Wednesday, June 19, 2013


This weekend was the 3 Little Pigs sprint triathlon.  It's the first sprint I've done in a while, and the short course felt great!  The race is in Smithfield, NC about 40 minutes east of Raleigh.  Since it's closer to the coast, the course was much more flat than the Ironman Raleigh course from a few weeks ago.

The day started early, with a 5:15 alarm clock. I hit the road after breakfast and coffee and got onsite by about 6 am.  The timing turned out to be perfect, I didn't have to wait around for very long at all before getting on with the race! I got my packet, timing chip, and bodymarking then rolled into TA and setup the bike.
Ready to Rock
I knew it was going to be a good day when I struck gold.  I got my stuff setup, and there was no line at the port-a-toilets.  There was only 2 out there, and I walked right in without being rushed.  That's when I knew it was going to be my day.  On my way out my RAM swim teammate Jay was standing in the line, so it was good to give him some encouragement.
Busy TA!
I added some suntan lotion, cleaned up my area and got inside to chill before the start.  Initially I thought I had entered a bad 100 m pace for my swim time because I got seeded #58 out of almost 500 people.  There is no way I was going to be that fast.

250 m pool swim: 3:55, 1:34/100 pace, 6/42 age group
The guy in front of me said he was seeded pretty accurately, but I could pass him if I needed to.  The girl 2 people ahead of him was worried that I was going pass her, and I have no idea why.  This was a 25 meter pool, so we had to hit 10 laps. We started one at a time, which was really fantastic, about 7 seconds apart.  I passed the tool in front of me before the second wall, and ended up finishing almost 20 minutes faster than he did.  On the 10th lap, I passed one more person just before  getting out of the pool.  So that ended up being a really good swim.

T1: 1:17 18/42 age group
FINALLY!!  A swim-to-bike transition under 90 seconds!  That was fantastic.

Bike 14 miles: 42:01, 20.0 mph, 16/42 age group
This bike course was flat and amazingly fast.  Most of the serious cyclists hit 24 mph, which is how I went from 6th place in my age group to 18th without really being passed very often.  Since the swim was a timed start, people who put in a slower estimated swim time than me started after me then put up lightning fast bike splits.  I got passed twice pretty soon into the bike.  But the format of the swim start lead to a fairly open course!

The first few miles were a false flat with a few rolling hills thrown in but no real climbs.  It took about 5 miles for my legs to really warm up.  and by that time it was really flat until you got into the last 5 miles, which were slightly downhill so I was able to push a bigger gear.

Biggest change:  After Ironman Raleigh I knew I needed to change something on the bike. It was really uncomfortable, and that had not been the case before.  So on the Monday before the race I went to Inside-Out Sports and got a bike fit with adjustments for comfort.  Mark ended up moving my saddle forward, and putting on a shorter stem and new aerobars that were more adjustable.  As soon as I started riding on Saturday the comfort level was incredible.  I was blown away at the difference.

I tried to push it pretty hard the whole time but keep my heart rate kind of low so I'd have something left for the run.  I think the speed was pretty spot on for a sustainable ride of that distance.  I did end up making one mistake, though.  The web site said the bike course was 14 miles, so I taped one gel onto the bike so I could take it around 12 miles, that way it would be digested and fuel me up for the run.  I did actually take it at the 12 mile sign, but then at the 13 mile sign we were back at the TA?  What?  What happened to that last mile?  Totally took me by surprise, I could barely get my feet out of the shoes before hitting the dismount line.
I was racing naked, so I had no garmin or other distance gauge or timer.  I was going on perceived heart rate alone.  Since the course was a lollipop, I could see the later starters heading out on the bike as I was coming in.  pretty cool.

T2: 51 seconds
Yea baby.  Rack the bike, running shoes on, grab everything else and off we go.

Run 5k: 22:48, 7:21 pace
The run course was very shaded, which I was really glad for.  I heard last year it got really hot, and a recent storm had left a cool front out today, so it was still in the low 70's.  The course again was really flat, and mostly went through a park.  It was an out and back course mostly, really a small loop with a large spur on it. At the 1 & 2 mile markers they had an aide station set up, and they were really only about 200 yards apart.  I started out by pushing the pace a bit, then once my muscles started to fatigue I slowed down into a steady pace that I could hold for the rest of the race.  After pushing hard for almost an hour, I don't really remember much of the run.  My mind went into the pain cave, I never slowed down to a walk, and just kept pushing one foot in front of the other until I saw that finish line.  It was quite a sweet relief to be done, as it was really starting to get hot out there.

Finish: 1:10:54, 15/42 age group, 73/260 men, 82/421 overall
Top third in my age group, top third overall, and a sprint triathlon PR?  Thank you, I'll take it.  This was a fantastic race. The best part about starting out with such a quick estimated swim time is that it got me out in front of the main field.  No pesky other people getting in my way.  Also, I was finished before it really started getting hot.

After I hit the finish line, my buddy Jay was there with a cold beer.  Sure it was only 9 am, but that was pretty fantastic.  And it was foreshadowing of the rest of the day. 

I went back to the TA to gather up my gear, and noticed over half of the bikes were still out riding!  That's because in an hour race, it took over 45 minutes to get all of the swimmers in the water.  There was a heavy beginner crowd, and beginner-friendly races are great.  This would have been a fantastic first triathlon to choose.
Snapped a couple of shots from the phone after the race back in TA

They had the splash pool open for the kids to play in!  Made me wish my kids were there.
Overall this was a fantastic race.  Great course, great volunteers, and really well organized.  This was a dream race for me.  Everything went exactly right.  This is the kind of day that reminds me why I love this sport.  It's tough to say you PR'd a sprint triathlon because the distances are always different.  This was also the shortest course I've done, but it beat my previous sprint times by over 20 minutes.  and that's really cool too.


Unknown said...

This little piggy deserves some roast beef!

Andrew said...

Nice job! I did the 3 Little Pigs a few years ago, did they have the big pig there? That was cool and I go my picture with him/her (never could tell). Nice PR


CautiouslyAudacious said...

Great finish!! Sounds like you had a blast! I love sprints they are so much fun!!

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

Nice PR! That looks like a much more do-able race than the last one! :)

Karen said...

Nice job there sir! That was a serious fast run too!

Ashley said...

Awesome job! I can't wait to get into tris (guess that means I should probably start swimming...)