Daybreak Triathlon (Sprint Distance)

I heard about this race a year ago when a couple of friends competed in it and I have wanted to participate in it ever since. I picked up my packet two days before the race. I was kinda bummed that that they didn’t have women’s sizes for the race t-shirt because I really liked the design/color of the shirt.  The night before the race I was nervous as always. I was able to get almost six and a half hours of broken sleep the night before which is pretty good for me.  I mentioned in my last race review that I didn’t feel well during the race.  I ended up being sick for most of following week. I felt much better Thursday and Friday but when I woke Saturday I had a sore throat and runny nose again. I decided then that I would scrap my race time goal and go out and enjoy the race and get more open water swimming experience under my belt. I left my house at 5:30 AM to go pick up my teammate Alyssa so we could ride down to the event together. Daybreak is about 50 minutes away so by the time we got there the sun up and the transition area was already open.

Transition area

I dropped off my bike/gear in the transition area and went and got body marked and my timing chip. One thing I liked was that the race company US Tri Sports used rubber stamps to apply our bib numbers on our arms and our age on our legs. They also used the stamps to apply our bib numbers on our swim caps. Nice touch! After that I waited in line to use the restroom. While in line I was able to make friends with a couple that was doing their first triathlon. I love meeting new people at races and hearing their story of how got there. After that I did a warm up with my other TBR teammates who were there (Alyssa, Chris, Jordan, Bret and Logan).

At 7:30 AM the race director gave the race briefing. The Olympic distance waves started at 8 AM and the Sprint waves at 8:30 AM. At 8 AM I started making my way over the Sprint start dock. All the Sprint racers had a great view of the Olympic racers who were the in water further down the lake. There was one guy who had a HUGE lead. When he reached the buoy that marked a change in direction he kept going in the same direction! He didn’t realize it until he almost reached the shore (about 100-200 meters away from the buoy). He made his way back to the buoy at about the same time the other swimmers got there. Fast swimmer!

At 8:20 AM I put on my wetsuit, swim cap and goggles and went and sat on the dock. I commented on how cold the water looked to one of my teammates. Almost immediately he decided I needed help getting over my trepidation and pushed me off the dock and into the water. Luckily for me the water wasn’t as cold as it looked. I swam around and got use to the water while the male sprint waves started. The sprint female waves were the last of the day. I lined up in the water next to the dock right before 9 AM. They race organizers had people gather in the water according their age group and then you’d tell the person on the dock holding a race timer your bib number and he’d tell you to go. I liked this method of starting. Since everyone started at different times you never know who wins until they post the times. I like it because it makes me work harder. I always try to pass everyone in sight because of it. I started the swim off well and got into a good rhythm. I was determined to keep doing the crawl stroke and to not flip on my back. I was successful in achieving that goal which I was happy about but swim time was still terrible. I finished the swim in 22:18 (swim +run to transition). The swim was supposed to be 750 meters but my watch showed it was closer to 900 meters. I think it showed that because I swam in a snake pattern instead of swimming straight. Open water swimming is such a different animal than pool swimming. I’ve really gained a new respect for swimmers and triathlons in general.

The swim finish - beach next to the dock

I ran into transition, stripped off my wetsuit, put on my cycling gear/bike and got out. I finished T1 in 1:47. I know I can cut a lot of time off that with practice. I did apply quick spray sunblock this time in T1 since in my last race the sunblock got rubbed off by my wetsuit and I got a good sunburn.  I started the bike portion and was feeling pretty decent. The first six miles of the course was a false flat. The road looked flat but it was actually at an incline. The last mile before the turnaround I hit two challenges hills. I had a huge smile on my face because I knew those hills were going to be so much fun to come back down. There were a couple people that passed me on the uphill but once we hit that turnaround point I flew past them on down hill. I passed over a dozen people on those hills and topped out at 37 MPH. Pure elation! I finished the bike in 48:21, average speed 18 MPH. My watch measured the bike course at 14.40 miles with about 750 ft in elevation gain.  I ran my bike back into the transition area and swapped my cycling gear for running gear. I completed T2 in 1:09.

Me on the bike

I started the run and wasn’t feeling too hot. My throat was parched and I was tired. I knew I’d feel better once I passed the first mile so I kept on trucking along. I passed a lot of people on the run. I lost count after 15 or so. I passed one couple who was doing the triathlon the morning or their wedding day! She had a white running skirt/shirt with a veil and everything! He had on a tuxedo t-shirt on. Awesome! I yelled congrats to them as I passed by. I passed all the female runners I could see. I knew that meant I was either in lead or very far behind the lead. With how my swim went I pegged it on the latter. The run course was around the lake which I really enjoyed. I came to the finish and sprinted to the end. I finished the 3.32 mile run in 25:58, 7:49 min/mile pace. For some reason this is the same pace I’ve hit in my last few races no matter what the course is like (hilly, flat, half marathon, tris, being sick). My legs have just gotten use to going that pace. My total time 1:39:30. I was happy. After all, I had no expectations for this race. The timing company was having some technical difficulties so times weren’t posted for an hour or two which delayed the award ceremony. A lot of people that placed didn’t stick around that long. When I checked my time I was pleasantly surprised that I got 3rd in my age group out of 15. Out of 227 total participants I got 72nd place. Out of 82 women I got 17th place.

Me on the podium

Thinking positively helped me immensely during this race. Letting go of everything that pressures me during a race helped too. I was able to really enjoy it and have lots of fun. This race was eventful for my teammates and friends too. Chris placed 1st in his age group and 4th overall. This was Bret’s first triathlon, Alyssa’s 1st open water tri, Logan’s 1st Olympic tri and Jordan cut 50 minutes off his Olympic tri time! So proud of all my teammates! My friend NeeCee took 2nd in her age group for the Olympic and my friend Brandy who was also doing the Olympic distance crashed on the bike. She finished the race and later found out she’d broken her cheek bone and gotten a concussion. Tough as nails!! I’m so glad she wasn’t hurt more than that!

One thing I noticed that was different from other races I’ve done in the past is that when I picked up my packet a couple of days before the event the race volunteers put a wristband on me that had my bib number on it. The wrist band was bright yellow and the kind you can only get off if you cut it. They put them on all the athletes for the purpose of added security for the transition area. Only athletes with the wristband were able to go in and out of transition. After the race they when you go to put your bike away they compare your wristband to the race number on your bike. I appreciated this added security. Overall this was a great race that was well put together. I enjoyed all aspects of the race course. I’m definitely going to participate in the race again in the future.

Chris, Jordan and me

Q: A lot of races have starting giving finishers medals for all participants. This race gave medals to only the 1st-3rd place in each divsion. What’s your opinion regarding that? Do you like the idea of finishers medals or do you think they should be given only to the top three in each division?


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