators as most of the race participants had already finished! Just before I crossed the finish line, I saw a guy holding out flowers to a girl and knew right away he was proposing. Everyone, including the race announcer, was focused on the loving couple and I had to get the guy holding wet towels attention so I could cool off after finishing the race…unreal! I sprint only to be overshadowed by an engagement! Anyways, congrats you two!

It felt really good to cross the finish line especially after the cramps in the swim and T1. Fortunately they didn’t return on the bike or the run. I got two ice sleeves for my calves from the nice folks at 110% and walked around the finish area and caught up with some of TNT people. All in all, it was a fun race despite starting so late in the day. I would definitely do this race again and highly recommend it to others.

I am in my last heavy week of training before Ironman Florida 70.3 on May 20. I did a 21 mile bike ride followed by a 2 mile run last night (1st mile fast, 2nd mile slow). Tonight I will do a 5 mile run and attempt to install my new Cobb Cycling saddle on my bike. I have had a lingering sore throat since the race so I’m putting off swimming until that disappears as I can swim all the way up to the race and can focus on the bike and run for now.

This weekend will be the last big push training wise. We are hosting THE PLAYERS 5k here at TPC Sawgrass so I will do that and then hop on the bike for about 60 miles. Sunday will be a 5-6 mile run and hopefully a long swim, weather and throat permitting. I can’t believe the race is almost here but I am excited to tackle such a long distance and to see how my body responds.

Things I learned for Ironman Florida 70.3

  1. Pack more nutrition than you think you need (I know this but its good to get confirmation)
  2. Put body glide everywhere
  3. Don’t use 110% compression sleeves when doing triathlons, use them for recovery
  4. Take more endurolytes before and during the race to prevent cramping
  5. Got salt?!

  6. Have Coach Beth tape your calves and knee prior to the race
  7. I am capable of having a good swim, just need to not cramp and lose my swim cap
  8. Just keep swimming!
  9. Find a new spot for my Garmin watch
  10. Be confident in my abilities and stay calm
  11. Smile for the race cameras 🙂

Race Results:

2 1/2 weeks to go to Ironman Florida 70.3! Here we go!

“Swim like you’re gonna drown, bike like you stole it, run like someone is chasing you”-Unknown

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